HISTORY OF THE UKRANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Overcoming division and subordination of one Church to another are different things

On June 8, 2010 in Istanbul a meeting was held between President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This meeting testifies to respect that the head of the state extends towards the Mother-Church of Constantinople and the attention paid by the Ecumenical Patriarch to Ukraine.  

During his tenure of presidential office Victor Fedorovych Yanukovych met several times with Metropolitan Volodymyr, Primate of the UOC-MP, two times with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and now he met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.  Judging by the president’s words that “one cannot build strong country without faith”, one should expect him to meet with heads of other Ukrainian Christian confessions and religious organizations.

The Kyiv Patriarchate is grateful to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his prayers for Ukraine and the unity of the Ukrainian Church.  We hope that the Mother Church of Constantinople will continue acting not just prayerfully, but by other means, in accordance with the assumed burden of primacy in Orthodoxy, on the lines of overcoming church division in Ukraine, provoked by non-canonical actions of the Moscow Patriarchate, keeping in mind the words of Christ “and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:44).

On our part we have to state that the Kyiv Patriarchate did not secede from the Orthodox Church for we unfailingly confess Orthodox faith and perform canonical prescriptions in our church life, We separated from the Moscow Patriarchate  and do not recognize its authority over Ukrainian Church  –  but the Patriarchate of Constantinople itself stated in the Tomos of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Poland (1924) that joining of the Kyiv Metropolis to the Moscow Patriarchate  in 1686 was carried out regardless of prescriptions of the canon law and therefore is illegal.  

Therefore we do not fully understand an idea expressed by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew when he said: “all our brothers who seceded should come back to the canonical Church”. What is the Ecumenical Patriarch speaking about?   

Does His All Holiness mean returning of the Kyiv Metropolis, which was illegally separated by Moscow, to the previous canonical order and subordination to the Throne of Constantinople?  In such an instance these words should be addressed to Moscow Patriarchate that illegally retains power over the Church in Ukraine.  It is obvious that His Holiness the Patriarch had an opportunity to get this viewpoint across to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in the course of his recent visit to Russia.  

Could His Holiness possibly refer to subordination of the Kyiv Patriarchate to the Moscow Patriarchate? If that is the case, this idea does not conform to the stance of Constantinople as for non-canonicity of the power of Moscow over the Ukrainian Church that we know for sure from the Tomos mentioned.   
Did His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew possibly have in mind subordination of our hierarchy, clergy and faithful to his Throne?  But neither the bishops nor the priests and laity of the Kyiv Patriarchate have ever separated from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for they have never been under its authority. And those who have not separated cannot return to unity.  If we consider this issue in the historical context, for a longtime the Kyiv Metropolis had resisted attempts of the Moscow hierarchs to subordinate it for all it is worth, and had unfailingly preserved unity with the Throne of Constantinople – till the time when, to our mutual regret, the patriarch of that time, subduing to pressure and for rich gifts, illegally issued the charter on the strength of which Moscow gained power over our Metropolis.  

Thus, from the words of His Holiness the Patriarch that we know it is yet unclear what particular ways of overcoming division of the Church in Ukraine he sees except fervent prayers that we share and lift up to the Throne of God.  

The only comprehensible interpretation of His Holiness Bartholomew’s words for us is that he referred to returning of all the Orthodox in Ukraine to the prayerful and Eucharistic communion, which is a manifestation of the Church unity. It is against our will that we have no such unity, but we are always ready to do all possible to restore it. Though it is our firm conviction that overcoming church division and subordination of one Church to another are different things and one cannot be replaced by another.   

In the history of both the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow there were precedents of breaking the Eucharistic unity – between it and other Churches, and even inside it.  However we see that these breaks – between Constantinople and the Churches of Greece and Bulgaria, between Moscow and the Church of Georgia and American Metropolis – were coped with not by means of subordination, but through reconciliation and recognition of autocephaly.  Misunderstandings that emerged in Estonia and Great Britain also do not prevent Eucharistic communion of the two Patriarchates.  

