UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
UKRANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
A BRIEF HISTORY
I. A TIMELINE OF ORTHODOXY IN UKRAINE
Apostolic Age: Andrew the Apostle, negotiating the Dnipro River, prophesied that a great city would be built upon the site of what is now known as Kyiv and that God would cause many Churches to rise upon the hills of the city.
c. 860- Cyrillic alphabet formulated by Greek brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius.
955 - Saints Ol’ha & Volodymyr’s grandmother, accepted Orthodox baptism from the Greeks, perhaps in Constantinople.
988 - Baptism of the inhabitants of Rus’-Ukraine in the Dnipro River by Orthodox clergy from Constantinople.
988-1240 - Many churches are built and monasteries established, including: the Church of the Tithes, Monastery of the Dormition, Cathedral of St. Sophia, St. Michael’s Monastery.
1015 - First saints of Ukrainian Church, Ss. Boris & Hlib, are martyred.
1051 - First native Ukrainian, Metropolitan Ilarion, is enthroned as Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Rus’ - head of the Ukrainian Church.
1147 - Metropolitan Klym is enthroned as Metropolitan of Kyiv; Ukraine’s canonical dependence upon Constantinople diminishes. Moscow is established and settled by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky.
1240 - Mongols destroy Kyiv. For reasons of safety, the Metropolitans of Kyiv eventually reside in Moscow [after 1325].
1415 - Moscow Church formally separated from Kyivan Metropolitanate. By 1448, Moscow metropolitans bear the title “Metropolitan of Moscow.” The Kyivan Metropolitans continue to be accorded the title “Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Rus’. Total and complete separation is achieved in 1458.
1453 - Fall of Constantinople to the Turks. The Church of Ukraine further separated from the Church of Constantinople and enjoys de facto autocephaly [self-government]. Metropolitan of Kyiv serves according to the order reserved for heads of independent Churches.
1581 - Printing of the first complete Orthodox Bible in the Ukrainian language - Ostrih Bible.
1596 - Union of Brest is forged wherein a portion of the Ukrainian Church, under Polish repression and domination, accepts union with the See of Rome, thereby creating the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
1640’s - St. Petro Mohyla, Metropolitan of Kyiv, writes Orthodox Confession of Faith, the first Orthodox dogmatictheology textbook; he also compiles the Great Trebnyk (collection of blessings and lesser services of the Church], some of which is in the Ukrainian language.
1654 - Treaty of Pereyaslev between Ukraine and Moscow; Ukrainian Hetman Bohdan Khelnystkyj is forced, by severe repression of Ukrainians living within the Polish kingdom, to turn to Moscow for assistance. This and subsequent treaties are used by Moscow as a pretext for interference in Ukrainian political and Church life.
II. MOSCOW LITERALLY "PURCHASES" THE KYIVAN METROPOLITINATE FROM CONSTANTINOPLE
1685 - Moscow purchases jurisdiction over the Kyivan Metropolitanate from the Patriarch of Constantinople for 120 sable furs and 200 pieces of gold; decrees issued by Patriarch Dionisios IV of Constantinople, safeguarding the autonomy of the Kyivan Church are, over time, increasingly ignored by Moscow.
1721 - Kyivan Metropolitanate is reduced to the status of an Eparchy within the reorganized Russian Orthodox Holy Synod.
1800’s - Kyivan [Ukrainian] Church ceases to exist. Russian hierarchs rule Ukrainian eparchies. Ukrainian religious intelligentsia are forced, due to lack of opportunities for education and advancement in Ukraine, to serve in Moscow.
1863 - Ukrainian language is banned within the Russian Empire.
III. UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH - LYPSKIVSKYJ
1921- Sobor of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kyiv ordains Metropolitan Wasyl Lupkivskyj as head of the UAOC. Persecutions from the Soviet government and Moscow's Russian Orthodox Church deter the UAOC from permanently establishing ecclesiastical order for an extended period of time.
