FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Christians Gathering In Ukraine To Preach The Gospel In 2022?
An image shared on Facebook claims to show “hundreds of thousands” of Christians gathering in Ukraine in 2022 to preach the Gospel.
The image shows Christians gathered in Ukraine in 2017 to hear a motivational speaker. There is no evidence that preaching the Gospel was ever banned in Ukraine.
The image, shared more than 18,000 times, shows what appears to be thousands of people gathered on a city street. “Breaking News,” reads the Feb. 2 post’s caption. “Hundreds of Thousands Gather in the Streets of Ukraine to Praise the Name of Jesus, after the President finally gave liberty to preach the gospel which was banned for so many years.”
Though the image is from Ukraine, it predates 2022 and is not in response to any lifted ban. (RELATED: Did The Taliban Sentence 229 Christian Missionaries To Death?)
A reverse image search revealed the photo first appeared on various websites in September 2017, including the website of the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), which published it in an article titled, “Thousands of Christians take to the streets to listen to Nick Vujicic in Kyiv.” The article explains the huge crowd of about 500,000 had gathered to see Christian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic in Kyiv, Ukraine. The article mentions nothing about the lifting of any ban on preaching.
There is no evidence Ukraine ever restricted or banned the preaching of the Gospel. A 2020 State Department report on religious freedom in the country made no mention of such a restriction. The Ukrainian Constitution also guarantees freedom of religion.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of personal philosophy and religion,” reads a version of the Ukrainian Constitution found on the United Nations website. “This right includes the freedom to profess or not to profess any religion, to perform alone or collectively and unimpededly religious rites and ceremonial rituals, and to conduct religious activity.”
Lilia Kovalik-Vasyuta, editor-in-chief of RISU, told Check Your Fact in an email that “no one forbids anyone to practice any religion they choose for themselves.”
“This image can not be related to the fact that Ukrainians gather to celebrate that they are now allowed to preach the gospel and more in 2017. Because there was no such problem in Ukraine,” said Kovalik-Vasyuta.