Page 2, 13th February 1959

13th February 1959
Page 2
Page 2, 13th February 1959 — Uniate Church in Poland

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People: Jan Hcicman


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Uniate Church in Poland

SIR,-Mr. Jan Hcicman says that the Uniate Church was unable to take deep enough roots in the eastern part of old Poland between the Rug and Kieff and Witebsk because of

the dislike of Poles for the Uniate Rite and lack of support of it by the Poles.

Until recently. the standard anti-Polish accusation was that Poland created the Uniate Church (in 1595) and supported it too much The great rising of the Ukrainian Cossacks (on both sides of the Dnieper) in 1648 was made against Poland among others under the motivation that the Poles supported the Uniate Church.

At the time of Poland's partitions. the Uniate Church was 200 years old in some provinces and only 100 years old in others, and it is natural that its roots were not yet deep enough to withstand Russian oppression. Immediately after Poland's partitions Russia forced several millions of Uniates to submit to the Orthodox Church.

After a period of toleration, especially between the years 18151830, Russia abolished the Uniate Church completely in the whole territory of Eastern Poland under her nile in 1839, and extended this decision in 1874 to Central Poland (the so called Congress Kingdom, which Russia acquired in 1815).

Many bishops and priests went into prisons. deportation. and exile, and large numbers of people suffered martyrdom. At that time these events were considered as happening not outside, but inside, the Polish nation, and also the Polish Church. of which the Uniate rite was a part.

In 1945, the Soviet Government repeated the Czarist persecution on a new territory, by abolishing the Uniate Church in South Eastern Poland, which until 1918 was under Austrian rule, After the Russian decree of toleration in 1905, about 200.000 former Uniates, forcibly inscribed into the Orthodox Church, returned to the Catholic Church. They prelerred the Latin Rite because, during the time of persecution they received the Sacraments secretly from the Latin clergy and they became used to this.

Jedrzej Giertycb

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