Τρίτη, 31 Μαρτίου 2015

Meeting of the Polish Ecumenical Council


Michal Karski, translation: Magdalena Ignaciuk 
The General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan and the ecumenical activity in the regions were two main topics of discussion at the Annual Conference of Branches and the Commission of Polish Ecumenical Council.


The conference was held on 24 November in the Orthodox Culture Center in Warsaw. It was attended by the representatives of the regional offices and the committees of the Polish Ecumenical Council, PEC authorities with its head  Archbishop  Jeremiah, and two participants of last year's General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in the Korean Busan.



The first part of the conference was devoted to the General Assembly of WCC . The delegates from the Assembly (Marta Całpińska - the Orthodox Church and  Father Piotr Gaś) told about their impressions from Buson. The meeting in Korea had changed horizons and encouraged to take action. I was impressed by how the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches both pay attention to the persecution of Christians in Egypt and Syria – said Marta Całpińska. She pointed out, that young people were often admitted to the General Meeting for discussion, but in most cases they were not  the delegates. She also cited the statement of Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church, which criticized Western civilization for changes in the sphere of family life, and warned against religious fundamentalism, especially radical Islamism.


Father  Peter Gaś presented photos of the Congregation in Busan.  - What captivated me was the atmosphere of the Word and prayer - he said. Lutheran clergyman drew attention to the diversity of the problems which members of churches around the world have to face. Some of the participants talked about the painful consequences of the economic crisis, while others have talked about AIDS and their personal struggles with the disease.


Polish ecumenical initiatives


The second part of the conference in Warsaw was devoted to the national ecumenical life in the past year. Polish Ecumenical Council’s director  Father Ireneusz Lukas said  Reported that recently a Kaliski PRE Regional Branch has been created. He said, that for the first time the central service of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be held outside Warsaw, namely in Opole. In January, the State Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church will sign an appeal about the day of celebration. While speaking about the PEC foreign relations, Father Lukas emphasized the importance of the project "Reconciliation in Europe - the task of the Churches in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Germany." – Today, this project is needed even more - said the director of the Council considering the current international situation. When it comes to the contacts of the PEC with the government, the most important themes are new headquarters of the Christian Theological Academy in Warsaw and the issue of teaching religion classes minority churches.


During the next part of the session, the representatives of regional offices and committees of the PEC reported their activities. In the regions not only religious services during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are taken but also various ecumenical initiatives. Father  Joseph Bartos from Krakow was speaking about a Bible Marathon, Father  Andrew Gontarek from Lublin about the ecumenical Way of the Cross through the city, Father  Janusz Olszański from the Pomorsko-Kujawskie Department in Bydgoszcz about Bliny, Father  Marcin Undas from the Department of Lodz about participation in the anniversary celebration of the ghetto and ecumenical broadcast on Radio Lodz. Father Adam Stelmach  from the Silesian branch was speaking about the conference on the different churches, which took place in one of renowned high schools, Father  Janusz Daszuta from Świętokrzyskie  branch about  the international ecumenical organizations within Europeada in Kielce, Father  Henryk Dabrowski from Warsaw branch about the Ecumenical University of the Third Age, and Archbishop Jeremiah from the Lower Silesian about the Department of Mutual Respect in Wroclaw. Father  Kopiński Julian was talking about the creation of the Kaliski Regional Branch, his immediate plans, and the ecumenical choir.


Was also presented the activities of the two Polish Ecumenical Council  committees. Biruta Przewłocka-Pachnik, the head of the committee, spoke about organized training and workshops. She also announced, that they will be continued next year. The chairman of the dialogue Tadeusz J. Zielinski told about ecclesiological conferences organized by the committee. He also suggested that it would be good to organize a conference on violence in the context of a family, society and the Church. 


The Orthodox Church of Poland

When Poland was restored as an independent nation in the wake of World War I, a large number of Orthodox Christians were included within its boundaries. According to the 1931 census, there were over 3.5 million Orthodox in the country, or 11.8% of the population. Most of these were ethnic Belarusans and Ukrainians in eastern Poland who had been under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Soon after the nation’s independence, however, Orthodox bishop Jerzy Jaroszewski of Warsaw and others in the hierarchy began to promote autocephaly for their church. The Polish government also supported the project. It was opposed, however, by a pro-Russian faction in the church leadership, who insisted on maintaining the historical links with Moscow. In spite of these divisions, a local church council proclaimed the church’s autocephaly in 1922. In response, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow granted a certain level of autonomy to the Polish Church and raised Bishop Jerzy to the rank of Metropolitan, but refused to grant autocephaly.
The controversy turned violent in 1923 when Metropolitan Jerzy was assassinated by a Russian monk who opposed his policies. But the movement towards independence continued to gain strength. The church then turned to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which agreed to grant autocephaly to the Polish Orthodox Church on November 13, 1924, headed by Metropolitan Dionizy Waledynski, the successor of Metropolitan Jerzy. In 1927 Constantinople also granted the Metropolitan of Warsaw the title of “Beatitude.” The Moscow Patriarchate, however, protested these actions as interference in its affairs and refused to recognize the Polish church’s autocephalous status.
During the interwar period there was some tension within the Polish Orthodox Church between its ethnic Russian bishops and the faithful, who were mostly Ukrainian, Belarusan and Ruthenian. In view of the rising nationalistic feelings in the region, efforts to invigorate the Polish Church inevitably led to tensions between these groups, especially regarding the language to be used in church administration and the liturgy. During this period there were five dioceses, two seminaries (at Vilnius and Krzemieniec) with 500 students, a Faculty of Orthodox Theology at Warsaw with 150 students, 1,624 parishes, and 16 monasteries.
In the 1930s there were also conflicts between Catholics and Orthodox in Poland, mostly over former Catholic churches that had been turned over to the Orthodox during the period of Russian domination. In eastern Poland local Catholics seized a large number of churches claimed by both groups and many were destroyed in the process. Metropolitan Dionizy formally protested these anti-Orthodox incidents, and Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky expressed his support for Dionizy in a pastoral letter to his faithful. In November 1938 the Polish government issued a decree defining the structure of the country’s Orthodox Church and its relationship to the state authorities. According to its terms, the Orthodox clergy now enjoyed the same rights as the clergy of other religions recognized by the government.

