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Religion and Forced Displacement in Ukraine

Article by Dmytro Vovk

July 23, 2020

Religion and Forced Displacement in Ukraine

This paper examines how Ukrainian religious associations have addressed the forced displacement caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict that started in 2014. At the out set there will be a brief explanation of the religious and ethnic landscape of Ukraine as well as a short description of church-state relations in the country that emphasises the social engagement of religions. Next, the paper describes how religious associations contribute to counteracting the problems connected with forced displacement by raising awareness of the associated issues within state structures and among members of the public, providing for the basic needs for the most vulnerable categories of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and facilitating the social integration of IDPs into their host communities. Finally, this paper outlines several areas where religious communities and the government can further cooperate in order to resolve the problems arising as a consequence of forced displacement going forward.


Religion, ethnicity and population

According to the latest census conducted in 2001, the population of Ukraine included 77.8 per cent ethnic Ukrainians and 17.3 per cent Russians. Other ethnic groups (Belarusians, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, Tatars, Roma, etc.) did not exceed 0.6 per cent each.[1] Recent public opinion polls have recorded an increase in the number of citizens of Ukraine who identify themselves as Ukrainians. In a 2018 study by the Razumkov Center that asked the question, ‘To which national identity do you consider yourself to belong?’, 85.7 per cent of respondents said they considered themselves to be Ukrainian, in contrast to 11 per cent who indicated Russian, 2.1 per cent who gave another nationality, and 1.2 per cent who provided no answer.[2] The discrepancy between the census and sociological research data can be explained by several factors. Since 2014, sociological surveys have not been conducted in Crimea or in the parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are not controlled by the Ukrainian government, territories where a significant part of the Russian minority lived. Also, respondents may perceive their ‘nationality’ differently. Although in Ukrainian and Russian the term is usually associated with ethnicity and national origin, respondents can also identify themselves as political Ukrainians who do not want to affiliate themselves in any way with Russia during war.


The religious landscape of Ukraine is diverse. According to one recent study, 64.9 per cent of Ukrainians consider themselves to be Orthodox, 9.5 per cent Greek Catholic, 1.6 per cent Roman Catholic, and 1.8 per cent Protestant.[3] Other religions, such as Judaism and Islam make up no more than 0.1 per cent each. Another eight per cent of Ukrainians consider themselves to be ‘just Christians’, and 12.8 per cent do not affiliate themselves with any religion. Orthodox Christians are divided into several large groups. 13.2 per cent of Ukrainians affiliate themselves with the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) that was created in 2018, whereas 7.7 per cent of Ukrainians are affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), the status of which is currently undefined, 10.6 per cent of respondents are believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), and another 30.3 per cent consider themselves ‘just Orthodox’, thereby comprising the largest group of Orthodox Ukrainians.[4]


However, an institutional analysis of the Ukrainian religious landscape reveals a slightly different picture. According to data from the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, 32,719 religious communities were operating in the country as of January 1st 2019.[5] The largest religious association was the UOC-MP with 12,122 communities. The OCU had 5,994 communities, which included the total number of UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church communities. In addition, according to unofficial data, about 500 UOC-MP communities have joined the OCU since its establishment in December 2018, although the legal recognition of the transition of these communities is still in progress. [6] The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church included 3,365 communities, concentrated mostly in Western Ukraine, while 897 communities belonged to the Roman Catholic Church.


In addition, there were 8,450 Protestant communities in Ukraine. Thus, Protestants made up a quarter of the total number of religious organisations in the country, yet the number of believers affiliated with Protestant denominations, as has already been noted, did not exceed two per cent. That gap can be explained by the fact that although almost 90 per cent of Ukrainians associate themselves with a particular religion or denomination, only about two per cent of Ukrainians claim to be members of certain religious communities or associations.[7] Unlike the vast majority of Orthodox Christians, for whom religiosity is a matter of belonging and self-identification rather than everyday practices and regular involvement in a community’s activities, Protestant religiosity is almost always institutionalised: they are registered as members of their community, are financially and organisationally involved in its life, and regularly attend church meetings.[8] Therefore, a small Protestant minority forms a significant, socially active part of the religious landscape of Ukraine.


The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) unites religions and represents more than 90 per cent of believers in the country.[9] The AUCCRO serves as a platform for inter-religious dialogue and religious communication with the state, as well as for the coordination of each group’s positions on various social and political issues.


