33 Articles Concerning
Union With The Roman Church
<Go to Robert Taft, SJ, Anamnesis,
The 'Healing Memories' and the Problem of 'Uniatism'>
The Union of Brest'
In 1996, the Ukrainian Catholic Church commemorated the 400th anniversary
of its "reunion" with the Roman Catholic Church, an event known
as the Union Of Brest' because it was officially proclaimed in
the year 1596 in the city of Brestia on the river Buh in Volyn (Ukraine).
This act was and remains extremely controversial, to say the least, as
it split the Ukrainian Church into two camps the Catholic and the
Orthodox. The Union of Brest' was the beginning of what is sometimes called
the Unia, a term which is sometimes taken to be pejorative, although
more recently it has become rather simply a term of convenience. As "Greek"
Catholics, the Ukrainian Catholic Church follows the liturgical and theological
traditions passed on to us from the great Church in Constantinople
and has also been deeply influenced by Western theology and piety as well
and is in full communion with the Holy See.
The act of the church union in Brestia did not come suddenly or unexpectedly,
but was the fruit of many meetings and conferences for many years of all
the Bishops of the Kievan Church. For the orderly mutual relationship
between the Kievan Church and the Catholic Church in Rome in the future,
these Bishops agreed on a constitution of thirty-three articles. These
articles not only became the foundation for the relationship between the
churches, but they very clearly were formulated to protect the identity
of the Kievan Church, whose autonomy was proclaimed in the decree of Pope
Clement VIII on February 23, 1596.
These articles were accepted by the hierarchy of the Church in Kiev
in three languages: Ukrainian, Polish, and Latin. On the basis of this
document, the Church of Kiev is in communion with the Roman Church. The
articles frequently refer to the King of Poland. The function of the King
of Poland vis-a-vis the 'Greek-Catholic Church' were assumed by the Austrian
Emperor. As there is no longer a King or Emperor, and the Greek-Catholic
Church is certainly not state-supported in Ukraine, these functions revert
to the synod or lapse entirely.
33 Articles Concerning
Union With The Roman Church
We require prior guarantees of these articles from the Romans before
we enter into union with the Roman Church.
- Since there is a quarrel between the Romans and Greeks about
the procession of the Holy Spirit, which greatly impede unity really
for no other reason than that we do not wish to understand one another
- we ask that we should not be compelled to any other creed but that
we should remain with that which was handed down to us in the Holy Scriptures,
in the Gospel, and in the writings of the holy Greek Doctors, that is,
that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not from two sources and not by a double
procession, but from one origin, from the Father through the Son.
- That the divine worship and all prayers and services of Orthros,
Vespers, and the night services shall remain intact (without any change
at all) for us according to the ancient custom of the Eastern Church,
namely: the Holy Liturgies of which there are three, that of Saint Basil,
that of Saint Chrysostom, and that of Epiphanius which is served during
the Great Lent with Presanctified Gifts, and all other ceremonies and
services of our Church, as we have had them until now, for in Rome these
same services are kept within the obedience of the Supreme Pontiff,
and that these services should be in our own language.
- That the Mysteries of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus
Christ should be retained entirely as we have been accustomed until
now, under the species of bread and wine; that this should remain among
us eternally the same and unchangeable.
- That the Mystery of Holy Baptism and its form should remain among
us unchanged as we have served it until now, without any addition.
- We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to
the teaching of the Holy Church.
- We will accept the new calendar, if the old one cannot be, but without
any violation of the Paschalia [the Easter cycle] and our other feasts
as they were in the time of unity, because we have some special feasts
which the Romans do not have; on the sixth of January we celebrate the
memory of the Baptism of the Lord Christ and the first revelation of
the One God in Trinity. We call this feast Theophany, and on
this day we have a special service of the Blessing of Waters.
- That we should not be compelled to take part in processions on the
day of Corpus Christi - that we should not have to make such processions
with our Mysteries inasmuch as our use of the Mysteries is different.
- Likewise that we should not be compelled to have the blessing of
fire, the use of wooden clappers, and similar ceremonies before Easter,
for we have not had such ceremonies in our Church until now, but that
we should maintain our ceremonies according to the rubrics and the Typicon
of our Church.
- That the marriages of priests remain intact, except for bigamists.
