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Author Topic: Orthodox churches in southern Poland  (Read 3550 times) Average Rating: 0
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jerzy
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« on: May 05, 2008, 06:29:27 PM »

I would like to share with you the photos from southern Poland where Orthodox religion had used to flourish and coexisted with Catholicism and Judaism for centuries, until it was suppresed by communists after WW2. Today, Orthodox believers are trying to revive their religion and culture.

Orthodox Churches and Lemko people in southern Poland
http://polandsite.proboards104.com/index.cgi?board=places&action=display&thread=211
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2008, 07:25:46 PM »

Do the Polish Orthodox in this region liturgize in Slavonic or Polish? Do they preach in Rusyn or in Polish or in Great Russian or Ukrainian? or does each parish do what is best for its people?
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2008, 11:15:29 PM »

I would like to share with you the photos from southern Poland where Orthodox religion had used to flourish and coexisted with Catholicism and Judaism for centuries, until it was suppresed by communists after WW2. Today, Orthodox believers are trying to revive their religion and culture.

Orthodox Churches and Lemko people in southern Poland
http://polandsite.proboards104.com/index.cgi?board=places&action=display&thread=211

This is all well and good, but I think you have your history a bit mixed up.  Most of these churches were built in the 18th and 19th centuries when the area was under firm affiliation with Rome, i.e., Greek Catholic.

A few of these villages mostly switched to Orthodoxy in the 1920s and 1930s. (During the 1910s, the time of the missionary efforts of now-Saint Maksym Sandovych of Gorlice, a few villages began to see some returns to Orthodoxy, but this movement did not involve Greek Catholic church property going over to Orthodox ownership.)

In 1947 the native Lemko Rusyns, of whatever religious confession--Greek Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant (by then there were some)--were deported in the infamous Vistula Operation (Akcja Wisla) to the "recovered lands" mostly in Lower Silesia / Dolny Slask.  Some villages were then resettled by Poles and the existing churches were retrofitted to serve as Roman Catholic, but most actually fell into ruin or were burned or used as warehouses and barns. In the 1960s, Lemkos were permitted to return to the region, and some did, but only to selected villages, not necessarily their own. In those places, Greek Catholic and Orthodox parishes were reestablished. Thus about half the villages in southeastern Poland with a Lemko population support an Orthodox church/parish, half support a Greek Catholic parish. Some of them go to a neighboring village, having been unable to reclaim their original church from the Roman Catholics, who in many villages still outnumber the Lemkos.

But in other words, if one is to sharply differentiate Greek Catholicism (united with Rome) from Orthodoxy, one should be clear and understand that the period of time when these churches were built and used by the native population was the time of Greek Catholicism, not Orthodoxy.

I would add that the Polish government never suppressed Orthodoxy. Perhaps you are thinking of the 1947 deportations, but it was not a legal action against a religious confession, but against an ethno-national group. Nor was the Greek Catholic Church ever explicitly banned as it was in neighboring Ukraine and Czechoslovakia; its operation was restricted (and was administered by the Polish Roman Catholic hierarchy), but with the massive displacement of the Lemko and Ukrainian population, this set back the life of the Greek Catholic Church in Poland for decades.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 12:35:57 AM by Lemko Rusyn » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 11:23:53 PM »

Do the Polish Orthodox in this region liturgize in Slavonic or Polish? Do they preach in Rusyn or in Polish or in Great Russian or Ukrainian? or does each parish do what is best for its people?

The Orthodox Church of Poland in this region uses Church Slavonic as its liturgical language, with epistle and Gospel readings primarily in either Slavonic or Ukrainian. The homilies are given in either Lemko/Rusyn or Ukrainian, depending on the priest. Most of the Lemko clergy are of Lemko (and/or Rusyn) orientation and use Lemko in all phases of church life (except for liturgizing in Church Slavonic). However, the Orthodox bishop of the region, Archbishop Adam in Sanok, though himself a Lemko, prefers literary Ukrainian. Unfortunately there is no Lemko lectionary, as there is now in Slovakia (though used only by the Greek Catholics there).

The Greek Catholic Church in this region uses Church Slavonic and Ukrainian, with a Ukrainian-language lectionary; homilies are either in Lemko/Rusyn, Ukrainian, or a very Ukrainianized version of Lemko, depending on the priest and the location of the parish. (For example, in the eastern Lemko Region, e.g., Komancza, southwest of Sanok, the people are much more Ukrainianized than they are in e.g., Losie in the Gorlice district.)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2008, 11:39:03 PM by Lemko Rusyn » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 11:04:47 PM »

Thank you Jerzy for the pictures and all the information.  One of the Ukrainian Orthodox priests in Toronto, Canada is a Lemko from this area.

Quote
I would add that the Polish government never suppressed Orthodoxy.

I find the above quote hard to swallow because during the Inter-War period the Polish government did persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox in Volynia.
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 09:03:25 AM »

Thank you Jerzy for the pictures and all the information.  One of the Ukrainian Orthodox priests in Toronto, Canada is a Lemko from this area.

I find the above quote hard to swallow because during the Inter-War period the Polish government did persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox in Volynia.

They also tore down the Orthodox Cathedral of Warsaw (with other Churches) with glee.  Stalin later built the most hated building in Warsaw, the Cutural Palace, on the spot of the cathedral.

I also know Byelorussian Orthodox who told me of their persecusion by the Polish government between the World Wars.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 09:04:30 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 10:08:14 PM »

I find the above quote hard to swallow because during the Inter-War period the Polish government did persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox in Volynia.

Sorry, I was speaking of the modern (post-WWII) Polish state.
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2008, 03:10:40 PM »


Quote
Sorry, I was speaking of the modern (post-WWII) Polish state
[/size]

Again I habve to disagree with you.  We have about 10 Orthodox priests in Canada in our church formerly from Poland who came in the 1980's.  In the period up until the 1970's there was persecution.  For example, the official journals of the church had to be published in Russian and in Polish and the sermons in Polish although the local population spoke Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Rusyn.
In the inter-war period the church was under the EP and then under the communist government the church was forced to repent and go under the MP.
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2008, 10:54:49 PM »



Again I habve to disagree with you.  We have about 10 Orthodox priests in Canada in our church formerly from Poland who came in the 1980's.  In the period up until the 1970's there was persecution.  For example, the official journals of the church had to be published in Russian and in Polish and the sermons in Polish although the local population spoke Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Rusyn.
In the inter-war period the church was under the EP and then under the communist government the church was forced to repent and go under the MP.

Why didn't you quote my original statement?  It was:

Quote
I would add that the Polish government never suppressed Orthodoxy.

which still stands. Persecution is not the same as suppression. (And I'm not sure the cultural imperialism described by your first example rises to the level of "persecution.")  The Orthodox Church remained a legal entity (if regulated to whatever degree) and people were free to confess Orthodoxy and belong to the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2008, 12:04:00 AM »



Comment:  I would add that the Polish government never suppressed Orthodoxy.

Reply;  Suggest you read a book called (*) 'A Church in Ruins'.  Also, can you explain why my grandparents former Greek Catholic Church in a Lemko village is now a Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church?  (See**)

(*)  http://www.infoukes.com/culture/architecture/church_in_ruins/

(**)  http://www.lemko.org/lih/churchir/bohusha.html

Orthodoc

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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2008, 04:02:20 AM »


Comment:  I would add that the Polish government never suppressed Orthodoxy.

Reply;  Suggest you read a book called (*) 'A Church in Ruins'.  Also, can you explain why my grandparents former Greek Catholic Church in a Lemko village is now a Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church?  (See**)

(*)  http://www.infoukes.com/culture/architecture/church_in_ruins/

(**)  http://www.lemko.org/lih/churchir/bohusha.html

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Exactly, explain why our our one village only has the foundations of the church left and everything is razed?  Explain why our other village is an outpost to the National Parks and was re-populated with Polish Roman Catholics after 1948?
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2008, 10:13:52 PM »

Exactly, explain why our our one village only has the foundations of the church left and everything is razed?  Explain why our other village is an outpost to the National Parks and was re-populated with Polish Roman Catholics after 1948?

That all has nothing to do with religious confession. Akcja Wisla was a move prompted by ethnic chauvinism disguised as retribution for a military-political act blamed on the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.  Mixed Lemko (or Ukrainian)/Polish families were not forced to leave, even if they were Orthodox. But the majority of the populace had already moved to Soviet Ukraine by the end of 1946, which left many villages nearly vacant. With no locals to support and upkeep the churches (nor clergy to serve them), they either fell into ruin or were ransacked or converted to RC use by the Poles who moved in later to the villages that were resettled.

There was no act of relegalization of the Orthodox (nor for that matter, the Greek Catholic) Church by the government when in the late 1950s some Lemkos started to return to the region, because it was never suppressed in the first place. Already in the 1950s some churches were reclaimed for Orthodox use, where Lemkos became the majority.  In other villages where they were the minority (e.g., Polany near Gorlice) there were legal battles with the RCs over ownership of the church, but if the Orthodox Church were illegal, they would have had no standing to battle in court in the first place.

