virtual museum
Dissident movement in Ukraine



The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church [UAOC], an independent Orthodox Church separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1919 under the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). Services were held and the Gospels read in Ukrainian. 

With the establishment of Soviet rule in Ukraine in 1920 persecution of the UAOC began, and by the middle of the 1930s the Church had been totally crushed. Its head, Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky, all 33 Bishops and thousands of priests were murdered. The Church, however, continued to exist in emigration. During the years of Nazi occupation (1941-1943) the UAOC was revived, with the support of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), however all the bishops retreated from Ukraine with the Germany military.

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was only reinstated during perestroika. On 15 February 1989 the “Appeal from the Initiative Committee on the renewal of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” was published, and on 18 August 1989 the first parish of the UAOC was formed in Lviv. The UAOC was officially registered in May 1990. The revival of the UAOC shows that the specific elements of Ukrainian Orthodoxy had despite all against it survived. It was revived with the active support of the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

From 5-6 June 1990 the Synod in Kyiv completed the restoration of the UAOC structure and also elected as its Patriarch the Metropolitan of the UAOC in the USA Mstislav (Skrypnyk). After his death in 1992, the Church was headed by Patriarch Dmitry. With his death in 2000 , the Church split with one branch headed by Metropolitan Mefodiy Kudriakov and the other by the Archbishop for Kharkiv and Poltava Ihor Isichenko. The latter received registration in 2006.

There are around 600 communities of the UAOC.

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