History of the Ukrainian church
History of the Ukrainian church (overview).
Beginnings. Christianity had already penetrated some regions adjacent to the Black Sea known in antiquity as Scythia by the late first century. Saint Andrew, brother of Saint Peter, is said to have preached the message of Jesus Christ there. The western part of Scythia belonged to the Roman Empire, while the eastern part was an independent Hellenistic kingdom. During the vehement persecutions within the Roman Empire from the time of Nero, the Black Sea region became the place of exile of many Christians sentenced by Roman courts. Saint Clement I (pope, 88–97) was exiled to Chersonese Taurica where he is said to have died a martyr. His remains were brought later to Rome by the Apostle of the Slavs, Saint Cyril, and in 989 Pope John XV sent his skull to the prince of Kyiv, Volodymyr the Great, after the latter embraced the Christian faith (see Christianization of Ukraine). It is likely that Christianity spread at a very early date from the Hellenistic colonies (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast) to the neighboring Slavic tribes in the southern parts of today’s Ukraine. The Hellenistic settlements on the Black Sea vanished during the migration of nations, but the new invaders themselves adopted the Christian faith in the form of either Arianism (the Visigoths) or Eastern (Byzantine) Christianity (the Ostrogoths). The latter had a metropolitan see at Dorus in the northern Crimea that played an important role in converting the people living in the Sea of Azov region. The first Rus’ eparchy was created by the patriarch of Constantinople, probably at Tmutorokan on the Taman Peninsula, some time during the 9th century. This eparchy does not appear in the hierarchical lists before the 10th century. After the decline of the Khazars, the prince of Kyiv, Sviatoslav I Ihorovych, called the Conqueror, annexed the Tmutorokan principality (khaganate) to his realm in 965, and from 970 until the 12th century the eparchs of Tmutorokan were styling themselves archbishops. After the conversion of Rus’ proper and the capture of Korsun (Chersonese Taurica), they may have, in fact, become the proto-hierarchs of the Rus’ church. In Nestor the Chronicler’s chronicle, Povist’ vremennykh lit (Tale of Bygone Years), the see of Tmutorokan is called ‘kafolikani ikklisia’ (catholicate church). This suggests that the archbishops of Tmutorokan may have considered themselves autonomous, largely independent of the patriarch of Constantinople.
The liturgical language of the Tmutorokan eparchy was Greek, but Greek was later replaced by Church Slavonic, the liturgical language that came from Bulgaria and was adopted in all the eastern Slavic churches. The latter represented a current that originated from the missionary work of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, the apostles of the Slavs, and their disciples. The Slavic church rite used by these missionaries held an intermediate position between the Roman (Latin) rite and the Byzantine rite. This current also reached parts of Poland and western Rus’ and gave rise to the dioceses of Cracow and Peremyshl. It is known that during the reign of Mieszko I in Poland, who had received baptism in the Latin rite from Bohemia, there were priests who were married and used the Slavic-rite divine liturgy. Thus, 100 years before the official baptism of Rus’ in 989 (according to tradition in 988), parts of Rus’-Ukraine, including Tmutorokan Rus’ and Peremyshl, were already Christian. Christianity was not entirely absent in Kyivan Rus’ even before that decisive event. Princess Olha (945–64), who governed the Kyivan state until her son Sviatoslav I Ihorovych came of age, was baptized by Patriarch Theophylactos at Constantinople in 954 or 955. Her wish to Christianize the people of Rus’, after unsuccessful negotiations with Constantinople, led her to approach the German Emperor, Otto I, to ask for missionaries. However, the mission of Bishop Adalbert was frustrated by a strong pagan reaction that broke out under Sviatoslav I Ihorovych. Olha’s grandson, Yaropolk I Sviatoslavych, whom she had educated, wanted to realize her intentions, and again envoys were sent to the west. But the missionaries sent by Pope Benedict VII could do very little, as by then Kyiv was in the hands of Prince Volodymyr the Great, another of Olha’s grandsons, who had been brought up by his pagan uncle, Dobrynia. Volodymyr did not embrace the Christian religion until somewhat later, in 986 or 987. Having supported the Byzantine emperor in his wars, he was duly rewarded; he married the emperor’s sister, Anna, in Korsun (Chersonese Taurica) in 989. On his return to Kyiv, he declared Rus’ a Christian country. From then on he used all means to Christianize his realm. Yet the process of Christianization met strong opposition, and sporadic pagan reaction was felt even 100 years later. (See Christianization of Ukraine).
Little is known about the beginnings of the church hierarchy in Kyivan Rus’. The first hierarch residing in the capital was a Greek, Metropolitan Theopemptos, who was sent by the ecumenical patriarch Alexandros Studites in 1037 as a result of an agreement between the Byzantine emperor and Prince Yaroslav the Wise. There are three different theories on the rise of the hierarchy in Rus’. Many historians assume that it originated in Byzantium-Constantinople or in the west; the Russian historian M. Priselkov suggests that the Rus’ hierarchy, like the Church Slavonic liturgical language, originated in Bulgaria (in the Patriarchate of Ohrid). Other scholars suggest that Volodymyr the Great relied on the already existing Tmutorokan eparchy in the south and Peremyshl eparchy in the west. The following eparchies existed during his lifetime in Rus’, which comprised Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian lands: Kyiv eparchy, Novgorod eparchy, Chernihiv eparchy, Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy, Peremyshl eparchy, and, probably, Turiv eparchy.
Shortly after Volodymyr the Great’s death (1015) he and his grandmother, Princess Olha, came to be venerated as saints or ‘equals of the apostles’ in Rus’. However, the Byzantine church recognized this veneration only two centuries later. The struggle for the Kyivan throne among Volodymyr’s sons interrupted the ecclesiastical and missionary development in Rus’, and the Greek metropolitan’s jurisdiction ended abruptly six years after his arrival in the capital because of the war between Rus’ and Byzantium. This war (1043–6) interrupted the political as well as the ecclesiastical relations between the two states. In 1051 Yaroslav the Wise (1019–54) convoked a synod of bishops and installed Ilarion as metropolitan without having asked for the consent of the ecumenical patriarch. Metropolitan Ilarion governed the Rus’ church until about 1065. The number of eparchies was also augmented at that time: Pereiaslav eparchy, Yuriiv eparchy, and Bilhorod eparchy (near Kyiv) were added; the latter two were parts of Kyiv eparchy, and their hierarchs were assistant bishops to the metropolitan.
With the introduction of Christianity, Rus’ culture, architecture, and education flourished, fostered by the Greek clergy, artists, and artisans accompanying Volodymyr the Great’s Greek wife, Anna. Saint Anthony of the Caves, founder of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, had experienced monastic life at Mount Athos. As well, some native hierarchs such as Ilarion, who eventually became metropolitan (1031–54?), and Luka Zhydiata of Novgorod, excelled in erudition.
Under Constantinople. Around 1069, Byzantium sent another Greek metropolitan, Georgios (see Metropolitan Heorhii), to head the Rus’ church. But because he would not recognize the sanctity of the local martyrs, Georgios was forced to return to Byzantium some four years later. It was only in 1080 that the metropolitan see was again filled by a Greek, Ioannes II, whose successor, Ioannes III, occupied the Kyiv see for only one year. During the seven-year vacancy that followed, Bishop Yefrem of Pereiaslav governed the metropoly. Yefrem was a native boyar who had become a monk of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, which had been reformed by its third hegumen, Saint Theodosius of the Caves, according to the rules of Saint Theodore Studite which changed it from the eremitic to the cenobitic way of life. Under Yefrem the feast of the transference of the relics of Saint Nicholas of Myra was introduced in Rus’. Yefrem was succeeded by Nicholas (1097–1103), during whose rule Rostov eparchy came into being. Here the missionaries Leontii and Isaiah, monks of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, were martyred.
The three Greek metropolitans of Kyiv—Metropolitan Nicephorus (1103–21), Metropolitan Nicetas (1122–6), and Metropolitan Michael I (1130–45)—spread polemical writings and incited feelings of hostility against the Western church. They also tried to impose Greek hierarchs on the other established eparchies and were partly successful, especially in the northern part of Kyiv metropoly. A serious conflict between Michael and Prince Vsevolod Olhovych forced the metropolitan to leave Rus’. Vsevolod’s successor on the Kyivan throne, Iziaslav Mstyslavych, summoned a synod of the hierarchy in 1147. Presided over by Bishop Onufrii of Chernihiv, the synod elected Klym Smoliatych, an erudite monk of the Zarub Monastery, as metropolitan. During his enthronement Smoliatych was blessed with the relics of Saint Clement I. Under him monastic life underwent a considerable revival. He governed the Rus’ church until about 1154 and subsequently headed the Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy. He probably died before the devastation of Kyiv in 1169 by the prince of Suzdal and Vladimir, Andrei Bogoliubskii.
Though Rome and Constantinople had had no ecclesiastical communion with each other from 1054, relations between state and church in Rus’ on the one hand and Rome on the other were maintained. Pope Gregory VII granted Prince Iziaslav Mstyslavych royal status. The latter sent a pallium for the tomb of Saint Adalbert-Wojciech in Gniezno, Poland. In the 12th century Rus’ princes and boyars contributed financially to the construction of the churches of Saint Jacob and Saint Gertrude at Regensburg, Bavaria. Only after 1204, when the Crusaders devastated Constantinople and its sanctuaries, did relations with the West worsen; Greek hierarchs coming from Nicea disseminated anti-Latin sentiments. Greek metropolitans remained in continuous succession until the Mongol capture of Kyiv in 1240.
