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His Holiness Patriarch PHILARET, Patriarch of Kiev and All Ukrainian

Christianity came to the Ukraine in a unique way. In the tenth century St Vladimir the Great, ruler of Kiev, sent investigators abroad to study the doctrines and rituals of Islam and Judaism, as well as those of Christinity.  They came back to report that the Orthodox Christian faith held a healing quality that seemed best suited to the great need of their people. Vladimir was immediately baptized and by 988 the entire population of Ukraine had become Orthodox Christian.

For more than 600 years the Ukrainian Church was under the administration (Kanon – Oeconomia) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.  In 1686 it was “forcibly” placed under the supervision of the Patriarchate of Moscow.  It is actually the history that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the parent body of the Russian Orthodox Church. Many secular and even Church writers often confuse the two, and fail to give proper due to the rich heritage of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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This is very obvious in the common histories written about Russian Orthodoxy.  Those histories will begin just as I did above saying, “In the tenth century Valdimir the Great . . . etc.” with no mention of the fact that the Church was “Ukrainian” not Russian.  From 1686 onward the successes, trials, failures and abuses of Russian Orthodoxy and Russian Civil authority were shared in no small measure by the Ukrainian Orthodox. (including the systematic starvation of tens of millions Ukrainians by Stalin) The abuses of Peter the Great were shared.  We shared with the Russian Orthodox Church having to exist without a P