Therefore on our part we insistently and unalterably strive for restoration of Eucharistic communion with all the Local Churches – and hope that His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch will further this good deed in a fatherly manner.   

As for participation of the Ukrainian state and its head in overcoming of the existing inter-church controversies, the stance of the Kyiv Patriarchate was stated straight and clearly in the letter of the Holy Synod addressed to Victor Yanukovych, dated May 14, 2010.  

In completion we have to note that enjoying the freedom of preaching and faith confession, running freely our churches, monasteries and education establishments, it is with pain and sorrow that we observe the limitations imposed on the Patriarchate of Constantinople by the state laws of its country of residence. Having possibility to gather for prayers in thousands of churches and to hold sacred processions freely, we regret that our Mother-Church is in such restrained conditions, and in spite of all efforts, cannot change them for the better. We pray for her and ask God to grant her the freedom of faith, worship, education and preaching that we enjoy in our country.  

Image - Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv: interior with the view of the Orante mosaic.
Ukrainian Orthodox church [Українська Православна Церква; Ukrainska Pravoslavna Tserkva]. The general designation for a number of Orthodox churches that include Ukrainian believers, clergymen, and hierarchs. Although all of these churches have a common historical, liturgical, and theological tradition, and some are joined in a spiritual union, they are organized in separate jurisdictions. In addition to the church in Ukraine and the explicitly Ukrainian churches formed by Ukrainian emigrants in the West, some Ukrainians also belong to other Orthodox churches. (For the history of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, see History of the Ukrainian Church.)

The annexation of the Ukrainian church by the Russian Orthodox church under the Patriarch of Moscow in the late 17th century was followed by the eradication of Ukrainian church autonomy and the increasing Russification of church life and practices. It was only after the fall of the tsarist regime as a result of the Revolution of 1917 that the brief renaissance of Ukrainian statehood permitted the revival of an independent Ukrainian church. In January 1919 the government of the Ukrainian National Republic declared the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church and its independence from the Moscow patriarch. Efforts to realize this independence in practice culminated in 1921 in the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC). This church, under the leadership ofmetropolitans Vasyl Lypkivsky (1921–7) and Mykola Boretsky (1927–30), grew to encompass 30 bishops, 1,500priests, and 1,100 parishes in 1924. But the radical reforms that the UAOC adopted (which stressed the participation of the laity in all aspects of church life), the untraditional rite of ordination that it used to consecrate its hierarchy, and especially its great popularity among the population and the threat it posed to the status of the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox church in Ukraine earned it the enmity of the conservative Russian hierarchy and some of the clergy, who denounced it as noncanonical, illegitimate, and a nationalist creation. The UAOC was also opposed by the Soviet regime, which in the 1920s tried unsuccessfully to undermine it by supporting the competing Living church, the Renovationist church, and the so-called Active Church of Christ. In the late 1920s the Soviet authorities decided to destroy all of these bodies, as well as the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox church. The UAOC was decimated in the Stalinistterror, and all of its hierarchs and many of its priests were killed or died in concentration camps.

The partition of Ukrainian territories in the interwar period found many Ukrainian Orthodox believers living in the Polish state (in Volhynia,Polisia, and the Kholm region). There the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church, under Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky, was grantedautocephaly by the patriarch of Constantinople in 1924. Despite strong Russifying and Polonizing pressures, many traditions of Ukrainian Orthodoxy survived, the Ukrainian language was introduced for services and church publications, and Ukrainian lay and church figures (eg,Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky) played a major role in the church.

In Bukovyna the Orthodox church was initially established as a part of Halych metropoly. From the early 15th to the late 18th century a separate metropoly was centered in Suceava, then the capital of Moldavia. When all of Bukovyna came under Habsburg rule a separate eparchy, which became a metropoly in 1873, was established there. For most of its history this jurisdiction was dominated by Romanians, but concessions were made to the large Ukrainian minority (in the interwar period there were 155 Ukrainian parishes and 135 priests in Bukovyna).

