Kyiv Patriarchate on Lviv Pseudo Synod of 1946: We are well aware of our brothers’ pain
UOC KP shares the grief of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics over the suffering and loss that they had survived through as a result of Lviv Pseudo-Synod and the repression by the totalitarian system. The Kyiv Patriarchate compares Lviv Pseudo-Synod of 1946 to Kharkiv Synod of 1992. This is said in the statement of the UOC-KP press-center.
We present the full text of the document:
These days marks 70 years since the so-called Lviv Council, which proclaimed the “elimination of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.” It also announced the “reunification of the UGCC with the Russian Orthodox Church” - the one to which the Ukrainian Greek Catholics had never belonged.
Insidiously using the idea of the unity of Orthodoxy that were objectively widespread among the clergy and laity of the UGCC, the Stalinist regime organized the Synod Council in 1946 for a political purpose. This event was used as the basis for a formal criminal prohibition of UGCC activity in the Soviet Union, further repression against the bishops, clergy and faithful of this Church.
With the blessing of Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine, the Kyiv Patriarchate’s Press Center confirms that the Kyiv Patriarchate deems the so-called Lviv Synod not a manifestation of the collegial will, but the result of oppression of the freedom of religion. It is clear that the gathering of separate church leaders, encouraged and conducted by secular authorities to force the Church to adopt the state-induced resolutions, cannot be considered a true Council.
In Soviet times the Orthodox Church in Ukraine was repeatedly subjected to a powerful pressure by similar methods. In the late 1920s - early 1930s as a result of Bolshevik terror and repression, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (established in 1921) was almost completely destroyed. Because of the danger of Soviet power the majority of bishops and clergymen of UAOC (established in 1942) were forced to emigrate to the West. The rest were either persecuted or forced to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Exarchate of the ROC was also subject to persecution and pressure - just like other religious organizations permitted to legally exist in the USSR: the Roman Catholic Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, the Lutheran Church, Jewish and Muslim associations etc.
Therefore, the Kyiv Patriarchate not only shares the grief of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics because of the suffering and loss that they had survived through as a result of Soviet repression. In the light of our own historical experience of persecution from hostile political authorities, including with the engagement of certain religious leaders in persecution, we understand the pain of our brothers.
We compare the so-called Lviv Synod to the so-called Kharkiv Council. At the former the Church Primate was not present and the attending bishops and priests were subjected to pressure from the Soviet government. At the latter the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was not in attendance, and the bishops were acting secretly from the clergy and faithful, contrary to the church rules and being under the influence of the secular power. Therefore, in our opinion, it is justified to deem both the so-called Lviv Council of 1946 and the so-called Kharkiv Council in 1992 non-canonical and invalid from the ecclesiastical perspective.
We believe that the tragic events that befell to Ukrainian Church in the twentieth century as well as in previous times, bitter page of relations between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics, are a major cause of the lack of our own, independent Ukrainian state. Taking advantage of this, the remote capitals and thrones resolved their matters, fought for the expansion of influence at the expense of the Ukrainian people and the Church of Kyiv. Consequently, the conflicts were sparked and fuelled within the Ukrainian nation, fratricidal confrontation was fomented.
We see that similar attempts are made in our time. Therefore, all of us - those who belong to the Kyiv Patriarchate and those who belong to the UGCC should exercise wisdom and prudence, draw conclusions from the events of the past, not succumb to provocations and attempts to incite hatred between us. Our first common task now is jointly helping the Ukrainian people to defend national independence, to restore peace and promote public understanding.
In the future, we will also face another difficult task - make the dialogue of understanding and reconciliation bring fruitful results. Both sides must provide adequate moral assessment of the controversial pages of relations between the two churches - the events of the end of the XVI century and the events of the late twentieth century.
Unfortunately, these more than four centuries of history are full of deplorable events, actions for which the Orthodox and Greek Catholics should ask each other's forgiveness.
We cannot and must not forget the dark pages of our common past, but we have no right to go on all the way looking back. Therefore, we hope that the formula of reconciliation "We forgive and ask for forgiveness," which at the time after World War II gave good fruit in the relations between several European nations, including between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples - will be fruitful for reconciliation between Rus and Rus - the Ukrainian Orthodox and the Ukrainian Greek Catholics. May the Lord help us in this good deed!