Location: Poland
Head: Metropolitan Sawa (born 1938, elected 1998)
Title: Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland
Residence: Warsaw, Poland
Membership: 600,000
Website: www.orthodox.pl

Τρίτη, 24 Μαρτίου 2015

Orthodoxy in Poland


The Feast in Jableczna Monastery, Poland author jarek (source: orthphoto.net)
The Holy Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Polish Orthodox Church) gained its autocephalous status from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1924, however, the Orthodox Church has been indigenous to Poland and its border regions  since the IXth century when Saints Cyril and Methodios as missionaries were sent to evangelize the Slavs.
At present the Polish Orthodox Church represents about half a million Orthodox Christians in Poland – according to Central Statistical Office almost 510 000 worshippers. The Polish Orthodox Church is thus the second largest confession in Poland (after the Roman Catholic Church).  Although today Orthodoxy in Poland is a minority it’s mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the country – it remains the inheritor of a very rich tradition formed at the meeting place of two grate cultures – Latin and Eastern.
The primate of the Polish Orthodox Church is His Beatitude, the Metropolitan of Warsaw and All of Poland.  The Polish Orthodox Church has seven dioceses in Poland, including one diocese providing chaplaincy for the Polish Military Services.  There are eight Orthodox monasteries (5 male and 3 female) in Polish with over a hundred monks and nuns. Furthermore, the Polish Orthodox Church maintains several dioceses and parishes outside of Poland, in Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Italy.
The structure of Polish Orthodox Church is  very developed with schools, many centers of social care and old age homes, as well as,  Centers of Orthodox Culture and Fellowship of Orthodox Youth with complex organizational structure.
Situated at the cultural frontier, the Polish Orthodox Church, has constantly carried on a dialogue with different confessions and proved that variety is enriching. Today it is an active participant of ecumenical and  international initiatives as a member of the World Council of Churches, the European Council of Churches, the Polish Council of Churches, Theobalt, the Baltic Ecumenical Council, and the Theological Dialogue Commissions with the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran and other churches.
Anna Radziukiewicz "Prawosławie w Polsce"
Source:  www.orthodox.pl

Παρασκευή, 28 Μαρτίου 2014

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IS INDIGENOUS TO POLAND' A POLISH ORTHODOX MONASTERY ESTABLISHED: 'IT IS THE WILL OF GOD'