In the interwar period Orthodox churches were established by Ukrainian immigrants in North America. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) was formed in 1918 (until 1990 known as the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada). It was under the spiritual authority of Metropolitan G. Shegedi of the Syrian Orthodox church in the United States of America until 1924, when Bishop Ioan Teodorovych of the UAOC arrived in North America and assumed leadership of it and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA (UOC-USA), which had been formed in 1920. Administratively these two churches remained totally independent, however, and the UOCC was actually run by the church’sconsistory in Winnipeg (Teodorovych had settled in Chicago and then Philadelphia). Both of these churches attracted many former Ukrainian Catholics, who opposed the Latinization of their church and rejected the authority of Roman Catholic hierarchs in North America. (For the same reasons, many immigrants from Transcarpathia established the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic church in 1936, but it does not consider itself a part of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.) The churches especially stressed their Ukrainian character (adopting the Ukrainian language for the liturgy) and conciliar organization. In 1928 many former Ukrainian Catholics in the United States of America established the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America. This group rejected the authority of Teodorovych and the canonical reforms of the UAOC, and placed itself under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Many parishes left this church in the late 1940s and 1950s to join the OUC-USA. The church was administered as part of the Greek Orthodox exarchate of North and South America (it also maintained a few parishes in Canada) until it joined the OUC-USA in 1996.

Many Ukrainians in North America also joined other, non-Ukrainian, Orthodox jurisdictions. Before the First World War some 200,000 immigrants from Galicia and Transcarpathia in the United States joined the Russian Orthodox church that was under the patriarch of Moscow and was supported directly by the tsarist government. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subjugation of the church to the Bolshevik regime, this church split. Most parishes were reconstituted in 1924 as the Russian Greek Catholic Orthodox church; it functioned, except for short interludes, as an independent church before being granted autocephaly in 1970 by the patriarch of Moscow and being renamed the Orthodox Church of America. Although many of this church’s adherents are of Ukrainian origin, the church has little contact with the other Ukrainian churches, and a conscious attempt was made initially to Russify and recently to Americanize church practices and traditions. The other two jurisdictions to emerge from the pre–First World War Russian Orthodox church (the so-called Patriarchal church, which remained directly under the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarch, and the Synodal church or Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, which is under a synod of émigré bishops who do not recognize the patriarch) are much smaller. The Synodal church is predominantly Russian in constituency, though it has attracted some emigrants from eastern Ukraine. The Patriarchal jurisdiction in North America is predominantly composed of former Uniates from Western Ukraine (in the United States) or from Bukovyna (in Canada), but only in western Canada do its members retain links to the Ukrainian community.

During the Second World War the UAOC was revived in German-occupied territories under the spiritual authority of Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church and the leadership of Polikarp Sikorsky. Several new bishops (including Mstyslav Skrypnyk) were consecrated for the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (the former Soviet Ukrainian territories). At the same time, two Ukrainians, Ivan Ohiienko and Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko, were consecrated as bishops for the Orthodox Ukrainians in the Generalgouvernement. Sikorsky was named metropolitan of the UAOC, and attempts were made to absorb surviving clergy from the UAOC of the 1920s into the church, although its radical reforms were not affirmed. A competing body, the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox church, was also organized in German-occupied Ukraine. This church, under Metropolitan Oleksii Hromadsky, recognized the authority of the Moscow patriarch over the Ukrainian church, although it considered this authority suspended as long as the church remained under Soviet control, and was supported by the more conservativeand Russified elements of the population. The German authorities encouraged this division to prevent the emergence of a united church in opposition to their rule.

