“Ukraine has four national churches claiming to be the national church of Ukraine - it has adapted a model of religious pluralism like the United States and this is the positive aspect of religion in Ukraine,” José Casanova, professor of sociology at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Berkley Center, told Hromadske.
All of Ukraine’s religious groups: 3 Orthodox churches, 1 Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, pentecostals, muslims, jews, were present at Maidan and all of them have participated in mobilisation – the situation was very different 25 years ago.
Though there is religious pluralism, the Moscow Patriarch is not willing to give up his monopoly over Ukraine and this goes hand in hand with Russia’s imperialists ambitions, explained Casanova. Legislation, he therefore argued, should be passed to regulate the competition between the Moscow and Ukrainian Orthodox patriarchs in Ukraine.
“Since Stalin used the Moscow Patriarch to garnered popular support for World War II, there has been a fusion between patriotic politics and patriotic church,” said Casanova, "Russia is trying to build a new moral international...Sometimes we in the West underestimate the way religion can be mobilized for political purposes.
According to Casanova, we need new categories to help people understand how soviet symbols go together with monarchists ideas. International scholars need to understand that the world is entering a process of disintegration of the old world order.
He warned that the hope that the whole world would be governed by the principles on which the UN was built may not succeed unless we do something to stop Russia's imperialist project: “We have to create new structures in which everybody finds they have a voice”.
// Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke with José Casanova in Kyiv on April 20th, 2015.