Twenty years ago the Polish Catholic monks, Fr. Nikodim and his brother monk Fr. Atanazy, were living in Krakow. They had been monks at the Czestochowa monastery in Poland, but in studying liturgics, they realized that the Roman Church had slipped away from ancient liturgical practice, which, they concluded, had been preserved in the Eastern Rite. For a year and a half, whatever the weather, they made the trip by tram to the grave of Saint Faustinia, located at the convent where she had lived. They prayed that she might help them to found an Eastern-rite monastery.
In 1985 Fr. Atanazy had a dream. 'I was asleep', he recalled, 'in my room in Krakow. The saint appeared and, although I recognized her, I asked, 'Who are you?' 'I'm a saint', she replied. 'If you are a saint,' I said, 'then help us to find a place to build a monastery'. She said that a monastery would indeed come into being. 'It is not dependent on my prayers or yours. 'The monastery is needed and it will be built, because', she added, 'it is the will of God.'
This gave the monks great encouragement, and they set out to find a suitable piece of land. Responding to ads in newspapers, they looked over several properties (some of the owners, on learning they were monks, increased the prices), but none of them struck the monks as being suitable. Then on 5 July, the feastday of St Athanasius of Mt Athos, they came to Ujkowice, three miles from Przermysl and not far from the Ukrainian border. They climbed a hill and could see forests, fields, villages - and an old Eastern-rite church in ruin. The monks nodded their heads: 'Tbis is the place!' A month after Fr. Atanazy's dream, they secured the property, eight and a half acres.
There was an old barn and cowshed on the property. Adjacent to the barn, the monks built a small, stone chapel and placed an icon of the Mother of God over the doorway.
One day in late autumn, two women passing by on the road stopped before the chapel and, making the sign of the cross, began to pray. They prayed and wept. When the monks made their acquaintance, one of the women explained:
"My father, Mikolaj Kania, died a long time ago, but as long as he lived here, he used to say, 'Here in this place, the Mother of God will appear. There will be a monastery here.' Here was another sign.
In establishing their monastery, the monks encountered all kinds of obstacles. Just a week after they purchased the land, the Roman Catholic Curia sent a letter to the court in Przemysl, claiming that it had been purchased illegally, since Uniats in Poland could not buy land in Poland without the permission of the Roman Catholic Church. Fortunately, the monks had bought the land not as clerics but as private individuals, for agricultural use. So the Roman Catholic claims were rejected.
Some people began to come to the monastery. Women and children would come regularly for evening devotions to the Mother of God. There was even talk about possibly renovating the derelict Eastern-rite church, which had been closed in 1946. In May 1988, however, the Roman Catholic priest forbade the children from going to the monastery. Rumours began circulating against the monks.
On 18 August, 1988, the eve of the Feast of Transfiguration, some boys from the village came to the monastery: 'Oh, fathers, tomorrow at noon there will be a lot of flags and protest signs, and people will come and destroy the monastery walls'. It.was already nearing eleven o'clock. The monks took seriously the threat and, in spite of the late hour, they drove to the police station for help. When they arrived, relates Fr. Nikodim, 'we saw a woman talking on the phone, explaining to someone that all the phones in front of the post office were out of order. As she was leaving she saw us, stopped, and greeted us in Ukranian: 'Glory to Jesus Christ'. We responded, 'Glory forever'. She then added, 'Who is with God, him will God help'. And she left.
After a police officer had taken down our report, we drove back, thinking about the woman. What was the meaning of her words? Was this God's way of telling us not to trust 'in princes and the sons of men', in physical force, but to trust in Him?'
The monks decided to increase their prayer and fasting. 'Because prayer', they said, 'is a force more powerful than any other - the mightiest. It is a spiritual rocket that always aims at the right target'.
The protest against the monks took place the next day. Black ribbons were placed on red and white Polish flags. And there were slogans: 'Do not destroy the legacy of generations', 'We don't want the people of our village to be at odds', and, 'Down with the monks!'
Not long after the monks had purchased their land, they were confronted with a slanderous declaration signed by a committee of thirteen. At this point, says Fr. Nikodim, 'we knew who it was we were fighting with. It was not these people, but someone else. We knew how to fight him - by prayer and fasting. We wrote these thirteen names on a sheet of paper and placed it on the altar, under the relics of the saints that we had gathered here: Saint Basil the Great, Saint John Chrysostom, the Great-Martyr Barbara, Saint Stanislav, Saint Paul the Hermit, Saint Anthony of Egypt, and a particle of the True Cross'.
Several days later, a policeman from Przemysl arrived at the monastery. 'I have heard that there is a sheet of paper fixed to the altar here, and that on it are names of those who will be punished by God', he said to Fr. Nikodim.
Fr. Nikodim was astonished. 'Only the two of us knew about the sheet of paper on the altar. We realized that if Satan told people things that could not have been known by anyone else, it meant that this place must be exceptional'.
The brothers continued to meet with obstacles. They had to go to trial for building the wall around the monastery. Fortunately, the court decided in their favour, stating that the wall had been built according to an approved design, so that no one could tear it down.
Before the wall was built, some people who harboured ill-will toward the monks would come at night and steal supplies. On one occasion, just before an impending storm, someone ripped open bags of cement the monks were using in building their wall. By God's mercy, the clouds scattered, and there was no rain to ruin the cement.
But along with the obstacles, the monks also received encouragement.
'We were in Kalnikow for the celebration of the one thousandth anniversary of the Baptism of Rus', recalls Fr Nikodim. 'Bishop Adam of the Polish Orthodox Church was there. We were in need of encouragement, and he gave it to us'.
'You have already won', the bishop told them, 'just by persevering and staying on in that place. But remember, don't accuse the people; they are the least guilty. Someone entirely different is behind it'.
These were beautiful words', recalls Fr. Nikodim. 'To this day I bear no resentment towards the people who caused us so much harm. I can shake hands with each of them, because I know that my enemy is not material man, but immaterial spirit - the Evil One. He knows perfectly well what the role of this monastery is to be, and he wants to prevent it'. Indeed, he explains, 'a monastery is like a spring from which the grace of God and love flows, purifying people and changing them. That, in fact, has been our experience. The people here are different from what they were in 1986 when we first came'.