After Soviet rule was consolidated throughout Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, both the UAOC and the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox church were destroyed, and most of the UAOC bishops and many priests fled to the West. The Ukrainian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox church (ROC) remained as the only legal church entity in Ukraine, and it was closely controlled by the regime. At the Lviv Sobor of 1946 the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church in Western Ukraine was forced to liquidate itself and join the ROC. The surviving hierarchy of the UAOC fled to Western Europe, where they re-established the church under Metropolitan Polikarp Sikorsky. When they also did not affirm the most radical reforms of the UAOC of the 1920s, an opposition emerged, and in 1947 the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Conciliar) under the leadership of Bishop Hryhorii Ohiichuk split from the UAOC. Since then the UAOC (Conciliar) has also split and reunited itself several times. Another jurisdiction, the short-lived Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Exile, was established under Bishop Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko in New York in 1951. Other bishops and priests of the UAOC also emigrated to North America, where they joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. In 1949 Archbishop Ioan Teodorovych underwent a reconsecration as part of an agreement to unite the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America and the newly arrived followers of the UAOC with his church. Manyparishes of the former and most of the clergy and believers of the latter took part in the unification, thereby creating the largest Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdiction in the United States of America, that was headed from 1970 by Metropolitan Mstyslav Skrypnyk. Skrypnyk was metropolitan of both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA (UOC-USA) and the UAOC (which included parishes in South America, Europe, and Australia), but the two bodies remained administratively independent.

In 1960 the three largest jurisdictions—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, UOC-USA, and UAOC—at a joint sobor resolved that outside Ukraine there is a single Ukrainian Orthodox church, which is autocephalous and conciliar and consists of three independent metropolies that create a single spiritual whole. This sobor also took steps to standardize liturgical practices and the training of priests for the churches. TheUkrainian Orthodox church in Australia, which dates only from the late 1940s, is split into two jurisdictions, one under the UAOC and the other under the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.

After the Second World War the Russian Orthodox church (ROC), in addition to assuming total control over the church in Ukraine, extended its authority over the Orthodox church in Poland. Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky was forced to resign his post and was replaced by a bishop from the ROC. At the same time the Moscow patriarch invalidated the 1924 Tomos of the patriarch of Constantinople granting autocephaly to the Polish church, and replaced it with its own grant of autocephaly. The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church, however, remains a Russian-dominated institution with occasional Polonizing tendencies, despite the fact that the majority of its believers are Ukrainians or Belarusians, and in recent years it has begun to protest this situation. The small Orthodox church in Slovakia has Ukrainian parishes in the Prešov region. The Romanian Orthodox church, which has several parishes in the largely Ukrainian Maramureş region and southern Bukovyna, is independent of Moscow. Since 1990 it has permitted an administration for Ukrainian believers. It also tolerates some practices of Ukrainian Orthodoxy and the limited use of the Ukrainian language in services, but has no Ukrainian hierarchs. In any case, none of the churches in the Ukrainian border states can be seen as national Ukrainian institutions.

The relative liberalization of the Gorbachev regime in the late 1980s permitted the rebirth of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in Ukraine. Several parishes andpriests began to leave the official Russian Orthodox church (ROC) and re-form themselves as a revived Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church. In 1989 Bishop I. Bodnarchuk left the ROC to head a new UAOC hierarchy. The church sobor in June 1990 elected MetropolitanMstyslav Skrypnyk as patriarch, and he was installed in October 1990. In response to these developments the ROC began granting its Ukrainian exarchate increased independence: it renamed it the Ukrainian Orthodox church and in October 1990 proclaimed that it was formally independent and administratively autonomous. The church was to be returned its right to choose its own metropolitan (although the candidate had to be approved by the Patriarch of Moscow) and hierarchs; the head of the church, however, was the former exarch, Metropolitan Filaret Denysenko. A struggle developed between the two jurisdictions over parishes and other church property in Ukraine. In general the UAOC had greater support in western and central Ukraine, where it is supported as a national church; the other church enjoys its greatest support in the more Russified east and south.

In November 1991 the all-Ukrainian sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, called by Metropolitan Filaret Denysenko, issued a request to the patriarch of Moscow for the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. The sobor of the ROC held in April 1992 refused that request and decided to replace Metropolitan Filaret with Volodymyr Slobodan. In response to this, at the aa-Ukrainian sobor in June 1992 one part of the UkrainianOrthodox church, led by Metropolitan Filaret, decided to separate from the ROC and unite with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox churchto form the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate. However, the UAOC Patriarch Mstyslav Skrypnyk did not accept this union, and today the three Ukrainian Orthodox churches—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church—exist separately and compete over parishes, church property, and the faithful in Ukraine.