Religion-state relations

Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine protects the full range of religious rights, and proclaims the separation of church and state. The 1991 Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations (the Religious Law) states that all religions enjoy equal legal status (Article 5), and, in contrast to other post-Soviet Orthodox-majority states, there are no officially recognised or unofficially endorsed ‘traditional religions’ in Ukraine. The registration of religious organisations is simple and not obligatory for arranging religious activities (Article 8). Further, the Religious Law emphasises that the state shall not interfere in internal religious affairs and prohibits religions from being involved in political life (Article 5).


However, in reality the Ukrainian model of religion-state relations has evolved in a more cooperative direction. Since independence in 1991, religions have gradually strengthened their presence in the public sphere, including in politics, public education, religious freedom advocacy, and social services. The rapprochement between the government and religious bodies has accelerated since 2014, when the state faced Russian aggression in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The main Ukrainian religions, with the exception of the UOC-MP, have strongly supported the Ukrainian government in the conflict with Russia, and promote it both within Ukraine and abroad, particularly in European Union (EU) institutions and European countries. Considering religion a matter of national security, the Ukrainian government was deeply involved in the creation of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and negotiated the recognition of this church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that granted autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence) to the new church in January 2019. The state also disfavoured the UOC-MP in Law No. 2662-VIII (2018) and Law No. 2673-VIII (2019), which aimed to force the UOC-MP to change its official name to declare its affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church, banned UOC-MP priests from military chaplaincy, and simplified the transition process for UOC-MP communities seeking to join the OCU.[10]


In 2014 the state adopted legal regulations on military chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy.[11] Chaplains were initially employed by the army in 2017; most are affiliated with the OCU and a few with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Currently Ukrainian churches are negotiating with the state concerning the possibility of establishing chaplaincy services in the police and medical institutions.


In 2015 Ukrainian religions obtained the right to create general educational institutions, including kindergartens, secondary schools, and universities.[12] According to current official data, there are sixteen religiously affiliated (Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish) private secondary schools in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Catholic University, affiliated with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country. In public education, the state permits voluntary religious education classes. Sometimes religious leaders and priests (usually Orthodox or Greek Catholics) are invited to public schools to give lectures and blessings, and to conduct religious services. Several incidents have been reported in the media where these events became de facto compulsory for the students.


Regarding proselytism, in line with international standards, the state does not disproportionately restrict the missionary activities of Ukrainian religions, or interfere with their usual social support services to vulnerable population groups, such as soup kitchens or services for children and families in need, including projects funded or supported from abroad. Such services are managed both by religions and religious charities, sometimes in cooperation with local authorities.


Finally, mainstream Ukrainian religious associations actively participate in public debates on human rights issues. As in many other post-Soviet countries, they promote the non-recognition of same-sex marriages, the strengthening of state support for traditional families, the banning of abortions, the rejection of fluid gender identities, and the broad right to conscientious objection for public servants, medical employees, businessmen, etc., with respect to anti-discrimination measures implemented by the state.


Religion and forced displacement

In contrast to several other post-Soviet republics, Ukraine had not been involved in wars or experienced violent, large-scale civil conflicts prior to 2014. Also, the country did not attract significant numbers of labour migrants or refugees particularly because the state was and is reluctant to grant the status of refugee and most applicants were usually deported from Ukraine. Thus, forced displacement was not a major focus of public discourse or state policies in Ukraine until things changed in 2014. The Russia-Ukraine conflict, including the military conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, forced a huge wave of internally displaced people (IDPs) to flee from Donbass to other regions of Ukraine and to other countries (Russia, EU countries, the USA, etc.).[13] The main faith groups in Ukraine, as well as its many minority religions have responded to the issue of forced displacement by highlighting this problem, recording violations of religious freedom that provoke forced displacement, providing accommodation and other basic needs to the most vulnerable categories of IDPs, and supporting their social integration. Below are a few examples.


