Leaders in Trust: The Churches’ Social Activism in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Leaders in Trust: The Churches’ Social Activism in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Cherenkov, Mykhailo, and Tetiana Kalenychenko. «Leaders in Trust. Church Activism in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine.» In Civil Society in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine: From Revolution to Consolidation, ed. Natalia Shapovalova and Olga Burlyuk, 325-351. Stuttgart: iBidem-Verlag, 2018.
At times of crisis of Ukraine’s statehood, churches have proved to be trusted leaders who have promoted the consolidation of the emerging civil society. The Euromaidan protests and the war in Ukraine became catalysts for the revitalization of Orthodox churches and the revival of a volunteer movement, as well as demarcation between a pro-Ukrainian minority and a passive majority. Despite the continuous disputes regarding canonicity and church status, civilly active and patriotic church groups  have taken more civic initiative. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church led the national awakening movement. The Protestants also seized the opportunity to make history as they had a well-developed network of communities in the east of the country and used their resources for active social work in the context of the war. The churches’ social activism has changed the religious map of the country. The churches’ social ministry during the post-Euromaidan period became the main sign of its presence and the main criterion of its value as assessed by civil society. The churches’ activism in the communities helped the nation during a very difficult moment in its history, and also helped churches take the initiative to be a responsible part of civil society. 
This chapter focuses on the involvement of the churches in civic activism and volunteering, but also on the split in the churches along the canonical and political lines in the context of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and the armed conflict.  At the same time, we also intend to show how churches can use “the bridging capital” to consolidate both the Christian community and the nation as a whole. For the Orthodox, the main focus of attention is the relationship between Kyiv and the Moscow Patriarchy in the context of the ongoing war and healing both the church and the civil split. The Greek Catholics explore the ways of applying the social teaching of the Catholic Church within the Ukrainian social setting and laying a spiritual foundation for the future. The Protestants aspire to have an active mission presence outside of the church walls. Our intention is to show how the Euromaidan followed by the war in Ukraine impacted the churches and their civic activity, and vice versa; that is to say, how the churches influence and are able to influence the processes within the civil society. Among all of the religious communities in Ukraine, the Christian ones are dominant, constituting 97%, of which the most numerous communities are the Orthodox (55.4% of the Christian denominations), the Protestants (29.9%), and the Catholics (14.7%) (Vladychenko 2016). This chapter is divided into three main parts, which reflect the social activism of these main three Christian denominations in Ukraine. The first focuses on the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, as well as their splits and efforts to achieve unity. The second looks into the social activism of the Catholics, with a particular focus on the Greek Catholics. The third examines the social mission of the Protestants in Ukraine. 

Churches as the leading force of the civil society 
According to public opinion polls, since 2000,  the church has enjoyed the highest level of public trust (compared to other social institutions (Razumkov Center 2017, 40), but it was only during the Euromaidan protests and wartime that this trust was tested in practice. For the first time since Ukraine’s independence, churches gained their active role and real, not declarative, agency, and were able to fulfillin full their social potential in the relationship with the Ukrainian society. Whereas some surveys show that volunteers are the most trusted social institution in Ukraine, and others assign the leading role to church (DIF 2018; KIIS 2017), in all cases churches and volunteers are the most trusted social institutions in Ukraine, well above any other State institution. What is important is that only through interactions with community organizations and volunteer movements can churches fully develop their potential to carry out social ministry. Moreover, the churches are the biggest motivators and mobilizers in this link. Jose Casanova, a scholar in the sociology of religion, while predicting inevitable post-revolution losses and disappointments for Ukrainian society, expressed certainty regarding strong support from the churches: “Religious communities will be ready to accompany and support mobilized population” (Casanova 2017, 9).
However, the opinion polls do not reflect the whole picture because the churches not only guide civic activists and volunteers and support them, but also include themselves in that number. Many of those volunteers are parishioners of the same churches. 
We agree with the self-evaluation of volunteers: “The most significant result of the Revolution of Dignity – apart from the one where Ukrainians are recognizing the need to build a nation-state – has been an emergence of a volunteer movement which is the important component of the civil society and main driving force in reformation of the country” (Matyash 2017). Consequently, the present day sociopolitical reading of key ideas and values of Christian social teaching allowed the volunteer movement to gain a solid spiritual foundation and nationwide perspective. Since the Euromaidan, the development of civil society has gone hand-in-hand with the motivating and guiding role of the churches. Attempts by either secular or church leaders to control autonomous civic initiatives would both be damaging (as would control by the government or the third party). If the churches are able to develop and demonstrate to Ukraine’s society a model of peaceful Christian diversity, this model will be a basis for national reconciliation and unity in diversity. 
