[Are you suggesting that the Churches built and property acquired by Ruthenian and Ukranian EC's after the Unions of Brest-Litovsk and Uzhorod respectively also belong to the Orthodox?]
Read what I wrote. What I said was that those churches that were turned over to the newly created UGCC by a stroke of a pen in 1596 , were originally built as Orthodox Churches and remained as such, many for centuries, until they became the property of the UGCC when the union with Rome was signed under very similiar circumstances as those in 1946. Namely that both transfer of properties were accomplished under government duress and pressure and whose ownership was also transferred through a signed agreement.
Where is that any different than Greek Catholics churches becoming Orthodox through a signed agreement in 1946?
Are you trying to insinuate that after the union was signed the newly created UGCC built new churches for itself and its people? The Orthodox faith was outlawed and anyone who remained Orthodox (including the clergy) was considered as a traitor to the state by the Polish King. Didn't you read what I posted? Churches changed ownership by the stroke of a pen in both cases (both in 1596 & 1946).
From what I posted previously regarding the creation of the UGCC -
But the King decided otherwise: his edict of October 15 legalized only those Byzantine-rite Christians who joined the Unia; IT DECREED THE ORTHODOX CHURCH NULL AND VOID AND ALL IT'S CLERGY EXCOMMUNCATED; WHILE CONTINUING MEMBERSHIP IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH WAS DECLARED TO BE AN ACT OF TREASON AGAINST THE STATE.
[Notwithstanding the historic Orthodox-Catholic animosities arising from the Unia of the late 1500's to mid 1600's, your post has essentially equated these events with communist dominated events of the late 1940's. I really don't think that you want to do this.]
Why not? What's the difference except in 1596 it was initiated by a Polish Roman Catholic government and in 1946 the reverse was iniated by a communist dominated government. Why should WHO or what type of government initiated it make any difference? The actions of both were almost parallel. I find it utterly amazing that you think that because it was done by communists in one instance and not the other, only one can be considered as wrong.
[What I find so irritating about your reply is that the alleged agreement made under coercion in 1946 was between apostate Catholic priests subsequently consecrated as Orthodox bishops and suddenly "acting" for the Unia with Orthodox bishops under communist suzerainty and not IMHO acting as true Orthodox prelates.]
And, once again how is that different than what happened in 1596? The former Orthodox Bishops that signed the union in 1596 were all hand picked and got their positions through the Polish Roman Catholic government. How does this differ from the what you claim about what you call the 'apostate Catholic priests' in 1946?
Don't forget it was the government that paid the clergy salaries and provided financial support for the education of the religious institutions. The first thing the new Polish RC goverment did was to try and undermine the Orthodox Church by witholding funds for the proper maintaince of the religious institutions (*Read article 17 below). Why do you think they included articles like the following in the 'Union of Brest' which they wanted guarantees on before they would sign the union?
Treaty of Brest -1596
10. That the metropolitanate, the episcopate, and other ecclesiastical
dignities shall be conferred on no one except the Rus' people or Greeks, who must be of our religion. And since our Canons require that the Metropolitain, the Bishops, and so on, first elected by the clergy, must be worthy people, we ask the King's Grace THAT THE ELECTION BE FREE, LEAVING INTACT THE AUTHORITY OF THE KING'S GRACE TO APPOINT THE ONE WHOM HE PLEASES. This means that as soon as someone has died we would elect four candidates, AND THE KING'S GRACE WILL FREELY CHOSE WHOM HE WISHES FROM AMONG THE FOUR. This is necessary, especially so that the persons named to such positions will be worthy and educated, for the King's Grace, who not of the same religion, cannot know who is worthy of this, AND THUS IT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST THAT SUCH UNINSTRUCTED PEOPLE WERE APPOINTED THAT THEY WERE SCARCELY LITERATE. If the King's Grace should wish to appoint a layman to these spiritual posts, the appointee must receive Holy Orders within no more than three months under pain of losing appointment, according to the Constitution of the Parliament of Grondo and the Articles of King Sigmund Augustus of blessed memory, approved by the present King's Grace, FOR AT THE MOMENT THERE ARE SOME WHO HOLD CERTAIN SPIRITUAL APPOINTMENTS IN THEIR HANDS BUT DO NOT RECEIVE HOLY ORDERS EVEN FOR YEARS, justifying themselves with some sort of royal "exemptions". We ask that in future this should not be.
[Note: They were only asking for THE RIGHT to choose three candidates for election which they didn't have under Polish rule.]
12. So that our authority would be greater and we should govern our
faithful with greater respect, we ask seats in the Senate of the King's Grace for the Metropolitain and the bishops. We ask this for many reasons for we have the same office and hierarchal dignity as the Roman Bishops.
17. INASMUCH AS WE HAVE LOST POSSESSION OF MANY ECCLESIASTICAL PROPERTIES, SOME OF WHICH OUR PREDECESSORS ALIENATED BY RIGHTS OTHER THAN FREE ADMINISTRATION OF THESE GOODS DURING THEIR PERSONAL LIVES, SO THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN SUCH WANT AND POVERTY THAT WE CANNOT PROVIDE SATISFACTORY FOR THE NEEDS OF THE CHURCHES, AND INDEED WE OURSELVES SCARCELY HAVE THE MEANS OF SUBSISTANCE, WE REQUIRE THAT THESE PROPERTIES BE RETURNED TO OUR CHURCHES. If anyone has legitimately aquired the lifetime unsufruct of any ecclesiastical benefice, let him be obliged to pay an annual rent to the Church, and upon his death let the benefice revert to the Church. Such a benefice shalll not be granted to anyone without the consent of the bishop and his chapter. Every benefice to which the Church presently has title is to be recorded in the Gospel Books, even if the Church does not exercise any control over some benefices. In that way they will at least belong indisputable to the Church. With this accomplished, the Church can then undertake to regain those benefices which have been alienated at an earlier time.
27. That WE SHALL BE FREE TO HAVE SCHOOLS AND SEMINARIES in the Greek and
Church-Slavonic languages in the localities where it is most convenient, and that our printing-presses SHALL BE FREE (of course under the supervision of the Metropolitain and bishops, so that no heresies be propagated and nothing be printed without the knowledge and consent of the Metropolitain and bishops.
[The above articles show how the Poles began to undermine the Orthodox church as soon as they conquered the territority. Orthodox no longer had basic human rights in their own lands as long as they remained part of the Orthodox Church. Churches and church property was confiscated, and financial support withdrawn.]
[ I have read that some Orthodox prelates were NKVD agents.]
And all the Ukrainian priests and Bishops were saints and martyrs? There was also a KGB unit within the Ukrainian Communist party. And, are you trying to tell me all the communists are gone from the present Ukrainian government including Kutchma?
[The Catholic priests who refused to go along with this atrocity were in most cases incarcerated with many either dying in jail or murdered before being incarcerated.]
And in 1596 the Orthodox priests who refused that union were excommunicated and were accused of committing acts of treason and hung or imprisioned for it. What's the difference?
And, let me give you some statistics right from the KGB files on what happened to the Orthodox. If your going to cry, then cry for ALL WHO suffered under communism, not just the Ukrainians or the Eastern Catholics who were under Rome.
MOSCOW [RNS} - Some 200,000 clergy, many crucified, scalped, and otherwise
tortured, were killed during the communist era in the former Soviet Union, a
Russian commission reported here on November 27, 1995. Another 500,000
believers were martyred and millions exiled. There were 40,000 churches destroyed between 1922 and1980, the report said.
"Clergymen were crucified on churches' Holy Gates, shot scalped, and
strangled.," said Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Commission for the
Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression which prepared the
report for Russian president Boris Yeltsin. "I was especially shocked by
accounts of priests turned into columns of ice in winter, "Yakovlev
continued, adding that the commission unearthed documents showing that as
early as 1918, Vladimr Lenin had odered a campagn of "merciless terror
[I personally find this even more objectionable than your obvious bitterness to all things Catholic because the communist depredations and persecution of Orthodoxy are so well known and equally execrable, not to mention Uncle Joe's engineered mass starvation of Ukranians in the 1930's. If I were Orthodox, I wouldn't want my Church and Faith even remotely identified with the communists who so horribly persecuted it.]
Oh yes, Uncle Joe. Wasn't he a Georgian rather than Russian? And wasn't he excommunicated from the Orthodox Church? And WHO cared out his edict? Could it be the members of the Ukrainian Communist Party who carried out the mass starvation?
[Will negotiation and accommodation provide a means of handling this?]
There was a 'Quadripartite Ageement' set up regarding this where each of the Churches in question would decide BY VOTE whether they wanted to remain in the Orthodox Church or return to the UGCC. But after only six weeks the UGCC turned their backs on it and started to use force -
STATEMENT: by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate in Connection with the Leaving by the Catholics of the Eastern Rite of the Quadripartite Commission for Normalizing Relations Between the Orthodox and the Catholics of the Eastern Rite in the Western Regions of the Ukraine and Concerning the Decision Adopted by the Lvov City Soviet of the People's Deputies on April 6, 1990
[NOTE: This statement was made on April 6, 1990 just 27 days before the demise of Patrairch Pimen. Patriarch Alexy had not been elected yet.
Also note the sentences I have capitalized which indicate that, what the Pope was telling the Russian Orthodox was in direct contradiction to what the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Bishops were claiming.]
In August 1989, the Russian Orthodox Church, acting through fraternal contacts with the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, and his representatives, and prompted by pastoral concern, displayed initiative on the settlement of te position of the Catholics of the Eastern Rite in the Western Ukraine.