  1. Focus on IDPs and their problems. Religions have repeatedly highlighted this issue and brought it before the state and the public. The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations raised the issue of protecting IDPs in its statements of 2014 and 2015 and encouraged both the state and private charities to provide humanitarian aid.[14] In 2017 the AUCCRO Commission of Social Services adopted the Strategy of Ukrainian Religions’ Participation in Peacebuilding ‘Ukraine is Our Common Home’, which, in particular, aims to successfully integrate IDPs into new communities by means of reconciliation, avoiding new conflicts, and counteracting stereotypes against individuals or groups.[15] In 2015 the Council of Churches and Religious Organizations under the governor of the Transcarpathian Oblast called on all believers to support IDPs from Eastern Ukraine.[16]


  1. Recording violations of religious freedom that cause forced displacement. Several Christian and pro-religious human rights organisations, such as the Institute of Religious Freedom, Christian Emergency Services, and the Association of Ukrainian Christian Lawyers, etc., participate in initiatives to document violations of religious freedom in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR/LPR) and in Crimea that have forced many believers to move to other regions of Ukraine.[17]


  1. Providing shelter for IDPs and refugees. The Jesuit Agency for Refugees, in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, organised a house for IDPs and refugees in Lviv to provide temporary accommodation for up to three months for IDPs and up to six months for refugees. During these periods they are expected to find housing and jobs.[18] Depaul Ukraine, a charity with a partly Catholic background, established day centers and shelters for homeless people, including IDPs, in Kharkiv and Odesa, where they are provided with relief, humanitarian and legal support, and medical aid.[19] Until funds ran out, Caritas Kharkiv operated a centre for IDP single mothers and their children, where they could stay after escaping Donbass.[20] The Ukrainian Jewish community built housing called ‘Anateyevka’ near Kyiv for 150 Jews from Donbass.[21] The project was initiated by the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv of the All-Ukrainian Congress of Jewish Communities and supported by international sponsors.[22] Since 2014 the UOC-MP Sviatohirsk Lavra (cave monastery) in the Donetsk Oblast has temporarily accommodated up to 800 IDPs.[23]


  1. Meeting the basic needs of IDPs. Many Ukrainian religions have supported IDPs in need, both occasionally and permanently by establishing their own initiatives and contributing to projects operated by secular charities and NGOs like the Ukrainian Red Cross Society or the Centre ‘Help Dnipro,’ as well as international donors like UNICEF, USAID, etc. Many religions, such as the UOC-MP, the OCU and, before its creation, the UOC-KP, the UGCC, the Roman Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States, Baptists, Pentecostals, Muslims, and other communities and their affiliated NGOs, have provided IDPs with food packages, hygiene products, heaters, firewood and briquettes, blankets, clothes, child-care materials, books and toys. In 2014 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints donated $1.5 million to the United Nations Development Program to support IDPs from Donbass and those who stayed in the region.[24] From 2016 to 2018 the Roman Catholic Church raised almost €16 million through the ‘Pope for Ukraine’ initiative and funded several programs for IDPs and those living in the combat zone, which provided mobile health clinics, repaired houses destroyed by the war and installed thermal insulation, and provided food vouchers, and psychological help for adults and minors.[25] In cooperation with the local police department, the UOC-KP provided meals for IDPs in Luhansk Oblast.[26] The UOC-MP, the UGCC, and branches of Caritas Ukraine serve lunches in Kyiv, Mariupol, and other cities.[27] The UOC-KP organised a St. Nicholas Day celebration for the children of IDPs, and the Pentecostal Church ‘Philadelphia’ invited IDPs residing in Kyiv to celebrate Christmas.[28]


  1. Integrating IDPs into host communities. Caritas Ukraine and its regional branches have established several projects to help IDPs start a new life in new places, including a job search website, centres for psychological and legal aid in several Ukrainian cities, classes on personal finances, short-term business classes and grants for starting a business, programmes to support mutual understanding between IDPs and locals, and family and youth centres.[29] Depaul Ukraine Charity has opened offices offering pro bono legal aid in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa. Lawyers of these offices represent IDPs in court, help replace their passports and other documents, secure their right to a pension, and register for or confirm social welfare.[30] With the support of Western donors, Eleos Ukraine, an NGO run by an OCU priest, implemented the project ‘I know you can!’ which aims to provide female IDPs from Donbass and Crimea with the knowledge and skills to start new businesses.[31] The NGO also established the youth centre ‘TeenClub’ in Kyiv and the all-Ukrainian programme called ‘Backpack of Goodness’ to help school-aged orphans and the children of IDPs, the military, and people living in the combat zone, to get school supplies.[32] Similar initiatives, such as ‘School Backpack’ and ‘First Backpack,’ have been implemented by Caritas Ukraine and its branch in Ivano-Frankivsk.[33]