The main question for post-Euromaidan Ukraine is not whether the country will have enough strength to protect itself from aggressive Russian policies, but whether Ukrainians are generous enough to embrace diversity, accept it, and activate the potential of each church tradition to serve the common good. While Ukraine continues to strive for a unified autocephalous Orthodox church (RISU 2018a), Casanova  (2017, 14) as an outsider, advises Ukrainians to protect this diversity and appreciate this uniqueness and richness: 
The question is whether we can accept not only multiplicity as an inevitable social fact but also pluralism – religious and political – as worthy and good…. Although the lack of unity contradicts religious and nationalistic traditions that have been rooted in religion, in fact, it can be a benefit that will facilitate a formation of religiously tolerant, ethnically, language and culture pluralistic, and democratic Ukraine.
Friends and Foes: Orthodox Challenges for Post-Euromaidan Ukraine
The Euromaidan protests exposed the problems in the Orthodox milieu, which remain to this day the most numerous for those inhabitants of the country who consider themselves religious. In particular, the participation of religious activists and leaders in the protests, the attempts to restore the Orthodox unity in response to the ever growing demand among the faithful for a Single National Church in Ukraine, created a range of challenges and opportunities for the three basic Orthodox jurisdictions – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate, hereinafter UOC MP); the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, hereinafter UOC KP; and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC).[i]
The ecclesial systems of the UOC MP and UOC KP today appear as two alternative structures for the society (Moroz 2016, 8-9). Their conflict assumed a new character after the strengthening of the UOC KP during the Euromaidan events and the increase in public trust in this church and its leader Patriarch Filaret. The conflict not only developed in the form of antagonistic rhetoric and public hostility, but grew into a standoff in the form of inter-Orthodox transfers of parishes. Although less than 1% of the total number of parishes (between 30-35, according to official estimates, and 54, according to non-official accounts) have changed their allegiance from the UOC MP to the UOC KP,  as of November 2017,  these parishes serve as examples to other believers. Moreover, the transfers have also occasionally culminated in physical standoffs between parish members. The main reasons for the change in allegiance are related to the perception of the rhetoric and behavior of the UOC MP clergy as anti-Ukrainian. The events that served as  catalysts for the parish transfers include instances when a priest of the UOC MP refused to pray for Ukrainian servicemen, or when he refused to hold a funeral for fallen Ukrainian soldiers who had served in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine; when a priest of the UOC MP refused to pray for “the Heavenly Hundred” – protesters who were killed during the Euromaidan; when he defended the actions of the Yanukovych regime and/or the actions of the Russian government or, of Vladimir Putin personally; when he condemned the Euromaidan activists, Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers, and Ukrainian politicians; when a priest praised the actions of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, of Patriarch Kirill, and his position on the conflict in Ukraine; or when he refused to conduct services in the Ukrainian language (Moroz 2016, 8-9). Also important are the influence and conceptions of the “Russian World” (russkiy mir), which Patriarch Kirill propagated, arguing for the defense of the Orthodox faithful beyond the Russian borders and calling on Ukrainian pastors to do likewise. 
Inter-Church Demarcation in Terms of Patriotism
As well as the question of religious identity, that of the nation, national identity and nationalism has also remained a persistent theme of interreligious opposition and social conflicts in Ukraine. This has manifested itself both in the attitude towards the “Russian World”, foreign policy orientations and the definition of patriotism. In the religious sphere, issues such as the establishment of a “single national church”, pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian positions of priests, and “patriotic” and “unpatriotic” religious activists have become a powerful factor of contention. Ethnonationalism has also become more evident among Orthodox communities, for which the “symphony with the state” is traditional (Mitrokhin 2001). In this view, the very manner in which the Kyiv Patriarchate was established was among the types of development of ethnonationalism. A direct consequence of the consolidation of Ukrainians during the conflict was alienation from Russia (Kulyk 2016, 588).  The first cleavages in the society itself appeared during the Orange Revolution of 2004, for instead of an inclusive civic identity, an ethnocultural basis was proposed for Ukrainian society, in which the religious factor also played a role. 
Even taking into account these reasons and the pro-Russian or anti-Ukrainian rhetoric that some ministers utilize, one can see the distinct political or national orientation of such slogans. The majority of the priests that may potentially have pro-Russian opinions or may oppose the Ukrainian government do not make this public, and studiously avoid the topics of the war, the Euromaidan, or the conflict-related casualties, in order not to provoke conflicts in their parishes. Official spokesmen of the UOC MP, and protopresbyter Mykola Danylevych in particular, have chosen a similar strategy, justifying the church’s position by stating that the church’s faithful are to be found on different sides of the barricades and front lines:
They can criticize us, but we remain the congregation with the greatest presence throughout all the regions of Ukraine. And it reflects the social attitudes that exist in the different regions. In certain oblasts, the priests help the soldiers of the ATO, while their brothers in the same Church can be found on the other side of the barricades. We cannot assume a certain position because we have faithful everywhere. At the same time, we defend the ideas and values of the territorial integrity of the country, and believe that the Crimea and Donbas should be Ukrainian. We cannot speak very sharply lest we polarize society within our church. There are many different spaces and views. But the Church unites all people (Kalenychenko 2016). 
