Rorate Caeli

Ukrainian Orthodox Parish turns Greek Catholic

From the Ukrainian Catholic news service RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine) comes this excellent news, with a hint that other Ukrainian Orthodox parishes may eventually join the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) mentioned here is the smaller of the two independent Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, the larger one being the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Neither Church is recognized by the rest of the Orthodox Churches, which recognize only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). However, both independent Ukrainian Orthodox Churches have millions of followers. The UAOC, in particular, is concentrated in the same western Ukrainian provinces where the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church predominates.

Autocephalous Orthodox Parish in Lviv Region Unites with Greek Catholics
Lviv— On 10 August 2008, Fr. Mykhailo Romaniuk, priest of the village of Podusiv, officially made a confession of faith and priestly promises for faithfulness to the Pope of Rome, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), and the UGCC Eparchy of Stryi, in western Ukraine’s Lviv Region. Fr. Romaniuk and his faithful, previously of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), thus joined the UGCC.

The process for the uniting of the two religious communities in Podusiv, Peremyshliany District, was started in 2004 by UGCC Bishop Yulian Gbur.
After making his promises, Fr. Romaniuk joined in concelebrating Liturgy with Bishop Gbur.
The interdenominational reconciliation occurred after a long process of discussions and meetings on the eparchial, regional, and district levels. The Stryi Eparchy initiated discussion of the theme of overcoming interdenominational problems in the Peremyshliany District. On 4 June representatives of the eparchy, the district civil authorities and the priests from Podusiv discussed questions of joint services involving Greek Catholics and Orthodox of the UAOC. On 9 August 2008 at a joint meeting of the two religious communities the need for religious unity in the village was absolutely confirmed. By liquidating the religious community of the UAOC and registering the single community of the UGCC the historical unity which existed until 1946 was renewed.
According to Fr. Pavlo Khud, head of the Press Service of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC, the faithful are satisfied with this resolution of the matter, inasmuch as interdenominational disputes in the village ended almost 20 years ago. Their example has started a process of initiatives for uniting which for a long time have been ripening in other parishes of the Stryi Eparchy.

15 comments:

Ad Orientem said...

While interesting I would not read too much into this. The Ukraine is severely fractured religiously, and the movement of clergy or even entire parishes between jurisdictions is not unknown. While an Orthodox parish migrating into the Papal communion is somewhat rarer, it dopes happen from time to time as does the reverse.

This particular Orthodox jurisdiction is one of two which are generally seen as extracanonical and schismatic. Because of their schismatic status I am unsure if their mysteries and orders are recognized by the canonical Orthodox Churches. I wonder if the Roman Church recognized this priest’s orders. It would be ironic if Rome accepted his orders while quite possibly they were not recognized by the Orthodox Church.

ICXC
John

TheCrankyProfessor said...

God be praised!

Jordanes said...

This particular Orthodox jurisdiction is one of two which are generally seen as extracanonical and schismatic.

That is, seen by most Orthodox Churches. From the Catholic Church's perspective, all Orthodox jurisdictions are extracanonical and schismatic.

Because of their schismatic status I am unsure if their mysteries and orders are recognized by the canonical Orthodox Churches.

I don't know about this particular case, but I suppose you are right that many Orthodox Churches would probably not recognise the validity of their orders and sacraments.

I wonder if the Roman Church recognized this priest’s orders.

The Roman Church undoubtedly recognised his orders. Only in extraordinary circumstances would the Catholic Church judge that an Orthodox priest's ordination is invalid. The Church accepts the validity of Orthodox sacraments (that is, mysteries), since the Orthodox have preserved apostolic succession and the form and matter of the sacrament of Holy Orders. However, the Church regards Orthodox sacraments as illicit, though valid.

A Simple Sinner said...

an Orthodox parish migrating into the Papal communion is somewhat rarer, it dopes happen from time to time as does the reverse.

Papal communion? Can't we just say "Catholic" and be confident we know who we are talking about and it is no real ecclesiological concession on on your part (just a respectable politeness).

This particular Orthodox jurisdiction is one of two which are generally seen as extracanonical and schismatic. Because of their schismatic status I am unsure if their mysteries and orders are recognized by the canonical Orthodox Churches.