Table 1. Refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and internally displaced persons in Ukraine.[34]


Policy perspectives

Forced displacement caused by the Russia-Ukraine military conflict remains a serious humanitarian, political, economic, and social challenge for the Ukrainian state. In 2017 the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers adopted the Strategy for Integrating Internally Displaced Persons. The strategy aims to offer and implement long-term solutions, with a view to providing IDPs with housing and employment and ensuring their social integration. However, due to a lack of institutional and economic recourses, the state is unable to provide housing for IDPs and support their integration into host communities. Thus, it is extremely important for the national government and local authorities to cooperate with civil society organisations, both religious and secular, to address these problems. Because they have significant experience and high levels of public trust, Ukrainian religions may have significant strengths to offer collaborative projects assisting IDPs with social integration, and strengthening their ability to start a new life after being forcibly displaced.


First, religious associations can be employed to fight stereotypes and prejudices against IDPs and prevent their isolation on the margins of host communities. Such stereotypes and prejudices, which can have a political nature or, particularly in the case of Crimean Tatar IDPs, an ethnic and religious character, can provoke discrimination against IDPs, such as denial of employment or refusal to accept them as tenants. Religions could effectively raise their voices against these stereotypes not only on a political level by encouraging the state to protect IDPs from discrimination, but also among believers. The 2017 AUCCRO Strategy ‘Ukraine Is Our Common Home’ could be a helpful framework for religions to discourage stereotypes.


Second, religious associations can effectively coordinate with the state on their educational and other projects with a focus on the social integration of IDPs into host communities. For example, if provided with information about these projects, local state employment divisions could disseminate it among IDPs. They are also well placed to facilitate dialogue between religious institutions and employers in order to figure out what training and educational programs would be the most relevant in particular regions.


Third, although the state is legally prohibited from funding religious projects directly, and some religious minorities might prefer to avoid accepting state funding in order to retain their right to spread their religious messages among IDPs, the state can accumulate and disseminate information on the social services provided by religious charities. Making these services easily accessible on and offline will facilitate the meeting of basic needs, and the provision of legal and physiological support, and shelter to the most vulnerable categories of IDP (children, single parents, persons with disability, homeless persons, etc.).


Fourth, the state can turn to religious communities as a source of information about the violation of religious freedoms in Crimea and the DPR/LPR, including those resulting in the forced displacement of their believers.[35] Further, prosecuting both state and non-state perpetrators of religious persecution should be an important part of transitional justice after the Ukrainian state has restored control over these territories.


Yet, there are several things that Ukrainian religious organisations should do to make their work with IDPs more effective. First, they should continue developing inter-religious dialogue in this sphere. Currently, most religious social initiatives focusing on forced displacement are operated by one religious group or a charity affiliated with one religion, even though they usually provide services to IDPs on a non-confessional basis. Expanding religious collaboration in supporting IDPs can potentially result in accumulating more resources than an individual religious groups could on their own. The same logic applies to cooperation between religions and secular human rights organisations, which sometimes must overcome a tradition of mutual suspicion.


Finally, religious organisations should expand their focus to long-term solutions. Currently, they mostly concentrate on providing services to the most vulnerable categories of IDP. Long-term education and social integration projects such as those implemented by Caritas Ukraine and Eleos Ukraine, which are few and far between, should become the norm. As commentators observe, ‘IDP programs must reinforce IDPs’ positive, proactive outlooks and identify community spaces for displaced persons and community members to interact.’[36] Of course, this outlook presupposes serious institutional efforts and systematic work with donors, but the potential effect of these projects would be life-changing.


Dmytro Vovk runs the Centre for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He also works as a member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Since 2019 he has co-edited the “Talk About: Law and Religion” blog. His latest publications as an author include Law and Political Religion: Theology of Soviet Law (forthcoming), Dynamics of Church-State Relations in Ukraine and the Military Conflict with Russia: Political and Legal Aspects (2020), Ukrainian Churches and European Integration Policy: Human Rights Context (2017), and Balancing Religious Freedom in the Context of Secularity: Analysis of Court Practice in Ukraine (2015); as editor, Religion during the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict (Routledge, 2020), Law, Religion and Cinema (2018, in Ukrainian) and Tolerance in Transitional Societies: Philosophical, Legal, Political, and Sociological Dimensions (2016, in Ukrainian); and, as translator, W. Call Durham, Jr. & Brett G. Scharffs, Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (in Russian, forthcoming in 2020) and Paul Gowder, Rule of Law in the Real World (in Ukrainian, 2018).