As the years passed, it became evident to the monks that the Eastern Rite was not the end of the journey to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In December 1993 Fr. Nikodim wrote to the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Poland, asking that the monastery be received into the Orthodox Church. So many thoughts filled his mind that the letter soon reached the proportions of a novel. This was not suitable, so Fr. Nikodim began again, very simply: 'Your Eminence, forgive us but we know the Polish Orthodox Church as if through a keyhole. We have not been in touch with any of the monasteries or monks, except for Fr. Basil from Kalnikow and a few others…'. And with this application the brothers went to Warsaw.
It was the feast of Saint Nicholas. They met the Metropolitan after the Liturgy.
'He came as the sun out of the clouds', the brothers related afterwards. 'Smiling, he embraced and kissed us. As we were talking, before we handed him our application, he said to us, 'My children, I know your monastery as if through a keyhole ...'
The monks looked at each other and nodded their heads. They knew they had made the right decision.
The Monastery of SS Cyril and Methodius was officially received into the Polish Orthodox Church on 7 June 1994, the very day the decision was made to glorify Saint Maxim Sandowicz who had struggled, as these monks were doing, to bring Orthodoxy back to his native land.
'Orthodox Christianity is indigenous to Poland', observed Fr. Nikodim. 'SS Cyril and Methodius arrived here before the Western Schism of 1054. There was only one Christendom, and it has survived down to our own day in the form of the Orthodox Church. Clearly, Orthodoxy is not alien to Poland, it was not brought by any tsar, it is our own. It has shaped the Polish state since its inception, for about twelve hundred years. Orthodoxy in this land is native, like the Vistula and San rivers, which flow through the country, watering the soil, and making it fertile. You can't ignore this river, and you can't dam it up because sooner or later the dam will break, such is the nature of the river'.
From behind the high wall can be seen the church. Fr. Nikodim opens the massive steel gates. On the right is a cemetery with several graves. Ahead is the chapel, and next to it an old barn. Further on is a refectory and a stable reconstructed to house monks' cells. Still further is another building, whose downstairs is reserved for cows, goats, and chickens; upstairs are Fr. Atanazy's quarters. In the summer, Fr. Atanazy lets the volunteer helpers use his room, while he rnakes his bed in the hay. The summer nights are short. Evening services are conducted after supper until midnight, Divine Liturgy begins about 5.30 am.
At the monastery, even the longest day can be too short. There is always much work to be done. Fr. Nikodim and Fr. Atanazy built the 650-metre long wall themselves, moving hundreds of cubic metres of concrete in a wheelbarrow. Now there are more monks, but the farm is also bigger. Mikolaj Kania's daughter, Maria, donated three acres of land when she learned that her father's prediction had come true. An additional thirtv acres were purchased and are now under cultivation. An orchard boasts thirty-two varieties of apples and pears, pollenated with the help of eighteen bee-hives. The monastery has electricity, but the monks have to go a quarter of a mile for water. The monastery need a large holding tank for water. And a road must be built. The old road to the village is negotiable only in summer.
Of course, there are those that are against it. When monks began work on a road, some people cursed them, seeing in the monks a threat to the existing Roman Catholic order (all six monks are former Roman Catholics, and the monastery it already attracting many Roman Catholic from Przemysl, Krakow, Ukraine, and twenty-eight children have been baptized). But the monks are imposing their faith on no-one. They are simply providing an opportunity for those who wish to return to the Faith of their ancestors. At one time the Przemysl diocese numbered some three million Orthodox faithful. Then came the tragic 'Brest Unia' of 1596, cleverly engineered to align the people with the interests of the Roman Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire. Those who refused to accept the Unia were made to suffer economically and were otherwise persecuted. The last Orthodox monastery to hold out against the Union was the Maniawski Skete, which was destroyed in July 1786 by Austrian artillery. Precisely two hundred years later, in July 1986, Orthodox monasticism in the Przemysl diocese was reborn.
In spite of these difficulties, not to mention financial limitations, the monastery is thriving. In 1995, the diocesan celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the repose of Saint Methodius was held at the monastery, at which time Fr. Nikodim was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite. The following year, Metropolitan Basil of Warsaw and All Poland, in the company of other bishops and clergy from Poland and Ukraine, blessed seven bells for the monastery, the largest weighing three-quarters of a ton.
The monastery is virtually self-sufficient. The monks bake their own bread; they grow their own food; they have done all the building themselves chapel, kitchen, refectory, monks' cells, two farm buildings. One of the monks is a skilled blacksmith. The superior, Fr. Nikodim, is a trained builder, with a specialty in woodworking. Another brother is a former Olympic gold medalist weight lifter! He now wheels barrows full of concrete.
In the spring of 1998, the monastery was given a copy of the wonderworking Vatopedi icon of the Mother of God. This icon had been in Russia for two hundred years before customs officials discovered it aboard a train bound for Germany (it was probably stolen as part of the lucrative icon smuggling business). It was sold at auction and was purchased by a wealthy, pious woman. One night the woman had a dream in which the Mother of God told her: 'Give me away'. The woman went to ask the advice of Metropolitan Basil in Warsaw. Without any hesitation, the Metropolitan replied, 'Give the icon to the monastery of Ujkowice'.
The icon is currently housed in the monastery chapel - where a lamp always burns before it. Several people have experienced miraculous healings after being anointed with the oil and after having an intercessory service celebrated before the icon. (At Metropolitan Basil's behest these cases are now being recorded.)
More and more people have been coming to pray before the icon, and, with the growth of the monastery, the need for a larger church has became imperative. Orthodox brothers and sisters! The monks of Saints Cyril and Methodius Monastery appeal to your generosity. Please help them firmly establish themselves, in spite of their adverse circumstances, as a beacon to the countless souls who thirst for the true faith in this age of almost universal apostasy and materialism, faithful to the legacy of those; saints who brought Orthodoxy to that comer of the wor1d and those who later defended it, even to the shedding of their blood: Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saints Vladimir and Olga, Saint Job of Pochaev, Child Martyr Gabriel of Bialystok, the martyrs of Vilnius, and, in our own century, St Maxim (Sandowicz) of the Carpathians.

