Yevhen Filianin: The Orthodox Church in Southern Ukraine: The History of (Non-) Subordination to the Moscow Patriarchate as an Element of Public-Conscience Manipulation in Post-Soviet Society

Religion often becomes an instrument of various kinds of political speculation. We see this in concepts like «The Russian World» or « Moscow as the Third Rome», used by the Russian Federation for the ideological justification of their expansive policy. These issues have become even more relevant with the recent attempts of the Russian Orthodox Church to prevent the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from obtaining Autocephaly status. My study addresses the relations between the Christian Orthodox population of Southern Ukraine and the Orthodox Patriarchates. After the events of 1686, part of the Kyivan Church located in territory controlled by Moscow (the Hetmanate) was transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate for temporary care. However, the Orthodox population from Ukrainian lands beyond Russian control continued to recognize the Patriarch of Constantinople. Thus, the Patriarch of Moscow did not have canonical power in the territories of Galicia, Volyn, Transcarpathia, Podillya, Bukovina, as well as Crimea and Southern Ukraine. The Cossacks of the Zadunai Sich, who settled in the territory of the Ottoman Empire after the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich in 1775, also recognized the exclusive power of the Constantinople Patriarchate. These facts contradict the narrative of deep bonds between the Russian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian territory. Because it is not sufficiently depicted in historiography, this problematic relationship between the Ukrainian inhabitants, the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople requires a deeper study. Studying the role of religion in our past is an essential component of dispelling historical myths and resisting the attempts to manipulate our minds. Frontier studies of the Southern Ukraine also have a strategic theme, which helps to explore the origins of Ukrainian mentalities, as well as unearth the poly-ethnic and multi-religious relations present in the region. These studies provide a valid context to the events that took place in the 20th and 21st centuries in Ukraine and Eastern Europe as a whole, as problems of ethno-political and religious nature have played an important role in a number of conflicts in the region.

Yevhen Filianin is a student at the Dnipro National University, Faculty of History. For five years he has been interested in frontier studies and the effect of the frontier’s environment on people’s mentality, particular in Ukrainian History. In recent years, he has also been studying politics and the ways politics and violence have been connected during the past and present.

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