Image - Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky. Image - A book of documents from the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor of 1921 (published by the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council). Image - The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church sobor in Pynsk (1942): sitting: Oleksander Inozemtsiv, Polikarp Sikorsky; standing: Nykanor Abramovych, Rev. Yurii, Ihor Huba.  Image - UAOC hierarchs in the late 1940s (first row l-r): Mykhail Khoroshy, Ihor Huba, Metr. Polikarp Sikorsky, Oleksander Inozemtsiv, Nikanor Abramovych, Mstyslav Skrypnyk, Sylvestr Haievsky.
Image - Saint Andrew's Church in Kyiv designed by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli and built in 1747-53.

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church [Українська Автокефальна Православна Церква or УАПЦ; Ukrainska Avtokefalna Pravoslavna Tserkva, or UAOC]. The national Ukrainian Orthodox church, independent (autocephalous) of all other church formations and with its own administrative structure and hierarchy.

The movement for an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church gained strength following the Ukrainian struggle of independence (1917–20) and the rebirth of a Ukrainian state. The All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council, with representatives of the clergy and laity from throughout Ukraine, began the process of Ukrainizing church life and establishing a permanent organizational structure for the Ukrainian church. The autocephaly of the church was proclaimed at a May 1920 sobor called by theAll-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council (a 1919 decree on church autocephaly by the Ukrainian National Republic had never been implemented owing to the upheavals of the Ukrainian-Soviet War, 1917–21). The church’s leaders, however, could not find a bishop to assume spiritual leadership or consecrate a new hierarchy for the church. The difficulty was resolved only at the first All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church sobor in Kyiv on 14–30 October 1921, when the delegates decided to revive an ancient Alexandrian rite, which did not require the participation of other bishops, to consecrate Vasyl Lypkivsky (as the church’s first metropolitan) and Nestor Sharaievsky. Soon after, these two bishops elevated several other bishops to the ranks of the new hierarchy.

A period of rapid growth for the UAOC began. By early 1924 the church had approximately 30 bishops, 1,500 priests and deacons, and 1,100 parishes. At its peak it had as many as 6 million followers in Ukraine. It also began to spread its influence to Ukrainian communities abroad; Evhen Batchinsky was designated as its representative in Western Europe, and Bishop Ioan Teodorovych was dispatched to minister to Ukrainians in North America. Administratively, it was divided into okruhas, each headed by a bishop and okruha sobor. The church was strongest in Podilia, Kyiv, Uman, and Cherkasy okruhas and in the city of Kyiv itself. In 1927–8 it published a monthly journal, Tserkva i zhyttia (Kharkiv).

The UAOC was closely allied with the Ukrainian national revival of the revolutionary period and the 1920s. It was primarily supported by the Ukrainian intelligentsia (and lower clergy) and envisioned playing a major role in raising the national consciousness of the masses. Politically it was committed to the social reforms of the Ukrainian National Republic (Volodymyr Chekhivsky, the most influential ideologue of the UAOC, had headed the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic). The theology and ecclesiology of the UAOC, as it evolved in the 1920s, was distinguished by several characteristics. One of the major tenets of the church was an insistence on the separation of church and state—largely a reaction to the state of affairs under tsarist rule, when the Orthodox church was essentially an arm of the state and a pillar of the autocratic system. Second, the leaders of the church were committed to the independence (autocephaly) of the UAOC; their argument was that the incorporation of the Ukrainian church into the Russian Orthodox church in the 17th century had been uncanonical. They called for jurisdictional independence from the Moscow patriarch and the creation of an independent churchhierarchy, equal to and recognized by the entire Orthodox community. A third feature of the new church was a commitment to conciliarism orsobor rule. This concept stressed the complete democratization and decentralization of church life and the active participation of the laity in decision-making, with sobors, attended by elected delegates of lay and clergy, replacing bishops as the highest authority in the church. Another important feature of the UAOC was the Ukrainization of the church rite, including the use of the vernacular (in place of Church Slavonic) and the revitalization of Ukrainian liturgical and ecclesiastical traditions. Finally, the ideology of the church stressed the Christianization of all aspects of life.