After the Mongol invasion Prince Mykhail Vsevolodovych of Chernihiv became prince of Kyiv and installed Petro Akerovych as metropolitan (1242–6). Akerovych attended the Ecumenical Council of Lyons in 1245. In the mid-13th century Prince Danylo Romanovych of Halych became the ruler of Rus’. In 1245 he asked Pope Innocent IV for help against the Tatars and for royal status. In his reply in the same year the pope addressed him as ‘king.’ Danylo Romanovych, his nobles, and the clergy were prepared to acknowledge the pope as the head of the church. However, the union with Rome by Danylo and his brother, Vasylko Romanovych, who resided at Volodymyr-Volynskyi, was politically motivated. After his coronation in 1253, when the expected assistance against the Tatars did not materialize, Danylo broke off relations with Rome. Having appointed Cyril II as metropolitan of Kyiv, Danylo sent him to the ecumenical patriarch for consecration. The patriarch obliged on two conditions: the metropolitan was not to reside in the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia and was to foster good relations with the Tatars, who were the enemies of the Latin empire at Constantinople. Keeping this promise, the metropolitan resided either at Kyiv, Pereiaslav, or Vladimir-on-the-Kliazma. A zealous pastor, Cyril summoned a synod at Vladimir in 1274, which adopted a number of ecclesiastical reforms. He also succeeded in getting important privileges for the church from the Golden Horde, which permitted him to create an eparchy in their capital, Sarai.
When his successor, the Greek metropolitan Maximos (1283–1305), transferred the metropolitan’s residence from Kyiv to Vladimir, the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia reacted strongly and demanded a separate metropoly from Constantinople. Patriarch Athanasios consented to this demand, and Niphont became the first metropolitan of Halych metropoly in 1302. After Niphont’s death in 1305, the prince of Galicia-Volhynia, Yurii Lvovych, sent the hegumen of Ratna Monastery, Petro, to Constantinople for episcopal consecration. Since Maximos died at that time, the patriarch and his synod appointed Petro as the sole metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych (1308–26), under the condition that he would reside in the north. Metropolitan Petro of Kyiv transferred his residence to Moscow, retaining, however, the title of metropolitan of Kyiv, Halych, and all Rus’. Thus, he laid the foundations for a new independent ecclesiastical development in the Moscow principality. In the end Kyiv metropoly was divided by the patriarch. A separate metropolitan had to be appointed not only for Halych metropoly but also for the Lithuanian metropoly (from 1317). Despite the efforts of the Greek metropolitan of Kyiv, Theognostos (1328–53), who succeeded Petro, to suppress the rival metropolitan sees and to unite them with the see of Kyiv at Moscow, the disintegration could not be stopped. Metropolitan Theodore of Halych (1337–47) acquired power even in the eparchies of the Kyiv region and the Chernihiv region.
In the mid-14th century the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia collapsed and Halych metropoly ceased to exist. Theognostos, the Kyiv metropolitan residing in Moscow, himself appointed Aleksei (1354–78), with the consent of the ruler, as his successor. However, the Lithuanian grand prince Algirdas, supported by the princes of Tver, sent his candidate, Roman, to Constantinople, denying Aleksei any jurisdiction in his realm. To satisfy the rules of canon law, the partriarch ordained Aleksei metropolitan of ‘Kyiv and all Rus'’ and Roman metropolitan of ‘Lithuania and Volhynia.’ In 1356 the Lithuanian metropolitan, by decision of the Holy Synod in Constantinople, was to exercise jurisdiction over the Polatsk and Turiv eparchy, Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy, Lutsk eparchy, Kholm eparchy, Halych eparchy, and Peremyshl eparchy. The metropolitan also considered Tver as his suffragan see, though officially it belonged to the Moscow metropoly ‘of Kyiv.’ After Metropolitan Roman’s death in 1361 Aleksei tried to prevent the appointment of his successor, but in 1371 Algirdas demanded from the patriarch the ordination of a metropolitan with jurisdiction over Kyiv, Smolensk, Tver, Little Rus’ (Halych, Kholm, Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Lutsk, Turiv, and Peremyshl), Novosel, and Nizhnii Novgorod. In the same year the Polish king, Casimir III the Great, demanded from Patriarch Philotheos the re-establishment of Halych metropoly with Bishop Antonii as its titular head. The patriarch had to give in. In the letter of appointment, however, Metropolitan Antonii was given jurisdiction only over the Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy, Peremyshl eparchy, and Kholm eparchy suffragan sees, all of which were under Polish rule.
In 1373 the patriarch sent the monk Cyprian, a native of Serbia, to investigate the situation in Rus’. He succeeded in being ordained as metropolitan of ‘Kyiv and all Rus'’ and took up his residence in Moscow in 1389. Metropolitan Cyprian managed to unite the Lithuanian metropoly and Halych metropoly to his see. After Metropolitan Antonii’s death in 1391 the efforts of the Polish-Lithuanian king Jagiełło to establish Bishop Ivan of Lutsk as metropolitan of Halych failed. Metropolitan Cyprian succeeded in obtaining from Constantinople the abolition of Halych metropoly in 1401. Only a vicar remained in Halych to administer the ecclesiastical property. In 1406 the Halych eparchy itself was dissolved for the next 130 years. Later laymen, appointed by the Latin-rite archbishop of Lviv, functioned as administrators, which brought the major part of the Orthodox church’s property into the possession of the Latin archdiocese.
After having failed in his efforts to establish Bishop Teodosii of Polatsk as metropolitan of Kyiv, Grand Duke Vytautas the Great of Lithuania was prepared to accept Photios, Metropolitan Cyprian’s successor in Moscow (1408–31), if the latter visited the Western eparchies more frequently. But the bishops complained that the metropolitan would then take away the church treasures to Moscow. Because of this, the ruler convoked the bishops to Navahrudak in 1414 for the election of a new metropolitan. The metropolitan-elect, Gregory Tsamblak (a Bulgarian), was, however, refused consecration by Constantinople. Eventually, he was ordained in 1415 by the bishops of Polatsk, Smolensk, Lutsk, Chernihiv, Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Turiv, Peremyshl, and Kholm, who invoked as precedent the 1147 election of Klym Smoliatych. Tsamblak’s excommunication, Constantinople’s reply to this act, was simply ignored in Rus’. In 1418 Metropolitan Tsamblak attended the ecumenical council at Constance, where he expressed his desire for the ecclesiastical communion between the Eastern and Western churches. But on his return he died (1419). Now Vytautas and Photios became reconciled. After the latter’s death—Vytautas had died one year before—in 1431, Grand Duke Švitrigaila’s candidate, Bishop Herasym of Smolensk, ascended the metropolitan's throne, but in 1435 he was accused of high treason and burned at the stake. His successor was again a Greek, Isidore (1437–58), one of the most erudite and enlightened men of his time. He took part in the Council of Ferrara-Florence as a member of the Orthodox delegation. Like his patriarch, Joseph II, Metropolitan Isidore was in favor of restoring ecclesiastical communion between the East and West and signed the act establishing the Church Union of Florence. After the council in 1439, he left Florence, as legate of Pope Eugenius IV, for Rus’, Lithuania, Livonia, and Poland. He met with opposition both from the Polish Catholic hierarchy and from those in power in Moscow. Imprisoned in Moscow in 1441, Isidore was able, however, to escape and eventually return to Kyiv. He returned to Rome and, in 1458, resigned as metropolitan of Kyiv and all Rus’.
By order of Grand Prince Vasilii of Moscow, Bishop Iona of Riazan was appointed metropolitan in 1448 without the consent of the patriarch of Constantinople. Because of the Church Union of Florence this was now considered schismatic. The Moscow church thus declared its autocephaly, which was recognized by Constantinople only in 1589. Iona’s successor, Feodosii, assumed the title of metropolitan of Moscow and all Rus’.
In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Hryhorii II Bolharyn became metropolitan of Kyiv and ‘all Rus'’ in 1458. He was consecrated by the fugitive patriarch, Gregory IV Mammas of Constantinople, in Rome, receiving jurisdiction over the eparchies of Briansk, Kholm, Halych, Lutsk, Peremyshl, Polatsk, Turiv, Smolensk, and Volodymyr-Volynskyi. His efforts to bring Moscow under his see failed. After his death in 1472 the see was headed by metropolitans Mysail Pstruch (1475–80), Metropolitan Symeon (1480–8), Iona I Hlezna (1492–4), Makarii I (1495–7), Yosyf I Bolharynovych (1498–1501), and Iona II (1502–7). The latter was succeeded by Metropolitan Yosyf II Soltan (1507–21), a zealous pastor who convoked the Synod of Vilnius in 1509, one of the most important events in Ukrainian-Belarusian church history. From the time of Yosyf III (1522–34) the Kyivan metropolitans opposed union with Rome; Yosyf III was succeeded by Makarii II (1534–56), Sylvester Belkevych (1556–67), Iona III Protasovych (1568–77), and Illia Kucha (1577–9). Beginning in 1522 the metropolitans were simply appointed by the Polish kings; some of them, like some bishops, were raised to the episcopal rank without any ecclesiastical vocation. During their time Protestantism also influenced parts of Rus’. As a reaction against the double threat from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, religious brotherhoods came into existence, the first of which was established at the Dormition Church in Lviv. The Lviv Dormition Brotherhood, Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood, and Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross, as well as the rich Vilnius Monastery, Slutsk Monastery, and Krekhiv Monastery, were granted by Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople during his visit to Rus’ the right of stauropegion, which made them independent of the local church hierarchy. Relations between the brotherhoods and Metropolitan Onysyfor Divochka (1579–89) worsened. Through the influence of the brotherhoods Mykhailo Rahoza, archimandrite of the Minsk Monastery, became metropolitan of Kyiv and all Rus’ in 1588. Under him the Church Union of Berestia, which split the Orthodox church and created the Uniate church in Ukraine, took place in 1596.