Cover photo: ‘A parishioner carrying presents to internally displaced children on St Nicholas Day, Luhansk Oblast, December 2015’. Copyright: V. M. Printed with author’s permission.


[1] Data of the 2001 census is available at:

[2] Razumkov Center (2016). Consolidatsiya Ukrayinskogo Suspilstva: Shlyahy, Vyklyky, Perspectyvy [Consolidation of Ukrainian Society: Ways, Challenges, Perspectives]. p. 50 Retrieved from (date of access 11 February 2020).

[3] Razumkov Center (2016). Derzhava i Tserkva v Ukrayini-2019 [State and Church in Ukraine in 2019]. Retrieved from (date of access 11 February 2020).

[4] In December 2018, the OCU was established by uniting the UOC-KP, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and several clerics of the UOC-MP. Metropolitan Epiphany, a former right-hand man of the UOC-KP head Patriarch Filaret, was elected as the Primate of the OCU. However, in July 2019, Filaret announced the withdrawal of the UOC-KP from the OCU, although the latter continues the process of legal liquidation of the UOC-KP as its predecessor. Today it is not clear how many (if any) communities want to stay with Filaret, but as the above-mentioned opinion poll shows, at least some Ukrainians continue to identify themselves with the UOC-KP, and not with the OCU; Razumkov Center (2019). Religiya i Tserkva v Ukrayini 2019: Sotsiologichne doslidzhennya  [Religion and Church in Ukraine 2019: Sociological Survey]. Retrieved from

[5] Ministry of Culture of Ukraine (2019). Dani departamentu u spavah relihiy i natsional’nostey pro relihiynu merezhu [Data of the Department of religious and nationalities affairs about religious landscape]. Retrieved from

[6] RISU. (2019). Karta peryhodiv do Pravoslavnoyi Tserkvy Ukrainy [Map of communities’ switches to the OCU]. Retrieved from

[7] Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (2019). Gromadyanske Suspilstvo v Ukrayini: Poglyad Gromadyan [Civil Society in Ukraine: Citizens’ View]. Retrieved from

[8] See Pew Research Center (May 10th  2017). Religious belief and national belonging in Central and Eastern Europe. Retrieved from

[9] According to the AUCCRO’s website, members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations are the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, the Transcarpathian Reformed Church, the German Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ukraine, the Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Evangelical Church, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, the Ukrainian Eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (associated with the Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church, and the Ukrainian Biblical Society. See at:

[10] See more: Vovk, Dmytro. (2020) Dynamics of Church-State Relations in Ukraine and the Military Conflict with Russia: Political and Legal Aspects, in: Clark, Elizabeth A. & Vovk, Dmytro. (eds.), Religion during the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict (Routledge), pp. 32-53; Vovk, Dmytro. (2020). The Names of Religious Groups and Security Concerns. Talk About: Law and Religion. Retrieved from

[11] Directive of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of July, 2, 2014, No. 677-r; Law No. 419-VIII (2015).

[12] See Article 16 of the 2001 Law on Pre-School Education, Article 11 of the Law on General Secondary Education, Article 14 of the 2014 Law on Higher Education.

