When Common Faith Divides

The Paradox of Orthodoxy in Ukraine and Russia


  • Zacarias Negron


Amidst growing political division and strife, the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are united by a common faith—Orthodoxy. While much literature and punditry offer commentary on the widening chasm between the region’s two predominant iterations of Orthodoxy—Russian and Ukrainian—this author provides a synthesis of religious and sociopolitical history to illuminate the sects’ common beginnings and constitutions. As a result, the author finds that it is not Orthodoxy itself that has fractured the two peoples. Rather, it is strategic usury and politicization that have corrupted Orthodoxy in the post-Soviet space. In response, the author suggests a return to the simplicity of orthodox Orthodoxy, the augmentation of believers’ perceptions of one another, and perhaps a bit of ‘holy foolishness.’

For additional context, listen to the author's reflection on the piece below.


Author Biography

Zacarias Negron

Zacarias Negron is a Chancellor’s Scholar at Vanderbilt University, where he is majoring in Political Science (International Track) and Law, History, & Society. He is minoring in Russian Studies and Islamic Studies with a particular focus on the Caucasus and Central Asian regions. He is a member of the Vanderbilt University Debate Team, competing in collegiate and British Parliamentary and Case Competition debates, both foreign and domestic.

Author's Reflection



How to Cite

Negron, Z. (2022). When Common Faith Divides: The Paradox of Orthodoxy in Ukraine and Russia. SCAFFOLD: A SHOWCASE OF VANDERBILT FIRST-YEAR WRITING, 4. Retrieved from https://ejournals.library.vanderbilt.edu/index.php/UWS/article/view/5307



Essays on Russian and Eastern European Studies