The divided church in Ukraine. Many factors contributed to the Church Union of Berestia: spiritual decay; the little interest Patriarch Jeremiah II took in the welfare of Kyiv metropoly; the simoniac practices of his alleged representative, Archbishop Dionysios; the pressure of both the Latin church and Protestantism; and last, but not least, the appointment of Bishop Kyrylo Terletsky of Lutsk as patriarchal exarch to control the metropolitan. A union with Rome, it was hoped, would offer Kyiv metropoly more protection from the interference of both the Latin and the Muscovite churches as well as from the Polish authorities. Bishop Hedeon Balaban of Lviv, who later joined the antiunion camp, was the first to enter into negotiations with the Latin archbishop of Lviv. Bishop Balaban was also hoping to get rid of the local Lviv Dormition Brotherhood. He won the support of several other bishops, including those of Lutsk and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, who eventually became the leaders of the church union movement. Opposition to the union was led by Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky, whose influence led Bishop Balaban to withdraw from the Uniate camp. Initially the prince was not an adversary of a union, but he wished to have certain conditions fulfilled. Metropolitan Mykhailo Rahoza joined the other bishops only in 1595 when the act was signed. At a synod held at Berestia on 12 June 1595, bishops Ipatii Potii and Kyrylo Terletsky were elected as delegates of the church hierarchy to realize the union in Rome. Pope Clement VIII proclaimed the ecclesiastical communion on 23 December 1595, guaranteeing the Rus’ church retention of the Byzantine rite and the rights of the metropolitans, including the royal privileges they had obtained in the Orthodox church. In October 1596 the union was proclaimed at a synod in Berestia. All the bishops, except those of Lviv and Peremyshl, and representatives of monastic and eparchial clergy took part in this synod.
The antiunionists assembled at another synod under the leadership of Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky and bishops Hedeon Balaban and Mykhail Kopystensky; present were members of the nobility, a good number of hegumens and other clergy, and the representatives of the patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria, Nicephorus and Cyril Lucaris. They appealed to King Sigismund III Vasa, declaring the synod headed by the metropolitan to be illegal. The king supported the union, but he was eventually unable to fulfill his promises regarding the equal status of the Uniate church and the Latin-rite church, owing to opposition from within the Polish hierarchy to his ‘Message to the Ruthenian Nation’ on 15 December 1596. These events split Kyiv metropoly into two. Searching for allies, the Orthodox formed an alliance with the Protestants at Vilnius in 1599. The latter were headed by Prince Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł. In their struggle with the Catholics the Lithuanian court, where the Protestants had a majority, played an important role. After Metropolitan Mykhailo Rahoza’s death in 1599, Bishop Ipatii Potii succeeded him as Uniate metropolitan of Kyiv, while retaining his old eparchy. Under him the struggle with the Protestant-Orthodox alliance continued. Prince Ostrozky remained the leader of the Orthodox until his death in 1608. Despite all the opposition and the negative attitude or indifference of the Latin Catholics, the efforts of Metropolitan Potii did not remain without success. When he died in 1614, however, the union was not yet fully realized in Peremyshl eparchy and Lviv eparchy and in some parts of Belarus.
Potii’s successor was Yosyf Rutsky, the titular bishop of Halych and a convert from Calvinism. Rutsky devoted himself to giving monastic life a new organization and the clergy a good spiritual and theological foundation. He obtained a decree from Pope Urban VIII in 1634, prohibiting the reception of Uniate faithful into the Latin church, which, however, was ignored by both the Polish king and the Roman Catholic clergy. Indeed, only one year earlier the Polish primate Bembicki had demanded the abolition of the union from the pope.
The Ukrainian Cossacks opposed union with Rome. Under Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny they succeeded in having a new Orthodox hierarchy consecrated at Kyiv in 1620 by Patriarch Theophanes III of Jerusalem on his return from Moscow. At that time there was but one Orthodox bishop in Ukraine: Ye. Tysarovsky of Lviv. Now the Orthodox received a new metropolitan of Kyiv, Yov Boretsky (1620–31), and several eparchs: Meletii Smotrytsky of Polatsk, who later converted to Catholicism, Isaia Kopynsky of Peremyshl, Y. Kurtsevych-Koriiatovych of Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Isaakii Boryskovych of Lutsk, and P. Ipolytovych of Kholm. Though the king did not recognize the new hierarchy, Metropolitan Boretsky and Archbishop Smotrytsky were eager to revive Orthodox life in Kyiv and other centers of Ukraine. In the intensifying Uniate-Orthodox conflict, both sides suffered losses; in 1623 the Uniate archbishop Yosafat Kuntsevych of Polatsk was murdered. In this complex atmosphere the Orthodox turned to Moscow for support, while the Uniates sought the support of the Polish authorities. But since Metropolitan Isaia Kopynsky (1631–2) had not obtained royal installation, he was deposed and confined to the Kyivan Cave Monastery in 1633. Archimandrite Petro Mohyla of the same monastery was raised to the dignity of Orthodox metropolitan of Kyiv (1633–47). Under Mohyla the Ukrainian Orthodox church experienced an institutional and spiritual renaissance. Mohyla paid special attention to the development of education and theological scholarship, the revival of monasticism, and the restoration of churches. He died in 1647 leaving behind a flourishing Orthodox church, including the famous Kyivan academy bearing his name (see Kyivan Mohyla Academy), schools, printing presses, and hospitals.
In an atmosphere of mutual distrust and struggle between the Orthodox and the Uniates, the more enlightened in the divided nation began to think of reconciliation under a proposed Ukrainian-Belarusian Uniate Kyiv patriarchate. The first attempts at this took place in 1623, when negotiations with the Orthodox were begun by Metropolitan Yosyf Rutsky. The idea of a patriarchate was revived after Archbishop Meletii Smotrytsky secretly joined the Catholic church in 1627. Together with newly elected Archimandrite Petro Mohyla, he prepared a synod of the Orthodox hierarchy to be held at Kyiv in the same year. Another synod of bishops met in 1628, but the proposed joint Uniate-Orthodox synod at Lviv in the following year proved a failure. Negotiations for the unification of Ukrainian churches continued under Rutsky’s successors, Rafail Korsak (1637–40) and Antonii Atanasii Seliava (1640–55).
The Hetman state under Bohdan Khmelnytsky partially dissolved the Uniate church. Through the Treaty of Zboriv (1649), the Orthodox church obtained a series of privileges in Poland and a good part of the properties held by the Uniate church. Metropolitan Antonii Atanasii Seliava died deprived of all his properties in 1655. The Treaty of Bila Tserkva annulled certain parts of the Treaty of Zboriv, but the situation did not change essentially. Under Cossack rule the Orthodox church, headed by Metropolitan Sylvestr Kosiv (1647–57), continued to flourish. However, after the Pereiaslav Treaty of 1654, the tsar and the patriarchate of Moscow intensified their efforts to subordinate Kyiv metropoly to Moscow, despite strong opposition from the Ukrainian church hierarchy and clergy. The Muscovite-Polish war brought large parts of Belarus and Lithuania under Moscow’s control and caused the death of many Eastern and Latin Catholics. For about 10 years the Uniate metropolitan see remained vacant. The Treaty of Hadiach (1658) provided that Orthodoxy should be the predominant religion in Kyiv voivodeship, Bratslav voivodeship, and Chernihiv voivodeship. But in 1659, during new tensions between Muscovy and Poland, Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky was overthrown while the Cossacks sided with Moscow. The Treaty of Andrusovo (1667) between Muscovy and Poland, followed by the so-called Eternal Peace of 1686, spelled an end to the independence and unity of the Hetman state. The Starodub, Chernihiv, and other territories in Left-Bank Ukraine went to Muscovy; the rest remained in the Polish Kingdom. Metropolitan Yosyf Neliubovych-Tukalsky (1663–75) and his successor Antin Vynnytsky (until 1679) remained in the Polish part. Soon, however, Kyiv metropoly came under the control of the Moscow patriarchate.
The Ukrainian Orthodox church under Russian rule. Contrary to canon law the Moscow patriarchate installed ‘guardians’ of Kyiv metropoly, bishops Lazar Baranovych of Chernihiv and Maksym Fylymonovych of Mstsislau. In 1685 the tsar ordered the election of a new metropolitan, and Hetman Ivan Samoilovych convened an electoral synod in Kyiv. The bishop of Lutsk, Prince Hedeon Sviatopolk-Chetvertynsky, was elected metropolitan (1685–90) and was subsequently confirmed at Moscow. Part of the the Ukrainian clergy protested at Constantinople, but Patriarch Dionysios, under pressure from the Turkish government and from Moscow, from where he used to get subsidies, simply transferred the jurisdiction of Kyiv metropoly to the Moscow patriarchate.
Though the Cossack Hetman state continued to exist formally and the Ukrainian Orthodox church, according to the tsar’s charter, was supposed to enjoy wide autonomy, both were far from being autonomous. Before long all the suffragan eparchies of Kyiv metropoly, including the restored Pereiaslav eparchy (1700), came under the direct jurisdiction of Moscow; even the leading Kyivan monasteries were exempted from the metropolitan’s jurisdiction when they were granted stauropegion rights from Moscow.
Under Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1678–1709) there was some hope for the restoration of religious rights. Because they were well educated, Ukrainian bishops even received higher ecclesiastical offices in Muscovy, but the failure of Mazepa’s campaign to liberate Ukraine had dire consequences on any real political or religious autonomy in Ukraine. On the tsar’s orders Mazepa was anathematized by the Muscovite church (the Ukrainian hierarchs were forced to take part in this act). In 1721 Peter I abolished the Moscow patriarchate and replaced it with the Holy Synod, presided over by the tsar’s representative, the ober-prokuror. Three archbishops of Ukrainian descent, T. Yanovsky of Novgorod, Stefan Yavorsky of Riazan, and Teofan Prokopovych of Pskov, were appointed to the synod several years after the death of Metropolitan Yoasaf Krokovsky (1708–18). Varlaam Vonatovych (1722–30) was appointed archbishop of Kyiv by the tsar, thus abolishing the Kyivan tradition of electing metropolitans. Vonatovych was succeeded by Rafail Zaborovsky (1731–47), who in 1743 was given back the title of metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych. His successors were Tymofii Shcherbatsky (1748–57), the first Kyivan metropolitan to be transferred to the Moscow see; Arsenii Mohyliansky (1757–70); and Havryil Kremianetsky (1770– 83), during whose time the Holy Synod even usurped the appointment of the superiors of the monasteries. Monastic property was secularized when Samuil Myslavsky occupied the Kyivan see (1783–96). Russian replaced Latin as the language of instruction at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy. Ye. Malytsky (1796–9) was the last Ukrainian to be appointed metropolitan of Kyiv. His successor was H. Banulesco-Bodoni (1799–1803), a Moldavian. All subsequent Kyivan metropolitans appointed by the tsars were Russian. Among them, Metropolitan Evgenii Bolkhovitinov (1822–37) distinguished himself as a learned man who made important contributions to culture, education, and research, especially at the Kyiv Theological Academy, which replaced in 1819 the Kyivan Mohyla Academy closed two years earlier.