In accordance with the plans for settling the said problems, approved by both sides, a quadripartie Commission, consisting of representatives of the Holy See, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the Catholics of the Eastern Rite, was working in Lvov on March 8-13, 1990.
As a result of the work, carried out by the Commission, involving trips, on-the-spot inspection of churches by its members and meetings with believers, the Commission unanimously adopted a number of practical decisions: churches in the towns of Nestrov, Zoochev, Nikolaev, Yavorov, Stryj, and Borislav were distributed between the Orthodox and the Uniates.
On the last day of the Commissions work, Archbishop Vladimir Sternyuk, one of the representatives of the Catholics of the Eastern Rite, suddenly left the commission, BUT THE CATHOLIC SIDE THE DECLARED THAT WORK COULD BE CONTINUED, SINCE THEIR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE WAS PRESENT, AND THE PRINCIPLE OF REPRESENTATION BY THE FOUR SIDES WAS THUS OBSERVED.
On March 13th, the Commission approved the statement on the results of the first meeting, stressing that this was only the beginning of the process of settlement, after which representatives of the Churches would go over to considering other outstanding questions. To prevent acts of extremism, Commission members, acting on behalf of their respective churches, PLEDGED TO EXCLUDE ANY POSSIBILITY OF FORCIBLE SEIZURES OF CHURCHES.
The Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate approved the results of the Commissions work and declared that our Church is ready to continue her efforts to settle this problem.
However, on Mrach 22nd, the Lvov newspaper, Leninska molodj, published a "Statement of the Episcopate of the Greek Catholic Church in the Ukraine Concerning the Talks of the Quadripartite Commission on Relations Between the Orthodox and the Catholics", announcing the invalidity of the documents issued by the Commission in the process of these talks, "including all documents on the transfer of churches. MOREOVER, THE SAME STATEMENT SAYS THAT EVERYTHING PRESENTED BY VLADYKAS FROM THE UKRAINE HAS BEEN AGREED UPON WITH POPE JOHN PAUL II.
Following this statement, the seizures of Orthodox churches, involving acts of violence and lawlessness, became frequent. Uniate leaders call for banishing the Orthodox Church from the territory of the Western Ukraine. It is noteworthy that in its Statement the episcopate of the Ukrainian Catholics declares that 'THE UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE ONLY CHURCH IN THE UKRAINE."
In many towns and villages the Orthodox are compelled to pray right in the street. The life of the Orthodox people in Galicia is clouded by tears and suffering.
Instead of observing the law and ensuring their citizens' security, the local authorities take a one sided anti-Orthodox stand The most striking illustration of this is the recent decision of the Lvov City Soviet to take St Yur Cathedral and the bishops residence away from the Orthodox believers and turn them over to the Catholics of the Eastern Rite. On the eve of the feast of Holy Pascha the Orthodox may find themselves in the street!
Lawlessness has reached the limit in the Western Ukraine, and the inimical tension in relations to believers of the two communities is fraught with unpredictable complications. While it is not to late, the Holy Synod once again calls for an end to the brother-hating relations and for finding, in the spirit of Christ's love, a just and legitimate way of settling the problem.
We believe that the Ukrainian consanguineous brothers and sisters and their religious pastors are capable of reaching agreements restoring conditions for a peaceful and quiet life in ther native land.
The Holy Synod hopes that the Holy See will pay attention to the complicated situation with regard to the settlement of the problems of the Catholics of the Eastern Rite in the Western Ukraine and will not allow these events to affect the developement of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. IN THIS CONNECTION WE CALL IN QUESTION THE TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE UNIATE EPISCOPATE'S ALLEGATION THAT THEIR PRONOUNCEMENTS HAVE BEEN AGREED UPON WITH POPE JOHN PAUL II, BECAUSE THIS ALLEGATION IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE VATICAN'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT, WHICH SAYS: "THE HOLY SEE IS HIGHLY SATISFIED WITH THE AGREEMENT REACHED BY ITS ENVOYS IN COOPERATION WITH ORTHODOX REPRESENTATIVES."
The Church calls upon all her faithful children to pray for the persecuted and suffering brothers and sisters in Galicia, to raise their voice in their defense and to give them all possible assistance.
We ask for the personal interference of President of the Soviet Union M. Gorbachev and the highest authorities of the Ukrainian SSR in order to establish law and order, pu an end to violence, annul the Lvov City Soviets's decision concerning St Yur Cathedral and the bishop's residence in Livov return the forcibly seized churches, ensure a normal church life and help overcome the difficult problems inherited from the past.
Resolutely protesting against the stand taken by the local authorities in the Western Ukraine, particulary in Lvov, the Holy Synod declares that the path they have chosen further aggravates the inter-religious situation and enmity amidst the Ukrainian people rather than promotes the settlement of conflicts.
We pray to God, Who vanquished all evil forces on earth by His Ressurection, also to resurrect our souls for love, fraternity, and peace!