Gender and Religion

Under Soviet rule, religious observance was outlawed in Ukraine. Today, people in Ukraine are followers of a number of different religions. The major religion is Orthodoxy. Forty-three percent of Ukrainians are followers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (which includes a Moscow and Kyivan Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and 9% are followers of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Other major religions include Judaism, Protestantism (Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others), and Islam. While 69% of people in Ukraine say they are "believers," only about 17% regularly attend religious services (Panina and Golovakha, 2001).

In Ukraine, women make up the majority of Orthodox believers and avid churchgoers. While there were women deaconesses in the early church, church law prohibits women deaconesses today. Although women carry out the majority of service roles in the Orthodox Church as mirianki (laywomen), such as helping out around the church building, and visiting and caring for the sick, they are not allowed to enter the priesthood. There are female saints, the most notable being St. Olga (the grandmother of St. Volodymyr, who accepted Christianity as the official religion of the territory known as Rus' in 988), St. Barbara, and St. Nina. For both Orthodox and Catholic believers, the Madonna is an important symbol of womanhood, motherhood, and the feminine origins of humankind. Gendered orders in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in Ukraine include monks and nuns, who live in separate monasteries.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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