Ukraine’s ecumenical process was crowned with the restoration of eucharistic communion with Rome. However, in the spring of 2019 the Ukrainian orthodox church was thrown into disarray when a power struggle erupted between Epiphanius and Filaret Denysenko over the name of the church and its statute.
Ukrainian orthodox church in communion with rome
In honor of the upcoming feast, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome hosted a Lenten Luncheon to raise money for the Ukrainian orphanages. The dinner was prepared by parishioners and featured dishes such as baked sole and lobster bisque. The hall was decorated by Tanya Tereshko-Little. In addition, the parish had an opportunity to see the talented Ukrainian dance group, ISKRA, from New Jersey. Their performance was followed by a piano medley of Ukrainian songs.
According to the Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome, the ordination of priests and deacons is a Holy Mystery, which passes on the grace and authority of Christ to their successors. The Church recognizes three orders of clergy: priests, deacons, and bishops. Priests and deacons are permitted to be married, but bishops are always celibate.
After World War I, many Ukrainian Catholics migrated to the Americas and western Europe. The Ukrainian Catholic Church was organized into a metropolitanate in Canada and the United States. It has eparchies in Stamford, Connecticut, and Chicago. Other Apostolic exarchies are located in Australia (Melbourne), Brazil (Curitiba), England (London), and Germany.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome holds annual Lenten Missions. The parishes are invited to attend the service, which includes the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome, His Grace Bishop Antony of the UOC of the USA. Metropolitan Antony led Vespers and was assisted by visiting clergy. The parish choir sang the responses. Metropolitan Antony then invited the community outside for a group photo.
Ecumenical process crowned by restoration of eucharistic communion between Rome and Constantinople
In the late nineteenth century, the Orthodox Church is undergoing a transformation. While the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which corresponded to the Patriarch of Rome, ceased to exist, the Church of Albania declares autocephaly from Constantinople, and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is founded. In 1922, Lenin decrees the conversion of the Solovetsky Monastery to a Special Purpose Camp. The camp sheltered 75 bishops and tens of thousands of laity. In the following century, the Patriarchate of Antioch is transferred to Damascus under Ignatius II. In the same year, the Western Great Schism begins. This war starts over the question of which church is to be recognized
Despite these differences, the Orthodox Church of Moscow and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria recognize each other’s canonical territory. The Church of Russia also recognizes the primate of Alexandria, known as the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. In addition, several million Ukrainian and Byelorussian Orthodox Christians leave the Church of Constantinople and recognize the Pope of Rome as the Head of the Orthodox Church of Rome. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church also declares independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.
The tension between the two churches increased in the early Middle Ages. The Western and Eastern churches disagreed over language and liturgy, and there was a political element in the dispute. In particular, the two churches were divided over the use of unleavened bread for communion. While the western church supported the use of unleavened bread, the Eastern Church rejected this practice. In addition, the western church believed that clerics should remain celibate.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will become a single body when the three Ukrainian orthodox churches are merged into one. The three churches are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and Ukrainian Apostolic Church. The UOC recognizes the primacy of the Moscow Patriarch, and a number of its priests will move to the newly formed Metropolis of Kyiv. However, this will not necessarily end the split in Ukrainian orthodoxy.
At the Unification Council on 15 December in Kyiv, the UOC elected a metropolitan to serve as primate. While the Moscow Patriarchate has long advocated for unity, the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church will not have a Patriarch as its chief shepherd. The Primate, Epiphanius Dumenko, is young and has experience in church affairs.
Autocephaly for Ukraine requires the consent of the Russian Orthodox Church, the mother church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Although the UOC did not request autocephaly, the Russian Orthodox Church would have to approve the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Synod. This would mean a major change in the canonical status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The problem is complex, and must be resolved by the Church alone.
OCU’s ability to conduct interconfessional dialogue will depend on its members’ experience in inter-church dialogue. However, the majority of its members have little international experience. In fact, seven of the twelve members of its newly formed Commission for Inter-Christian Relations previously belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a small minority within the OCU, so it needs more experts in inter-church relations to make the process more successful.