[13] Figures of IDPs from Donbas remain contradictory. In August 2016 the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine listed 1,705,363 IDPs (Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. (August 30th 2016). Oblikovano 1,705,363 pereselentsi [1,705,363 IDPs are listed]. Retrieved from However, as of December 2019 the Ministry listed only 1,428,919 IDPs (Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. (December 9th 2019). Oblikovano 1,428,919 pereselentsi [1,428,919 IDPs are listed]. Retrieved from While some IDPs returned home, the number of registered IDPs has been mostly decreased because the government revoked this status for those persons not living permanently on government-controlled territory. It is also worth mentioning that in 2014 the Ukrainian government stopped paying pensions and social security payments to those residing on the territories outside its control. The status of IDP was the only way to renew these payments; The Ukrainian government has not provided statistics of how many Ukrainians have been displaced to Russia since 2014, particularly because a part of its border with Russia is under the control of pro-Russian proxies in Donbas. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that more than one million people displaced from Donbas are in Russia (V Rossii nahodytsya bolee 2 mln. ukraintsev, polovina is nih – bezhentsy s Donbassa – MID RF [There are more than 2 mln Ukrainians in Russia, a half of them are refugees from Donbass, Russian MFA says]. ( April 19th 2017). UNIAN. Retrieved from This figure, however, does not correlate with statistics posted by the Russian Federal Statistics Service (see at According to the UNHCR data, as of November 2018, there were 427,240 asylum seekers from Ukraine in Russia (UN Refugee Agency. (November 2018). Ukraine situation: Operational update. Retrieved from The PACE Resolution 2028(2015) mentions 524,000 Ukrainians having sought for asylum or other legal status in the Russian Federations as a result of the annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. (n.d.). Resolution 2028(2015) ‘The humanitarian situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons.’ Retrieved from  The true figures probably lie in between those provided by Russia and those of international organisations because not all persons displaced from Ukraine were registered as asylum-seekers, refugees or displaced persons; some of them may have applied for citizenship or obtained a permanent residence permit; Increasing labour migration from Ukraine is beyond the focus of this paper because Ukrainian religions seem to pay much less attention to these groups. An exception, which only proves the rule, is the project “Aware and Ready for Germany,” which is implemented by Caritas Ukraine, and focuses on the problems of Ukrainian labour migrants to Germany (see at:

[14] All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. (October 31st 2014). Zvernennya na pidtrymku blagodiynytstva ta volonters’koyi diyal’nosti [Address in support of philanthropy and volunteering activities]. Retrieved from; All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. (February 10th  2015). Zvernennya pro obov’yazok dopomogty u zakhysti Bat’kivschyny [Address on the obligation to help in protecting the Homeland]. Retrieved from

[15] Committee for Social Services of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. (December 10th 2017). Strategiya uchasti tserkov i religiynyh organizatsiy u myrobuduvanni “Ukrayina – nash spil’ny dim” [Strategy of Ukrainian Religions’ Participation in Peacebuilding “Ukraine is Our Common Home”]. Retrieved from

[16] Council of Churches and Religious Organizations under the head of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration. (March 30th 2015). Zvernennya pro ob’’yednannya zarady myru v Ukrayini, zberezhennya yiyi nezalezhnosti ta teritorial’noyi tsilisnosti [Address on preservation of peace in Ukraine, its independence, and territorial integrity]. Retrieved from

[17] See: Zvenrnennya Pravozahystnogo Poryadku Dennogo shchodo svobody religiyi na tymchasovo ocupovanyh terytoriyah [Address of Human Rights Agenda on Freedom of Religion in the Temporary Occupied Territories]. (April 6th 2018). Retrieved from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union’s website:

[18] U Lvovi yezuyity prezentuvalu sviy dosvid dopomogy bizhentsyam ta pereselentsyam [In Lviv Jesuits present their expertise in providing care for refugees and displaced persons]. (2017, March 22). RISU. Retrieved from:

[19] Vidkryttya dennogo tsentru ta prytuku dlya vymushenyh pereselentsiv v Odesi [A day centre and a shelter for displaced persons was opened in Odesa]. (September 29th 2018). Retrieved from the Archdiocese of Lviv of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine’s website: See also information about these centers and shelters at Depaul Ukraine Charity’s website:

[20] Tsentr Materi i dytyny [Centre for mothers with children]. (n.d.). Retrieved from Caritas Kharkiv’s website:

[21] The name was taken from Shalom Aleichem’s novels.

[22] Smirnova, Olga. Anatevka: ubezhyshche dlya evreev s vostoka Ukrayiny [Anatevka: Refuge for Jews from Eastern Ukraine] [Video file]. Retrieved from:

[23] Bezhentsy v Svyatogorskoy Lavre [Refugees in the Svyatohirsk Lavra]. (August 22nd 2014). Retrieved from the Svyatohirsk Lavra’s website: The Monastery continues to host IDPs and permanently raise funds for their needs. The alleged involvement of the Sviatohirsk Lavra clergy in separatism and supporting unlawful military groups in Donbas, reported by Ukrainian media and NGOs, is beyond the scope of this paper.