1924 - A Tomos was issued by His All-Holiness Gregorios VII Haddad, Ecumenical Patriarch, re-establishing the historic Kyivan-Rus’ (Ukrainian) Metropolitanate as an Autocephalous Church, placing the responsibility of establishing a new Synod of Bishops upon His Beatitude, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, Dionisij Valedynskyj.
Since in the past there never existed a Polish Orthodox Metropolinate, the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church was recognized on the grounds that actually support recognition of a Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Relative to the existence of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches outside their homelands, the 37-th Rule of the VI-th Ecumenical Council states that the bishops who become exiled, as a result of the occupation of their canonical territories by the barbarians (foreigners), should retain their ecclesiastical powers and authority over their exiled flocks.
In practice this rule was applied in the VII-th century when Saracens occupied Cyprus. Then the hierarchy, clergy, and a great number of believers of the Cypriote Autocephalous Orthodox Church was given refuge in Hellespont and allowed to function as an independent entity.
1927 - BY 1927, it was clear that the Communist regime would not stop its persecution of this Church, having by that year arrested all its Hierarchs and most of its clergy and destroyed most of the Church properties. By 1937 all the Bishops had been executed and there were no signs of the Church’s life existent. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church had no opportunity to plead its case for canonical recognition to world Orthodoxy. Almost from the moment the 1921 Sobor concluded, the struggle for continued existence was doomed. Archbishop John rejected the claim of the Moscow Patriarchate jurisdiction, which replaced the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine and cut all ties to Ukraine.
IV. UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH - SIKORSKY
- One more bishop, Ukrainian by origin, Archbishop Polikarp Sikorsky was ordained who was later granted the title Bishop of Lutsk, and Archbishop Olexiy Hromadsky became head of the whole Volyn Eparchy. Under his leadership Poland - occupied Ukrainian Church began to build up its national life and became practically independent.
- By 1937 all the Bishops had been executed and there were no signs of the Church’s life existent. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church had no opportunity to plead its case for canonical recognition to world Orthodoxy. Almost from the moment the 1921 Sobor concluded, the struggle for continued existence was doomed. Our Bishps rejected the claim of the Moscow Patriarchate jurisdiction, which replaced the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine and cut all ties to Ukraine.
- The Sobor of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The participants in the Sobor/Synod, many of whom were Russian-oriented, decided to keep the Ukrainian Church in German-occupied Ukraine in canonical dependence upon the Moscow Patriarchate. Archbishop Oleksiy was declared by the synod to be Metropolitan of this church which came to be known as the "Autonomous Church".
- Metropolitan Feofil Buldovsky of Kharkiv, who was ordained in 1923 as a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, joined the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. In 1942 he became head of the UAOC in Left-Bank (Eastern) Ukraine. Poor health prevented Metropolitan Feofil from fleeing Ukraine when the Bolsheviks retook Ukraine from the Germans in 1944.
December 24, 1941
- Metropolitan Dionisij Valedynskyj [of the Polish Orthodox Church - Ecumenical Patriarchate, who's primary ordaining bishop in 1913 was Gregorious IV, Patriarch of Antioch, successor in the apostolic lineage of St. Peter] designated Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky [consecrated in 1932 by Metropolitan Dionisij] temporary administrator of German-occupied Ukrainian lands and granted him the title of Archbishop of Lutsk and Kovel.
February 9-10, 1942
- Metropolitan Dionisij blesses the meeting of the Ukrainian Episcopate in Pinsk (Byelorussia) at the First Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) which restores canonical ties and unity with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. During this historical meeting, Archimandrite Nikanor Abramovych (February 9) and Archimandrite Ihor Huba (February 10) are ordained by Archbishop Polikarp Sikorsky, Archbishop Olexander Inozemtsev and Bishop (later Metropolitan of Warsaw) Yuri Korenastov. Mitropolit Dionisij assigns them to serve as joint vicars of Archbishop Polikarp with responsibilities in Kyiv.