The protopresbyter also added that the causes of the schism and disunity among the Orthodox churches in Ukraine is their different attitudes towards autocephaly and the pride and ambitions of certain church leaders, but the main thing is that the UOC MP has always kept away from any kind of nationalism (Moroz and Kalenychenko 2016).
If, during the first months of the war, the position of the UOC MP was not entirely coherent, later, starting in 2015, local incidents became widespread – the refusal of priests to bury Ukrainian soldiers who had been killed in the ATO, according to Orthodox custom (because they “had killed Orthodox brethren” as explained in anonymous conversations); to conduct religious services in the Ukrainian language, to pray for the victory of Ukraine over Russia; and to stop commemorating Patriarch Kirill in services after his declaration of a “holy war” against Ukraine. Such incidents did not involve all of the clergy of this congregation, but they became vivid examples, well known through propagation by the media, which gave rise to a wave of negative attitudes and persecution of the “anti-Ukrainian church.” 
From time to time, public protests against priests of the UOC MP took place. For example, in the town of Lysychansk of the Luhansk oblast, people refused to pray with chaplains of the UOC MP on the first anniversary of the liberation of the town from the rebels of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” and instead called a chaplain from the UOC-KP onto the stage (TSN 2015). The media reports on the facts of the detention by Ukrainian security forces of UOC MP priests, who were either fighting on the side of the separatists or assisting them (Relihiia v Ukraini 2014, 2015a), the distribution of Russian textbooks by UOC MP clergymen in Donetsk (Religiia v Ukraini 2015b) and symbolic actions such as a clergyman wearing a St. George’s ribbon that became one of the symbols of the “Russian Spring” in Ukraine  (RISU 2016b) or publicly calling the Ukraine flag a rag (RISU 2016d), provided arguments for a radical rhetoric about the importance of the prohibition or liquidation of the UOC MP. The church leadership managed to react to some of these incidents, forbidding the priests involved from holding services, but sometimes such actions remained without reaction.  In some cases, the choice of the UOC MP priests to hold services in the Ukrainian language, or to refuse to commemorate Patriarch Kirill during the service helped to reduce the tensions ( 2014).  Many pro-Russian priests simply left Ukraine for Russia or continued to serve in the territories under separatist control. The pro-Russian positioning of the part of the UOC MP clergy spurred an aggressive rhetoric on the part of UOC KP representatives, who called directly for support of the “patriotic Church” of the Kyiv Patriarchate and opposition to all pro-Russian phenomena. The actions of the UOC KP and its attempts to raise its status were supported by politicians too, who appealed for a “truly Ukrainian Church.” Oleh Tiahnybok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda party, proposed to “increase the influence of the UOC KP throughout Ukraine” (RISU 2017). These declarations were supported by Patriarch Filaret, who began to broaden his media presence, and also declared that “there would have been no war had there been a single Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” or that “without the Kyiv Patriarchate, Putin would have been in Kyiv long ago”: 
…because today, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is called Ukrainian, but there is nothing Ukrainian there. Its services are not conducted in the Ukrainian language, its sermons are not given in the Ukrainian language, the history of the Ukrainian Church is taught in the seminaries in a form distorted to the advantage of Moscow and the Russian empire. So what kind of Ukrainian Church is it? (Espreso.TV 2017). 
In addition, the protest opened up the problem of the religious milieu, that is, the crisis of religious allegiance that did not correspond to social demands. The crisis lasted for the whole period of the beginning of the transitional stage of society (Shults 2014, 26), and the Euromaidan protests provoked an acute phase of transition to a new stage of development of communities in conditions of a critical situation, which later was only aggravated by external aggression and armed conflict. The incongruence of the institutional religious network and the corresponding demands of society continue to exist in the current conditions, which indicate potential new conflicts and their intensification. On the one hand, appeals non-violence, presence of clergymen among Euromaidan protesters and various services that churches provided to support the protesters brought about the renewal of the churches’ moral authority, which could permit them to influence the secular orientation in social transformations. On the other hand, the growth of conflicts and competition among religious structures after the Euromaidan, and the ambiguous positions of religious leaders during the protests, led to a certain loss of authority for the churches. 
The “Bridging Capital” of the Orthodox Churches
What is more important, churches and religious associations have capacity to generate social capital that may contribute to public security, including through assisting post-conflict stabilization and preventing an outbreak of violent conflict in the communities. Dragovic (2015, 34-37), using the concept developed by Beyerlein and Hipp of “bridging capital,” as a type of social capital that helps to build intercommunity links, suggests that in certain post-conflict contexts, religious institutions can “bridge” the societal divides along tribal, ethnic or political lines by providing an opportunity to those who may not otherwise come together to meet at a liturgy. That is, the social service and the social activity of churches remains the most developed sphere that permits the maintenance of a level of trust by the population in the religious organization and can even increase it in certain cases. After the Euromaidan protests ended, the religious milieu provided a number of responses to the social challenges. First, churches returned to the practice of social service and volunteering. Second, there a chaplaincy service for servicemen was developed and there was an intensification of the prison and medical chaplaincies. Third, informal horizontal networks of cooperation between churches and religious groups were broadened. The chaplaincy service became an exemplary manifestation of the phenomenon of renewed social service. This in turn allowed for access to closed institutions, contact with people who had participated directly in combat operations, and also the rehabilitation of soldiers who had returned home healthy or wounded, and the opportunity to work with their families. Such involvement of religious activists allowed them to work on the basic, often personal level, while at the same time maintaining contact and providing services to the military structures in general. 
