In 1987, a number of priests from the underground Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emerged, petitioning for the restoration of their church. Soon after, a significant number of “Russian” Orthodox priests in western Ukraine revealed their loyalties to the suppressed church.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church resurfaced in western Ukraine again, with significant numbers of “Russian” Orthodox clergy and parishes switching their allegiances to the revived church.
The unraveling of the Soviet Union in 1990 and 1991 exasperated the situation. When more than 90 percent of Soviet Ukrainians voted for independence in 1991, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Filaret Denysenko of Kiev petitioned the Moscow patriarchate for greater autonomy, fearing the collapse of a unified Orthodox church in an independent Ukraine. The synod of the Orthodox Church of Russia rejected his petition and Patriarch Alexei II denounced him, replacing him with Metropolitan Volodymyr Sabodan.
Attempts to correct these schisms and unify the Orthodox Church of Ukraine have largely failed in the last two decades. Relationships among those churches with a strong commitment to a Ukrainian national identity — the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church — have strengthened, particularly since the political turmoil of 2004. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate plows forward alone, advocating closer ties to Moscow and its powerful patriarchate.
Post a Comment |
CNEWA’s vice president for communications, Michael La Civita has written extensively on the Eastern churches.
Tags: Unity Ukraine Eastern Christianity Church history Ukrainian Orthodox Church