May 9- 17, 1942
- The ordination of the following new Bishops of the UAOC, with the permission of Mitropolit Dionisij, occurred in the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Kiev under the presidencies of the Vicars of the Mitropolit, Archbishops Nikanor and Ihor:
Bishop Fotij Tymoshchuk to rule Chernihiv (May 9);
Bishop Manuyil Tarnavsky to rule Bilotserkiv (May 10);
Bishop Mychayil Khoroshy to rule Yelysavetrad (May 12);
Bishop (now Patriarch) Mstyslav Skrypnyk to rule Pereyaslav (May 14);
Bishop Sylvester Hayevsky to rule Lubny (May 16); and,
Bishop Hryhorij Ohijchuk to rule Zhytomyr (May 17).
Soon after, Metropolitan Dionisij and Archbishops Oleksander and Polikarp approved all the actions of the Sobor/Synod.
- The following bishops were ordained:
Bishop Hennadij Shyprykevych to rule Dnipropetrovske (May 24)
Bishop Volodymyr Malets' to rule Cherkasy (June 23);
Bishop Platon Artemyuk to rule Rivne (August 2);
Bishop Vyacheslav Lisytsky to rule Dubno (September 13); and
Bishop Serhij Okhotenko to rule Melitopol (August 1, 1943).
October 8, 1942
- Archbishop Nikanor and Bishop (later Patriarch) Mstyslav of the UAOC and Metropolitan Oleksiy (Hromadsky) of the Autonomous Church sign an Act of Union at the Pochaev Lavra. However, German occupation authorities and pro-Russian hierarchs of the Autonomous Church forced Metropolitan Oleksiy to remove his signature. Metropolitan Oleksiy was shot to death in Volynia on May 7, 1943.
V. AFTER WORLD WAR II
1944 - After World War II, many of the bishops of the UAOC fled to the West, via Germany, some eventually reaching the United States, where they headed various jurisdictions of the UAOC. The UAOC in Ukraine is liquidated by the Soviets with the assistance of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Any UAOC hierarchs or clergy remaining in Ukraine who refused to join the Russian Church were executed or sent to concentration camps. In the next several years, the same action is taken against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia.
1948 - In 1948 the Moscow patriarch annulled the 1924 Tomos of the patriarch of Constantinople granting autocephaly and replaced it with his own grant reasserting Moscow's control over the Ukrainian Metropolia and, in addition, over the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland. Therefore, in 1948, the POC, under pressure from the Moscow Patriarchate and the communist regime of Poland, “refused” to adhere to the Tomos of 1924 and “received afresh the autocephaly” from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), but this act was not recognized by Constantinople.
1950 - The resettlement of UAOC hierarchs, clergy and faithful in Western Europe, North and South America and in Australia.
1985 - The death of Metropolitan Hrihorij Ohijchuk in Chicago, USA. Metropolitan Andrij Pratsky is elected as the canonical successor to Metropolitan Hrihorij Ohijchuk in the diaspora.
1988 - Celebration of the Millenium of the Baptism of Rus’-Ukraine and the establishment of the Ukrainian Church by Orthodox Ukrainians throughout the free world. The focus of the Moscow Patriarchate’s celebration is in Moscow [founded 1147]. Ordination of Metropolitan Alexis Nizza who would become the canonical successor of Metropolitan Andrij Pratsky.
1989 - [August] Third 20th-century rebirth of the UAOC. The church of Ss. Peter and Paul in L’viv is the first parish to leave the Moscow Patriarchate. [October] Bishop Ioan [Bodnarchuk] of Zhytomyr, responding to appeals from the UAOC, resigned his position within the Moscow Patriarchate in order to lead the UAOC.