The Kyiv Theological Academy as well as the ten eparchial theological seminaries became essentially Russian schools. The Ukrainian redaction of the Church Slavonic language was replaced by the Russian. Russian came to predominate in sermons, which traditionally had been more frequent in Ukraine than in Russia. The Russian liturgical prescriptions were also to be observed in the ecclesiastical rites, and even the external appearance of the Russian clergy was adopted. The Ukrainian architectural styles (Cossack baroque or rococo) were prohibited in 1800, and churches and chapels had to be built according to the Russian style. The Russification of the church, directed against Ukrainian spiritual and cultural identity, met with some success among the clergy in Ukraine. By the early 20th century many of them had become members of Russian extreme-right political organizations, and the Pochaiv Monastery in Volhynia, under Archimandrite V. Maksymenko, was transformed into a major center of Russian nationalist propaganda.
Nevertheless, many Ukrainian traits survived in the church. The local traditions proved strong: for example, the blessing of special traditional foods at Christmas and Easter, the blessing of houses with holy water, carolling during the Christmas season, praying over graves, religious processions, etc. The hereditary rural-parish system (from father to son or son-in-law) was also an important obstacle to complete Russification. The Ukrainian influence penetrated from priests’ families into the theological seminaries, where a good number of prominent political and cultural figures of the Ukrainian national revival in the 19th century were educated. Tsarist prohibitions of publications in Ukrainian (Petr Valuev’s circular, 1863, and Ems Ukase, 1876) delayed for many years the appearance of the Ukrainian translation of the Bible (by Panteleimon Kulish and Ivan Puliui); it was published in Vienna only in 1903. Within the Russian Empire it was only in 1906, after the Revolution of 1905, that the Gospels were published in Ukrainian, translated by Pylyp Morachevsky and edited by Bishop Parfenii Levytsky (who, while occupying the Podilia see, permitted his clergy to preach and teach in Ukrainian). Bishop A. Hudko of Kremianets himself preached in Ukrainian villages. Archbishop Oleksii Dorodnytsyn translated prayer books. The Ukrainian caucus in the Russian State Duma included several clergymen. Such leading Ukrainian political figures as Symon Petliura, Viacheslav Prokopovych, Volodymyr Chekhivsky, and Oleksander Lototsky were priests’ sons.
The Uniate church in the 17th-19th century under Poland and Russia. During the second half of the 17th century the Polish government subjected the Uniate church to growing discrimination. After Metropolitan Antonii Atanasii Seliava’s death in 1655, no successor was appointed for 10 years. It was only in 1666 that Bishop Yakiv Susha of Kholm secured Rome’s confirmation of the new Uniate metropolitan, the exiled archbishop of Polatsk and administrator of the metropoly, Havryil Kolienda. The metropolitan also became the protoarchimandrite of the Basilian monastic order. After the Treaty of Andrusovo, the Polish king, Jan II Casimir Vasa, approved again the previous privileges of the Eastern Catholics. His successors, Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki and Jan III Sobieski, also supported the Uniate church.
In 1680 Jan III Sobieski convoked representatives of the Uniate and Orthodox churches to Lublin (‘colloquium lublinense’) to achieve an understanding between the two churches, but the meeting failed to overcome their differences. In spite of the rights and privileges granted to the Orthodox in Right-Bank Ukraine by the Eternal Peace of 1686 concluded between Poland and Muscovy, the Uniate church grew in strength. In 1681 the archimandrites of the Univ, Ovruch, and Melets monasteries accepted the union, followed by Peremyshl eparchy (under Bishop Inokentii Vynnytsky) in 1692, Lviv eparchy (under Bishop Yosyf Shumliansky) in 1700, and Lutsk eparchy (under Bishop Denys Dionysii Zhabokrytsky) in 1702. In 1708 the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood and in 1712 the Pochaiv Monastery joined the Union. Metropolitan Havryil Kolienda was succeeded by Archbishop Kypriian Zhokhovsky of Polatsk (1674–93) and Bishop Lev Zalensky (1694–1708), while the metropolitans of Kyiv retained their former eparchies. In 1708 Bishop Yurii Vynnytsky of Peremyshl became the new Uniate metropolitan. He was succeeded by Bishop Lev Kyshka of Berestia (1714–28), who convened the important Synod of Zamostia in 1720, which for many years to come shaped the organization, rituals, and orientation of the Uniate church, bringing it closer to Roman Catholicism. The Uniate metropoly now had nine eparchies, seven of them in Ukraine. The synod had the aim of raising the religious and moral life in the metropoly. Certain elements of Latinization were introduced into the Eastern church rite, which further alienated the two Ukrainian-Belarusian churches. Latinization was accompanied by Polonization, especially among the upper strata of the clergy. Consequently, the Uniate church lost most of its adherents among the nobility; in addition, the more Polonized the upper clergy became, the more the higher and lower clergy became alienated from one another. Metropolitan Atanasii Sheptytsky (1729–46), the bishop of Lviv, continued the reforms of the synod. The Basilian monastic order experienced a revival and helped give the eparchial clergy a thorough clerical formation. From 1748 to 1762 Archbishop Floriian Hrebnytsky of Polatsk was the metropolitan. His successors in the metropolitan’s office were Bishop Fylyp Volodkovych (1762–78) of Volodymyr-Volynskyi and Bishop Lev Sheptytsky of Lviv (1778–9).
The Orthodox eparchy of Mahiliou, Mstsislau, and Orsha, the only one in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was under the protection of Russia, and Empress Catherine II demanded, through her envoy in Warsaw, the restitution of all former Orthodox churches. The pressure from Russia became even stronger after Metropolitan Lev Sheptytsky’s death. From 1764 Poland was ruled by Catherine’s minion, Stanislaus II Augustus Poniatowski (1764–98), under whom the partitions of Poland took place. The first partition (1772) split the territory of the Uniate metropoly among Poland, Russia, and Austria. Before long, after the third partition (1795), only the southern parts of the metropoly remained outside the Russian Empire. After Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s death, the Polish king appointed Archbishop Yason Smohozhevsky of Polatsk metropolitan (1780–8). During the subsequent three-year vacancy of the see of Polatsk, Empress Catherine attempted to make the eparchy Orthodox by imposing Orthodox priests on 800 Catholic parishes. Pope Pius VI protested against this measure. In her efforts Catherine found an ally in the Roman Catholic bishop S. B. Siestrzencewicz, whom she raised to the rank of archbishop of Mahiliou in 1782. Rome finally succeeded in getting Heraklii Lisovsky installed as archbishop of Polatsk in 1783.
In 1785 the Orthodox archbishop of Minsk and Chernihiv, Viktor Sadkovsky, was made the superior of the mission for ‘converting the Uniates.’ The military commanders were ordered to give the archbishop all assistance in achieving his task. With their help, Sadkovsky was successful in suppressing many parishes. At Polatsk, Minsk, Lutsk, and Mahiliou, the Russian government appointed Orthodox bishops. Only in the southern parts adjoining Galicia did the ‘mission’ meet with resistance. After the third partition of Poland Catherine II suppressed all the Uniate eparchies with the exception of Polatsk. Metropolitan Teodosii Rostotsky (1788–1805) was ordered to abstain from any act of jurisdiction and to transfer his residence to Saint Petersburg. The remaining bishops received a pension and were sent to central Russia; only Bishop Porfyrii Vazhynsky of Kholm escaped to Lviv, where he resided until Catherine’s death in 1796. Catherine’s successors, Paul I (1796–1801) and Alexander I (1801–25), embarked on a more tolerant and lenient policy towards the Uniates. Already in 1798 a part of the Uniate church hierarchy was restored (in the eparchies of Berestia and Lutsk), and many of those exiled to Siberia were allowed to return home. Alexander I appointed Heraklii Lisovsky (1806–9) and, later, Hryhorii Onufrii Kokhanovych (1809–14) metropolitan, but refused to acknowledge for them the title ‘of Kyiv’ (they each bore the title ‘metropolitan of the Uniate church in Russia’). Rome viewed these developments with suspicion and refused to grant either of these metropolitans formal recognition; nevertheless, it tolerated the newly improved situation. The metropolitans, especially Lisovsky, desired to bring changes to their church by purging it of Latin influences and recovering those who had been converted to Roman Catholicism. However, their short terms as metropolitans did not allow for much progress along these lines. After the death of Metropolitan Kokhanovych in 1814 his position was not filled for three years. Only in 1817 did Alexander I appoint Yosafat Ihnatii Bulhak (1817–38) as his successor. Two years later, in 1819, Rome confirmed Bulhak as the delegate of the Holy See, but refused to grant him the title of metropolitan.
The Uniate church in the Russian Empire was placed under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Collegium, created in 1801 as a special governmental department. In 1804 a separate department under Heraklii Lisovsky was created within this collegium for the affairs of the Uniates. The Uniates were also allowed to organize one theological seminary, in Vilnius. By 1825 the Ukrainian-Belarusian Uniate church was composed of one metropoly and four eparchies.