- That the metropolitanate, the episcopate, and other ecclesiastical
dignities shall be conferred on no one except the Rus' people or Greeks,
who must be of our religion. And since our Cannons require that the
Metropolitan, the Bishops, and so on, first elected by the clergy, must
be worthy people, we ask the King's Grace that the election be free,
leaving intact the authority of the King's Grace to appoint the one
whom he pleases. This means that as soon as someone has died we should
elect four candidates, and the King's Grace will freely chose whom he
wishes from among the four. This is necessary, especially so that the
persons named to such positions will be worthy and educated, for the
King's Grace, who is not of the same religion, cannot know who is worthy
of this, and thus it has happened that such uninstructed people were
appointed that they were scarcely literate. If the King's Grace should
wish to appoint a layman to these spiritual posts, the appointee must
receive Holy Orders within no more than three months under pain of losing
appointment, according to the Constitution of the Parliament of Grondo
and the Articles of King Sigmund Augustus of blessed memory, approved
by the present King's Grace, for at the moment there are some who hold
certain spiritual appointments in their hands but do not receive Holy
Orders even for years, justifying themselves with some sort of royal
"exemptions". We ask that in future this should not be.
- That our Bishops should not send to Rome for the sacrae (permission
to consecrate), but, if the King's Grace names someone to a bishopric,
that according to the old custom the Archbishop-Metropolitan should
have the duty and the right to ordain him. The Metropolitan himself,
before entering upon the office of metropolitan, should send the sacrae
to the Pope. Then, after he has received the sacrae from Rome,
let the bishops ordain him, at least two of them, according to their
custom. If a bishop is elected Metropolitain, let him not send for the
sacrae, because he already has the episcopal cheirotonia;
he may take an oath of obedience to the Supreme Pontiff in the presence
of the Archbishop of Gniezno (who on that occasion will not be functioning
as Archbishop, but as Primate of Poland).
- So that our authority would be greater and we should govern our faithful
with greater respect, we ask seats in the Senate of the King's Grace
for the Metropolitain and the bishops. We ask this for many reasons
for we have the same office and hierarchical dignity as the Roman Bishops.
- And if in time the Lord shall grant that the rest of the brethren
of our people and of the Greek Religion shall come to this same holy
unity, it shall not be held against us or begrudged to us that we have
preceded them in this unity, for we have to do this for definite, serious
reasons for harmony in the Christian republic [Poland] to avoid further
confusion and discord.
- Most important of all, it is necessary that if in our dioceses presbyters
- Archimandrates, Hegumenoi, presbyters, and other clergy, but especially
foreigners, even bishops and monks who might come from Greece - of our
Religion should not wish to be under our obedience they should never
dare to perform any divine service. For if that were allowed then there
would never be any order.
- If in the future someone of our Religion should want to join the
Roman Church, denying his own Religion and Ceremonies, let him not be
accepted, since he is degrading the Ceremonies of the one Church of
God, since, being already in one Church, we shall have one Pope.
- That marriages may freely take place between the Roman faithful and
the Rus' faithful, without any compulsion as to Religion, for both are
already one Church.
- Inasmuch as we have lost the possession of many ecclesiastical properties,
some of which our predecessors alienated by rights other than the free
administration of these goods during their personal lives, so that we
find ourselves in such want and poverty that we cannot provide satisfactorily
for the needs of the churches, and indeed we ourselves scarcely have
the means of subsistence, we require that these properties be returned
to our churches. If anyone has legitimately acquired the lifetime usufruct
of any ecclesiastical benefice, let him be obliged to pay an annual
rent to the Church, and upon his death let the benefice revert to the
Church. Such a benefice shall not be granted to anyone without the consent
of the bishop and his chapter. Every benefice to which the Church presently
has title is to be recorded in the Gospel Books, even if the Church
does not exercise any control over some benefices. In that way they
will at least belong indisputably to the Church. With this accomplished,
the Church can then undertake to regain those benefices which have been
alienated at an earlier time.
- Upon the death of the Metropolitain or of a bishop, the wardens and
state treasurer shall not interfere in the ecclesiastical properties.
As is the custom and tradition of the Roman Church, these properties
shall be administered by the chapter until a new Metropolitain or bishop
is elected. While this is already guaranteed to us by our privilege,
we ask that it be incorporated into the constitution of the kingdom.