Who would settle the issue with their recognition?

The issue of "grace and orders" in today's semi-schismatic/un-canonical bodies are generally nothing but a foot note or afterthought if and when they finally get their own nation-state church. Keep an eye on the Macedonians for same...

At any rate, no one seems comfortable answering the question definatively...

I wonder if the Roman Church recognized this priest’s orders. It would be ironic if Rome accepted his orders while quite possibly they were not recognized by the Orthodox Church.

Not really - for reasons mentioned above. To speak of being recognized by "THE Orthodox Church" is a bit difficult... The Orthodox communion is a communion of nation-state churches with autocephalous polyarchy. There is WIDE latitude as to what can be believed on some matters such as orders.

In the reception of Roman clergy into the EO, there has been at least three different canonical realities. (1) Some Byzantines, (like the Johnstown Greek Catholics, the liquidated Ukrainian Catholic Church, etc.) have been recieved into communion en masse perhaps with simple chrismation or an oath of allegiance to an Orthodox patriarch.

(2) SOME roman clergy who married post ordination were NOT recieved as priests or re-ordained because it was the perception of the hierach that the petitioned that there Roman orders were valid, and that it would be uncanonical for them to serve as Orthodox priests, having entered marriage after ordination. (3) Others have roundly ignored this idea and accepted and incardinated ex-non-Orthodox clergy who contracted marriage after ordination, recognizing the ordination as valid but not recognizing the post-ordination marriage as an impediment....

(4) Some have been re-ordained (or in the eyes of some EO, ordained for the first time!) in the same mannner certain ex-Anglicans who have come to Rome have been. While it seems to be a minority opinion among what we recognize as mainstream EO (in the US) today, some pozit that the original Roman ordination was graceless. I believe this would be the likely view of the majority of "Old Calendar" Orthodox - some of whom are in communion with SOME national churches, some of whom are not.

So the reception of Ukrainian Orthodox whose orders aren't recognized by SOME other Orthodox would be NO MORE ironic than the Ecumenical Patriarch recieving those of my forebearers who came out of the "Papal communion" at Johnstown in the 1930s by the mere stroke of a pen... Whereas ROCOR has actually BAPTIZED Catholic priests.

theblackcordelias said...

I would just add that in the Ukraine many of the Orthodox churches are actually formerly Catholic churches.

The Soviets criminalized the Ukrainian Catholic Church and gave thousands of its parish churches over to the Orthodox.

Today, the Ukrainian Catholic Church which has lost so many of its historic properties is thriving despite its losses. Seminaries are full to the breaking point.

So, it is no surprise when Orthodox congregations become Catholic.

A note on nomenclature: It is offensive to refer to the Catholic Church as the "papal communion." That is just petty.

Fr. J.

Anonymous said...

We need to see the meaning and depth of the Lord's High Priestly prayer at the Last Supper, namely what Our Savior meant by "the unity that exists between the Father and and Son," which He prayed for and offered for us as the model for the "unity" among "them, all," His followers.

This is most critical, when our leaders are speaking about and are taking steps toward a certain kind of unity, what in our times is so widespread and referred to.
Mary, Mother of Christians, pray for us.
Father Stephen, O.F.M.

The young fogey said...

Neither Church [UAOC which Fr Mikhailo came from and the UOC-KP] is recognized by 'the rest of' [sic] the Orthodox Churches.

So your headline is incorrect: this was not an Orthodox parish.

The truth: 'Ukrainian non-Orthodox priest and congregation become Greek Catholic.'

Calling his former allegiance Orthodox is like calling the Polish National Catholic Church (an American denomination not under Rome, not Polish Roman Catholics) Roman Catholic.

As for recognition of Fr Mikhailo's orders the Orthodox saw him as not in the Orthodox Church but in a nationalist schism directly related to it with more or less the same teachings and practices and thus still 'in the family'. So if he became Orthodox for real most would have received him economically in his orders much like Rome has done.

Jordanes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordanes said...