http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/oepoland.htm

Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church


Peremyshl (Przemysl): Orthodox church. The Nativity of the Mother of God Orthodox Church in Bielsk Podlaski. Gorlice: the Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church in Tomaszow Lubelski. St Archangel Michaels Greek-Catholic (now Orthodox) Church in Vysova (Wysowa).  Lublin: Transfiguration Orthodox Church (formerly brotherhood church).
Warsaw: Saint Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church in the Praga district.
Polish Autocephalous Orthodox church (PAOC) [Polski Autokefaliczny Kościół Prawosławny]. Following the Peace Treaty of Riga (1921), some 4 million Orthodox believers, including about 2.5 million Ukrainians, found themselves in the newly established Polish state. They lived primarily in Belarusian and Ukrainian (VolhyniaPolisia and the Kholm region) territories that had been part of the Russian Empire and where the only church permitted had been the Russian Orthodox church. In January 1922 the Polish government issued an order recognizing the Orthodox church and placing it under the authority of the state. At the same time a Ukrainian,Yurii Yaroshevsky, was appointed metropolitan and exarch by the patriarch of Moscow. When Yaroshevsky began to reject the authority of the Moscow patriarch, he was assassinated by a Russian monk. Nonetheless, his successor, Dionisii Valedinsky, continued to work for the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox church, which was finally granted by the patriarch ofConstantinople in his Tomos of 1924.
From that time the PAOC was independent of the canonical authority of the Moscow patriarch and claimed the right to administer its internal affairs. The church was divided into five eparchiesWarsaw-Kholm, PolisiaVolhynia, Hrodna, and Vilnius—and the Council of Bishops (Synod) became the highest authority in the church. Administrative affairs were the responsibility of the Holy Synod, headed by the metropolitan. In practice, however, the church was controlled by the Polish Ministry of Confessions and Education. The authorities did not permit the convening of a sobor, and instead promulgated two decrees in 1938—the Internal Statutes of the POAC and the Presidential Decree on the Relations of the State to the Polish Orthodox Church—which defined the nature of the church and its organization. The government reserved the right to review all ecclesiastical appointments (ensuring that two Poles were consecrated as bishops) and insisted on the introduction of Polish as the official language of the church. The government also destroyed Ukrainian churches in the Kholm region and supported efforts by the Roman Catholic church forcibly to convert Orthodox believers. At the same time the PAOC was influenced by Russophile elements in the leadership, who sought to Russify church life despite the preponderance of Ukrainian and Belarusian believers.
These obstacles notwithstanding, some aspects of Ukrainian Orthodoxy thrived in the PAOC. The vernacular was used for sermons and the Ukrainian pronunciation of Church Slavonic for services in Ukrainian regions, and two Ukrainian hierarchs were consecrated (Polikarp Sikorsky and Oleksii Hromadsky). Moreover, Ukrainian scholars (Oleksander Lototsky, Vasyl Bidnov, Dmytro DoroshenkoIvan Ohiienko) taught at the Faculty of Theology at Warsaw University, several Ukrainian religious journals were published—Tserkva i narid, Dukhovnyi siiach, Za sobornist’, and Shliakh (Lutsk)—and groups such as the Mohyla Society researched and popularized the Ukrainian Orthodox church rite.
During the Second World War, bishops of the PAOC played an important role in the re-establishment of the Ukrainian Autocephlous Orthodox church (UAOC). Metropolitan Dionisii Valedinsky sanctioned the organization of the church and appointed Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky as the UAOC administrator in the ReichskommissariatUkraine. At the same time he consecrated Ivan Ohiienko and Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko as bishops for Ukrainian territories (the Kholm region and Lemko region) in the Generalgouvernement. Under their leadership new statutes stressing the Ukrainian character of the church were adopted, and much was done to introduce Ukrainian religious practices. At the end of the war all the Ukrainian hierarchs and most prominent clergy and lay leaders of the church fled to the West. Valedinsky was removed from his post in 1945 under Soviet pressure and replaced in 1951 by M. Oksiiuk of the Russian Orthodox church. In 1948 the Moscow patriarch annulled the 1924 Tomos of the patriarch of Constantinople granting autocephaly and replaced it with his own grant reasserting Moscow's control over the PAOC.
Today the PAOC unites about 504,000 faithful, primarily Ukrainians and Belarusians, as well as a small number of Russians, Poles, and others. Nearly 70 percent of them live in Podlachian voivodeship, and slightly under 10 percent reside in other voivodeships (ie, in territories that were part of interwar Poland). Others live in the western and northern voivodeships to which they were forcibly moved from the Kholm region, Podlachia, and Lemko regionafter the war. Most Orthodox Ukrainians live in northern Podlachia in Podlachian voivodeship (where they are often considered Belarusian); others are dispersed throughout Poland (communities are found in the Podlachian,Lublin, Subcarpathian, Little Polish, and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships).
The metropoly, with its see in Warsaw, has been successively headed by M. Oksiiuk, Tymoteusz Szreter, StefanRudyk, V. Doroshkevych, and (since 1998) Sawa Hrycuniak. Its highest authority is the Synod of Bishops, which consists of the metropolitan and all active bishops. The metropoly is divided into six eparchies: Warsaw-Bielsk Podlaski (the archeparchy headed by the metropolitan, with 69 parishes), Lublin-Kholm (carved in 1988 out of the Warsaw-Bielsk Podlaski archeparchy, with its see in Lublin and 29 parishes), Białystok-Gdańsk (57 parishes), Łódź-Poznań (12 parishes), Wrocław-Szczecin (44 parishes), and Peremyshl-Nowy Sącz (17 parishes, est 1983 with its seat in Sianik). In total, the PAOC has 235 parishes, some 350 churches, and 300 priests, most of whom are graduates of the theological seminaries in Warsaw and Jabłeczna or the Orthodox section of the Christian Theological Academy in Warsaw. The PAOC has two monasteries for men, the Jabłeczna Saint Onuphrius's Monastery (Lublin voivodeship) and the Suprasl Saint Mary's Monastery (Podlachian voivodeship), and one monastery for women, Saints Martha and Mary (Podlachian voivodeship).
The church leadership is often hostile toward Ukrainian or Belarusian national causes, and as recently as 1990Metropolitan Doroshkevych denounced the goal of Ukrainian independence. The official language of the church is Polish, but Russian is frequently used in administration (this has led to charges that the PAOC is purposely Russifying or Polonizing its Ukrainian followers). The monthly Tserkovnyi vestnik (est 1954) appears in Russian, but the annual Pravoslavnyi kalendar has some material in Ukrainian and Belarusian, as well as in the Lemko dialect. In 1961 and 1968–77 P. Domanchuk edited the Ukrainian-language Tserkovnyi kalendar, which was revived in 1985 as a publication of the new PeremyshlNowy Sącz eparchy.
Liturgies are conducted in Old Church Slavonic with Russian, sometimes Ukrainian or Belarusian, pronunciation.Sermons are usually delivered in Ukrainian or Belarusian. Relations with Polish Catholic chauvinists and the Polish regime were often strained. Many Orthodox churches—unique historical, artistic, and architectural artifacts graced by valuable icons—have been destroyed in areas from which the Orthodox were deported after the war.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Kupranets’, O. Pravoslavna tserkva v mizhvoiennii Pol’shchi, 1918–1939 (Rome 1974)
Sorokowski, A. Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox in Poland and Czechoslovakia (Cambridge, Mass 1988)
Papierzyńska-Turek, M. Między tradycją a rzeczywistością: Państwo wobec prawosławia 1918–1938 (Warsaw 1989)
Ivan Korovytsky, Myroslav Trukhan
[This article was updated in 2013.]