The key question that arises in the aftermath of the Euromaidan is not whether it is necessary to preserve the principle of separation of state and religion, but rather, how one can regulate the balance between the religious groups in Ukraine and non-religious people, while guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities to all.  The weak legitimacy of the new government, together with the deep distrust in the state institutions, has given religious organizations the opportunity of take a special niche in society (Wanner 2015, 10). Such an opportunity has also had a reverse effect because it has resulted in heightened competition and conflict and triggered the rise of ethnonationalism in order to strengthen the positions of individual churches. Ukraine is faced with a choice of various models of implementing secular norms – the path of the USA, where the state is separated from religion, maintaining a balance of equal rights, or the path of Europe, where there are dominant confessions but the state ensures the maintenance of distance from religious authorities (Wanner 2015, 11). The concept of civic identity as a basis, which has already been voiced among clergymen during informal discussions, is a possible constructive resolution to the dilemma of national or “traditional” religion. What is meant here is that citizenship is stressed as the fundamental factor in allegiance to the state and patriotism, rather than the ethnonational factor. This dimension of the rhetoric can also be positive for religious organizations, which by virtue of this will distance themselves from the politicization of religion, preserving the social trust they have earned. The existence of this credit, and the utilization of the liberal path of religion in the public space, will provide the possibility of utilizing the peacemaking potential of religious actors, which could strengthen peacemaking attempts and civil society projects, and influence the conflict situation at different levels. For this reason, we propose to turn to the prospects for such a potential and to the analysis of the paths along which this could be realized. 
The utilization of “bridging capital” is promising for a constructive role for the religious element of the conflict. It makes its appearance through para-religious organizations, close cooperation with institutions of civil society, religious peacemaking and mediation. The existing experience of organizations connected with religious groups that actively and openly cooperate with secular partners permits the reinforcement of social and humanitarian initiatives and renders greater support for the conflict affected population. This will bring results not only in the form of higher social trust, but also in terms of practical changes that will be realized with the support of religious communities. 
Catholic Social Teaching in Action: the Euromaidan and the Social Mission of the Church
For Ukrainian Catholics the Euromaidan –  or as they themselves more often called it, the Revolution of Dignity – became yet another opportunity to implement their social concept, which provides for the right of Christians to protest against an unjust government. “Citizens are not obliged to conscientiously carry out the dictates of the government if they contradict the requirements of moral order, fundamental human rights, or the teaching of the Gospel,” states the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church (Kovalenko et al 2008, 246). Catholics, in particular Greek-Catholics, had every reason to take a negative attitude to the regime of Viktor Yanukovych, and did not conceal their antipathy. Just as the previous head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), Patriarch Lubomyr Husar,[ii]criticized the government, so his successor, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, more than once condemned the methods of rule and the unequal attitude of this regime towards different confessions (RISU 2011).  At the same time, the Yanukovych regime sought to weaken the influence of the UGCC, supporting a group of ex-Catholic priests headed by Antonin Dohnal, who attempted to create a schism in the UGCC. It was later confirmed that this was an action directed from Moscow in order to weaken the UGCC, which had assumed the most anti-Kremlin position (InformNapalm. 2016).
From the beginning of the Euromaidan, and before the dispersal of the student protest on 30 November 2014, chief representatives of the UGCC supported the protest actions. Patriarch Lubomyr Husar was one of the first to address the youth, calling upon the people to support them. One must point out that such Eurocentrism of both Greek and Roman Catholics distinguishes them from other confessions of Ukraine. There are various reasons for this. First, the great mass of Catholics in Ukraine live mostly in the western part of the country, where a pro-European orientation generally prevails. Second, the Catholics are closely tied to their co-religionists in Central and Western Europe, which influences them greatly and makes them better informed about the state of the churches in Europe. Third, Catholics in Ukraine were never as closely tied to the government as the Orthodox, and therefore first of all sought support in civil society. Besides, it is worth remembering that among the Catholic clergy, especially the Roman Catholics, there are significant numbers of foreigners or persons educated in the diaspora, first of all Patriarch Lubomyr Husar, who laid a significant foundation of respect by the faithful for freedom as a value. It was precisely the former head of the UGCC who formed the general line of the social and civic activity of the UGCC, which members of other confessions take as a guide. 
