Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the country’s religious communities have been at the forefront of reinforcing national morale, providing crucial humanitarian relief and making the moral case for Ukraine’s sovereignty. With Russian missiles falling on religious sites and occupying forces preventing some churches from operating, Ukraine’s religious leaders have also emerged as important voices for promoting freedom of religion and belief.
USIP, the Atlantic Council, and Razom for Ukraine hosted a conversation with a delegation from the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. These senior Ukrainian religious leaders — who represent multiple branches of Christianity in Ukraine in addition to the country’s Muslim and Jewish communities — highlighted the various roles that religious groups and organizations have played as part of Ukraine’s war effort. They also shared personal experiences from the frontlines and discussed the challenges of navigating religion’s complex intersection with the war.
Peter Mandaville, opening remarks
Senior Advisor, Religion and Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, moderator
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Metropolitan of Bila Tserkva; Spokesman, Kyiv Metropolis; Deputy Head, Department for External Church Relations, Orthodox Church of Ukraine
Yaakov Dov Bleich
Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine; Founder and President, Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine
Senior Bishop, Ukrainian Pentecostal Church
Bishop, Ukrainian Lutheran Church
Deputy Secretary General, Ukrainian Bible Society
Deputy Senior Bishop, Ukrainian Evangelical Church
Supreme Mufti of Ukraine; Head of the Religious Administration of Ukrainian Muslims
Ambassador John Herbst, closing remarks
Senior Director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council; Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine