- Ukraine: Russian Orthodox Church & Moscow Join to Squelch Religious Freedom | National Review
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Today, according to Pew, the figure is 12 percent. Secretary of State William H. Russian ecclesiastical officials bristle at frequent accusations that the Moscow Patriarchate is a pawn of Putin, invariably supporting his domestic policies and representing his interests abroad.
They are our canonical and pastoral responsibilities. The split is being called the "worst crisis" for the Orthodox Church in centuries, but it's more about politics than religion. Read Caption. The ancient liturgy and iconography of the Orthodox Church are an integral part of the history and identity of both Ukraine and Russia. By Frank Viviano. Photographs by Brendan Hoffman.
Christianity acceptance among the Rus' nobility gained a vital proponent when Princess Olga , the ruler of Kiev , became baptized, taking the " Christian name " Helen. Her baptism in or in either Kiev or Constantinople accounts differ was a turning point in religious life of Rus' but it was left to her grandson, Vladimir the Great , to make Kievan Rus' a Christian state. Saint Adalbert , a Latin missionary bishop from Germany, was sent, but his missions and the priests who missionized along with him, were stopped. Most of the group of Latin missionaries were slain by pagan forces sent by Olga's son, Prince Svyatoslav , who had taken the crown from his mother.
Christianity became dominant in the territory with the mass Baptism of Kiev in the Dnieper River in ordered by Vladimir. That year is considered as the year of establishment of the Kiev Metropolis and part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The exact date of establishment is not clearly known as the Kiev eparchy metropolis is mentioned as early as Following the Great Schism in , the Kievan Rus' that incorporated some of the modern Ukraine ended up on the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine side of the divided Christian world.
Early on, the Orthodox Christian metropolitans had their seat in Pereyaslav , and later in Kiev. The people of Kiev lost their Metropolitan to Vladimir-Suzdal in who retained the title , but gained a new Metropolitan in Halych in The religious affairs were also ruled in part by a Metropolitan in Navahrudak , present-day Belarus.
In the 15th century, the primacy over the Ruthenian Orthodox Church was moved to Vilnius , under the title " Metropolitan of Kiev, Halych and all Rus' ". One clause of the Union of Krevo stipulated that Jagiello would disseminate Catholicism among Orthodox subjects of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania , of which Ukraine was a part. The opposition from the Ostrogskis and other Orthodox magnates led to this policy being suspended in the early 16th century.
Following the Union of Lublin , the Polonization of the Ukrainian church was accelerated. Unlike the Catholic Church, the Orthodox church in Ukraine was liable to various taxes and legal obligations. The building of new Orthodox churches was strongly discouraged. The Catholics were strictly forbidden to convert to Orthodoxy, and the marriages between Catholics and Orthodox were frowned upon. Orthodox subjects had been increasingly barred from high offices of state. In order to oppose such restrictions and to reverse cultural polonization of Orthodox bishops, the Ecumenical Patriarch encouraged the activity of the Orthodox urban communities called the "brotherhoods" bratstvo.
Ukraine: Russian Orthodox Church & Moscow Join to Squelch Religious Freedom | National Review
In Hedeon Balaban , the bishop of Lviv , asked the Pope to take him under his protection, because he was exasperated by the struggle with urban communities and the Ecumenical Patriarch. He was followed by the bishops of Lutsk , Cholm , and Turov in While the new church gained many faithful among the Ukrainians in Galicia , the majority of Ukrainians in the rest of the lands remained within Eastern Orthodoxy with the church affairs ruled by then from Kiev under the metropolitan Petro Mohyla.
The Orthodox Church was made illegal its legality was partially restored in , its property confiscated, and Orthodox believers faced persecution and discrimination which became an important reason for large numbers of Ukrainians to emigrate to Tsardom of Russia following the Union. As the unia continued its expansion into Ukraine, its unpopularity grew, particularly in the southern steppes where Dnieper Cossacks lived. The Cossacks valued their traditions and culture saw the unia as a final step of Polonization.
As a result, they reacted by becoming fierce proponents of Orthodoxy.
Such feelings played a role in the mass uprising whose targets included all non-Orthodox religious proponents, the Catholic and Uniate clergy and Jews. During this time metropolitan Mogila took full advantage of the moment to restore the Orthodox domination in Ukraine, including returning one of its sacred buildings, the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.
In , 40 years after Mogila's death, the Ottomans , acting on the behalf of the regent of Russia Sophia Alekseyevna , pressured the Patriarch of Constantinople into transferring the Orthodox Church of Kiev and all Rus' from the jurisdiction of Constantinople to the Patriarch of Moscow , established a century prior to that. The legality of this step is occasionally questioned to this day along with the fact that the transfer was accompanied by graft and bribery, which in church affairs amounts to an ecclesiastical crime.
The transfer itself, however, led to the significant Ukrainian domination of the Russian Orthodox Church , which continued well into the 18th century, Feofan Prokopovich , Epifany Slavinetsky , Stephen Yavorsky and Demetrius of Rostov being among the most notable representatives of this trend.
In the late 18th century, the Crimean Khanate Vassal for Ottoman Empire was conquered by Russia, and the latter annexed most of the southern steppes and Crimea. Colonization of these lands was actively encouraged by Orthodox people, particularly Ukrainians, Russians and Serbs.
As New Russia Novorossiya, as it was then known was settled, new Orthodox parishes were created. Construction of Cathedrals that demonstrate some of the finest examples of lateth-century Russian Architecture was undertaken in large cities such as Odessa and Sevastopol. In the late 17th century Poland became less and less influential and internal corruption as well as the pressure from its powerful neighbors resulted in its partitions by neighbouring empires.
The Russian Empire , in particular, gained most of ethnically Ukrainian land and all of the Belarusian lands. After nearely two centuries of polonization , the Uniate influence on the Ukrainian population was so great that hardly any remained Orthodox. Although some, particularly in Podolia , chose to revert to Orthodoxy soon after, this in many cases was an exception rather than trend and in locations where the Unia already gave deep roots into the population all of the church property remained in the Catholic and Uniate authority. Also significant was Empress Catherine II 's decree "On the newly acquired territory", according to which most of the Polish magnates retained all their lands and property thus a significant control over population in the newly acquired lands.
Nevertheless, the first Russophile tendencies began to surface, and came in face of the Uniate Bishop Joseph Semashko. Believing that the Uniate Church's role as an interim bridge between Orthodoxy and their eventual path to Catholicism is over, now that the ruler of the lands is no longer a Catholic, but an Orthodox Monarch, he began to push for an eventual reversion of all Uniates.
Although the idea was shared by growing number of the lower priests, the ruling Uniate synod , controlled by the strong Polish influence, rejected all Semashko's suggestions. In , the general discontent of the Poles with the Russian rule erupted into a revolt, now known as the November Uprising , which the Uniate Church officially supported.
However, the uprising failed, and the Russian authorities were quick to respond to its organisers and areas of strongest support. The outcome was that the Uniate synod's members were removed along with most of the Polish magnates privileges' and authority being taken away. With the Polish influence in the Ruthenian lands significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated, the Uniate Church began to disintegrate. The final blow came from the Synod of Polotsk in headed by the ex-Uniate Bishop Semashko, where it was agreed to terminate the accords of Union of Brest and all of the remaining Uniate property on the territory of the Belarus and Right Bank Ukraine within the Russian Empire was incorporated into the Russian Orthodox Church.
Those Uniate clergy who refused to join the Russian Orthodox Church out of a total of 1, in Ukraine and Belarus were exiled to the Russian interior or Siberia.
Russia does not treat Ukraine as typical post-Soviet state anymore
Only a small number of Greek Catholics in the Kholm Governorate managed to preserve their faith. Within the Russian Empire, the Uniate Church continued to function until , when the Eparchy of Chelm was abolished. The greater longevity of the Uniate Church in this region was attributed to the fact that it came under Russian control later than did the other territories and that, unlike other Ukrainian regions within the Russian Empire, it had been part of the Congress Poland , which had some autonomy until Within Chelm, the conversion to Orthodoxy met with strong resistance from the local ethnic Ukrainian priests and parishioners, and was accomplished largely through the efforts of Russian police, Cossacks, and immigrating Russophile priests from eastern Galicia.
The resistance was strong enough that when, a generation later in , the formally Orthodox population of Chelm was allowed to return to Catholicism Russian authorities only allowing conversion to the Latin Rite , , out of , did so by Although the Partitions of Poland awarded most of the Ruthenian lands to the Russian Empire, this excluded the southwestern Kingdom Of Galicia constituting the modern Lviv , Ivano-Frankivsk and parts of Ternopil oblasts , which fell under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Similarly to the situation in the lands of the Russian Empire, the Uniate Ruthenian Ukrainian peasantry was largely under the Polish Latin Catholic domination. The Austrians granted equal legal privileges to the Uniate Church and removed Polish influence.
They also mandated that Uniate seminarians receive a formal higher education previously, priests had been educated informally by other priests, usually their fathers, as the vocation was passed on within families , and organized institutions in Vienna and Lviv that would serve this function.
This led to the appearance, for the first time, of a large educated social class within the Ukrainian population in Galicia. Most independent native Ukrainian cultural trends such as Rusynophilia, Russophilia and later Ukrainophilia emerged from within the ranks of the Uniate Church. The participation of Uniate priests or their children in western Ukrainian cultural and political life was so great that western Ukrainians were accused of wanting to create a theocracy in western Ukraine by their Polish rivals.
During the 19th century there was a struggle within the Uniate Church and therefore within the general Galician society due to its domination by priests between Russophiles who desired union with Russia and Ukrainophiles who saw the Galician Ruthenians as Ukrainians, not Russians. The former group were mostly represented by older and more conservative elements of the priesthood, while the latter ideology was more popular among the younger priests.
The Russophilia of the Galician Ruthenians was particularly strong during the midth century, although by the end of that century the Russophiles had declined in importance relative to the Ukrainophiles. The Balkans themselves were largely Orthodox and crucial to the Russian Panslavism movement. In this situation, the Galician Ruthenians found themselves in the pawn's position. Free of Polish domination, unlike in other areas of Ukraine the Uniate church had become closely linked to the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian national movement.
For this reason, the population in general were quite loyal to the Austrian Habsburgs , earning the nickname "Tyroleans of the East",   and resisted reunion into the Orthodox Church. A minority of them, however, welcomed the Russians and reverted to Orthodoxy.
After regaining the lost territories with the counterattack in late , the Austrian authorities responded with repressions: several thousand Orthodox and Russophilic people died while being interred at a Talerhof concentration camp for those deemed disloyal to Austria.
Already a minority, the Russophiles were largely extinguished as a religious-cultural force in Galicia as a result of these actions. Religion in the new socialist society was assigned little value by the state, but in particular Russian Orthodox Church was distrusted because of its active supportive of the White Movement.
Massive arrests and repressions began immediately. This was only the start which culminated in mass closing and destruction of churches some standing since the days of the Kievan Rus and executions of clergy and followers. Ukraine was controlled by several short-lived yet independent governments which revived the Ukrainian national idea. Ukraine declared its political independence following the fall of the Provisional Government in and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was established.
Following the Soviet regime's taking root in Ukraine and despite the ongoing Soviet-wide antireligious campaign, the Bolshevik authorities saw the national churches as a tool in their goal to suppress the Russian Orthodox Church always viewed with the great suspicion by the regime for its being the cornerstone of pre-revolutionary Russian Empire and the initially strong opposition the church took towards the regime change the position of the patriarch Tikhon of Moscow was especially critical.
On November 11,  , an unrecognised Church Council started in Kiev. The Russian Orthodox Church strongly opposed the formation of the Ukrainian autocephaly and not a single ordained bishop was willing or able to ordain the hierarchy for a new Church.
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Therefore, the clergy "ordained" its own hierarchy itself, a practice questionable under the canon law , in the "Alexandrian" manner - by laying on priests' hands on two senior candidates who became known as Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky and Archbishop Nestor Sharayivsky reportedly the relics of St. Clement of Rome who died in Ukraine in the 1st century were also used.
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In the wake of the Ukrainization policies carried out in Soviet Ukraine in the first decade of the Soviet rule many of the Orthodox clergy willfully joined the church thus avoiding the persecution suffered by many clergy members who remained inside the Russian Orthodox Church. During the period in which the Soviet government tolerated the renewed Ukrainian national church the UAOC gained a wide following particularly among the Ukrainian peasantry.
In the earlys the Soviet government abruptly reversed the policies in the national republics and mass arrests of UAOC's hierarchy and clergy culminated in the liquidation of the church in Most of the surviving property was officially transferred to the ROC, with some churches closed for good and destroyed. The Peace of Riga treaty that ended the Polish-Soviet War gave the significant areas of the ethnically Ukrainian and Belarusian territories to the reborn Polish state.
This included Polesie and Volhynia , areas with almost exclusively Orthodox population amongst the rural peasants, as well as the former Austrian province of Galicia with its Uniate population. The Greek Catholic church, which functions in communion with the Latin Rite Catholicism, could have hoped to receive a better treatment in Poland, whose leadership, especially the endecja party, saw the Catholicism as one of the main tools to unify the nation where non-Polish minority comprised over one third of the citizenry. In , following a visit with the Ukrainian Catholic believers in North America and western Europe, the head of the UGCC was initially denied reentry to Lviv until after a considerable delay.