1990 - [June] A Sobor (Church Council) held in Kyiv elected Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skrypnyk), one of the "second UAOC formation" Bishops who was primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Diaspora, as Patriarch of Kyiv. The official Orthodox Church of Ukraine headed by Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko), a runner-up for the position of Patriarch of Moscow, opposed the newcomer vigorously. However when Ukraine itself became independent in 1991 Metropolitan Filaret led the bishops of Ukraine in an attempt to obtain official approval for autocephaly from Moscow. The bishops were dissuaded and Metropolitan Filaret was pressured to resign his see. He agreed to do so upon returning to Ukraine. Instead he entered into a quick unity agreement with Metropolitan Anthony (Masendych), whom Patriarch Mstyslav left in charge of the UAOC, and so in 1992 was formed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate). The rest of Metropolitan Filaret's bishops called a Sobor in Kharkiv and elected Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Novgorod, Russia, to be the new primate of Moscow's Church in Ukraine. This Church continues to be the largest in Ukraine. The UOC(KP) is next. It is currently headed by Filaret himself as Patriarch and its numbers and prestige are on the rise. Certain bishops and clergy of the UAOC (Patriarch Mstyslav sympathized with them) could not make peace with a Church union they viewed as being dictated by political leaders, especially one which included Metropolitan Filaret. They elected Fr. Volodymyr Yarema, the first Orthodox priest in Ukraine to declare his parish (the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in L'viv) autocephalous on August 19, 1989, to be their Patriarch. He chose the name Dymytriy.
1992 - Metropolitan Filaret, Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate, refused to participate in the Kharkiv assembly of the UOC-MP, and did not recognize its legitimacy because it was convened without his consent as the head of the UOC. In addition to Metropolitan Filaret, Bishops Yakiv (Panchuk), Andrii (Horak) and Bartholomew (Vashchuk) did not participate in the Kharkiv council. The bishops, however, expressed their acceptance of all the decisions of the UOC episcopate.
On June 7, 1992, Metropolitan Filaret and Bishop Yakiv (Panchuk) of Pochayiv (still members of the Moscow Patriarchate UOC, ordained a new bishop – Spyridon (Babsky), and on June 8 Varsonofiy (Mazurak). Bishop Spyridon Babsky later left the Moscow Patriarchate (it is Bishop Spyridon Babsky who ordained Vladyka Ioan (Notaro) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America.
1993 - [June] Repose of Patriarch Mstyslav and election of Patriarch Dmitrij Yarema.
1995 - Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA enters into communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople under Bartholemew I, Ecumencal Patriarch, distancing themselves from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Tomos of Autocephaly granted in 1924.
2000 - Patriarch Dmitrij Yarema reposes.
2002 - Metropolitan Moisei Koulik is ordained a bishop, in the canonical Apostolic Line of Metropolitan Dionisij Valedensky, by the canonical Hierarchs of the Diaspora and returns to Ukraine to assume leadership of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church under the Tomos of Autocephaly issued in 1924 by Ecumenical Patriarch Gregorios VII Haddad.
2004 - Metropolitan Moisei attempts to unite the various UAOC Churches of the Diaspora (Western Europe, North and South America, Africa, etc.) with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine in conformity with the Tomos of Autocephaly granted by Ecumencal Patriarch Gregorios VII Haddad in 1924.
2004 - In order to establish unquestionable Apostolic Succession within the Jurisdiction, Bishop Ioan (Notaro) is ordained to the episcopate in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 11, 2004 by Archbishop Spyridon Babsky (thereby maintaining the lines of Apostolic Succession from Patriarch Filaret Denysenko who, along with Metropolitan Jakov Panchuk, ordained +Spyridon Babsky to the episcopate in June, 1992) and Metropolitan Moisey Koulik (thereby maintaining the Apostolic Succession from Metropolitan Hryhoriy Ohijchuk and in continuity with Patriarch Mstyslav Skrypnyk). Bishop Ioan (Notaro), therefore, shares the exact same Apostolic Succession as the other Ukrainian Orthodox hierarchs, that is, +Mefodiy Kudriakov, +Filaret Denysensko and Patriarch Alexis II of the Russian Patriarchate.
