Lviv: Vydannia prezydii sobobu, 1946. Item #1436
174,  pp.: ill. 23,5x17 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Tears of edges of oversized covers and spine, otherwise very good and clean copy.
Evidence of a Soviet campaign ceasing activity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in newly annexed Galicia.
A council of clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church (UGCC) was held on March 8-10, 1946 in Lviv, at which the liquidation of the Brest Union of 1596 and annexation to the Russian Orthodox Church were proclaimed. The event wasn’t recognized by the Uniate Church and it is also called a “pseudo council”. Soon after it, the UGCC was liquidated by Soviet authorities and ceased its activity for 1946-1989.
Orthodoxy population of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were forced to accept the Union of Brest, breaking relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church. This hampered the national religious development of the Belarusian and Ukrainian peoples of this territory, led to prolonged interfaith conflicts. Latinisation of East Slavic people kept going in Austria and Poland. After the Nazi Germany entered Poland in September 1939, West Ukraine was annexed by the USSR. The Soviet state repressed all religions in general and there were arrests and deportations of the Greek Catholic priests; Uniate publishing houses, hospitals and charities were closed, church property was confiscated. However, these repressive actions didn’t reach the scale of persecution, just like in Russia for instance and the UGCC lasted its activity, but Soviet authorities sought to remove Uniates from the control of the Vatican.
By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War in June 1941, West Ukraine was under Nazi occupation. The UGCC leadership actively cooperated with Nazi Germany and contributed to the organization of the Ukrainian nationalist formations. After the Red Army occupied West Ukraine in 1944, communication with Nazi Germany and the armed nationalist movement could create serious problems in relations between the UGCC and the Soviet Union. The church was suggested to “liquidate itself” but all uniate bishops refused.
The chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, Georgy Karpov wrote to Stalin that it was necessary to organize an initiative group within the Uniate Church, which would officially declare a break with the Vatican and call to convert to Orthodoxy. Being a NKVD project, an initiative group was formed of Gabriel Kostelnik, Antoni Pelvetsky and Mykhailo Melnyk, who had been already converted to Orthodoxy. Yet, their influence on uniate priests was immense. Almost 80 percent of them voted to join the Orthodox Church, the rest were forced underground. The Uniate Church was soon liquidated, its property was transferred to the free use of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This particular book included portraits of participants, including the initiative group and delegates from various regions of Galicia. It contains speeches delegates made and the whole list of priests gathered.
Copies are located in Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Harvard, California, Indiana, Illinois, Baylor Universities and NYPL.