Synod. An upper-level church administrative and decision-making body under the direction of the ecclesiastical hierarchy or a council of the Ukrainian Catholic church (UCC), comparable to a sobor. Until the establishment of the Uniate church, all Ukrainian church gatherings were known as sobors. The UCC then increasingly used the term ‘synod’ to describe their ecclesiastic assemblies at various levels (eparchial, metropolitan, etc), except for general councils (ecumenical sobors). Synods are attended by the hierarchy and senior priests of the jurisdiction. The election of bishops is performed by special electoral synods.

The most significant synods of the Ukrainian Catholic church were those held at the Synod of Zamostia (1720) and the Lviv Synod (1891). A permanent Synod of the Major Archbishop was established in Rome in 1972 as the standing administrative body of the UCC. It consists of the head of the church together with four bishops—the two most senior bishops, one elected by all bishops of the church, and one designated by the head of the church or the major archbishop. It serves an administrative function in all major matters. In 1979 the pope granted the major archbishop of the UCC the right to call synods of the church outside Ukraine, with the prior approval of the pope. The first such gathering was held in Rome in 1980. Inside Ukraine, on the traditional Ukrainian ecclesiastical territory, no approval of the pope is needed to call a synod.

The Ukrainian Orthodox church did not have a standing synod of its own. It was subjugated to the Moscow-based Holy Synod, which functioned as the executive arm of the Russian Orthodox church in 1721–1917. Attempts were made to establish a synod for the Orthodox church in interwar Poland, in Ukraine during the Second World War, and in the diaspora after the war. At present the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church is headed by a Higher Church Administration or a Church Council. In 1990 the Ukrainian Orthodox church (under the Moscow patriarchate) obtained a certain degree of autonomy, including its own synod.

(See also Church hierarchy.)

Blažejowskyj, D. Hierarchy of the Kyivan Church (861–1990) (Rome 1990)
Fedoriv, Iu. Orhanizatsiina struktura Ukraïns’koï Tserkvy (Toronto 1990)

I. Patrylo

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