Volhynia eparchy

Volhynia eparchy [Волинська епархія; Volynska eparkhiia]. An Orthodox eparchy with its see in Zhytomyr. It was created at the turn of the 19th century, after the Russian Empire acquired Volhynia in the partitions of Poland. It comprised the territory of Volhynia gubernia and included most of the former Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy and Lutsk eparchy. In the 19th century it was one of the largest and wealthiest eparchies of the Russian Orthodox church, with over 1,800 parishes (1907) and 4 women's and 10 men's monasteries, including the Pochaiv Monastery. In 1917, in addition to the titular bishop, the eparchy had three vicar bishops (in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Kremianets, and Ostroh). In the early 20th century, under Bishop Antonii Khrapovitsky, the eparchy became a major center of Russian ultranationalism, and many priests and monks there supported the Black Hundreds movement. The Volynskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti (see Eparkhial’nye vedomosti), the official eparchial organ published from 1861 to 1917, contains much information about the eparchy and its history (including the history of Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy and Lutsk eparchy), and Mykola I. Teodorovych published a five-volume history and description of the eparchy in 1888–1903.

In the interwar period most of the territory of Volhynia eparchy was in Poland. In the 1930s the bishop of Volhynia, Oleksii Hromadsky, had his see in Kremianets and vicars in Lutsk (Polikarp Sikorsky) and Ostroh (S. Ivanovsky). Many Ukrainian church organizations were active in the eparchy, including the Mohyla Society, and several publications appeared there.

During the Second World War the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC) established the eparchy of Lutsk and Kovel (under Polikarp Sikorsky), with vicars in Rivne (Bishop Platon Artemiuk) and Dubno (Bishop V. Lisytsky). With the rebirth of the UAOC in the early 1990s, two eparchies (Rivne-Zhytomyr and Lutsk) have been re-established.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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