The Authority of a Great Pastor
Already in March 2014, Lubomyr Husar, writing in his blog, set out three elements in the process of organizing social life, which comprise, so to speak, a program of civic harmony. First, leaders at different levels need to correspond to three 
“P” criteria. Elected or appointed public officials should have a high level of professionalism, decency (poriadnist in Ukrainian), and sincere patriotism. Second, after the state institutions have started to function properly and defined the tasks for every citizen, citizens must diligently perform their work, especially when it concerns service to their fellow citizens. Such a way of working should guarantee the citizen an appropriate wage. It is precisely the diligent performance of one’s duties by every citizen that creates the harmony that makes the entire nation viable. Third, it is important to control the performance of duties by citizens  (Husar 2014).
This strategic approach of Lubomyr Husar to many matters, not typical for post-Soviet clergymen, enabled him to be essentially different from the others. He was very inconvenient for the government, because he criticized it very acutely, and said things that the authorities found very unpleasant. He stressed the need to develop civil society in Ukraine. Husar was able to convince even the secular milieu that the Church could be a partner. His ability to communicate with different levels of society was phenomenal. He published several books in the form of interviews on various topics: government, politics, society, business, youth and the media. It is not surprising that according to various sociological data, Greek-Catholics number at most 8%, but trust in Archbishop Husar exceeded 30%. To a significant extent it is also due to him that the UGCC has the highest level of trust among other confessions – over 90% of citizens trust it (Bychenko 2016).
In the Revolution of Dignity, Lubomyr Husar saw a great opportunity to break out of the post-Soviet system of mutual relations in society. Upon his retirement in 2011, he authored a column in the authoritative online media outlet Ukrainska Pravda, in which he raised various socially important issues such as corruption, distrust in the government, economy and entrepreneurship, social morality, and the lack of unity. After the Euromaidan, he concentrated on questions regarding the construction of society, the challenges for young citizens, information wars , the judicial system, and attitudes towards the government. Altogether he wrote 48 articles after the Euromaidan, almost all on social themes, continuing the style of pastoral activity of his predecessor Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytskyi (1901-1944). His successor, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, has continued this practice in part, but he is not as active in the media.
Seen against the background of other churches, the UGCC of the times of Husar began to distinguish itself precisely by this social activism, in that it raised not only political or corporate questions of defense of the church’s interests, but also questions such as the development of civil society, corruption and trust in the government,  which made the church an active participant in the construction of this society. 
Challenges of the War and Military Chaplaincy
Since 2000, UGCC has worked in two directions: benefiting from Western experience, it has developed a theoretical and legislative basis for the military chaplaincy, and at the same time it has introduced spiritual care in military units and higher educational institutions. In fact, in recent years, based on this theoretical basis developed by UGCC together with  other confessions, the military chaplaincy has been institutionalized in Ukraine. The pastoral work of the UGCC has elicited a negative reaction from pro-Russian groups, in particular from Metropolitan Agafangel of Odesa of the Moscow Patriarchate, a well-known supporter of Vladimir Putin. After Viktor Yanukovych took presidential office in 2010, the Metropolitan demanded that UGCC priests be forbidden from influencing officer training at the Lviv Academy of Infantry Forces. 
The activation of the chaplaincy service took place after the opening of the garrison church in Lviv, where UGCC priests from the military academy were working, and where clergy of different confessions could pray. With time, this church also became the center of the volunteer movement for the collection of aid in support of the army. In his report on the first year of activity, the church’s pastor, Fr. Stepan Sus, observed, “We are a garrison church. Thus, we know many soldiers personally. We know about their needs during the various phases of mobilization, and we consider it our obligation to help them.” In 2014, over 8 million UAH (approximately 500,000 USD) were collected at the church (Skits 2015).
In addition, various churches have felt the need for spiritual and psychological care for those soldiers who are returning from combat. Rehabilitation and Support Centers have been organized at several monasteries in the west of Ukraine for such people. Catholic monasteries in several countries, for example Poland, have joined in this effort. During the summer, various church-related organizations set up camps for the children and families of ATO soldiers. Foreign experts have rendered valuable assistance in training professionals who provide psychological and physical rehabilitation for soldiers. 
Service to the Needy
Having experience with different forms of social service, and with the support of their Western colleagues, the UGCC and the Roman Catholic Church are organizing centers for providing assistance to internally displaced persons, first of all in the eastern regions. In Kharkiv and Odesa, the charitable Caritas foundation has organized support centers for displaced persons where they receive financial, material, and legal aid, employment consultations, and so on. These two centers were recognized in the “Charity of the Year” competition, while the Caritas of Ukraine foundation was recognized on the national level (Association of Charities of Ukraine 2016). A major center for the provision of social services was opened in 2016 in Dnipro, where many displaced persons from Donetsk had settled (RISU 2016a).