The reign of Nicholas I (1825–55) once again witnessed the harsh attitude of the Russian state against the Uniates. Nicholas had already restricted the activities and rights of the Basilians in 1827. In the next year he separated the Uniate department from the Roman Catholic collegium and, at the same time, abolished two eparchies—Lutsk and Berestia. In 1829 Yosyf Semashko, assessor of the Uniate department, became a bishop and was given the task of purging the rite of Latin influences. Nicholas’s plans were to abolish the Uniate church altogether, and he found a good pretext to do so when a number of Uniate priests and monks were accused of participating in the Polish insurrection of 1830–1. In 1832 the authorities dissolved the Basilian monastic order. A few years later, in 1835, a special committee was established for the conversion of the Uniates to Orthodoxy. In 1837 the Uniates were placed directly under the ober-prokuror of the Russian Holy Synod. The death of Metropolitan Yosafat Ihnatii Bulhak, in 1838, signaled the beginning of the end for the Uniate church. Bishop Semashko and two of his vicars, V. Luzhynsky and A. Zubko, joined the Orthodox church. On 12 February 1839, a large celebration of reunification was held in Polatsk: the Church Union of Berestia (1596) was declared null and void, and the accession of the Uniates to the Russian Orthodox church was proclaimed. Nearly a third of the clergy refused to adopt Orthodoxy and were exiled to Siberia or the interior of Russia. The subsequent protests of Pope Gregory XVI and the metropolitan of Halych, Mykhailo Levytsky (1816–58), against this ‘reunification’ went totally unheeded. Thus, close to two million Uniates, both Ukrainians and Belarusians, were brought into the fold of the Orthodox church.
The Uniate church in the Russian Empire now remained only in the Kholm region and Podlachia (up to 1831 they were part of the Congress Kingdom of Poland). After 1839 the sole Uniate eparchy in the Russian Empire was Kholm eparchy. Here the Latinization and Polonization of the church and clergy had gone further than in other regions. Thus, the Russian government had to move slowly. The last Uniate bishop of Kholm was Mykhailo Kuzemsky (1868–71). He was finally removed from his see, and the administration of the eparchy was placed in the hands of a priest, Markel Popel. Under Popel the eparchy was subordinated to the Orthodox metropolitan of Warsaw in 1875. Popel himself became a vicar bishop of the Warsaw see, with the title of bishop of Lublin. A significant portion of those who became Orthodox did so in name only. Thus, when the Act of Religious Toleration was issued in 1905, a sizable number of these left Orthodoxy and joined the fold of the Roman Catholic church, since they were not allowed to return to the Eastern rite.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic church under Austria. After the first partition of Poland (1772), the Ukrainian Uniates, or Greek Catholics, in Galicia, with their two eparchies, Lviv-Halych and Peremyshl-Sambir-Sianik, found themselves under Austrian rule. Under Austria the state of the church improved considerably, for it was granted equal status with the Roman Catholic church. One of the first major consequences of this new situation was the establishment of a Greek Catholic theological seminary, known as the Barbareum, in Vienna by Empress Maria Theresa in 1775 to raise the educational standards of the clergy. This seminary existed for nearly a decade before being closed in 1784. It was replaced by the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv, established in 1783. This school served the educational needs of the two eparchies in Galicia and even accepted some students from outside of Austrian territory. In 1784 Lviv University was opened (with instruction in Latin), and the Studium Ruthenum, where instruction took place in the vernacular, was attached to it in 1784. These institutions produced an enlightened cadre of clergy for both the religious and the national-cultural life of the Ukrainians in Galicia.
After the three partitions of Poland, the Ukrainian Uniate metropoly was divided between Russia and Austria. The administration of the eparchies in Austria became difficult because the metropolitans resided on Russian territory. Subsequently, with the death of Metropolitan Teodosii Rostotsky in 1805, the office was not restored at all. Efforts at establishing an ecclesiastical province with the metropolitan’s see in Lviv, on Austrian territory, had been made since the first partition (1772) of Poland, but did not meet with success. After the third partition (1795) an attempt was made again, but it was fulfilled only after the death of Rostotsky, who himself was opposed to the idea. Thus, in 1806 Emperor Francis I approved, and in 1807 Pope Pius VII sanctioned, the establishment of the Ukrainian Uniate Halych metropoly with rights and privileges similar to those of the Kyiv metropoly (the papal bull In Universalis Ecclesiae Regimine, dated 17 April 1807). The first metropolitan of Halych-Lviv was Antin Anhelovych (1807–14), formerly the bishop of Peremyshl and a leading proponent of the establishment of this see.
The equality of the Ukrainian (Ruthenian) Uniate or Greek Catholic church with the Roman Catholic church in Austria was officially established by imperial decrees in 1813 and 1816. However, the powers granted to the Halych metropolitans in 1807 were later (in the second half of the 19th century) significantly curtailed and restricted. In 1855 Austria signed a concordat with the Holy See and afterwards, by the resolution of 1874, the Austrian monarch received the prerogative to nominate metropolitans, bishops, and canons (members of the eparchial chapters), as well as to divide or establish eparchies. Under Austrian rule the Ruthenian Greek Catholic church, as it became known at that time, became the national church of Galicia’s Ukrainians, and the clergy played a seminal role in Galician life. The Ukrainians experienced a religious and national renaissance, in which education played a prominent part. The foremost religious leaders in this rebirth were Mykhailo Levytsky, Ivan Snihursky, and Ivan Mohylnytsky. In fact, Levytsky succeeded Antin Anhelovych as metropolitan and held this post for over four decades (1816–58). In 1856, just before his death, Levytsky was made a cardinal by Pope Pius IX, the first such distinction in the 260-year history of the Uniate church.
The Ukrainian Uniate hierarchy and clergy were known for their conservatism and devotion to the church rite and traditions. Yet, they remained for the most part aristocratic in their manners and often spoke Polish at home. In the 1820s and 1830s however, a new generation of clergy started to emerge, and these played an important role in the national and political awakening of the Ukrainians in Galicia. They began publishing in the vernacular (see Ruthenian Triad), organizing politically (see Supreme Ruthenian Council, est 1848), initiating learned organizations (see Congress of Ruthenian Scholars), and establishing the so-called enlightenment societies (see Halytsko-Ruska Matytsia). Austria’s decision to hand over the administration of Eastern Galicia to the Poles in the 1850s greatly disappointed and frustrated the Ukrainians. Hence, many, including the church hierarchy, began to lean towards the Russophile movement.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic hierarchy wanted to purify their rite of Latin influences and was vehemently opposed to the conversion of Ukrainian Catholics to the Latin rite. This brought to the forefront the conflict between the Ukrainians and the Poles and their respective churches. Under the capable leadership of Metropolitan Spyrydon Lytvynovych (1863–69) an understanding was reached in 1863 in the ‘Concordia,’ whereby the change in rite was prohibited (except by papal approval) under the threat of severe penalties. This document was ratified by both the pope and the Austrian emperor and was promulgated in all the eparchies by the bishops of both the Eastern and Latin rites. The ‘Concordia’ was observed for the most part until the 1920s, when the Polish authorities came to encourage and support open conversions to the Latin rite.
The Russophile movement continued to grow in the second half of the 19th century, coming more and more under Russia’s influence. The transfer of Kholm eparchy to the Orthodox faith in 1875, and the acceptance of Orthodoxy by the well-known Galician priest Ivan Naumovych and his entire village, contributed to the growth of the movement. Indirectly, it also led to the resignation of Metropolitan Yosyf Sembratovych (1870–82), who was under great pressure from Emperor Francis Joseph I. The new metropolitan, Sylvester Sembratovych (1885–98), adopted a strong pro-Ukrainian platform and had the support of the majority of the clergy, who adhered to the Galician populist movement (see Western Ukrainian Populism). The clergy continued to play an important role in the national rebirth of Galicia, even though political leadership was now in the hands of the secular intelligentsia. However, Sylvester Sembratovych’s support of the New Era, an attempted agreement with the Poles, resulted in the church’s loss of both popular support and political influence.
At the end of the 19th century several new developments in the internal life of the church took place. In 1882 the Jesuits, on the orders of Pope Leo XIII, began the reform of the declining Basilian monastic order. Their action proved to be beneficial to the Basilians and rejuvenated their internal life; however, it also introduced various Latin influences. The newly reformed order later aided the Basilian order of nuns (responsible for secondary education) to carry through their own reform. The Basilians were also entrusted with directing the newly founded congregation of Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (founded in 1892 by Rev Kyrylo Seletsky). In 1891 Metropolitan Sylvester Sembratovych convoked the Lviv Synod to clarify various questions pertaining to the Eastern rite. Two important trends emerged at the synod: the conservative ‘Easterners,’ on the one hand, wanted to purge the church of all Latin influences; the ‘reformists,’ on the other hand, wished to draw the church nearer to the Latin rite. Although neither position triumphed, the church was nevertheless brought closer to the Latin rite. The synod’s decisions applied initially only to the church in Galicia, but later were also adopted in Transcarpathia and by the Ukrainian immigrants in North America. In 1885 the creation of the Stanyslaviv eparchy raised to three the total number of eparchies in Halych metropoly. The first bishop of Stanyslaviv was the well-known theologian and church historian Yuliian Pelesh. Towards the end of his career (1895), Sembratovych was made a cardinal—the second such honor to be bestowed on the Galician church. After two years under Metropolitan Yuliian Kuilovsky-Sas (1899–1900), the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church was entrusted to Count Andrei Sheptytsky (1900–44). His activities during four and a half decades extended into many areas, which were neither exclusively ecclesiastical nor limited only to Galicia.
