January 5, 2020, marked the one-year anniversary of a seminal moment in Ukraine's religious history: the granting of the Tomos (autocephaly) to the newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which sought to unite Ukraine's fragmented Orthodox communities (Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate, and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) into one church, with full canonical legitimacy separate from Russia. Much has happened in the intervening year, from individual parishes making the choice to transfer from the Moscow Patriarchate and to the new OCU to turbulence within the hierarchy.
In the midst of these changes, scholars of contemporary Ukraine are asking questions about what these changes mean for Ukraine's nation-building efforts and in the lives of its population. Have these recent events marked and also caused changes in the beliefs and practices of Ukraine's citizenry? How can the religious landscape in Ukraine be characterized in the first place? What are the trends in changing affiliations and how do they vary throughout the country?
These and other questions are at the heart of MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine's new Religious Revolution module, which aggregates data on Ukrainians' religious beliefs, practices, and sense of belonging over the past few years, as well as on the shifts in parish membership in particular Orthodox churches.
This week, MAPA launched a new Story Map Journal as part of this project. The Religious Pluralism in Ukraine Story Map Journal presents narrative explanation and analysis alongside maps and charts from the module. It considers aspects of Ukraine's religious landscape such as frequency of participation in worship services, attitudes toward church unification, and (mis)alignment of church resources (such as buildings) and number of parishioners. The MAPA team includes HURI Director Serhii Plokhii, who led the project, MAPA Fellow Viktoriya Sereda, who did the analysis, and MAPA Project Manager Kostyantyn Bondarenko, who built the maps and designed the journal.
The Story Map Journal is an excellent resources for people wanting to grasp an overview of the current religious situation in Ukraine, for teachers looking for modern presentation tools, and for those interested in learning how to engage with MAPA web maps for their own analysis.
Presented alongside the explanatory text, the maps within the Story Map Journal are interactive, allowing the user to click within the map for additional information.
We invite scholars, students, and interested parties in general to explore the Story Map Journal and hope it may inspire additional research using the tools within the MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine.