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Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine features: The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the revival of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in the 20th century

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Marko Robert Stech (Toronto)

May 2013

From the time of the dissolution of the Cossack Hetman state in the 18th century, all church authority in Russian-ruled Ukraine was monopolized by the Russian Orthodox church. The movement for an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church gained strength following the struggle for independence (1917-20) and the rebirth of the Ukrainian state. The All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council, with representatives of the clergy and laity from throughout Ukraine, began the process of Ukrainizing church life and establishing a permanent organizational structure for the Ukrainian church.

Portrait of Vasyl Lypkivsky, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, painted by Liudmyla Hrytsenko, 1988 (from the book Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky by Arsenii Zinchenko)

The autocephaly was proclaimed in May 1920. The UAOC grew rapidly in the 1920s under Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky. By early 1924 the church had some 30 bishops, 1,500 priests, and 1,100 parishes. At its peak it had as many as 6 million followers in Ukraine. It also began to spread its influence to Ukrainian communities abroad. However, the Soviet authorities led an active campaign to destroy the UAOC. In 1929 the church was accused of collaborating with the fictitious Union for the Liberation of Ukraine, and many of its leaders were arrested.

The UAOC was formally abolished in January 1930, and the 1930s brought the physical liquidation of the entire UAOC hierarchy and many of its priests and faithful. Although the UAOC was destroyed in Soviet Ukraine, Ukrainian Orthodoxy survived in those territories that came under Polish rule in the interwar period, and later in the emigration. The political liberalization of the late 1980s permitted the rebirth of the UAOC in Ukraine. Relations were established with the UAOC abroad, and Mstyslav Skrypnyk was elected patriarch of Kyiv and all Ukraine at the first sobor of the reborn UAOC in June 1990…

Learn more about the history of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church and the revival of Ukrainian Orthodoxy by visiting:

http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/featuredentry.asp

or by visiting:

http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com

and searching for such entries as:

UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH (UAOC). The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church was closely allied with the Ukrainian national revival of the revolutionary period and the 1920s. It was primarily supported by the Ukrainian intelligentsia (and lower clergy) and envisioned playing a major role in raising the national consciousness of the masses. Politically it was committed to the social reforms of the Ukrainian National Republic (Volodymyr Chekhivsky, the most influential ideologue of the UAOC, had headed the Council of National Ministers of the UNR). One of the major tenets of the church was an insistence on the separation of church and state. Second, the leaders of the church were committed to the independence (autocephaly) of the UAOC. They called for jurisdictional independence from the Moscow patriarch and the creation of an independent church hierarchy, equal to and recognized by the entire Orthodox community. A third feature of the new church was a commitment to conciliarism or sobor rule. This concept stressed the complete democratization and decentralization of church life and the active participation of the laity in decision-making. Fourth feature was the Ukrainization of the church rite and the revitalization of Ukrainian liturgical and ecclesiastical traditions…

ALL-UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH COUNCIL. The council was formed in 1917 at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv and consisted of representatives of the clergy and the laity from all parts of Ukraine. It was headed by well-known church leaders–Archbishop Oleksii Dorodnytsyn and Rev O. Marychiv. The council was determined to put an end to the church’s dependence on Moscow and summoned the All-Ukrainian Church Sobor at the beginning of 1918. The council also devoted special attention to the Ukrainianization of the parishes and the liturgy. The first liturgy in Ukrainian was conducted in Kyiv at Saint Nicholas’s Military Cathedral on 9 May 1919. Through the efforts of the council, the Ukrainian Orthodox church declared itself to be autocephalous on 5 May 1920 in Kyiv. In 1921 a sobor was summoned, and it established the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church. The council was active, with a different membership, up to the forced dissolution of the UAOC in 1930. As a result of the Soviet Stalinist terror, by 1937 of the church’s 2,000 parishes none was left. Almost all of the council’s members and staff, as well as the bishops and clergy of the UAOC, died in Soviet concentration camps…

LYPKIVSKY, VASYL, b 19 March 1864 in Popudna, Lypovets county, Kyiv gubernia, d 27 November 1937. Church leader; cofounder and metropolitan of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC). In 1903-5 he lectured on canon law in the Kyiv Church Teachers’ School, but he lost this position for his support of a separate Ukrainian church. With the fall of the tsarist regime in 1917, Lypkivsky joined the struggle for the establishment of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church. In May 1919 he celebrated the first Liturgy in the Ukrainian language–after translating many of the liturgical books into modern Ukrainian. In October 1921 the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council in Kyiv, which had declared the establishment of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church in May 1920, elected Lypkivsky the first metropolitan of the church. Insisting on the active participation of the laity in church affairs, the metropolitan propagated many church reforms and was insistent on preserving the independence of the Ukrainian church vis-à-vis the Moscow Patriarchate. His popularity soon earned him the enmity of the Soviet authorities, who, after arresting him a few times, had him dismissed by the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council in 1927. He was arrested by the NKVD in November 1937, charged with anti-Soviet activity, and executed…

CHEKHIVSKY, VOLODYMYR, b 19 July 1876 in Horokhuvatka, Kyiv gubernia, d 3 November 1937 in the Solovets Islands. Prominent civic, political, and church leader. Chekhivsky graduated from the Kyiv Theological Academy in 1900 (DTh). In 1906 he was elected to the first Russian State Duma. After a year’s exile in Vologda gubernia he lived and taught in Odesa. He was a member of the Central Rada, and in 1918 the chairman of the Ukrainian Military Revolutionary Committee, which planned the overthrow of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky. In 1918-19 he headed the Council of National Ministers of the UNR and served as the minister of foreign affairs. At the same time he was a prominent figure in the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church. It was under his leadership that the UNR government adopted the law on the autocephalous status of the Ukrainian Orthodox church on 1 January 1919. In 1921 he became a member of the Presidium of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council and chairman of the Ideological Commission of the church. Chekhivsky was arrested by the Soviet authorities on 29 July 1929. In 1933 he was transferred to the prison on the Solovets Islands, where he was executed in 1937…

SIKORSKY, POLIKARP, b 20 June 1875 in Zelenky, Kaniv county, Kyiv gubernia, d 22 October 1953 in Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris. Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC). A graduate of the Kyiv Theological Academy (1898) and the law faculty of Kyiv University (1910), he was a member of the Hromada of Kyiv, a section head in the Ministry of Religious Faiths of the UNR Government-in-exile (1918-19), and deputy director of that government’s Department of General Affairs (1919-21). He served as a member of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council. An emigre in the interwar Poland, in April 1932 he was consecrated Orthodox bishop of Lutsk by Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church, but he was unable to function fully because of Polish administrative sanctions. During the 1939-41 Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine, Sikorsky refused to recognize the authority of the Patriarch of Moscow. In the fall of 1941, during the German occupation, Metropolitan Valedinsky elevated him to the office of archbishop of Lutsk and Kovel and provisional administrator of the revived UAOC. In May 1942 the Kyiv sobor of UAOC bishops elected him their metropolitan…

SKRYPNYK, MSTYSLAV, b 10 April 1898 in Poltava, d 11 June 1993 in Grimsby, Ontario. Orthodox patriarch. A nephew of Symon Petliura, during the Ukrainian-Soviet War (1917-21) he served in the UNR Army. In 1930 he completed a degree in political science in Warsaw. He served as a member of the Polish Sejm (1930-9), where he was especially active in defending the Ukrainian Orthodox church. He was ordained a priest and made bishop of Pereiaslav for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church (UAOC) in 1942, but was persecuted by the Gestapo in 1942-3. He emigrated to Germany in 1944 and was active in organizing emigre church life in Western Europe. In 1947-50 he was bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. In 1950 he became head of the consistory and deputy metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. In 1969 he became metropolitan of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church in Western Europe, and in 1971, metropolitan of the church in the United States. In 1990, after the revival and legalization of the UAOC in Ukraine, Skrypnyk was elected its patriarch…

Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine features: The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the revival of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in the 20th century Reviewed by on . Marko Robert Stech (Toronto) May 2013 From the time of the dissolution of the Cossack Hetman state in the 18th century, all church authority in Russian-ruled Uk Marko Robert Stech (Toronto) May 2013 From the time of the dissolution of the Cossack Hetman state in the 18th century, all church authority in Russian-ruled Uk Rating: 0
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