For God's sake, I never said the Polish government privileged the Orthodox Church, but it never legislated it out of existence, either.
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2008, 10:14:59 PM »

Reply;  Suggest you read a book called (*) 'A Church in Ruins'.

Gee, thanks, I'd never heard of it...  Roll Eyes

Good to have you back, Bob!
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2008, 10:26:43 PM »

For God's sake, I never said the Polish government privileged the Orthodox Church, but it never legislated it out of existence, either.

I should add that the Orthodox Church absolutely flourished in Lower Silesia almost from the time the Lemkos got off the trains in their new homes "in exile."  There are many parishes there now; in fact, a whole eparchy of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, that of Wrocław and Szczeciń (http://www.orthodox.pl/Administracja/diecezje5.htm), was established because of the great Lemko-fueled growth of the Orthodox Church in that region, already in 1951.
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2008, 02:53:39 PM »

That all has nothing to do with religious confession. Akcja Wisla was a move prompted by ethnic chauvinism disguised as retribution for a military-political act blamed on the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.  Mixed Lemko (or Ukrainian)/Polish families were not forced to leave, even if they were Orthodox. But the majority of the populace had already moved to Soviet Ukraine by the end of 1946, which left many villages nearly vacant. With no locals to support and upkeep the churches (nor clergy to serve them), they either fell into ruin or were ransacked or converted to RC use by the Poles who moved in later to the villages that were resettled.

There was no act of relegalization of the Orthodox (nor for that matter, the Greek Catholic) Church by the government when in the late 1950s some Lemkos started to return to the region, because it was never suppressed in the first place. Already in the 1950s some churches were reclaimed for Orthodox use, where Lemkos became the majority.  In other villages where they were the minority (e.g., Polany near Gorlice) there were legal battles with the RCs over ownership of the church, but if the Orthodox Church were illegal, they would have had no standing to battle in court in the first place.

For God's sake, I never said the Polish government privileged the Orthodox Church, but it never legislated it out of existence, either.
Then why is our Cathedral

under this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Nevsky_Cathedral,_Warsaw
(yes, I know, wikipedia.  The reference is handy, and as I've checked, accurate).
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 02:55:16 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2008, 04:59:39 PM »

Your handy reference gives the answer: "The negative connotations in Poland associated with Russian imperial policy towards Poland, and belief it was built purposely to hurt Polish national feelings, was cited as the major motive by the proponents of the demolition, especially since the church occupied one of Warsaw's main squares... It was perceived by the Polish inhabitants of Warsaw as a symbol of Russian domination and hence was very unpopular..."

Lemko Rusyn's point is Polish policy was discrimnatory but based on Russian/Belarusan/Rusyn/Ukrainian ethnicity, not Orthodoxy becasue Catholics of the same ethnicities suffered the same treatment.  One need not wonder what would have happend had the Poles captured Moscow and built a Catholic cathedral in the Kremlin.
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2008, 05:11:02 PM »

Quote
(yes, I know, wikipedia.  The reference is handy, and as I've checked, accurate).

This wiki article explains why in large part.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_Uprising
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2008, 06:36:52 PM »

Your handy reference gives the answer: "The negative connotations in Poland associated with Russian imperial policy towards Poland, and belief it was built purposely to hurt Polish national feelings, was cited as the major motive by the proponents of the demolition, especially since the church occupied one of Warsaw's main squares... It was perceived by the Polish inhabitants of Warsaw as a symbol of Russian domination and hence was very unpopular..."

Lemko Rusyn's point is Polish policy was discrimnatory but based on Russian/Belarusan/Rusyn/Ukrainian ethnicity, not Orthodoxy becasue Catholics of the same ethnicities suffered the same treatment.
How many Russians/Belarusans/Rusyns/Ukrainians did the Latin church have in Poland? Roll Eyes
 
 
Quote
One need not wonder what would have happend had the Poles captured Moscow and built a Catholic cathedral in the Kremlin.
I have to add that the Cultural Palace was the most hated building in Warsaw: the Poles during Communism would say "serves us right.  We had a beautiful Cathedral, and made space for THAT ugly thing."
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 06:43:16 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2008, 08:27:25 PM »

How many Russians/Belarusans/Rusyns/Ukrainians did the Latin church have in Poland? Roll Eyes

The Latin Catholic Church?  Few, if any.  The Greek Catholic Church had many and they were treated as badly as the Orthodox were.

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