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A Ukrainian priest blesses believers and their Easter baskets at St. George's Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine, on April 15. The traditional blessing of Easter baskets begins in the evening of the day before Easter, and continues on Easter morning. (Mykola Tys/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Orthodox Christians, which make up the majority of the country's population, are celebrating Easter on April 16, the second to occur since Russia launched its all-out war on Feb. 24, 2022.

Orthodox churches calculate Easter according to the Julian calendar, meaning it typically occurs a week after the Catholic church's Easter, which follows the Gregorian calendar.

Orthodox Christians in Ukraine prepare Easter baskets filled with colored eggs ("pysanky"), special Easter bread ("paska"), sausage, cheese, butter, salt, butter, baked ham, and other items. Each item in the food basket has its symbolic meaning. Ukrainians take the Easter baskets to the church to be blessed by a priest and then bring them home to eat with the family.

According to a July 2022 survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, 72% of Ukrainians identified as Orthodox. Fifty-four percent identified themselves with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, 14% were "simply Orthodox," and only 4% were with the Moscow Patriarchate church, once the most popular church in Ukraine.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, granted autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople in January 2019, is not to be confused with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Ukraine has long accused the Moscow Patriarchate's representatives in Ukraine of serving as the Kremlin's propaganda arm.

Ongoing Russian attacks against Ukraine have only accelerated the divide between Ukrainians and the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Russian forces launched missiles at residential areas in Sloviansk on the April 14 religious holiday Good Friday, killing 11 people and injuring 22 others, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on April 15. Among the dead was a two-year-old child.

Multiple cities in Ukraine have revoked the land rights of churches belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate or prohibited them from continuing to hold services. The Khmelnytskyi Сity Сouncil and the Kamianets-Podilskyi City Council revoked the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate's land rights on April 4, the former after a military officer was assaulted at their place of worship.

Members of the Moscow Patriarchate also temporarily obstructed a memorial service for a fallen soldier from entering a church in Chernivtsi Oblast on April 5, spraying the mourners with fire extinguishers when they attempted to go into the church from a side entrance.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 2 – Why Ukraine is finally kicking out Russian church
“This Week in Ukraine” is a video podcast hosted by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Anastasiia Lapatina. Every week, Anastasiia sits down with her newsroom colleagues to discuss Ukraine’s most pressing issues. Episode #2 is dedicated to Ukraine’s attempts to eradicate the influence of the Ukrainian…
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