Attacks on Ukraine prompt concern for religious freedom in the country

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With Russian troops advancing deeper into Ukraine, questions are rising as to whether Ukrainians will remain free to practice their faith. 

67 percent of Ukrainians are Orthodox Christian, with nearly 30 percent belonging to the Kyiv Patriarchate and 13 percent to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Nearly 10 percent are members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, headed by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who released a recent statement warning that Ukraine could be turned into a “death camp” following a Russian invasion.

According to a report on religious persecution published by the International Partnership for Human Rights, Christians in Eastern Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions who don't belong to the Moscow Patriarchate have been systematically attacked by rebel groups, and many bishops of the Kyiv Patriarchate were forced out of the area.

And in Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014, members of the Ukranian Orthodox community and other religious groups have been victims of harassment, with some forced to leave the peninsula.

That's why organizations are mobilizing to protect religious liberty in the country, such as Aid to the Church in Need, which is pledging one million euros to support thousands of priests and religious communities in Ukraine. 

As their country slides into war, Ukrainians will be leaning on their faith communities more than ever, to make it through the uncertainty that lies ahead.


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