The canonical reforms adopted by the UAOC—the method used to consecrate its hierarchy, the introduction of an elected and married episcopate, the insistence on lay participation in church affairs, and so on—had tremendous ramifications for the church. These reforms, however, impeded relations with other Orthodox churches, even though the UAOC stressed its adherence to traditional Orthodoxy. The church was denounced as noncanonical by the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox church, and its leaders were ridiculed as samosviaty (self-consecrated). The Patriarchal church was especially concerned because the UAOC succeeded in acquiring many churches, including the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, and thereby posed a threat to its dominance.

From the outset the Soviet authorities sought to discredit all churches in Ukraine and limit their influence. The campaign against the UAOC involved exploiting internal divisions by supporting dissenting factions within the UAOC (eg, the Active Church of Christ) and favoring the more pro-Russian competing churches that emerged in the 1920s (eg, the Living church, which initially sought to subsume the UAOC, and the Sobor-Ruled Episcopalchurch). In 1926 a major GPU crackdown on the UAOC began, and Vasyl Lypkivsky was arrested and placed under house arrest. At the second All-Ukrainian Church Council he was replaced as metropolitan by Mykola Boretsky. The repression was eased for a brief time but resumed in full force in 1929. The church was accused of collaborating with the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU), and many of its leaders (includingVolodymyr Chekhivsky) were arrested. At an extraordinary sobor held in January 1930 the UAOC formally abolished itself, although some 300 of its parishes reconstituted themselves as the Ukrainian Orthodox church under Metropolitan Ivan Pavlovsky (this body was finally destroyed in 1936). The 1930s brought the physical liquidation of the entire hierarchy of the UAOC and many of its priests and faithful.

The Second World War. Although the UAOC was destroyed in Soviet Ukraine, Ukrainian Orthodoxy survived in those territories that came under Polish rule in the interwar period—Volhynia, Polisia, and the Kholm region. The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church, although not a specifically Ukrainian institution, permitted the use of the Ukrainian language and adherence to Ukrainian religious customs. One of its hierarchs,Polikarp Sikorsky, was of Ukrainian origin, and the metropolitan, Dionisii Valedinsky, supported the re-establishment of an independent Orthodox church in Soviet Ukraine. Following the German invasion of Ukraine in June 1941, efforts were immediately begun to revive the church there. Valedinsky assumed spiritual authority over the reborn UAOC, which was administered by Sikorsky (who was named metropolitan) and supported by Bishops Ivan Ohiienko and Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko of the Orthodox church in Poland (within the Generalgouvernement). New hierarchs were consecrated in Kyiv in February 1942 (Nykanor Abramovych, who was designated head of the church in theReichskommissariat Ukraine, and Ihor Huba) and in May 1942 (Mstyslav Skrypnyk, Mykhail Khoroshy, Sylvestr Haievsky, and HryhoriiOhiichuk). The reborn UAOC, although disavowing the radical canonical reforms of its predecessor of the 1920s, made accommodations for surviving clergy of the church. It grew quickly and soon claimed some 500 parishes.

The UAOC faced competition from another church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox church. Headed by Metropolitan OleksiiHromadsky, this church rejected the UAOC of the 1920s as uncanonical and would not accept former clergy from that church unless they were reordained. The autonomous church also recognized the spiritual authority of the Moscow patriarch over Ukraine, but considered this authority suspended as long as the patriarch was under Soviet domination. In general this church appealed to the Russian and Russified population ofUkraine, while the UAOC was closely tied to the Ukrainian national movement. Although some attempts were made to unite the two jurisdictions in 1941–2, these ultimately failed.