Unia as a Model of False Unity



Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis
Unia as a Model of False Unity:
The Limits of Diversity within Unity
A Talk Given by Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis ,Professor EmerituS of the Theological School of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, at the Metropolis of Piraeus’ Conference on the Theme “‘Primacy,’ Synodicality and the Unity of the Church”
Peace and Friendship Stadium, 28 April 2010
One of the chief marks of the previous century – the twentieth – was the Christian world’s attempt to restore unity. After Papism fell away from the Church at the beginning of the second millennium (1054) and then the Protestant’s subsequent breach with Papism in the 16th century, East and West were deeply divided and the West was much divided within itself. Yet the Church lost neither its unity nor its catholicity – its wholeness: heresy and schism may wound and scar the body of the Church but they do not divide it, just as a tree is not said to be divided if someone clips off one of its branches. From this viewpoint, the oft-used terms ‘the undivided Church’ of the first ten centuries and ‘the union of the churches’ are incorrect. The Church is ever undivided, be it after the schism of 1054 or any other schism whatsoever. Moreover, there are not many churches needing to be brought together: there is the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” alone, whose life continues undivided and uninterrupted in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Those heterodox Christians of the East and West who have broken away, falling into heresy and schism, cannot be called churches; they must instead seek union with the Church, denouncing heresy and delusion. Unity is not achieved by ‘uniting the churches’, but rather through ‘union with the Church’.
Following the schism, throughout the whole of the second millennium, many attempts were made at achieving unity, in particular through the calling of great synods aimed at unity such as those of Lyon (1274) and Ferreira-Florence (1438-1439). Though union between the Orthodox and the Papists was officially accepted at the later of these and almost all of the Orthodox bishops in attendance signed the terms – with the exception of Saint Mark of Ephesus and a few others – it remained unapplied: nothing more than a simple piece of paper. These councils did not aim at true Christian peace and unity – unity in truth; they did not ground themselves on the true model of unity as is found in the teaching of Christ, the Apostles and the Saints. Rather, like Unia, they were based on newly invented, false models of unity which serve ulterior motives – other malevolent, egotistical, autocratic, divisive motives. These not only failed to help the cause of unity, but enlarged the chasm and provoked new divisions. The members of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics concluded this unanimously at the sixth plenary session of the Commission’s General Assembly held at Freising, Germany in June 1990. The text they signed reads as follows: “Unia as a method – wherever it was applied – did not succeed in its aim of bringing about rapprochement between the churches. Conversely, it brought on new divisions. The situation that it created became the cause of conflicts and trials which have left their mark on the collective memory and consciousness of the two churches. Thus for ecclesiological reasons the conviction that other methods should be sought has been made firm.” (¶ 6c)
Papal and Patriarchal texts, studies produced by theologians and even the Theological Dialogue itself create the chimerical impression that the supposed new model of unity being sought after is the ecclesiological model of ‘sister churches’. In connection to this the aforementioned Freising text writes: “Now that our Churches have come together on the ecclesiological foundation of communion between sister churches, it would be a grievous matter to destroy the excellent work toward the unity of the Churches achieved through the Dialogue by returning to the method of Unia.” (¶ 6d) This model indeed applies when speaking about relations between the local autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Church, where conciliarity on both the local and international levels prevents anyone from asserting universal jurisdiction not only over the other patriarchs, but also over the ecumenical councils. The Vatican, on the other hand, does not accept, nor is it going to accept, the equality of the primates, or even that of the bishops, nor the supreme authority of the ecumenical councils. Such is apparent from the decisions of the Second Vatican Council as well as from its contemporary declarations and actions, like the abolition of the Pope’s ancient title ‘Patriarch of the West’ which limits his jurisdiction topically. Thus, the Vatican is deceiving us with the ‘sister churches’ model. In reality it seeks a new Unia; a Unia that is broader and elastic, having boundless diversity on matters of faith and life so long as the primacy of the Pope is recognized.
