Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” In a new article, Associate Professor of History Victoria Smolkin explains the historical context and significance today of a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church. Smolkin is also associate professor, Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies, and a tutor in the College of Social Studies.
Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church matters today
A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine.
Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and transferred its jurisdiction from the church of Moscow to the church of Constantinople, located in Istanbul.
This competition between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow for dominance in the Orthodox Christian world is not new – it goes back more than 500 years. But the birth of the new Orthodox Church in Ukraine opens a new chapter in this history.
So what is Ukraine’s new church, and how will it change the global political and religious landscape?