Ohio: Schismatic Belarusian parish joins Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Constantinople)

Strongsville, Ohio, March 6, 2024

Photo: uocofusa.org Photo: uocofusa.org     

A parish formerly of the so-called “Belarusan Autocephalous Orthodox Church” has joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Moscow Patriarchate, which includes the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR) has broken eucharistic communion with the Constantinople Patriarchate due to its uncanonical activities in Ukraine, and therefore it is not in canonical communion with this formation in the USA.

“In a momentous event, the Our Lady of Zhyrovytsk Belarusian Orthodox Cathedral, nestled in the heart of Strongsville, Ohio, has transitioned into the spiritual fold of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA,” the UOC-USA reports.

Archbishop Daniel of the UOC-USA presided over a “solemn liturgical ceremony, blessing the cathedral and introducing the community to its new pastor, Fr. Roman Yatskiv.

The hierarch presented the cathedral with a new antimens, containing relics of the 5 Holy Martyrs of Constantinople, as well as Chrism consecrated by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, “presented as a tangible symbol of spiritual unity and communion of the cathedral parish community with the fulness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.”

Photo: uocofusa.org Photo: uocofusa.org     

“The decision to unite with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA reflects the cathedral's commitment to embracing its heritage while fostering greater collaboration and solidarity within the broader Orthodox community. It is a testament to the enduring strength of faith and the collective desire to journey together towards a shared vision of spiritual growth and renewal,” the report states.

The group to which the cathedral previously belonged, the “Belarusan [spelled with no ‘i’] Autocephalous Orthodox Church” seems to be a different group than the schismatic “Belarusian [with an ‘i’] Autocephalous Orthodox Church” that OrthoChristian has reported on in the past.

The “Belarusan” Church is run by a three-member Synod, under a “Metropolitan” Seraphim of Vilnius and New York. The cathedral website does not provide any information about other parishes or members of this group.

The “Belarusian” Church is run by an “Archbishop” Svyatoslav Login. It was created in America in the second half of the 20th century through the efforts of Vladislav Rizhii-Rizhskii, a priest of the so-called “American Orthodox Catholic Church” The BAOC’s headquarters are in New York. Login is the sole bishop, overseeing 3 parishes in America, 1 in Canada, 3 in Australia, and 1 in England. It has no official churches in Belarus, though there are religious communities there.

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