2005 - Metropolitan Moisei, without full Synodal approval, declares himself Patriarch of Kyiv and All-Russ Ukraine. In July, 2005, the Ukrainian Bishops become aware that Patriarch Moisey had believed in and taught “reincarnation” and that he had also abused the Eucharist by placing it in antimensia. He had also declared his disbelief in monasticism and had kept secret the fact that he was, in fact, married and had a family. Declaring Patriarch Moisey a heretic, and invoking Canon 15 of the First-and-Second Councils, the Ukrainian Bishops and Bishops from North and Central America elect Bishop Ioan as Metropolitan Prime Bishop to lead their jurisdiction. Because of the world-wide scandal caused by the self-proclaimed “Patriarch" Moisey Koulik, the Synod of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Canonical unanimously agreed to change its legal name to: Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America and to shift its headquarters from Ukraine to the United States, the home of the Church of the Ukrainian Diaspora established by His Beatitude Metropolitan Hryhoriy Ohijchuk.
Regarding “canonical” status, our position is: OUR JURISDICTION HAD BEEN GRANTED LAWFUL CANONICAL AUTOCEPHALY THROUGH THE TOMOS OF 1924. However, because of the wars, our Bishops were forced into exile by the Russian Church, and, sadly, we were subsequently completely forgotten by Constantinople and world Orthodoxy and were given absolutely no opportunity to plead our case for universal recognition, consistent with the Tomos of 1924 which had been granted to us, with world Orthodoxy. In 1948, the Russian Orthodox Church, under the sole authority of the Soviet-controlled government, uncanonically annulled the 1924 Tomos issued by the Patriarch of Constantinople, established its own “canonical” Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate, independant of Constantinople and its territorial jurisdiction in Ukraine, and forced us, the canonical Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, out of Ukraine and into exile.
Tomos of 1924
1924 Tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
A Tomos of Autocephaly (self-government) was issued by the Ecumenical Patriarch +GREGORIOS VII to the Orthodox Church of Poland which was headed by Metropolitan +DIONISIJ (Valedynsky). Due to the political circumstances (and territorial partitions) between the First and Second World Wars, most of the ancient Kyivan Metropolitanate was located within Poland. In this Tomos, the previous transfer of the Kyivan Church to the jurisdiction of Moscow (1685) was declared uncanonical and the independence of the Kyivan Metropolitanate (The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) was fully restored.
PATRIARCHAL AND SYNODICALLY CANONICAL TOMOS
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, November 13, 1924, concerning the declaration of the Orthodox Church in Poland as an Autocephalic Church.
, by the grace of God Archbishop of Constantinople -the New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
The Holy Orthodox Church in the God-Protected Polish State, endowed with an autonomous system and administration and proving its firmness in faith, zealousness by charitable works has requested our Holy Apostolic and Ecumenical Patriarchal See to bless and confirm its autocephalous administrative system, considering that in the new circumstances of political life, only such a system can satisfy and guarantee its needs.
Examining this request with love, taking into consideration the structions of the holy canons, which have established that the system of church affairs should correspond with the political and community forms (IV Ecumenical Council, canon 17, VI Ecumenical Council, canon 38), as well as the reasoning of Photius: "It is acceptable that laws which relate to church affairs, and especially parish matters, should correspond with political and administrative changes", from another point of view, bowing before the demands of canonical obligations, which impose upon our Holy Ecumenical See concern for Orthodox Churches, who are in need; considering also the fact, which is not contradicted by history (for it is recorded that the first separation from our See of the Kyivan Metropolia and the Orthodox Metropolia of Lithuania and Poland, dependent upon it, as well as their incorporation within the Holy Moscovite Church was accomplished contrary to canon law, as also all that which was agreed upon regarding the full church autonomy of the Kyivan Metropolitan, who at the time had the title Exarch of the Ecumenical See), We and our Holy Metropolitans, Our beloved brothers and co-workers in the Holy Spirit, considered it our obligation to give ear to the request presented to Us by the Holy Orthodox Church in Poland and to give Our blessing and approval to its autocephalous and independent administration.