The Ukrainian Catholic church in the 20th century. Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky was the most ardent defender of the Eastern tradition and rite of his church. He was also greatly preoccupied with the development of theology and the education of the clergy. Under his guidance the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv was reorganized, and with his aid theological seminaries were opened in Stanyslaviv (1906) and Peremyshl (1907) (see Peremyshl Greek Catholic Theological Seminary). The most talented students were sent abroad for graduate studies. In 1904 Sheptytsky established the contemplative Eastern monastic order of Saint Theodore Studite (see Studite Fathers) and in 1913 he introduced the Redemptorist order, a section of which had adopted the Eastern rite for its missionary activities in the same year. Sheptytsky also worked on behalf of women’s monasticism; he promoted the reorganization of the Basilian order of nuns and the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, as well as the establishment of several new orders: Sisters of Saint Joseph (1896), Sisters Myronosytsi (1910), Sisters of Saint Josaphat (1911), and the Studite Sisters (1921).
Metropolitan Sheptytsky was concerned with the problem of the union of churches. As such, he organized and initiated the so-called Velehrad congresses, the first held in 1907, which brought together the leading ecclesiastical figures of the various Slavic peoples. As the senior hierarch of the Ukrainian Catholic church, Sheptytsky established good contacts with the bishops of Transcarpathia (Mukachevo eparchy and Prešov eparchy) and Križevci eparchy (ministering to Ukrainian-Ruthenian settlers in what was later northern and western Yugoslavia). Likewise, he was greatly concerned with the fate of the Ukrainian immigrants in Canada and the United States. In 1919, he himself visited the Ukrainian communities in both of these countries and was instrumental in having the Vatican appoint Ukrainian bishops for them.
Andrei Sheptytsky was also a generous benefactor of various cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic institutions. He especially patronized the arts and, in 1905, founded the National Museum in Lviv. As a member of the Austrian House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and the Galician Diet, he often defended vigorously the political rights of the Ukrainian people. In September 1914, with the Russian invasion of Galicia, Sheptytsky was arrested and exiled to the Russian interior. While returning from exile in 1917, he presided over the birth of the Russian Uniate church at a synod in Petrograd and appointed a convert Studite, L. Fedorov (1879–1935), as its exarch.
Metropolitan Sheptytsky and his clergy participated actively in political affairs during the existence of the Ukrainian National Republic (1918–20), especially the Western Ukrainian National Republic. After the First World War, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the failure of the Ukrainian struggle for independence (1917–20), Western Ukraine was annexed by Poland. The centuries-long hostilities between the Poles and Ukrainians continued to erupt throughout the interwar period. Sheptytsky’s travels to Western Europe and, subsequently, to the scattered Ukrainian immigrant communities in the early 1920s gave him many opportunities to speak out on behalf of the Ukrainian cause and in defence of his church’s rights. Although the concordat of 10 February 1925 between the Holy See and Poland guaranteed the Ukrainian Greek Catholics equal rights with the Roman Catholics, the Warsaw government intensified its political, educational, and economic discrimination against the Uniates, seeking to divide and weaken the Greek Catholic church.
Between the two world wars two main currents of thought persisted within the church. The first, the traditionalist ‘Easterners,’ who desired to strengthen the Eastern rite, were centered around the Lviv archeparchy. They enjoyed the support of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky himself, of his auxiliary, Ivan Buchko, and of the Studite Fathers. The leading organs of this current were the quarterly Bohosloviia (est 1923), the monthlies Nyva (1904), and Dzvony (1931), and the weekly Meta (1931). The other current, the modernizing ‘Westerners,’ wanted to bring the Ukrainian Catholic church somewhat closer to Roman Catholicism. Its chief spokesmen were the bishops Hryhorii Khomyshyn and Yosafat Kotsylovsky and the Basilian monastic order. This current published the weeklies Nova zoria (1926) and Ukraïns’kyi Beskyd (1928), the quarterly Dobryi pastyr (1931), and the Basilian scholarly journal Analecta Ordinis S. Basilii Magni/Zapysky ChSVV (1924). This current especially favored compulsory celibacy for the clergy.
Metropolitan Sheptytsky was committed to higher education for the Ukrainian clergy and was instrumental in having a graduate department established at the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv in 1920. At this time Lviv University was completely Polonized. Subsequently, in 1928, the Lviv seminary was elevated in status and became the Greek Catholic Theological Academy, with Yosyf Slipy as the first rector. There were also seminaries in Peremyshl (Peremyshl Greek Catholic Theological Seminary) and Stanyslaviv, as well as a number of monastic schools. Branches of the Catholic Action were organized in the 1930s for the lay apostolate. Other organizations, especially youth associations such as Obnova Society of Ukrainian Catholic Students, Orly Catholic Association of Ukrainian Youth, and Skala, also spread throughout Galicia. In 1923 the Ukrainian Theological Scholarly Society was founded in Lviv; it published Bohosloviia. The theological academy published its own transactions, entitled Pratsi, and the Studite Fathers organized the Studite Scholarly Society. In 1931 Sheptytsky founded the Ukrainian Catholic Union with the object of assuring a proper place for the Catholic faith in Ukrainian public life.
The concordat of 1925 confined the Ukrainian Catholic church to Galicia. As a result, various problems arose for those territories outside it. In Bukovyna, annexed by Romania, the local Ukrainian Catholic parishes were reorganized as a separate vicariate of the Romanian Catholic diocese of the Maramureş region. The missionary activities in Volhynia were entrusted by the Vatican to the Byzantine-Slavic ‘neo-Uniate’ clergy. Only in 1931 was an apostolic visitator for Volhynia named in the person of Mykola Charnetsky, a Ukrainian Redemptorist. However, the cause of reunification in predominantly Orthodox Volhynia never attracted much support.
The Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine in September 1939 was followed by the abolition or state takeover of the longstanding church institutions, including schools, seminaries, monasteries, and publishing houses, as well as the confiscation of all of the church’s properties and lands. During this period the church suffered greatly but remained steadfast under the leadership of Metropolitan Sheptytsky. In May 1940 the metropolitan even convoked an archeparchial synod to deepen and strengthen the faith of church members and leaders in the new and trying circumstances. In the meantime, the Moscow patriarchate imposed its jurisdiction over the Orthodox church in Volhynia, and by April 1941 it had already consecrated an Orthodox bishop, P. Rudyk, for the Lviv see to prepare the Ukrainian Catholics for an eventual ‘reunification’ with the Russian Orthodox church.
The German occupation of Galicia in 1941 and the incorporation of it into the German Generalgouvernement brought a temporary respite for the Ukrainian Catholic church. At the same time the church’s activities were restricted by the circumstances of war. The second Soviet occupation of Galicia in mid-1944 was not immediately followed by the persecution of the church, because Soviet efforts were concentrated on defeating the Germans and combating the popular Ukrainian resistance (the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists). During this difficult period the church lost its spiritual father when on 1 November 1944 Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky died. The leadership of the church now fell on the shoulders of Yosyf Slipy, who had been secretly consecrated on 22 December 1939 as an archbishop coadjutor with the right of succession.
Almost from the very beginning of the Soviet occupation measures aimed at liquidating the Ukrainian Catholic church were imposed. An anti-Uniate campaign began in the Soviet media on 5 April 1945, and on 11 April 1945 the entire Ukrainian Catholic church hierarchy was imprisoned and exiled. Along with Metropolitan Yosyf Slipy, the KGB arrested his auxiliary, Nykyta Budka, as well as Bishop Mykola Charnetsky; in Stanyslaviv, Bishop Hryhorii Khomyshyn and his auxiliary bishop, Ivan Liatyshevsky, were imprisoned. In June Msgr Petro Verhun, apostolic visitator for Ukrainian Catholics in Germany, was arrested. In June 1946, the Polish Communist authorities arrested and extradited to the Soviet Union Bishop Yosafat Kotsylovsky of Peremyshl and his auxiliary, Hryhorii Lakota. They were sentenced to long prison terms by closed military tribunals in the same year. All those arrested died in prison except for Archbishop Slipy. In early 1963, as a result of the efforts of Pope John XXIII, Slipy was released and until his death resided in the Vatican. He was recognized by the pope as archbishop-major of the Ukrainian Catholic church, and in 1965 the Roman Catholic church bestowed on him the rank of cardinal.
As mass arrests of leading Ukrainian clergy were carried out throughout Galicia, the Soviet authorities sponsored, in late May 1945, the so-called Initiating Committee for the Reunification of the Greek Catholic Church with the Russian Orthodox Church. This group was headed by three former Ukrainian Catholic priests—Havryil Kostelnyk, a leading advocate of the ‘Eastern’ tendency within the church; A. Pelvetsky; and Mykhailo I. Melnyk—and was promptly recognized by the government as the sole administrative organ of the Ukrainian Catholic church. In February 1946 members of the committee were secretly accepted into the Russian Orthodox church in Kyiv and Pelvetsky and Melnyk were ordained as Orthodox bishops for Stanyslaviv and Drohobych respectively. Earlier, in 1945, the Moscow patriarchate appointed its own Orthodox bishop for Lviv, M. Oksiiuk. Soon after the committee convened the Lviv Sobor of 1946 and proclaimed an end to the Church Union of Berestia (1596) and the ‘reunification’ of the Greek Catholics with the Russian Orthodox church. The entire campaign was planned and guided by the Soviet authorities, the security police being entrusted with the task of coercing the Uniate clergy to join the Russian Orthodox church. Both the Vatican and the Ukrainian Catholic church in the West refused to recognize this forcible reunification and consider it to be uncanonical and illegal. The Soviet authorities considered this sobor and its decisions binding on all Ukrainian Catholics in the USSR. The protests of Ukrainian clerics and the two encyclicals of Pope Pius XII (1946 and 1952) in the defense of the Ukrainian Catholic church went unheeded. The Ukrainian Catholic church was thus forced underground, where it continued to exist, despite ongoing persecution by the Soviet authorities, until 1989 when it was legalized again.
(For the history of the Ukrainian Catholic church in Hungary [prior to 1919] and in Czechoslovakia [1919–39 and after 1945], see Mukachevo eparchy, and Prešov eparchy. For church history in the diaspora, see Ukrainian Catholic church.)