The most grandiose project for aid to the victims of Russian aggression against Ukraine was started at the Holy See. In 2016, in response to Pope Francis’ appeal to help the Ukrainians, over 16 million EUR were collected, and the Pope himself contributed 5 million EUR. The Vatican Secretary of State himself, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, came to Ukraine to open the project in June 2016 (RISU 2016c). Then a technical committee of the “Pope for Ukraine” action, headed by Roman Catholic Bishop Jan Sobilo, began work, gathering data about the needs of the displaced persons from various organizations working with them. In 2017, the secretariat of the mission, headed by Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Kawa, began its activity. The largest grant – 500,000 EUR – was received by the Protestant charitable organization “Emmanuel” for the rendering of various forms of assistance in the frontline areas. With these funds, the full-scale refurbishment of a medical clinic in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine was carried out (RISU 2018b). The assistance project “Pope for Ukraine”[iii]is carried out under the supervision of the papal nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, who also visits the separatist-controlled territories  and gives spiritual support to Catholics in these lands. He also informs the Vatican about the situation and the humanitarian needs in Ukraine. 
Thus, since the Euromaidan, the two Catholic churches in Ukraine – the UGCC and the Roman Catholic Church – have activated social service in its various dimensions. On the one hand, this is direct aid to those in need (soldiers, the resettled, victims of war), and on the other hand, this has also been an investment in rebuilding the infrastructure on the territories close to the contact line, as well as the provision of opportunities for the needy to take care of themselves. This direct assistance has been supplemented by social-political activism by the leaders and spokespersons of the churches regarding the reform of the system of state administration, the representation of the situation in Ukraine abroad, and the struggle with the Russian propaganda machine, which actively exploits religious topics. Thus, Catholic social teaching has become not only a mobilizing factor of the church in practical aid to the nation in wartime, but also a unifying conceptual platform for the self-organization of civil society.
Church Without Walls. War as an Opportunity for Protestants
Ukrainian Protestants are a religious minority that is rather consolidated and mobilized. Most of them belong to the “second wave” of the Reformation (second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century), so the mainstream of Ukrainian Protestantism is formed not by Lutherans or Reformers but by Baptists and Pentecostals. All of them call themselves “evangelical,” and this way of presenting themselves says a lot: they believe the church has to go back to evangelical truths; it has to reform and renew itself before changing society. Cited above, Casanova sees them as agents of ferment for cultivating religious and cultural diversity: “Although Ukrainian Catholics and Protestants make up no more than 10% of the Ukrainian population, their number in churches on Sundays is no less than that of the Orthodox, provided that the number of the Orthodox in Ukraine is approximately 6 times more” (Casanova 2017, 258). Because of their social activity, the difference between ‘churches’ and ‘sects’, ‘national confession’ and ‘religious minority’ has been disappearing. According to Casanova, “This interreligious recognition and mutual respect was enhanced by the Euromaidan experience, where priests, pastors, rabbis, and representatives of almost all Ukrainian communities served others side by side during the course of a few months” (Casanova 2017, 259). At the same time, Protestantism (as much as it can be “evangelical”) can serve as a factor not only for diversity but also for unity because it appeals to broadly Christian origins. 
In all fairness we have to recognize that Protestantism is not thoroughly patriotic and civilly active due to its pacifist and pietist origins. The Euromaidan drew active minorities, including Protestant minorities. Generally speaking, the Protestant communities were divided and were not mobilized prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Donbas. Donbas was their almost “canonical” territory; it was the most Protestant region. Hence it is natural that when the conflict moved to their territory, it posed the question of how Ukrainian they were and how they could serve a Ukrainian nation.
The war changed many Protestant leaders in that region. A well-known pastor from Mariupol said at the beginning of war in a private conversation: “It doesn’t matter in which soil potatoes are planted – Ukrainian or Russian,” but in a matter of a few days he was digging trenches defending his hometown. 
A pastor of a Baptist church from Pervomaisk (Luhansk region) said that, to him, the war was almost like “being born again”: “When I came face to face with war, I realized it had made me different” (Pronin 2015, 210). Their church building was ruined, but the church community carried on with their ministry, saving the wounded and feeding the hungry, evacuating people from the front lines to safety, and taking care of scattered refugees. The church went out beyond its burnt walls to be with people and serve them, and that was creating a new community: “Now our people have a chance to build a new society – a country everyone would want to live in, and a country that we would not be ashamed to pass on to our children. But it is impossible to start building it without having knelt before God first, and without being broken-hearted” (Pronin 2015, 206). 
These ministers perceive that the war has become an opportunity for the nation for spiritual renewal and consolidation based on Christian values, and also an opportunity for the church to go beyond its walls and get closer to the people. British theologian Joshua Searle writes about “Church Without Walls” as a vision that Ukrainian Protestants have. He has a separate chapter on this under the title Church Without Walls: Reimagining Church and Post-Soviet Society:
A church that wants to work in tandem with the humanizing forces of civil society will be concerned not to consolidate a religious institution based on order and hierarchy, but will be much more involved in building authentic communities of grace. The success of this kind of mission is expressed not in triumph of Christianity over society, but in compassion for and involvement in society (Searle 2016, 38).
