THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CRACOW-LEMKO REGION ORTHODOX EPARCHY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR

  • Andrii Smyrnov
Keywords: the Orthodox Church, Generalgouvernement, Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko, eparchy, bishop

Abstract

The article deals with the history of the Orthodox Church in German-occupied Poland (Generalgouvernement), which remained autocephalous and continued to be headed by Metropolitan Dionisii Valedynskyi. In February 1941 Palladii Vydybida-Rudenko was ordained in Warsaw as archbishop of Cracow and the Lemko region. He swore to work solely for the benefit of the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian people; complete obedience to Archbishop Ilarion Ohiienko; and to vote during synods exactly like Ilarion, never against. After the German invasion of the USSR and the attachment of Galicia to the GG, Palladii was subsequently also named bishop of Lviv, and was elected chancellor of the Orthodox Church in the Generalgouvernement.
Newly created Cracow-Lemko region eparchy numbered approximately 40 parishes. Archbishop Palladii transferred perceived Russophile priests from the region to Warsaw and replaced them with younger, Ukrainian clerics. The Ukrainian accent or language were used during church services; what constituted a ‘legal basis’ for nationalization. However, the eparchy has limited opportunities for the development of the Ukrainian national and church movement due to the opposition of the Greek Catholic lobby in German administration, lack of patriotic priests and war time difficulties. That is why Archbishop Palladii, which constantly living in Warsaw and served in Metropolitan cathedral, met with little success in the Ukrainization of Orthodoxy in Lemko region.
In 1942 the synod of bishops adopted certain internal statutes that were later acknowledged by the German authorities as well. The statutes spoke very clearly about the prevailing Ukrainian spirit in the Church. The further growth of the Orthodox Church in the Generalgouvernement was, however, impeded with the withdrawal of the Germans and subsequent chaotic developments. Both Archbishop Ohiienko and Archbishop Vydybida-Rudenko sought refuge in the West.

Published
2020-12-01