The Ukrainian Orthodox church in the 20th century. The rebirth of the Ukrainian state in 1917–18 witnessed a national movement within the Orthodox church in Ukraine. In December 1917 the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council, headed by Archbishop Oleksii Dorodnytsyn and Rev O. Marychiv, took place. This council soon challenged the newly restored Moscow patriarchate by demanding Ukrainianization, an independent (autocephalous) status, and the restoration of the traditional conciliar administration (sobornopravnist). Faced with the threat of a split in the church, Patriarch Tikhon granted the council permission to convoke the first All-Ukrainian Church Sobor with the participation and veto power of the eparchial bishops of Ukraine. The sobor was convened in Kyiv in January 1918 and was reconvened under the Hetman government in June 1918. The earlier session of the sobor had to adjourn before arriving at any decisions because of the Soviet Russian invasion. The later summer and fall sessions were dominated by pro-Russian elements in the church (led by the recently appointed Kyivan metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitsky), which denied voting rights to nearly all pro-Ukrainian delegates. On 9 July 1918, the sobor adopted a statute for the Provisional Supreme Administration of the Orthodox church in Ukraine. Patriarch Tikhon quickly approved this statute, which provided for the permanent canonical subordination of the church in Ukraine to the Moscow patriarchate, but with a considerable degree of internal autonomy. Thus, the electoral privileges of the Ukrainian church were to be restored, yet the patriarch was ‘to confirm and bless’ those elected hierarchs. The church in Ukraine was to be governed by a triennial Ukrainian church sobor and was to be administered between sobors by the Holy Synod of Ukrainian Bishops and the Supreme Church Council, all under the authority of the metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych. However, the decisions of the All-Russian sobors and the directives of the Moscow patriarch were to be considered binding and obligatory for the church in Ukraine as well. The Ukrainian church leaders rejected this statute and continued to press for the church’s independence. They were aided by the change in the political situation in Ukraine after the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic overthrew the Hetman government and, in December 1918, had Metropolitan Khrapovitsky removed. On 1 January 1919, the Directory issued the Law on the Supreme Authority of the Ukrainian Church, which provided for the church’s complete autocephaly. The implementation of this decree was, however, impeded by the second Bolshevik invasion (February–August 1919) and the continued opposition of the majority of the bishops. During the Bolshevik occupation the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council was reconstituted. It began organizing Ukrainianized parishes and registering them under the new Soviet regulations on religious associations, which brought the council into an escalating confrontation with the episcopate. Finally, on 5 May 1920, in response to the suspension of the clergy of the Ukrainian parishes by the Kyiv auxiliary bishop Nazarii, the council proclaimed the Ukrainian Orthodox church to be autocephalous.
The struggle for the control of the church in Ukraine divided the latter into two distinct camps: the pro-Russian, headed by the bishops and higher clergy and supported by the Moscow patriarchate, and the pro-Ukrainian, led by the lower clergy and laymen and deeply entrenched in the Ukrainian national movement. While the first derived its strength from the episcopal hierarchy, canonical continuity, and traditionally conservative beliefs, the second appealed to the nationally conscious population by the use of the vernacular Ukrainian language and an emphasis on the distinctive features, traditions, and rites of the Ukrainian church. In 1922 another orientation entered this struggle, the so-called Living church, later replaced by the more moderate Renovationist church. Supported by the Soviet regime, these offshoots of the reform movement in the Russian church cut into the patriarchal following in Ukraine rather than into the Autocephalous church.
The Second All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council, having severed relations with the Moscow patriarchate, sought to secure a canonical bishop for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC). It found such a hierarch in the person of Parfenii Levytsky, bishop of Poltava, but by spring 1921, as a result of pressures from Moscow, Levytsky refused to collaborate any further. The council failed to find another bishop who would be willing to serve the Ukrainian church or one who would consecrate a hierarchy for the church. Thus, the council decided to take the fateful decision and to create its own episcopate. The First All-Ukrainian Sobor of the UAOC was convened in Kyiv on 14–30 October 1921. The sobor took the bold step of creating its own church hierarchy by consecrating a bishop ‘according to the ancient practice of the Alexandrian church.’ On 23 October 1921 the archpriest Vasyl Lypkivsky, the leading spiritual head of the movement, was consecrated metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine. Then, with sobor members, Lypkivsky consecrated Archpriest Nestor Sharaievsky as the second hierarch of the church. Later, in October 1921, the two consecrated four more bishops for the church.
The action of the sobor and the departure from established canonical practice caused a great deal of confusion and alienated a number of followers. In addition, the refusal of other Orthodox churches to acknowledge the new Ukrainian hierarchy virtually isolated it. However, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC) found a ready following among the Ukrainian peasantry and intelligentsia and soon spread rapidly. By early 1924 the church had some 30 bishops and 1,500 priests and deacons serving 1,100 parishes. It also started to establish its roots in the Ukrainian communities in Western Europe, Canada, and the United States. Meanwhile, the Soviet authorities began to impose increasingly more severe restrictions on the church and even attempted to split it by supporting certain dissenting factions, such as the so-called Active Church of Christ (Diialno-Khrystova Tserkva). When such groups failed to gain control of the church, the Soviet authorities resorted to direct repressive measures. Thus, in the summer of 1926 Vasyl Lypkivsky and a number of church leaders were arrested. At the Second All-Ukrainian Sobor of the UAOC in October 1927, the authorities requested and received the official dismissal of Lypkivsky. Elected in his place was Mykola Boretsky, who administered the church during a brief period of toleration. In 1929 all this came to an end when the Soviet regime undertook massive repressive measures to stamp out all traces of this church. The church was accused of collaborating with an underground organization, the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU). Consequently, in January 1930 an extraordinary sobor was held; it formally dissolved the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church as such. The leaders of the church, Metropolitan Mykola Boretsky and its ideologue Volodymyr Chekhivsky, were imprisoned and exiled. The remnants of the church, some 300 parishes, were allowed to reconstitute themselves as the Ukrainian Orthodox church under the bishop of Kharkiv, Metropolitan Ivan Pavlovsky. However, this body was closely watched by the Soviet regime, and by 1936 it was totally suppressed.
The Russian Orthodox Patriarchal church remained the largest church in Ukraine, although the Ukrainian church had seriously challenged its hold on the villages and deprived it of support among the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Most of the support for the Russian church came from the clergy (especially those in the monasteries), the Russian minority in Ukraine, and the conservative elements of the Ukrainian population. Since it had lost its metropolitan, Antonii Khrapovitsky, and many of its bishops, the Moscow patriarchate in 1921 named Metropolitan M. Yermakov as its first exarch for Ukraine. When the Soviet government openly supported the so-called Renovationist church in the 1920s, a large number of bishops and clergy defected from the Patriarchal church; those who would not join them were arrested and deported. In 1925 a group of Ukrainian bishops from the Patriarchal and Renovationist churches formed, under the leadership of T. Buldovsky, still another ecclasiastical jurisdiction in Ukraine, known as the Conciliar-Episcopal church (Soborno-iepyskopska Tserkva). Although it attacked both the Autocephalous and the Patriarchal churches, it called for a truly canonic, independent Ukrainian Orthodox church. However, it did not attract a large following and disappeared in the antireligious terror of the mid-1930s. The Patriarchal church in Ukraine was administered until 1920 by the exarch Yermakov, who was succeeded by K. Diakov. The 1930s witnessed a new wave of repression against the church and led to its almost total destruction. Thus, when the Germans invaded Ukraine in 1941, only a handful of the patriarchate’s parishes existed in eastern Ukraine, with not a single bishop.
Another ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ukraine during the 1920s and 1930s was that of the Renovationist church, known officially as the All-Ukrainian Union of Religious Congregations of the Orthodox Autocephalous Synodal church. Supported by the Soviet authorities, this body was headed by Metropolitan P. Pegov. It was assigned numerous churches by the authorities and initially had numerous clergymen join it, mostly under duress. But the Renovationists were repudiated by the Orthodox church, and when the patriarchate and the Soviet regime reached a modus vivendi in 1927, this religious formation declined rapidly, most of its clerics returning to the Patriarchal church. By the end of the 1930s, this group had become extinct.
After the First World War and the Polish occupation of the western regions of Ukraine and Belarus, the eastern part of the new Polish state included a sizable number of Orthodox believers, including some two and a half million Ukrainians. The Russian influence was also very strong here, as a result of the extensive Russification of these territories prior to the war. In its initial few years of postwar existence, the Polish state was quite hostile to the Orthodox. However, the anti-Russian orientation of the Ukrainians and Belarusians coincided with the policies of the Polish state. Thus, a Ukrainian by birth, Metropolitan Yurii Yaroshevsky, became the head of the Orthodox church in Poland. In 1922, Yaroshevsky convened a sobor of bishops which adopted the Provisional Rules of Church-State Relations. Being opposed to dependence on Moscow, Yaroshevsky strove to attain a status of autocephaly for his church. In 1923, however, as a result of internal tensions, he was assassinated.
Yurii Yaroshevsky was succeeded by Dionisii Valedinsky. On becoming metropolitan, Valedinsky was faced with the arduous task of defending the rights of the Orthodox ethnic minorities that the Polish state wanted assimilated. Valedinsky met the Polish authorities halfway, but continuously demanded his church’s independence in ecclesiastical matters. He continued the efforts of his predecessor to secure autocephaly, and in 1924 the patriarch of Constantinople finally issued him the Tomos granting the Orthodox church in Poland canonical independence of the Moscow patriarchate. This was the first major step in the reordering of church life; however, the next step—the calling of a church sobor—was never realized because of the procrastination of the secular authorities. In 1938 the Polish government promulgated two decrees (Internal Statutes of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and the Presidential Decree on the Relations of the State to the Polish Orthodox Church) that made the church dependent on the state. The state appropriated for itself the power of sanctioning all ecclesiastical appointments. It demanded the introduction of Polish as the official language in the church and imposed other restrictions on the church.