Father Mikhailo and his former Church called themselves Orthodox. From the perspective of the Church, his former Church was about as legitimate or genuine as every other Church that calls itself Orthodox and adheres to post-schism Orthodoxy.

Antonio said...

"Almost" off topic:
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/index.php
It's an interview with Arch. John Hepworth (the Primate of the TAC).

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Serge, the parish called itself "Ukrainian Orthodox" and formerly belonged to a jurisdiction that calls itself "Ukrainian Orthodox." It is, at the very least, good manners to call an institution as they calls itself.

In the same way, caling Rowan Williams the "Archbishop of Canterbury" neither implies that he is a real archbishop (or even a priest, for that matter), nor does it mean that the Archbishopric of Canterbury is not vacant. (As far as we Catholics are concerned, it has been vacant since the death of Cardinal Pole.)

Furthermore, there is no evidence that the UAOC is a "weird" and criminal sect or cult. I see that during the 1940's the UAOC was for a short time considered "canonical", after it received valid orders in 1942 from the Orthodox Church of Poland. The validity of UAOC orders has been recognized ever since, with UAOC clerics and even bishops being received into other Orthodox jurisdictions (the Moscow and Ecumenical Patriarchates, for instance) without reordination.

That the UAOC has lost its "canonical" status is most revealing of the internal politics of the Orthodox Churches (in which "canonicity" changes from one generation to the next) and I am glad that Fr. Mikhailo has taken refuge in Rome.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"It is, at the very least, good manners to call an institution as they calls itself."

Typo alert! This should have been:

"...to call an institution as it calls itself"

Ad Orientem said...

Carlos,
Would it be good manners to refer to the so called "womyn priests" as Roman Catholic priests as that is what they claim to be?

With respect to the acceptance of schismatic clergy without reordination, this is possible through economy. It does not necessarily imply that their orders or sacraments were with grace. Rather it affirms that there was an effort to preserve apostolic succession. The late Patriarch Sergei of Moscow wrote an interesting essay on this subject entitled "The Significance of Apostolic Succession in Heterodoxy."

When Roman Catholics are received into the Church whether they be laymen or clergy they are received by Holy Confession, Profession of Faith and Holy Chrismation. The latter sacrament is understood to repair any defect in mysteries that may have been doubtful and to fill with grace that which was previously empty of it. This is the reason very few Orthodox jurisdictions baptize Roman Catholics converts. This is not however a declaration concerning the grace or lack thereof of Roman Catholic sacraments.

There is a significant diversity of opinion on that subject in Orthodoxy today. Of course in Orthodoxy we have not separated the Holy Mysteries from the Church. Following the teaching of the Fathers, there are no mysteries outside the Church. The idea that bizarre heretics can do what the Church does is contrary to the consensus patrum. I refer you to De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate (St.Cyprian of Carthage).

ICXC
John

Christian said...

Carlos Antonio Palad,

I quite agree. Just pointing out the the Archbishopric of Canterbury is not vacant as such, the see was simply transferred to Westminster in 1851. If you go to the Cathedral there you can see a huge plaque listing all the leaders of the Church in England and successors to St Augustine of Canterbury.

I have always relished how AB Cranmer is listed with "removed for heresy" bracketed by his name.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

John:

I'm perfectly aware of the Orthodox teaching on grace (or the lack thereof in "schismatic" churches) and economy, and how it differs from Catholic doctrines regarding the validity of the sacraments.

What I meant to point out is that the past reception of UAOC clergy into the "canonical" Orthodox patriarchates without undergoing ordination, would also be considered by Catholics as strong proof that the UAOC has valid orders from the Catholic perspective. Furthermore, the UAOC and the North American churches (now under Constantinople) that come from it, derive their orders from bishops who were doubtlessly consecrated by "canonical" Orthodox bishops in 1942 and 1949. This, and the fact that the UAOC has not apparently departed from traditional Orthodox teachings regarding the Eucharist and the priesthood, already create a presumption, in Catholic eyes, in favor of the validity of UAOC orders.

As for the comparison with the womyn priests: this is simply irrelevant. The "womyn priests" are manifest heretics and ideologues who have departed from even the most basic Catholic and Orthodox teachings regarding the apostolic succession.