UAOC HIERARCHS PROCLAIM JUBILEE YEAR
OF THE THIRD RESURRECTION OF THE CHURCH
Celebrations to be held in every Eparchy & Region of the UAOC
KYIV, UKRAINE (June 2, 2004): The Sobor of Bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, meeting at the Patriarchal Chancery Office under the presidency of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Mefodiy, First-Hierarch, have proclaimed the period from June 5-6, 2005 - June 5-6, 2006 as the 15th. Jubilee Year of the Third Resurrection of the UAOC. Special observances are to be held in each eparchy of the Church, in commemoration of this special anniversary.
It was from June 5-6, 1990, that the first Sobor of Bishops of the UAOC met officially and openly, since the Soviet takeover of Ukraine in 1944. At this Sobor, Metropolitan Mystyslav Skrypnyk, then Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the USA, was elected the first Patriarch of the free, indigenous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ironically, his former, decades long jurisdiction in the Diaspora was to be taken under the jurisdiction of the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople following his repose.
Patriarch Mystyslav was among those bishops consecrated in 1942, during the "second resurrection" of the UAOC, at the short time of freedom in Ukraine during the Second World War. After the Soviet's re-took the country into the satellite of Russia, the UAOC was again forbidden to practice openly. Many bishops, clergy and faithful were martyred, while some managed to escape to the West and preserved the UAOC in the Diaspora.
The "first resurrection" of the UAOC occurred in 1921, when the very first Sobor of the Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church since 1686, was held in Kyiv. This was during another short lived period of openness to freedom of religion, following the Bolshevik Revolution. In the years between 1686 and that time, the Ukrainian Church had been subject to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, a situation which is still debated today by those who favor a more subservient model of the church.
The Sobor minutes read, under Journal No. 2,
The Primate of the UAOC spoke on the procedure for the observance of the 15th. Jubilee Year of the resurrection of the UAOC.
IT IS DECIDED: (with one voice - unanimously):
The procedure for the observance of the 15th. Jubilee Year of the resurrection of the UAOC is to be observed in each eparchy with academic programs and divine services for the benefit of the faithful.
The Jubilee Year will also be celebrated throughout the Diaspora where Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox churches and eparchies will have the opportunity to observe this important event with their Metropolitan and/or eparchial bishop. A pilgrimage is to be organized during the jubilee year, for the Diaspora clergy and faithful to visit Ukraine and especially to our patriarchal cathedral of St. Andrew the First Called in Kyiv, to pray in the patriarchal church, receive the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Mefodiy and visit the holy sites of the Motherland of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Michael, presiding hierarch of the UAOC in the Diaspora commented, "This should be a time of grace for the church. Therefore we should take this opportunity for reflection and rededication to the principles of the fathers of the first post-third resurrection UAOC Sobor. We should pray that in their 'eternal memories' they look fondly on the direction and progress in which the church is going towards the future."
Metropolitan Michael has promulgated that within the Archeparchy of the United States, a pontifical divine liturgy is to take place in each deanery, so that the faithful make take part in this special anniversary more easily. The same is to take place within each eparchy or exarchate of the UAOC of the Diaspora. Special petitions will be inserted into the ektenias, in thanksgiving and for the intentions of the whole UAOC. Also, special historical lectures and homilies by noted scholars or preachers will be part of the celebrations.
Following the hierarchical liturgy, a procession is to take place around the church, as is the custom at any solemn occasion or pilgrimage. Parishes are encouraged to maintain Ukrainian tradition and to have representatives carry their church's processional cross decorated with a wreath of flowers and banners identifying the name and place of their parish.
The Metropolitan has also designated each cathedral church and prominent churches in each deanery as places where the faithful may obtain a special jubilee year patriarchal blessing, through their participation in the sacraments of confession and communion shortly before or at the special anniversary celebrations. After offering special prayers and hymns for our First-Hierarch and for the UAO Church in Ukraine, the blessing will be bestowed by the bishop at the conclusion of the divine liturgy.
With this extraordinary opportunity for blessing extended by our First-Hierarch, for those unable to make an actual pilgrimage to Ukraine, as many of the faithful as are able, are encouraged to participate in the local celebrations.
By providing for the disussion of this Jubilee Year, His Beatitude, our First Hierarch Metropolitan Mefodiy and by their voice of agreement, all of our bishops in Ukraine, have emphasized to the whole church, the importance and significance of the heritage of the UAOC. The bishops remind us of the great sacrifices made by the pioneers of the Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church in each era, and the need to bring them proudly into the years ahead.
The Jubilee Year of the third-resurrection of the UAOC in Ukraine occurs at a critical time in the history of the church and nation. With new horizons consistently open, all the faithful are encouraged to pray for the furtherance of our ancestral Ukrainian Orthodox faith in a manner that will be both pleasing to Our Lord Jesus and faithful to the heritage of our church.
Article in Ukrainian
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