Kyiv - March 10, 2010, marked the 64th anniversary of the end of the pseudo-synod of 1946 where by decree the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was liquidated in the USSR.  The director of the Institute of Church History of the Ukrainian Catholic University Fr. Andrii Mykhaleiko, reports that the fact that the synod of 1946 was held by joint efforts of the Communist party leadership, state structures, and state security services in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church is proved by documents found by church history study experts in the archives of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Central State Archive of Public Organizations of Ukraine.

One of these documents is a telegram No. 82 of the People’s Commissar of the State Security of USSR Merkulov to the People’s Commissar of the State Security of Ukrainian SSR Savchenko of January 25, 1946, containing clear instructions on the organization of the council in Lviv: “Be informed that the permission to hold the synod of the Greek Catholic Church in Lviv is obtained. In view thereof, 400 thousand rubles will be transferred to the Council of People’s Commissars of Ukrainian SSR to be passed to the initiative group through agent ‘Ptitsyn.’”

“…To ensure the successful organization of the synod, agents should make up at least 60-70% of the composition of the delegates. Also ensure agents make up a sufficient percentage of the invited lay representatives of the intelligentsia.  Check all the other delegates and guests beforehand in order not to admit hostile or unreliable elements,” read the instructions.

According to NKVD instructions, a series of arrests of representatives of the leadership of UGCC and “active uniates” was to be made and the press was to be informed of the arrest and the legally defined crimes of the arrested within 10-15 days. Also this document permits the ordination of two priests of the UGCC as Orthodox bishops: “There is no contention against the ordination of the bishops ‘Ivanov’ and ‘Shevchuk.’” And in fact, on February 24-25, 1946, in Volodymyr’s Cathedral of Kyiv took place the ordination of two participants of the “initiative group” on the conduction of the council – Fr. Mykhail Melnyk and Fr. Joseph Pelvetsky.

It is important that at the same time the authority of the NKVD wished as carefully as possible to hide their involvement in the alleged church meeting: “We especially turn your attention to the necessity to observe the terms of the strictest conspiracy as to our participation in the preparation and conduction of the council.”

According to the information of the Institute of Church History of the UCU, before the beginning of World War II the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church counted 2,387 parishes with 3.6 million faithful, had 2,352 eparchial priests, 31 men’s and 121 women’s monasteries and monastic houses. Under the care of the Church operated the Theological Academy and 3 spiritual seminaries, where 480 students studied.

According to the letter, written on September 24, 1949, to first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine M. Khrushchev by the head of the Council on Matters of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Council of Ministers of the USSR G. Karpov, between March 1946 and August 1949 to the ROC were passed “3,001 Uniate parish churches, 1,242 priests, 463 deacons, and 1,018 psalmists in the Zakarpattya, Drohobych, Lviv, and Stanislaviv regions.”

Information Department of the UGCC

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