As with most European countries, Ukrainians were originally a pagan nation of idol worshippers. In 988 AD, Prince Vladimir the Great of Kiev accepted Orthodox Christianity and brought the entire country under the influence of the Byzantine Empire. The period was characterized by mass baptisms, when many of the Prince’s subjects converted to Christianity. Despite changes over the past 1000 years, Ukrainian Orthodox Christianity remains the main religion of Ukraine today, with some 70% of Ukrainians still claiming to belong to this faith.
Currently, three major Ukrainian Orthodox Churches coexist, and often compete, in the country: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Additionally, a significant body of Christians belong to the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and a smaller number in the Ruthenian Catholic Church.
In addition other Orthodox communities are active in Ukraine: the Old Believers (55 communities), the Free Russian Orthodox Church (outside of Russia), the Russian True Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, Greek communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Russian communities which are directly under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and a few other independent Orthodox communities. These groups do not have general national influence and ambitions, inasmuch as they are composed of communities of national minorities or are numerically small communities which arose as a result of schisms in the Russian Orthodox Church.
How many churches are there in Kiev? According to the Institute “GenPlan”, today there are 950 churches in Kiev. Prior to 2020 is planned to open another 254 churches, including 189 new and 65 refurbished.That’s why Kiev and its churches always attracted so many travellers and pilgrims. They could see Kiev’s golden domes and hear bell chime from the distance of three-day travel from the city.
Since 1991 number of churches in Ukraine were increased by 170 percent. A few of them were built in Kiev.