Most Ukrainians are Christians, either Orthodox or Catholic. Both Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic religious practices were suppressed by the Soviets, but religious freedom is now protected by the constitution of Ukraine.

Churches are being restored or built, monasteries and seminaries are being re-established and new religious organizations are being created. Although there is a shortage of priests, religious education teachers and religious books, Christianity is once again becoming an important part of the lives of many Ukrainians.

Orthodox and Catholic Ukrainians have much in common, but the Orthodox Christians do not look to the pope as their leader. Both groups hold elaborate worship services, with music, ritual and preaching interwoven in the ceremony. Masses may last for several hours and the people remain standing throughout. The churches built by the Ukrainians in Ukraine and in Canada are intricately decorated and often topped with the distinctive onion dome. In 1988, Ukraine celebrated the millennium of its Christianity.
Did you know?

Orthodox and Catholic churches can be distinguished by the crosses on them. The Orthodox cross has an extra bar, crossing the upright bar at an angle. The Catholic cross has only one horizontal bar.

Ukrainian Protestant traditions were also suppressed by the Soviets and are now being revived. Baptists, Evangelicals and Seventh-Day Adventists also have churches in Ukraine.

As well, Ukraine is home to about half a million Jewish people. Several new synagogues have been opened since independence. There is also a sizable Muslim population in Crimea.

Did you know?

Many Ukrainians are named after saints. Sometimes that is because they were born on the feast day of a saint. If they were born on a different day, they may celebrate the saint's feast day as their name day, as well as celebrating their birthday.