[24] Mormons’ka Tserkva vydilyaye 1.5 mln. dolariv na dopomohu pereselentsyam z Donbasu  [Mormon Church donates $1.5 mln for humanitarian aid to displaced persons from Donbass]. (October 25th 2014). Retrieved from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Ukraine’s website:

[25] Aktsiya “Papa dlya Ukrayiny” [Action “Pope for Ukraine”]. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Archdiocese of Lviv of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine’s website:

[26] Luhans’ka eparhiya pryynyala humanitarni produkty dlya ditey ta postrazhdalyh [Luhansk Eparchy received donated food for children and injured persons]. (n.d.). Retrieved from Eleos Ukraine’s website:

[27] See e.g.: Odeska Yeparhiya rehulyarno dopomahaye sotnyam pereselentsiv, yaki meshkayut’ v Odesi ta prymis’kyh naselenyh punktah [Odesa Eparchy supports on a regular basis hundreds of displaced persons in Odesa and Odesa area] (2016, February 11). Synodal Informational and Educational Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Retrieved from; Department of Information of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. (November 11th 2015). Bilya khramu UHCTs na Askol’doviy mohyli hotuyut’ obidy dlya pereselentsiv [Lunches for displaced persons are being served near the UGCC church on the Askold’s Grave]. Retrieved from the Kyiv Archdiocese of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s website:

[28] Daruvaty dobro prosto! [It is easy to do good to others!]. (December 26th 2016). Retrieved from the Dnipro Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s website:; Yevanhelichna seminariya ta Tserkva “Filadelfiya” organizuvaly svyato Rizdva dlya malen’kyh perselentsiv zi Shodu Ukrayiny  [The Evangelical theologian seminary and the Church “Philadelphia” hosted a Christmas party for minors displaced from Eastern Ukraine]. (December 28th 2016). Retrieved from

[29] See at:; See about legal aid and psychological care provided by branches of Caritas Ukraine in several Ukrainian cities: Fahivtsi Kartas Zaporizhzhya provely zahid psycho-sotsial’noyi pidtrymky dlya VPO [Specialists of Caritas Zaporizhia provide psycho-social care to IDPs]. (October 23rd 2019). Retrieved from; Psychologichny suprovid [Psychological care]. (n.d.). Retrieved from; Yuryst [Lawyer]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[30] Bezkoshtovna yurydychna dopomoga [Legal aid pro bono]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[31] “Ya znayu, ty mozhesh!” [I know, you can!]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[32] TeenClub. (n.d.). Retrieved from; Vseukrayins’ka aktsiya “Ranets’ dobroty” [All-Ukrainian Action “Backpack of goodness”]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[33] Shkil’ny portfelik [School Backpack]. (n.d.). Retrieved from; Karitas Ivano-Frankivs’k zibrav do shkoly 46 pershoklassnykiv [Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk provided school supplies for 46 first graders]. (August 31st 2019). Retrieved from

[34] Refugees here are persons who were granted with the status of refugee in Ukraine. Most of refugees and asylum-seekers came to Ukraine from Afghanistan and Syria (see at; Pokaznyky diyal’nosti DMS za 9 misyatsiv 2019 roku [Performance indicators of the SMS of Ukraine for the first nine months of 2019]. (n.d.). Retrieved from; UNCHR data is available here:; According to the 2001 Ukrainian Law on Immigration, immigrants are foreigners and stateless persons who have obtained an immigration permit and live in Ukraine permanently. Most immigrants are from post-Soviet countries; Pokaznyky diyal’nosti DMS za 9 misyatsiv 2019 roku [Performance indicators of the SMS of Ukraine for the first nine months of 2019]. (n.d.). Retrieved from; The up-to-date number of individuals officially registered as IDPs can be found here:

[35] See more at: Institute of Religious Freedom. (2018). Religious freedom at gunpoint: Russian terror in the occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine (analytical report) [Adobe Digital Editions version]. Retrieved from

[36] Merte, Lauren Van, Steiner, Steven E., Harring Melinda. ( October 2017). Ukraine’s Internally Displaced Persons Hold a Key to Peace: Issue Brief. Retrieved from the Atlantic Council’s website:

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