Fundamentally, this is the model espoused by the older version of Unia which allows those Christians in union with Rome to maintain their own liturgical rites, holy icons, vesture of clergy, and other customs and practices, in some cases not even demanding unity in faith. Seeing that the first model of unity that Papism used – that of Latinization – produced no long-standing results (whether applied violently, as it was during the Crusades, or through personal proselytism), the Jesuits invented the deceptive method of Unia as a more effective means of bringing about union with Rome. They did this despite the fact that Unia was neither a holy nor true means of union; but for the Jesuits ‘the end justifies the means’. According to Christian ethics, however both the means and the end must be holy. Unity of faith and worship cannot be sacrificed in order to secure unity under the Pope, whose office is itself false and contrary to the Gospel since it subverts the God-given and apostolic model of administration – the synodical – to implement the absolute monarchy of the Pope. True unity is achieved through unity of faith, worship and administration: this is the model of unity in the ancient Church, which the Orthodox Catholic Church has maintained unswervingly. The method of Unia introduces a false unity, a unity in name only, because, outside of the fact that it allows for unlimited diversity in faith and worship, it is based on heretical ecclesiology since it overturns the Church’s synodical system of administration – a divine institution – with the primacy of the Pope – a human institution. In the Church, diversity is only permitted in secondary matters of local tradition and practice, which do not touch on the fundamentals of faith and worship and administration.
Those who in our day adhere to and promote the true unity – unity in faith, worship and administration – are troubled by what has been plotted and packaged for us from above within the Theological Dialogue, without the knowledge of the people. There at the Dialogue, as expressed in the Ravenna text (which was also discussed in October 2009 in Cyprus) the Papists lured the Orthodox into discussion of the imaginary universal ‘primacy’ of the Pope, without which no proposed union can be accepted by Luciferian Papism.
We have a new Unia at our doors; on account of this the co-chair of the Dialogue’s Mixed Committee, Cardinal Casper, expressed his satisfaction at the fact that the Orthodox discussed the universal primacy of the Pope in some form for the first time in centuries. We have been deceived by the Vatican: there can be no union with the Papists without the primacy of the Pope. For it to be otherwise they would have to call an ‘ecumenical council’ to change their ecclesiology, to change the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church produced at Vatican II. Even if the Roman Catholic theologians involved in the Dialogue were convinced by the Orthodox and they signed a text rejecting any form of Papal primacy, accepting that the Pope – along with the other Patriarchs – are first in honour alone, and accepting that above all is the authority of the Ecumenical Councils, this text would be immediately rejected by Rome. It would be made to disappear, as if it had never been produced. This is precisely what occurred with the Freising text of 1990 which condemned Unia. Rome rejected it, it disappeared and Rome lured us into the composition of a new text on Unia at Balamand, Lebanon in 1993. There, a reduced Orthodox delegation (without representation from six autocephalous churches) exonerated Unia along with the Papist theologians so as to be in line with Vatican II, which praises Unia, and so that it might remain a model for unity with the Orthodox as per the Ravenna and Cyprus texts. Rome, therefore, accepts only what is in line with its own innovations and rejects the things of the Gospel and of the Church. Can this facade, this caricature of a dialogue be considered a dialogue? Is it acceptable for us to participate in an ostensible, false, disingenuious dialogue, a dialogue whose outcome is already known: that is to say, the rejection of all that does not agree with Papal dogma?
Since the repose of Archbishop Seraphim, our ecclesiastical leadership’s stance on these matters has been disappointing. We have even arrived at the point that many of us are considering invoking the 15th canon of the First-Second Council (called by Saint Photios in 861), which permits cessation of the commemoration of those bishops who are not upholding Orthodoxy, just as was done in 1970 when Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina, the ever-memorable Metropolitans Paul of Paramythia and Ambrose of Elevtheropolous, and almost all of the Monasteries of Mount Athos ceased commemoration of Patriarch Athenagoras.
Though the clouds of Ecumenism and Philo-Papism are yet thick, the horizon has again begun to open – there are streams of light; there is the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece’s decision from last October to provide guidelines for its representatives at the Theological Dialogue in discussions of the Pope’s ‘primacy’, returning it to the path of the Holy Fathers; there is also your strong voice, your tireless and unceasing action, Your Eminence [addressing Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus]. Your boldness and outspokenness on a host of matters of faith and life amazes us. Already you have been placed at the head of the anti-Papal and anti-ecumenical struggle as today’s conference, taking place under your patronage, proves; there are those amongst your fellow bishops who signed the Confession of Faith against Ecumenism together with you, and there are other bishops who did not sign but do agree; there are the six hagiorite and a host of other monasteries – male and female – who have signed; hundreds of abbots, hieromonks, married clergy, monks, and thousands of laity who have signed and continue to sign and who, surpassing every expectation, have flooded this great auditorium tonight.
We hope and believe that we will not be led into a new Unia, into the recognition of the universal primacy of the Pope in any form. If, however, the powerful and influential, the new Beccuses, Basserions, and Isidores, impose this development, all of us, with God’s help and the prayers of the Most-Holy Theotokos and all the saints who have struggled and confessed the faith, will once again quash it and ensure it is not applied.
http://www.impantokratoros.gr/false_unity_unia.en.aspx