Church Without Walls is more than just a metaphor; it is a reality of frontline territories where churches with similar names are emerging. Protestants go to the abandoned and half-dead places with practical help and a message of bringing “bread for life” and “bread of Life,” gathering frightened people into communities of faith. They see the battlefield as the mission field. In their mission strategy, outreach and social ministry always go hand-in-hand. Due to this holistic approach to ministry, Protestant churches have not lost their influence; rather, they have strengthened it. As analysts confirm, “It was they who have become the most active social groups during the turbulent events in the east of Ukraine. The Protestants managed to collect the entire convoys of food and humanitarian aid, evacuate over 55,000 people from war zone, take care of and resettle more than 30,000 refugees from Donbas throughout Ukraine” (Asotsiatsia Poklyk 2017, 13).
Social activity was not limited to traditional humanitarian aid but evolved into other forms: soup kitchens were opened, social bakeries were established, and shelters were started. The Protestants had to learn the ministry of chaplaincy from their Western brothers, which was unfamiliar to them. Modest estimates indicate that two hundred ministers of evangelical churches work as chaplains today (Asotsiatsia Poklyk 2017, 16).
Diverse social activity has changed the image of Protestant churches in the region and the entire country, and has also changed the churches’ self-image. The Protestants were used to their marginal status; now they are getting used to their status of fully-fledged members of an interchurch Christian community. The Protestants were used to being the “citizens of heaven”; now they have to discover Ukrainianness. As a pastor from a frontline area witnessed:
 Now the church gives more than it receives. The church is quite active; it takes part in people’s needs and works very closely with volunteers. The first thing that we did was painting the bridges into yellow-blue color…. We say that we are citizens of heaven … but the country awaits you… (Solovyova 2015, 27).
But patriotism has not been (and will not be) the last word in the way Protestants view themselves and their place in society. Even the most patriotic leaders of Protestant churches talk about reconciliation as church ministry: 
We believe that the process of reconciliation should start with churches. This is our challenge and our responsibility…. Are we looking for security and a peaceful life simply by building a wall between our offenders and us? This is not the mission of the church” (Bandura 2015, 24). 
This means that the church does not only see the war and the opportunity to assume its role in the conditions of war and gain public recognition. It sees beyond war; it sees its mission from the perspective of reconciliation.
Obviously, the ministry of reconciliation is not as popular in Ukrainian society as chaplain or volunteer ministries are, but it is these ministries that are not so popular that distinguish the church from the more current civil initiatives and offer the prospect of universalism to the society – one that does not abolish patriotism but corrects regional, political and ethnic particularities. 
Unlike the more ancient and influential “historical” church, “mother church,” and “national” churches, Ukrainian Protestants are not building upon history, tradition, and canon law, and do not claim an exclusive and granted influence from the post-Euromaidan community. They remain religious minorities and accept this status. They are building upon the Gospel and evangelical values, and by doing so they are setting the most inclusive and social religious vision for Christianity in Ukraine and for Christian Ukraine. While references to history divide churches and society, the Protestant appeal to a broadly Christian and evangelical foundation is, in the words of C. S. Lewis, “mere Christianity” that is showing the way to consolidation.
Ukrainian churches turned out to be a key factor in mobilizing civil society during the Euromaidan and the war. The trust that society has placed in churches is demanding and carries with it high expectations. There is still the risk that in the strife over canonicity, the churches may lose society’s trust and become a “weak link” in civil society. At the same time, a clearly pro-Ukrainian inter-church consensus has emerged. It was approved by the decision of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and practical joint ministry in the war zone. In caring for the country and for the common good, the churches can set an example of reconciliation and consolidation. And as the civil society follows this example, it will be able to grow stronger and open up. One way or another, it was Ukrainian churches that were the backbone of civil society in the post-Euromaidan period of Ukrainian history. But the question remains as to whether they will continue to show initiative, use all of their potential for the good of society, and show a model of unity. All the while, there is every opportunity to do so. 
Churches and civil society are defined in their mutual bond. The critical political situation and high expectations of the civil society have accelerated the transformational processes in the religious environment. Orthodox churches have separated from each other to the highest degree, yet in this separation they have outlined a new consolidation – one that is not based on the externally defined canonicity, but rather on serving people in practical ways. The Greek Catholic Church was able to weave the key ideas and practices of its social ministry into the fabric of the social life and national identity. The Protestants showed that the church can overcome its barriers and live out its mission among the people, seeing the battlefield as their mission field. While each of these denominations remains unique, they are one in their social orientation and civil responsibility. And that is what makes them leaders in public trust and key agents of social change. 
Asotsiatsia Poklyk. 2017. Protestanty – nadbannia Ukraiiny [Protestants — Ukraine’s Heritage].”  Kyiv: AsotsiatsiaPoklyk.   
Association of Charities of Ukraine. 2016. “Peremozhtsi natsionalnoho konkursu ‘Blahodiina Ukraiina – 2015’ [The Winners of the National Competition ‘Charitable Ukraine – 2015’].” March 25, 2016.
Bandura, Igor. 2015. “Imagining Reconciliation.”  The London Consultation: Focus on Ukraine.Proceedings from the London Consultation on Ukraine.London: Mission Eurasia.
