Orthodox Christians and Secular History

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Thomas_Deretich
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Orthodox Christians and Secular History

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ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS AND SECULAR HISTORY 
Posting 1: Ukrainian Autocephalist Bishops of the 1940s Were Not Self-Consecrated
by Thomas S. Deretich
20240401 

The movement for Ukrainian church autocephaly in the 1920s resorted to uncanonical “self-consecration,” as well as to radical “renovationism” that was similar to the Living Church movement in Russia. The movement for Ukrainian church autocephaly in the 1990s until today has shown unmistakable Sergianist, ecumenist, and modernist characteristics. The movement for Ukrainian church autocephaly in the 1940s was different: bishops supporting Ukrainian church autocephaly in the 1940s had succession in their hierarchical consecrations from bishops in Poland who had been recognized as autonomous by Saint Tikhon in 1921 and as autocephalous by Constantinople in 1924. Most of these bishops strongly supported Ukrainian national and church independence from both Russia and Poland. Many supported use of the modern Ukrainian language (in place of Church Slavonic in Liturgy and Russian in administration) as well as lay participation in councils, which the Russian church also supported in 1917­–1918. Some of these bishops may have exercised oikonomia improperly in the manner that they received a small number of priests who had been uncanonically ordained by self-consecrated bishops of the 1920s. Some of the American converts ordained as bishops and priests by some of these Ukrainian hierarchs turned out to be modernists and later became episcopi vagantes and unserious about maintaining traditional Orthodoxy. Despite all this, the Ukrainian autocephalist bishops consecrated in the 1940s were nothing remotely close to “self-consecrators”—and many seem to have worked diligently to maintain Orthodox piety among their Ukrainian flocks in their homeland and later in the diaspora, among Ukrainians and others. For example, Bishop Hryhorii (Ohiichuk) of Zhytomyr, who later was a bishop in Chicago, told followers that Saint Philaret of New York was a truly Orthodox primate, whereas virtually all other American hierarchs (the SCOBA hierarchs) were not truly Orthodox, but modernist. Even SCOBA recognized the Ukrainian autocephalist ordinations of the 1940s as having apostolic succession and at least one autocephalist bishop was a full participant in SCOBA. Bishop Hryhorii (Ohiichuk) of Zhytomyr and Bishop Hennadii (Shyprykevich) of Dnipropetrovsk consecrated Free Serbian Bishop Irinej (Milan Kovačević) in 1963. This consecration was later recognized by Patriarch Nicholas VI (Varelopoulos) of Alexandria and his synod, by Archbishop Auxentius (Pastras) of the True Orthodox Christians of Athens and all Greece and his synod, and much later by Serbian Patriarch Pavle (Stojčević) and his synod. So, both True Orthodox Christians and ecumenistic “World Orthodoxy” have recognized the Ukrainian autocephalist consecrations of the 1940s as valid. The myth that these bishops were self-consecrators has unfortunately influenced some individuals in ROCOR and in other churches. In the case of ROCOR, this misperception of the 1940s Ukrainian consecrations has been influenced in part by anti-Ukrainian-independentist convictions among many Russians. Ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians have often looked at these consecrations very differently. However, it is beyond doubt that these consecrations were not “self-consecrations” in any way, but were conducted by the primate and synod of bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church (a church consisting of ethnic Poles, ethnic Ukrainians, ethnic Carpatho-Rusyns, ethnic Russians, and others), a church that was recognized as canonical and autonomous by Saint Tikhon and ROCOR, and later recognized as fully autocephalous by others.  
 

eish
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Secular History

Post by eish »

Interesting. I'm unfamiliar with the story. Was this during German occupation? Were these catacomb clergy who came out of hiding? Where did you learn about it?

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Suaidan
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Secular History

Post by Suaidan »

There are a number of interesting documents from the period, including Gregory (Ohichuk) here. https://training.ehri-project.eu/christian-leaders 

Fr Joseph Suaidan (Suaiden, same guy)

Thomas_Deretich
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Secular History

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Orthodox Christians and Secular History

Posting 2

THREE DIFFERENT GROUPS OF UKRAINIAN CHURCHMEN, 1921-1945: THE SELF-CONSECRATED AUTOCEPHALISTS, THE POLISH-RECOGNIZED AUTOCEPHALISTS, AND THE AUTONOMISTS

The first group of Ukrainian churchmen that needs to be distinguished from others was the self-consecrated (invalid) Ukrainian autocephalist bishops (1921-1927). The second group was the Ukrainian autocephalist bishops consecrated by the Polish Orthodox Church (1939-1945). The third group was the Ukrainian autonomous bishops who wanted some canonical tie with Moscow and/or with ROCOR (1924-1945). The first group was thoroughly renovationist, secularizing, and un-Orthodox. The third group was the most traditional of the three (including, sometimes, an ethnic Russian prejudice against ethnic Ukrainian [independence-oriented] culture). The second group was a group of Ukrainian ethnic nationalist bishops with an unusual combination of traditional piety and renovationism. 

ORIGINS OF GROUP ONE (and its difference from group two)

Metropolitan Vasyl' of Kyiv (Vasyl' Kostiantynovych Lypkivskyi, 1864-1937), was the self-consecrated (invalid) metropolitan of Kyiv and primate of the renovationist (un-Orthodox) and self-proclaimed Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church from 1921 to 1927. This Ukrainian Autocephalous Church (the first of three major Ukrainian Autocephalous Churches) invalidly ordained numerous Ukrainian autocephalist priests, including priests who survived into and past World War II (1939-1945). During the war, ethnic Ukrainian bishops who had been consecrated bishops by the Polish Orthodox Church attempted to organize a new (second) Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Although these Ukrainian autocephalist bishops had been consecrated as bishops by the Polish Orthodox Church (1939-1945), some of these Ukrainian autocephalist bishops recognized the invalidly ordained priests from 1921 to 1927. Polish church autonomy had been recognized by Saint Tikhon of Moscow, but Russian Orthodox Christians (of all groups) mostly considered Polish church autocephaly (recognized by Constantinople from 1925 onward) as uncanonical. 

ORIGINS OF GROUP TWO
Metropolitan George of Warsaw (Georgii Hryhorii Antonovych Iaroshevskyi) (1872-1923) was an ethnic Ukrainian of the Russian Church who was appointed by Saint Tikhon of Moscow as the Metropolitan of Warsaw and Primate of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Poland, serving as primate from October 1921 to February 1923. He worked for the recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Poland, and in 1923 was shot and killed by an archimandrite (!), Father Smaragd (Latyshenko), who opposed Polish autocephaly. Metropolitan George had been a monk and priest of the Russian Orthodox Church (1900), graduate of the Kiev Spiritual Academy (1901), consecrated bishop (1904), rector, Saint Petersburg Spiritual Academy (1910), Bishop of Minsk (1916). He was an accomplished theological writer of the book Iziasnenie trudnischikh mest iz I-go Poslaniia sv. Petra [Explanation of the Difficult Passages of the First Epistle of Saint Peter] (Simferopol, 1902).

Metropolitan Dionysius of Warsaw (Dionisii Konstantin Nikolaevich Valedinskii, 1876-1960) was an ethnic Russian and the primate of the Polish Orthodox Church from 1923 to 1948, who consecrated and supported Ukrainian autocephalist bishops during World War II (1939-1945). The Polish Orthodox Church was recognized as autonomous by Saint Tikhon of Moscow (who opposed Polish autocephaly unless canonically granted by a Russian sobor). Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VII of Constantinople recognized the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church with a tomos in 1925, over the objections of many Russian churchmen. Metropolitan Dionysius, although an ethnic Russian, strongly supported Polish Church autocephaly and the Ukrainian autocephalist bishops he consecrated for Ukraine. He was persecuted by Nazis and Communists and both Constantinople and Moscow tried to use him for their own selfish purposes. Sadly, the flocks of the Ukrainian autocephalist bishops that Metropolitan Dionysius  consecrated, whether these flocks stayed in Eastern Europe or emigrated into diaspora, largely did not maintain traditional piety along the lines of Saint John of San Francisco or Saint Philaret of New York. 
 

Thomas_Deretich
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Secular History

Post by Thomas_Deretich »

eish wrote: Tue 2 April 2024 1:23 pm

Interesting. I'm unfamiliar with the story. Was this during German occupation? Were these catacomb clergy who came out of hiding? Where did you learn about it?

 

Yes, these Polish-Ukrainian consecrations were performed under German occupation. I am re-reading: Wassilij Alexeev and Theofanis G. Stavrou, _The Great Revival: The Russian Church Under German Occupation_ (Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Company, 1976), although there are now many other printed and online sources available in various languages. Ukrainian-language online encyclopedias are especially helpful when it comes to dates of consecrations and other facts. The articles can be translated via the Google Translate add-on in the Chrome browser. I need to read more about catacomb clergy at this time in Ukraine and elsewhere. 
 

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Secular History

Post by SavaBeljovic »

Good work Thomas, I thought I was the only person who actually cared about the history of the Ukrainian churches, I knew some of this having come from the Ukrainians but couldn't have written it well whatsoever. Many thanks! This forum needed some of this history written down!

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

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