The Temptations of Christ


Varghese Mathai
OCP Articles
22/3/13
St. Mathew Ch 4.1-11
There are times in our struggle with the adversities of mortality when we become weary, weakened, and susceptible to the temptations that seem to be placed in our pathways. A lesson for us lies in the account of the life of the Savior.
The temptations of Christ are recorded by the three Evangelist, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and Luke. Christ and the Holy Spirit were the only two sources from which the narrative could originate, and these two Divine Persons is one in every respect as the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
When we read about the temptations of Christ, many questions may come in our mind.
The differences on this incidents by the Evangelist’s presentations
1.  Was Jesus tempted during the forty days, or after completion of forty days of fasting?
2. Whether these three temptations were the only one, or there were more?
According to St. Matthew’s account, we understand that after Jesus had fasted for forty days, the devil came to him. St. Luke also points out that these three specific temptations occurred after the forty days of fasting (St. Luke. 4:2-3). The Lord may have endured many temptations during the forty days, but the three temptations were the culminating, most intense testing, of Jesus’ wilderness solitude. St. Luke records, When the devil finished tempting Jesus in every way, he left him for a while (4:13). Obviously, this does not mean that Satan tempted Jesus only with these specific one. He left him for a while means his attempt were not stopped. This is evident from the following incident, when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to suffer and die by the hands of the chief priests, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him “God forbid it, Lord” he said “That must never happen” Jesus turned around and said to Peter “Get away from me, Satan, You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of your don’t come from God but from man. Important thing to notice is that. Peter took him aside then why Jesus turned around”, to talk to Peter? It was not required when a person is standing aside. That means Satan was after Him, but found that by this Satan entered in the mind of Peter. That is why he commanded ‘Go away Satan”. It is a commandment to Satan to get rid off from St. Peter.
3.  What is the proper sequence of the temptations? Matthew gives one and Luke another is it contradictory?
Neither Matthew nor Luke claim to represent the chronological sequence. Luke may have recorded the scene from the standpoint of geography, relating the two in the wilderness first, and then the one on the temple’s pinnacle. Matthew records that after the temptation on the high mountain, Jesus said, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Matthew’s order, therefore, may be the chronological sequence, but there is no contradiction between the two inspired writers. In our daily life also we can notice that when two media gives news the matter may be one but the presentation are not one and same.
Theological explanations on the temptations.
1.  How could it be said that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into temptation?
The Holy Spirit did not lead Jesus into temptation but He led him into the wilderness. God Himself is the origin of knowledge and wisdom, and Creator of all things knew Satan’s nature and he would utilize this moment of Jesus’ physical weakness and exhaustion to tempt him. Satan would consider this “an opportune time,” and he would look for other “seasons” as well. The devil did the tempting. God sent his Son into a world of trials and temptation, and for the incarnate Son, the difficulties are a part of being in the flesh but being a Full man and Full God he overcomes it. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit tempted Jesus to do evil, for God never tempts any one (St.James.1:13). The devil was the direct agent through which the temptation came. God sent his only one Son Christ into the world to die. His redemptive mission involved a sacrificial death, and the redemptive Calvary was paved with suffering, testing, and temptation, through which Jesus was perfected, to serve as high priest for humanity (Heb. 2:10).
2.   If Jesus is God, and God not being tempted, how could Jesus have been tempted?
Here are some hidden truths and facts which cannot be seen by a common man’s eye and thoughts. Certain phenomenon which needs insight by God’s blessing for its revelation but manifested by Faith in God. First, the Bible teaches the deity of Christ (Jn. 1:1; Col. 2:9). Second, it also teaches that he was tempted (Matt. 4:1; Heb. 4:15). Similarly, God can not die; but Jesus died. How was this possible? The incarnation of Christ — a miracle by which God, the Son, took on the nature of humanity — made many things possible that were not possible. By coming in the flesh, Jesus was not only capable of dying, but he was also subject to the other characteristics of being a man — hunger, weariness, etc. Likewise, being in the flesh made it possible for the God-man to be tempted, as the Scriptures testify.
3.  Whether Jesus had actually sinned?
Our High priest is one who can not feel sympathy for our weakness. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. When John the Baptist first saw Jesus and recognized Him as Messiah, he spoke of his Sin-bearer who to experience God’s wrath as the Lamb of God. The next day, John see Jesus coming to him and said, there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He wore all the sins of the world and gave ransom His own life in the Cross. By the sin of one man everyone got the inborn sin and by the death of Christ every one god redemption from the bondage of sin. Satan tempted His till the cross, but the SON OF THE WOMEN BROKEN THE HEAD OF THE SERPANT AT LAST.
Lessons to learn from the temptations, that Jesus has over come after the forty days lent.
1.  Satan always tempts Godly men and the righteous people.
Satan replied would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it.  The Lord said to Satan “everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself. Hence forth Satan tried to keep on tempting Job. Job.1.9-12. Now, concerning the temptation of Jesus we can seen that  directly after He was declared to be the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of Divine favour, will not secure any from being tempted.
2.  Others are tempted, when drawn aside of their own lust, and enticed
But a person is tempted when he is drawn away from God and trapped by his own evil desire. Then his evil desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and sin, it is full grown gave birth to death. James.1.14-15. Adam and Eve hide themselves away from God when they sinned for the desire of the flush as they have been trapped by Satan.The desire to eat the forbidden fruit leads to their spiritual death.
3.  Spiritual pride, Power leads to temptations.
On second temptation Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father’s power and protection, in a point of safety. Blessed are those who are poor. Here Lords warns against us about the spiritual poverty as well of proud of spirit. The parable of the sinner and the Pharisee clearly warns about our spiritual pride. Nor are any extremes more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the affairs of our souls. Let us not, in any place, be off our watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. It is possible for a man to have his head full of Scripture notions, and his mouth full of Scripture expressions, while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God and to all goodness.
4.  For Pomp and Glory of the World we are tempted for Idolatry.
Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the Kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was tempted to worship Satan. In my daily life O my mind you think and meditate, for righteousness, and justice am I given prior importance. Or for my material needs and possessions I ignore the ethics and moral values as well the Gods commandments. Am I giving more importance to the wealth of the world than my Lord and my God? If so, definitely I had fallen in Satan’s trap of worshiping Satan despite my Lord and my Savior, who had redeemed by His Holy Blood and Flesh in the Calvary on the cross.
Source:
Independent

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net