Ukrainian Catholic Bishops Protest Russian Communist Persecution
During a synod of the Ukrainian Catholic bishops in Rome, November 25 - December 1, 1980, the synod formally declared the canonical invalidity and illegality of the so-called "synod of Lviv" 1946 (formally sanctioned by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1971) which unilaterally abolished the Ukrainian Catholic Church and incorporated it into the Russian Orthodox Church. The synod stated its declaration thus:
The Divine Redeemer has entrusted to the Church that He has founded a constitutional mandate which allows all problems inherent to the Church to be resolved collegially by the successors of the apostles, the bishops, under the leadership and vigilance of the successor of St. Peter, the Roman Pontiff.
The Ukrainian Church has followed this principle in a synod of her bishops assembled in Berest-Litovsk in 1596 when she decided to renew union with the Apostolic See of Rome and she considers this holy union as completely accomplished several decades later when all the Ukrainian bishops with their eparchies joined it.
Therefore, the assembly (not synod) that was convoked on the initiative of some Ukrainian priests under constraint from Soviet civil authorities in 1946 in Lviv (Leopold) and which proclaimed itself a "Synod,'' cannot be and never was in any manner a legitimate synod of our Church, because it (the assembly) prevented any Ukrainian bishops from taking part in it. The presence of some members of the clergy and laity is not sufficient in any Christian for the juridical legitimacy of such a synod. Furthermore, the majority of the members were constrained to take part by the enemies of our Church and our people.
The holy Apostolic See of Rome in the person of Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Orientales Omnes of 1946 and equally in his solemn declaration of December 15, 1952, and of John Paul II in his documents of March 19, 1979, and February 5, 1980, has made it known to all that the Ukrainian Catholic Church exists in law and in fact and has also condemned the abuse of power perpetrated against the Ukrainian priests and for this reason has declared null and void the canonicity of the "Synod of' Lviv of' 1946,'' underlining its historical falsity.
We, the Ukrainian bishops, assembled around the father and head of our church, His Beatitude Archbishop Major of Lviv and Metropolitan of Kiev-Halych, Joseph and his future successor, Archbishop Coadjutor Miroslav, convened with the approval of the Roman Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, with this declaration bring to the knowledge of all the members of the clergy, secular and religious, and to all our faithful in the Ukraine and in the diaspora that a synod by means of which our Church abolished the holy union with the Apostolic See of Rome never took place and the so-called "Synod of Lviv" of 1946, never had nor has anything in common with our Ukrainian Church which continues to remain a faithful member of the Universal Church, the mystical body of Christ, with his head and vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff, successor of Peter.