Zhytkova O. Activity of the UAOC in Kyiv (1919 – 1930)

Українська версія

Thesis for the degree of Candidate of Sciences (CSc)

State registration number


Applicant for


  • 07.00.01 - Історія України


Specialized Academic Board

Д 26.001.20

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


The Orthodox Church of Ukraine restored its independence and unity in 2019. Attempts to revive and build a national Orthodox Church had already taken place in the Ukrainian history of the twentieth century. The Ukrainian revolution of 1917-1921 contributed to the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). The city of Kyiv became the centre of the Autocephalous movement. It was in Kyiv that the formation of the Autocephalous movement began, and local Church leaders and believers showed significant activity in the process of creating an independent Orthodox Church. In Kyiv, the First all-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Sobor of 1921 took place, at which the official creation of the UAOC was announced, the Church hierarchy established and the UAOC canons adopted. Kyiv was the location of the Church administration bodies, the UAOC Cathedral Church whereas pastoral courses were held to prepare new members of the clergy. The UAOC extraordinary Sobor of 1930, which decided to terminate the activities of the Church governing bodies was also held in Kyiv. Between 1919 and 1930 the Church went through the period of formation, organizational and institutional making, the key ideas of the national Orthodox Church were developed, consisting in the introduction of the principles of autocephaly, Ukrainization and democratization of the internal church life. The study of the UAOC activitу in Kyiv has a value to analyse the previous experience, which might of use for religious, civic and political leaders on the way of building the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in contemporary times. The relevance of the thesis' topic is also due to the need to create in Ukrainian historical science a comprehensive study of the UAOC activity within the boundaries of the city of Kyiv. The thesis analyses the historiographical and source base of the research, determines its methodological basis. The thesis concludes that the regional aspect of the issue remains undeveloped, namely the study of the UAOC activity in Kyiv. The thesis analyses the importance of the city of Kyiv and its inhabitants for the development of the autocephalous movement in Ukraine, the creation of the UAOC, organizational, institutional and human resources backing of the UAOC activity. The thesis reveals the role of the UAOC Kyiv parishes in reforming the internal church life and analyses the state of material support for parishes' activities. The thesis reflects the role of Kyiv autocephalous parishes in implementing the religious life reform: introduction of the Ukrainian language into worships, translation of religious literature, revival of ancient Church traditions and rituals, creation of new types of church services and holidays, renewal of musical and choral art. It was found that the Bolsheviks used material obligations of UAOC parishes or depriving them of the opportunity to use Church buildings and property as a means of weakening the financial situation of the Church. The research showed that the regulation of the UAOC in Kyiv was also carried out through obliging parishes to obtain permits for conducting organizational activities (convening meetings) or direct religious practice. It was found that the Bolsheviks used anti-religious agitation and propaganda, schism within the Church and repressive policy with regard to the UAOC to discredit the Church and its members.


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