Bychenko, Andrii. “Relihiia i Tserkva v ukraiinskomu suspilstvi: konfesiinyi rozpodil [Religion and the Church in Ukrainian Society: Confessional Distribution].” Razumkov Center, May 31, 2016.
Casanova, Jose. 2017. Po toi bik sekuliaryzatsii[On the Other Side of Secularization]. Кyiv: Dykh i Litera. 2014. “UPTs (MP) na Cherkaschine poslushalas’ prikhozhan i ne pominaet Patriarkha Kirilla na bohosluzheniakh [The UOC MP in the Cherkasy Region Listened to the Parishioners and Does Not Commemorate Patriarch Kirill in Its Services].”, August 29, 2014.
DIF (Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation). 2018. “Hromadska Dumka, hruden -2017: vyborchi reitynhy i reitynhy doviry [Public Opinion December 2017: electoral rankings and trust rankings].” January 23, 2018.
Dragovic, Denis. 2015. Religion and Post-Conflict Statebuilding: Roman Catholic and Sunni Islamic Perspectives.Palgrave Macmillan.
Espreso.TV. 2017. “Patriarkh Filaret: Viiny na Donbas i aneksii Krymu ne bulo b, jakby bula edyna ukrainska pravoslavna tserkva [Patriarch Filaret: There Would Be No War in the Donbas or Annexation of the Crimea if There Were a Single Ukrainian Orthodox Church].” Espreso TV, February 13, 2017.
Husar, Liubomyr. 2014. “Pravyla suspilnoho zhyttia, jaki maiemo realizuvaty v novii Ukraiini [The rules of social life that we have to follow in the new Ukraine].”Ukraiinska Pravda, March 21, 2014. 
InformNapalm. 2016. “FrolovLeaks. Tserkovni intrygi. Epizod III. [FrolovLeaks: Church Intrigues. Episode III].” InformNapalm,December 10, 2016.
Kalenychenko, Tetiana. 2016. “Vyznachennia roli tserkvy na tli podviinykh standartiv — ekskurs danymy Tsentru Razumkova [Defining the Role of the Church against the Background of Double Standards – an Excursus with Data of the Razumkov Center].”  RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine), May 27, 2016.
KIIS (Kyiv International Institute of Sociology). 2017. “Dovira sotsialnym instytutsiam[Trust in Social Institutions].”   February 1, 2017.
Kovalenko, Lesya, ed.; Olga Zhyvytsia, trans.; Papska Rada za Myr i Spravedlyvist. 2008. Kompendium sotsialnoii doktryny tserkvy [Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church]. Kyiv: Kairos, 2008.
Kulyk, Volodymyr. 2016. “National Identity in Ukraine: Impact of Euromaidan and the War.” Europe-Asia Studies68(4): 587-608.
Matyash, Mykhailo. 2017. “Ukrainske volonterstvo – yavyshche unikalne. Yomu zavdiachuiemo suverenitetom [Ukrainian voluntarism is a unique phenomenon. Our sovereignty is due to it].” Ukrininform, October 14, 2017.
Mitrokhin, Nikolai. 2001. “Krov ili Bibliia. Etnonatsionalism i religioznyie organizatsii: opyt SNG [Blood or the Bible. Ethnonationalism and Religious Organizations: The Experience of the CIS countries].” Nieprikosnovennyi zapas3 (17). Accessed on May 12, 2018.
Moroz, Volodymyr, and Tetiana Kalenychenko. 2015. “Konflikt za khramy i dushi: yak yoho bachat u UPTs (MP) i UPTs KP [The Conflict for Churches and Souls: How the UOC (MP) and the UOC KP See It].” RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine), February 18, 2016.
Moroz, Volodymyr. 2016. “‘Druhyi front’. Mizhpravoslavnyi Konflikt v Ukraiini [‘The Second Front: The Inter-Orthodox Conflict in Ukraine].” Patriarkhat1(453):.8-9.
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Razumkov Center. 2017. Tserkva, suspilstvo, derzhava u protystoianni vyklykam I zahrozam siohodennia (informatsiini materialy) [Church, Society, State in Confronting the Challenges and Threats of Present Day (information material)].  Кyiv: Razumkov Center.
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RISU. 2016d. “Volynskyi sviashchenyk UPTs (MP) nazvaie ukrainskyi prapor hanchirkoiu [A Volhynian Priest of the UOC MP Called the Ukrainian Flag a Rag].” RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine), June 27, 2016.
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            [i]According to the annual statistical report on state-church relationship in 2016 approved by the order of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine from March 3, 2017 (accessed at May 12, 2018,, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate counts 12,653 religious communities. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate has 5,264 religious communities. The Ukrainian Authocephalous Orthodox Church has 1,239 religious communities and the Ukrainian Authocephalous Orthodox Chruch (renewed) has 32. 
            [ii]Lubomyr Husar (1933 – 2017) was the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (also elected as a Major Archibishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 2005) till his reassignment due to poor health in 2011.
            [iii]Detailed information on the “Pope for Ukraine” mission can be found on the site

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