Religion

Ukraine was christened by St. Volodymyr in 988. While all Ukrainian Churches were severely persecuted in the former USSR, the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic churches were forcibly incorporated into the Russian Orthodox church by Soviet authorities and outlawed. Most believers are Orthodox Christian (77%), although now the Orthodox Church is divided into traditional branch, which is under authority of Moscow Patriarchal and Kyiv branch, which broke away and now independent. There is a large Eastern-rite or Uniate Catholic population of about five million (13.5%) in Western Ukraine. This church looks forward its revival since the lifting of old Stalin era ban on their church ten years ago. Protestant, Judaic and Moslem minorities are also freely practicing their religions. Mass emigration during Soviet time and World War II has reduced the numbers of Jews, concentrated in Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa. Many Crimean Tatars were forced to reallocate to Siberia during Stalin era. Both Jewish and Tatar religious communities are growing in part due to as many of former repatriates now return to Ukraine.