The Orthodox church in Poland was composed of five eparchies (Warsaw-Kholm, Volhynia, Vilnius, Hrodna, and Polisia) with two theological seminaries, in Vilnius and Kremianets, a theological lyceum in Warsaw, and an Orthodox theological faculty at Warsaw University. The exact number of parishes is not known, especially owing to the confiscation and destruction of churches that was initiated at the end of the 1920s and continued throughout the 1930s. The Polish government tried to Polonize the church in various ways, but was only partially successful. However, efforts at converting the Orthodox to Roman Catholicism made no headway whatsoever.
The Orthodox church on the Ukrainian ethnic territories of Poland was able to maintain the specific characteristics of Ukrainian Christianity. The vernacular Ukrainian came into use in some churches as early as 1921, and many liturgical books were translated into Ukrainian. The hierarchs were mostly Ukrainians and were well disposed to Ukrainian influences. In Volhynia and the Kholm region there were many prominent Ukrainians, who eventually evolved into an important and influential group of lay church leaders. Several publications appeared, such as Tserkva i narid (Kremianets) (1935–8), Dukhovnyi siiach (1927– 31), Za sobornist' (1932–5), and Shliakh (Lutsk) (1937–9). Although the Russophile traditions of the Orthodox church were still felt at the central administrative level and its Polonization was officially fostered, the Ukrainian element grew steadily and gained more and more popular support.
The Second World War created new havoc in the life of the church in Ukraine. With the Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox church undertook to extend its jurisdiction over Volhynia and, at the same time, prepared for the conversion of the Ukrainian Catholics in adjacent Galicia. The subsequent German occupation of Ukraine led to a spontaneous revival in church life. However, it soon became marred by jurisdictional disputes, two ecclesiastical entities battling for supremacy. The first, the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox church, was headed by Archbishop Oleksii Hromadsky, who assumed the titles of metropolitan and exarch. Hromadsky formally affirmed the church’s canonical dependence on the Moscow patriarchate but in practice considered it to be suspended, as long as the patriarchate was subject to the Soviet authorities. The basis of Hromadsky’s position was rooted in the 1918 statute that granted the Ukrainian church a certain degree of autonomy. His church appealed to conservative and Russophile elements and soon spread from Volhynia to central and eastern Ukraine, where it attracted conservative Russian and Russified clergy and believers. The second body, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church, developed in early 1942 under the spiritual authority of Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky of Warsaw. This group was headed by Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky, who also assumed the title of metropolitan. It disclaimed the 1921 ecclesiastical reforms of the Autocephalous church of Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky, but made accommodations for the surviving clergy and faithful from this church. The wartime Autocephalous church attracted the more nationally conscious faithful and readily welcomed the revival of the Ukrainian language and national traditions in the life of the church.
In October 1942, an unsuccessful attempt was made to unite both of these groups under one jurisdiction. German policy in occupied Ukraine clearly favored the continued division and internal strife within the Orthodox church and aimed at the total subordination of individual bishops to the local German authorities. With the German retreat in 1943–4, several Autonomous church bishops and all but one autocephalous church bishop sought exile in the West. They were followed by a fair number of their clergy and faithful. The territories taken over by the Soviet Union were incorporated into the Moscow patriarchate, and the various churches in Ukraine were either absorbed or annihilated. Consequently, an autocephalous or independent Ukrainian Orthodox church existed only outside the Soviet bloc until 1989 when the UAOC was re-established in Ukraine.
The Orthodox church in German-occupied Poland (ie, on the territory of the German Generalgouvernement) remained autocephalous and continued to be headed by Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky. Kholm-Podlachia eparchy was placed under the authority of the newly elevated archbishop Ivan Ohiienko, a well-known Ukrainian scholar; Cracow-Lemko region eparchy was administered by Bishop Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko. In 1942 the synod of bishops adopted certain internal statutes that were later acknowledged by the German authorities as well. The statutes spoke very clearly about the prevailing Ukrainian spirit in the church. The further growth of the church was, however, impeded with the withdrawal of the Germans and subsequent chaotic developments. Both Archibishop Ohiienko and Bishop Vydybida-Rudenko sought refuge in the West.
After the Second World War the leadership of the Orthodox church in Poland remained in the hands of Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky. However, he was soon forced out of office by Communist authorities and spent his last years in a monastery. The two remaining bishops of the church began to cultivate favorable relations with the Moscow patriarchate and in 1948 received acknowledgment of authocephaly for their church. But it was only in 1951 that the Orthodox church in Poland received from the Moscow patriarchate a ruling hierarch in the person of M. Oksiiuk, hitherto archbishop of Lviv. He was succeeded by Tymoteusz Szreter, Stefan Rudyk, V. Doroshkevych, and, from 1998, Metropolitan Sawa Hrycuniak. The number of Ukrainian Orthodox in Poland is now greatly reduced as a result of the forced resettlement in the USSR after the Second World War and the incorporation of former Polish territories into the Ukrainian SSR. The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church counted in 1970 some 460,000 faithful, the greater part of whom were Ukrainians. In 1970 this church was composed of four eparchies, 216 parishes, and 216 priests, including 25 inactive ones. It has a monastery in Jabłoczyn (Yablochyn) (Saint Onufrius's) and a convent (Saints Martha and Maria) in Grabarka. The official church language is Polish, Church Slavonic (in the Russian redaction) being used for liturgical purposes only. The official publications of the church are Tserkovnyi vestnik (in Russian) and Wiadomości Polskiego Autokefalicznego Kościoła Prawosławnego (in Polish). An annual almanac, Pravoslavnyi kalendar, is published in Ukrainian. The church has a theological seminary in Warsaw with a section (classes) at Yablochyn Saint Onufrius's Monastery. For higher studies, there exists an Orthodox section at the Christian Theological Academy in Warsaw.
After the German retreat in 1943–4, the Moscow patriarchate re-established its jurisdiction over the Orthodox church in Ukraine. In 1944 the Kyivan see was filled by a Russian, I. Sokolov, who was succeeded in 1964 by another Russian, Y. Leliukhin. From 1966 the metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych and exarch of Ukraine was Filaret Denysenko, a Ukrainian. After the Second World War the Moscow patriarchate enjoyed a period of toleration from the Soviet regime which allowed it to maintain parishes and monasteries that were reopened during the German occupation. It established jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Orthodox population in Bukovyna and Transcarpathia as well as over the parishes of the suppressed Ukrainian Catholic church in Galicia and Transcarpathia. By the early 1950s the Ukrainian exarchate embraced some 8,000 churches with close to 6,800 priests, organized in 18 eparchies (corresponding to the oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR), three seminaries (Kyiv, Odesa, and Lutsk), and 38 monasteries and convents. The Ukrainian exarchate accounted for more than half of the churches and monasteries in the Soviet Union, which were most heavily concentrated in Western Ukraine. With its preeminent status, the Ukrainian exarchate was allowed a certain degree of autonomy within the confines of the Moscow patriarchate.
The position of the church progressively deteriorated after Joseph Stalin’s death. The imposition of increasingly severe legal and administrative restrictions and the commitment of massive resources to antireligious propaganda greatly undermined the status of the church in Ukraine. In the Ukrainian SSR an antireligious journal, Voiovnychyi ateïst, began publication in 1960 (it was renamed Liudyna i svit in 1965). Soviet mass media also contributed to the offensive against the church, as did the compulsory teaching of atheism in the schools. The establishment of ‘museums,’ ‘houses,’ and ‘corners’ of atheism greatly aided Soviet antireligious policy. In the course of Nikita Khrushchev’s antireligious campaign (1958–64), some 3,500 Orthodox churches, 29 of 38 monasteries and convents, and two of the three seminaries, those of Kyiv and Lutsk, were closed by the authorities. The Odesa seminary remained the only and grossly inadequate theological school in the Ukrainian SSR. Political surveillance and administrative control over the Orthodox church were entrusted to the governmental Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1943. It was merged in 1965–6 with the Council for the Affairs of Religious Cults (established in 1944 for non-Orthodox groups) and renamed the Council on Religious Affairs. An all-Union agency, the council had its equivalent at the republican level (Ukrainian SSR) and commissioners at the oblast levels.
The episcopate of the Ukrainian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox church became, after the 1950s, predominantly Ukrainian, but the Ukrainian language remained banned from liturgical use. Outside of the forcibly ‘converted’ former Uniate eparchies in Western Ukraine, the church was used as a vehicle for Russification, especially in the larger cities. The Ukrainian exarchate published a monthly journal in Ukrainian called Pravoslavnyi visnyk, which appeared from 1946 to 1962 and again after 1968. According to official sources, the Ukrainian exarchate comprised 4,500 churches in 1976 (some 65 percent of the ‘registered’ Orthodox churches in the USSR), of which 60 percent were located in the western oblasts. In 1974 the two surviving monasteries and seven convents had 45 monks and 755 nuns; there were 118 students at the Odesa theological seminary in 1974–5, and many Ukrainian candidates for priesthood were enrolled at the Leningrad and Moscow (Zagorsk) theological schools. Leonid Brezhnev’s era (1964–82) was characterized by steady (though less violent than under Nikita Khrushchev) pressure on the Orthodox church (and all other denominations), aimed at reducing the number of churches and priests through attrition and withdrawal of permits (registrations) for both. Their numbers slowly declined while the ranks of believers increased. The severely restricted and state-controlled position of the church in the Ukrainian SSR was reflected in the Statute on Religious Associations in the Ukrainian SSR adopted on 1 November 1976.
(For the history of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches in the diaspora see Ukrainian Orthodox church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia, and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church.)
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Schulze Wessel, M.; Sysyn, F. (eds). Religion, Nation, and Secularization in Ukraine (Edmonton–Toronto 2015)
[This article was updated in 1993.]