A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH FROM 1921-1944

1921 - Sobor of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kyiv ordains Mitropolit Wasyl Lupkivskyj as head of the UAOC. Persecutions from the Soviet government and Moscow's Russian Orthodox Church deter the UAOC from permanently establishing ecclesiastical order for some time.

1924 - A Tomos was issued by His All-Holiness Gregorios VII, Ecumenical Patriarch, re-establishing the historic Kyivan-Rus (Ukrainian) Metropolitanate as an Autocephalous Church, placing the responsibility of establishing a new Synod of Bishops upon His Beatitude, the Metropolitan-Archbishop of Warsaw, Dionisij Waledynskyj.

1941 - Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Sobor. The participants in the synod, many of whom were Russian oriented, decided to keep the Ukrainian Church in German-occupied Ukraine in canonical dependence upon the Muscovite Patriarchate. Archbishop Oleksiy was declared by the synod to be Metropolitan of this church which came to be known as the "Autonomous Church".

Autumn, 1941 - Mitropolit Feofil Buldovsky of Kharkiv, ordained in 1923 as a bishop of the Muscovite Patriarchate, joined the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. In 1942 he became head of the UAOC in Left-Bank (Eastern) Ukraine. Poor health prevented Mitropolit Feofil from fleeing Ukraine when the Bolsheviks retook Ukraine from the Germans in 1944.

December 24, 1941 - Mitropolit Dionisij Waledynskyj {of the Polish Orthodox Church - Ecumenical Patriarchate, who's primary ordaining bishop in 1913 was Gregorious IV, Patriarch of Antioch, successor in the apostolic lineage of St. Peter} designated Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky {consecrated in 1932 by Mitropolit Dionisij} temporary administrator of German-occupied Ukrainian lands and granted him the title of Archbishop of Lutsk and Kovel.

February 9-10, 1942 - Mitropolit Dionisij blesses the meeting of the Ukrainian Episcopate in Pinsk (Byelorussia) at the First Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) which restores canonical ties and unity with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. During this historical meeting, Archimandrit Nikanor Abramovych (February 9) and Archimandrit Ihor Huba (February 10) are ordained by Archbishop Polikarp Sikorsky, Archbishop Olexander Inozemtsev and Bishop (later Metropolitan of Warsaw) Yuri Korenastov. Mitropolit Dionisij assigns them to serve as joint vicars of Archbishop Polikarp with responsibilities in Kyiv.

May 9- 17, 1942 - The ordination of the following new Bishops of the UAOC, with the permission of Mitropolit Dionisij, occurred in the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Kiev under the presidencies of the Vicars of the Mitropolit, Archbishops Nikanor and Ihor:

Bishop Fotij Tymoshchuk to rule Chernihiv (May 9);
Bishop Manuyil Tarnavsky to rule Bilotserkiv (May 10);
Bishop Mychayil Khoroshy to rule Yelysavetrad (May 12);
Bishop (now Patriarch) Mstyslav Skrypnyk to rule Pereyaslav (May 14);
Bishop Sylvester Hayevsky to rule Lubny (May 16); and,
Bishop Hryhorij Ohijchuk to rule Zhytomyr (May 17).

Soon after, Mitropolit Dionisij and Archbishops Oleksander and Polikarp approved all the actions of the Sobor.

1942-43 - The following bishops were ordained:

Bishop Hennadij Shyprykevych to rule Dnipropetrovske (May 24)
Bishop Volodymyr Malets' to rule Cherkasy (June 23);
Bishop Platon Artemyuk to rule Rivne (August 2);
Bishop Vyacheslav Lisytsky to rule Dubno (September 13); and
Bishop Serhij Okhotenko to rule Melitopol (August 1, 1943).

October 8, 1942 - Archbishop Nikanor and Bishop (now Patriarch) Mstyslav of the UAOC and Mitropolit Oleksiy (Hromadsky) of the Autonomous Church sign an Act of Union at the Pochaev Lavra. However, German occupation authorities and pro- Russian hierarchs of the Autonomous Church forced Mitropolit Oleksiy to remove his signature. Mitropolit Oleksiy was shot to death in Volynia on May 7, 1943.

1944 - After World War II, many of the bishops of the UAOC fled to the West, via Germany, some eventually reaching the United States, where they headed various jurisdictions of the UAOC. The UAOC in Ukraine is liquidated by the Soviets with the assistance of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Any UAOC hierarchs or clergy remaining in Ukraine who refused to join the Russian Church were executed or sent to concentration camps. In the next several years, the same action is taken against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia.

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