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The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Polish : Polski Autokefaliczny Kościół Prawosławny), commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or (Orthodox) Church of Poland is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion. The church was established in 1924, to accommodate Orthodox Christians of Polish descent in the eastern part of the country, when Poland regained its independence after the First World War.
Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish-language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
The Poles, commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000, of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.
In total, it has approximately 500,000 adherents (2016).In the Polish census of 2011, 156,000 citizens declared themselves as members.
Polish census of 2011 was a census in Poland taken from 1 April to 30 June 2011.
The establishment of the church was undertaken after the Treaty of Riga left a large amount of territory previously under the control of the Russian Empire, as part of the Second Polish Republic. Eastern Orthodoxy was widespread in the Belarusian Western Belarus regions and the Ukrainian Volhynia. The loss of ecclesiastical link due to the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union, left the regional clergy in a crisis moment, and in 1924, the Ecumenical Patriarchate took over establishing several autonomous churches on territories of the new states that were formerly wholly or partially part of the Russian Empire (Finland, the Baltic States, and Poland). [ circular reference ] The Russian Orthodox Church at the time did not recognise the Polish autocephaly, as it did not recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.Earlier, in January 1922, the Polish government had issued an order recognizing the Orthodox church and placing it under the authority of the state. At that time a Ukrainian, Yurii Yaroshevsky, was appointed Metropolitan and exarch by the patriarch of Moscow. When Yaroshevsky began to reject the authority of Moscow Patriarchate, he was assassinated by a Russian monk . Nonetheless, his successor, Dionizy Waledyński (Dionisii Valedinsky), continued to work for the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox church, which was finally granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in his Tomos of 13 November 1924. Given that most of the parishioners were Ukrainians and Belarusians living in the Eastern areas of the newly independent Polish Second Republic, the Patriarch of Constantinople had a canonical basis to grant the Tomos to the Polish church as a successor of the Kyiv Metropolia, the former territory of Kyivan Rus' which Constantinople continued to see as its canonical territory (despite having agreed to allow Moscow to be its caretaker it in 1686).
The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, the state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II.
Volhynia, is a historic region in Central and Eastern Europe, situated between south-eastern Poland, south-western Belarus, and western Ukraine. While the borders of the region are not clearly defined, the territory that still carries the name is Volyn Oblast, located in western Ukraine. Volhynia has changed hands numerous times throughout history and been divided among competing powers. At one time all of Volhynia was part of the Pale of Settlement designated by Imperial Russia on its southwestern-most border.
During the interwar period, however, the Polish authorities imposed severe restrictions on the church and its clergy. The most famous example, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw was destroyed. In Volyhnia a total of 190 Eastern Orthodox churches were destroyed and a further 150 converted to Roman Catholicism.Several court hearings against the Pochayiv Lavra also took place.
In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. This period is also colloquially referred to as Between the Wars.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was a Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Saxon Square built in Warsaw, Poland, then a part of the Russian Empire. The cathedral was designed by distinguished Russian architect Leon Benois, and was built between 1894 and 1912. When it was finally completed, it was 70 metres in height, at that time, the tallest building in Warsaw.
Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra is a monastery in Pochayiv, Kremenets Raion, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine. For centuries, it has been the foremost spiritual and ideological centre of various Orthodox denominations in Western Ukraine. The monastery tops a 60-metre hill in the town of Pochayiv, 18 km southwest of Kremenets and 70 km north of Ternopil.
After the Second World War most of the ethnically Ukrainian and Belarusian territories were annexed by the Soviet Union, holding up to 80% of the PAOC's parishes and congregation, which were united with the recently re-instated Moscow Patriarchate. The remaining parishes that were now on the territory of the Polish People's Republic were kept by the PAOC, including most of the mixed easternmost territories such as around Chełm and Białystok. In 1948, after the Soviet Union established political control over Poland, the Russian Orthodox Church recognised the autocephalous status of the Polish Orthodox Church.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The Polish People's Republic was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1947 to 1989, and the predecessor of the modern democratic Republic of Poland. With a population of approximately 37.9 million inhabitants near the end of its existence, it was the most populous state of the Eastern Bloc after the Soviet Union. Having a unitary Marxist–Leninist communist government imposed by the Soviet Union following World War II, it was also one of the main signatories of the Warsaw Pact. The largest city and official capital since 1947 was Warsaw, followed by industrial Łódź and cultural Kraków.
Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The status has been compared with that of the churches (provinces) within the Anglican Communion.
Although most of the congregation is historically centered in the Eastern borderland regions with considerable Belarusian and Ukrainian minorities, there are now many parishes across the country, as a result of Operation Vistula and other diaspora movements. There are also some adherents in Brazil, resulted from the 1989 canonical union between the hierarchy headed by Metropolitan Gabriel of Lisbon, formerly under the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, and the Polish Orthodox Church.The European bishops, however, have left the jurisdiction in 2000, which eventually resulted in senior Bishop Chrysostom being raised to archepiscopal dignity. There are now parishes in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco and Paraíba, plus a monastery in João Pessoa.
Operation Vistula was a codename for the 1947 forced resettlement of the Ukrainian minority as well as Boykos and Lemkos from the south-eastern provinces of post-war Poland, to the Recovered Territories in the west of the country. The action was carried out by the Soviet-installed Polish communist authorities with the aim of removing material support and assistance to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army continued its guerilla activities until 1947 in both Subcarpathian and Lublin Voivodeships with no hope for any peaceful resolution. Operation Vistula effectively brought an end to the hostilities.
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon metropolitan area, including the Portuguese Riviera. It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains.
In 2003, following the decision of the Holy Sobor of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the New Martyrs of Chelm and Podlasie suffering persecution during the 1940s were canonized.
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church was established in 1924. Traditionally the primate of the church has the title Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland.
The church is headed by the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland: Sawa (Michał) Hrycuniak (1998–). It is divided into the following dioceses:
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an Eastern Orthodox church, partly recognized as autocephalous, in North America. The OCA consists of more than 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions in the United States and Canada. In 2011, it had an estimated 84,900 members in the United States.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fourteen to sixteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.
The history of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of the history of Christianity, to the Apostolic Age, with mission trips along the Black Sea and a legend of Saint Andrew even ascending the hills of Kiev. It has remained the dominant religion in the country since its acceptance in 988 by Vladimir the Great, who brought it from Byzantine Crimea and instated it as the state religion of medieval Kievan Rus' (Ruthenia), with the metropolitan see in Kiev.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was one of the three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine. It was reestablished for the third time in 1990, right before the fall of the Soviet Union. The UAOC, in its contemporary form, has its origins in the Sobor of 1921 in Kiev, shortly after Ukraine's newly found independence. On 15 December 2018, at the Unification Council, the UAOC and the UOC-KP, along with metropolitans from the UOC-MP, unified into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Metropolitan Epiphany was elected as the new Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) was an organization of bishops from Eastern Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the Americas. It acted as a clearinghouse for educational, charitable, and missionary work in the Americas. In 2010, it was replaced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate is one of three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine with the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). On 15 December 2018, bishops and delegates from three branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine unified at a council. During the council, Metropolitan Epiphanius I was elected Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine and became the primate of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Patriarch Mstyslav, secular name Stepan Ivanovych Skrypnyk, was a Ukrainian Orthodox Church hierarch. He was a nephew of Symon Petlyura.
The Belarusian Council of Orthodox Churches in North America was a group of five parishes in the United States and Canada under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. They did not have their own bishop, but were rather administered by Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (EP), who then reported to the primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After several years under the Ecumenical Patriarchate the parishes returned to the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Sawa, is the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, and hence the Primate of the Polish Orthodox Church since 1998, the second largest organized religion in Poland. He is also a professor of theology. Previously, he was a bishop of Białystok and Gdańsk (1981–1998) and Łódź and Poznań (1979–1981).
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), or Ukrainian Orthodox Church, also known as the Most Holy Church of Ukraine is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine.
Eparchy of Kiev is central eparchy of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Dionizy was the Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland and the primate of the Polish Orthodox Church from 27 February 1923 to 17 April 1948.
The Moscow–Constantinople schism, also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018, is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 11 October 2018 which confirmed the intention of moving towards granting autocephaly (independence) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, to reestablish a stauropegion in Kiev, to revoke the legal binding of the letter of 1686 which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church, and to lift the excommunications which affected clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. Those two churches, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) and were considered "schismatics" by the Patriarchate of Moscow, as well as by the other Orthodox churches.
On 5 January 2019, Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, signed the tomos that officially recognized and established the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and granted it autocephaly (self-governorship). The events immediately leading to the grant of autocephaly were:
On 15 October 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church broke the communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate because of a dispute concerning the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine. This led to the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism. Numerous Orthodox churches took position concerning the dispute over the canonical jurisdiction over Ukraine, whether before or after this schism.
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