The diaspora. With the Soviet reoccupation of all of Ukraine by mid-1944, almost all the bishops and many of the priests and faithful of the UAOC fled to the West, and all the remaining parishes were dissolved or forced to join the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox church in Ukraine. The UAOC continued its activity among Ukrainian émigrés in Western Europe under the leadership of Polikarp Sikorsky. By 1947 it numbered 71 parishes with 103 priests and 18 deacons. The Theological Academy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was established in Munich to train priests, and a theological institute was founded. The church split at the Aschaffenburg Conference of August 1947, when a number of priests and faithful followed Archbishop Hryhorii Ohiichuk to form the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Conciliar). Followers of this church strictly adhered to the reforms of the UAOC of the 1920s, especially the principle of rule by the sobor, and rejected the authority of theSynod of Bishops of the UAOC, which had emerged as the church’s highest authority.

The UAOC in Western Europe declined with the emigration of many Ukrainians to North America, where most Orthodox emigrants joined the existing Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA (UOC-USA). New UAOC parishes, however, were established in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and South America. Polikarp Sikorsky, who died in 1953, was succeeded byNykanor Abramovych (1953–69) and then Mstyslav Skrypnyk, who was also metropolitan of the UOC-USA. Other hierarchs of the UAOC in the 1950s to 1980s included O. Ivaniuk (of Western Europe) Sylvestr Haievsky, Varlaam Solovii, D. Burtan, I. Danyliuk (Australia and New Zealand), M. Solovii, O. Pylypenko (South America), and V. Didovych (Western Europe, Australia). In the late 1980s the UAOC had 30 parishes, 11 priests, and 8,000 faithful in Western Europe; 23 parishes, 8 priests, and 4,000 faithful in Great Britain; 15 parishes, 8 priests, and 4,200 faithful in Australia and New Zealand; and 22 parishes, 10 priests, and 30,000 faithful in South America and a hierarchy composed of Skrypnyk, Bishop AnatoliiDubliansky (of Western Europe), and Bishop P. Ishchuk (of South America). Church organs are Ridna tserkva (Germany), Vidomosti Heneral’noho tserkovnoho upravlinnia UAPTs u Velykii Britaniï (Great Britain), Pratsia i zhyttia (Australia), and Pravoslavne zhyttia (Belgium).

Revival in Ukraine. The political liberalization of the late 1980s permitted the rebirth of the UAOC in Ukraine. Beginning in 1987 with the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Lviv, a number of parishes and priests seceded from the official Russian Orthodox church (ROC) and re-established the UAOC. In October 1989 I. Bodnarchuk, a bishop of the ROC, announced his resignation from that church and agreed to head the UAOC. Subsequently, assisted by a retired bishop of the ROC, he consecrated several new bishops. Relations were established with the UAOC abroad, andMstyslav Skrypnyk was elected patriarch of Kyiv and all Ukraine at the first sobor of the reborn UAOC, in June 1990 (he was installed the following November). By the end of 1990 the church hierarchy was composed of Patriarch Skrypnyk, Metropolitan I. Bodnarchuk of Lviv, and thebishops of Ternopil and Buchach, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia, Bila Tserkva and Vyshhorod, Chernivtsi and Khotyn, Lutsk andVolodymyr-Volynskyi, Uman, and Rivne and Ostrih. A seminary was established in Ivano-Frankivsk in 1991, and several journals and other publications were initiated. That year the UAOC had 944 parishes in Ukraine.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Heyer, F. Die Orthodoxe Kirche in der Ukraine von 1917 bis 1945 (Köln–Braunsfeld 1953)
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Bociurkiw, B. ‘The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, 1920–1930: A Case Study in Religious Modernization,’ in Religion and Modernization in the Soviet Union, ed D. Dunn (Boulder, Colo 1977)
Armstrong, J. Ukrainian Nationalism, 2nd edn (Littleton, Colo 1980)
Zinkevych, O.; Voronyn, O. (eds). Martyrolohiia ukraïns’kykh tserkov, vol 1, Ukraïns’ka Pravoslavna Tserkva (Toronto–Baltimore 1987)
Burko, D. Ukraïns’ka Avtokefal’na Pravoslavna Tserkva (South Bound Brook, NJ 1988)

 

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