As a consequence of this conciliar decision, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, We have decided: to recognize an autocephalic administration for the Orthodox Church in Poland and give our blessings to this, so that from this day on It may be governed as a spiritual Sister, and decided Its affairs independently and in an autocephalic manner, according to the regulations and unlimited rights of other Holy Autocephalic Orthodox Churches, recognizing as its Supreme Church Authority, the Holy Synod, composed of orthodox canonical bishops in Poland, whose president shall at all times be the Blessed Metropolitan of Warsaw and of all Poland. To preserve and canonically maintain united with Our Holy Apostolic Ecumenical Patriarchal See, as well as with all other Autocephalic Orthodox Churches, We mention here the obligations which every Metropolitan of Warsaw and of all Poland will have: ie. to inform, according to the regulations of the Holy Orthodox, of his election and enthronization by an enthronization letter Our Great Christian Church as well as all other Autocephalous Orthodox Sister-Churches: To retain everything related to a firm maintenance of the Faith and Orthodox piety, as well as all that is commanded by the holy canons and regulations of the Orthodox Church; to also commemorate in accordance with regulations in the Diptychs the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch and other Patriarchs as well as the Hierarchs of other Autocephalic Churches. In addition to this we decree, that the Autocephalous Orthodox Sister-Church in Poland must obtain its Holy Myrh (oil) from Our Great Christian Church. We advise at this time, that in matters concerning church order and in matters of a more general nature, which are beyond the jurisdictional limits of every Autocephalous Church acting individually, that the Blessed Metropolitan of Warsaw and of all Poland to apply to Our Holy Ecumenical Patriarchal See, through whose mediation union with every Orthodox Church, "... rightly teaching the word of truth" and request authoritive opinions and help from Sister-Churches.
Having carefully reviewed and considered all this at canonical meetings of the Holy Synod on the sixth and eleventh of November, 1924, We have entrusted, after the approval of the Synod, this Synodical and Patriarchal Tomos, accurately and unalteredly copied, as it is recorded in the Codex of Our Great Christian Church, to the Blessed +DIONISIJ, Our beloved brother and co-worker in Christ, Metropolitan of Warsaw and of all Poland and President of the Holy Synod of the Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Poland.
May the Lord God strengthen unto the ages, by the grace and merits of the First Great and Supreme Pastor, Christ our God, the Autocephalous Sister-Church in Poland, so fortunately organized, may He raise and increase everything in it to the glory of His Holy Name, for the benefit of Its pious flock and for the joy of all Autocephalous Orthodox Sister Churches.
In the year of Our Lord 1924, November 13th.
The Patriarch of Constantinople, +GREGORIOS VII (Approved).
The Metropolitan of Kiza, +KALYNYK
The Metropolitan of Sardia and Pisidia, +HERMAN
The Metropolitan of Nicea, BASIL
The Metropolitan of Chaldea, +JOAKIM
The Metropolitan of Philadelphia, +PHOTIUS
The Metropolitan of Derkos, +CONSTANTINE
The Metropolitan of Syliria, +EUGENE
The Metropolitan of Brus, +NICODEMOUS
The Metropolitan of Rodopolia, +CYRIL
The Metropolitan of the Princes Islands, +AHAFANAHEL
The Metropolitan of Neocesarea, +AMBROSIOS
The Metropolitan of Anea, +THOMAS
The Ecumenical Patriarchate, November 13, 1924
Chancellor HERMAN, Metropolitan of Sardia
CERTIFICATE OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF METROPOLITAN HRIHORIY OHIJCHUK
MAY 17, 1942