- That Archimandrates, Hegumenoi, monks and their monasteries, according
to the old custom shall be under the obedience of the bishops of their
dioceses, for among us there is only one monastic Rule, which even the
bishops use, and we do not have "Provincials".
- That at the tribunal among the Roman Clergy we also should have two
of our [clergy] to look after the affairs of our Church.
- That the archimandrates, hegumenoi, priests, archdeacons, and our
other clergy be held in the same esteem as the Roman clergy, and should
enjoy and make use of the same liberties and privileges which were granted
by King Ladislaus; they should be exempt from all taxation, both personal
and concerning ecclesiastical property, in contrast to the unjust practice
which has hitherto obtained - if they possess some private properties
then they should pay taxes on them, whatever is just, as other proprietors
do. Any priest and other clergy who possesses ecclesiastical properties
within the territories of the senators and nobility are subject to them
and must obey them: they should not appeal to the courts or enter into
quarrels with the landlords, but must acknowledge the right of patronage.
But accusations regarding the person of the clergy and their spiritual
functions, ar subject only to the bishop, and the misdemeanours of the
clergy shall be punished exclusively by the bishop on the complaints
of the landlord. Thus everyone, clergy and laity, will have their rights
preserved whole and inviolate.
- That the Romans should not forbid us to ring bells in our churches
on Good Friday, both in the cities and everywhere else.
- That we should not be forbidden to visit the sick with the Most Holy
Mysteries, publicly, with lights and vestments, according to our rubrics.
- That without any interference we might be free to hold processions,
as many as are required, on holy days, according to our custom.
- That our Rus' monasteries and churches should not be changed into
Roman Catholic churches. And if any Roman Catholic has damaged or destroyed
one of our churches or monasteries, in his territory, he shall be obliged
to repair it or build a new one for the exclusive use of the Rus' people.
- The spiritual Church Brotherhoods which have recently been erected
by the Patriarchs and confirmed by the King's Grace - for example, those
in L'viv, in Brest', in Vilnius, and elsewhere - in which we see great
benefit for the Church of God and the cultivation of divine worship
if they wish to abide in this unity, shall ne maintained in all their
integrity under the obedience of their Metropolitain and of the bishops
in whose dioceses they function and to whom each of them is properly
- That we shall be free to have schools and seminaries in the Greek
and Church-Slavonic languages in the localities where it is most convenient,
and that our printing-presses shall be free (of course under the supervision
of the Metropolitain and bishops, so that no heresies be propagated
and nothing be printed without the knowledge and consent of the Metropolitain
- Since there have been great abuses and disobedience on the part of
some priests in the dominions of the King's Grace as well as in the
lands of the lords and magnates, so that these priests have obtained
the protection of the landlords and magnates for their abuses, dissolving
marriages, so that the wardens and other officials profit to some extent
by the fees from these divorces and therefore shield these priests,
not permitting the bishops and the synod to summon such wayward clerics,
abusing and even beating our visitators, we request that such abuses
should cease, and that we would be free to correct the wayward and keep
order, and if someone should be excommunicated because of his disobedience
or for an abuse, let the government and the lords, once they have been
informed by the bishops or the visitator, not permit such excommunicated
clergy to perform clerical functions or serve in the churches until
they have been absolved by their pastors from their faults. This shall
also be understood for archimadrates and hegumenoi and other ecclesiastics
who are subject to the bishops and to their authority.
- Than the Cathedrals in the main cities and all the parish churches
everywhere in the dominions of the King's Grace, of every place and
jurisdiction, whether founded by the King, or by the city, or by a local
lord, shall be subject to the bishop and under his authority, and that
lay people shall not administer them under any pretext, for there are
those who meddle against the obedience of the bishop, arranging matters
as they wish and who do not want to obey their bishops. Let this not
occur in the future.
- And if someone has been excommunicated by his bishops for any offence,
let him not be received into the Roman Church but, on the contrary,
let his excommunication be proclaimed there also. And we shall do the
same with regard to those excommunicated from the Roman Church, for
this is a joint concern.
- And when the Lord God by His will and holy grace shall permit the
rest of our brothers of the Eastern Church of the Greek tradition to
come to the holy unity with the Western Church, and later in this common
union and by the permission of the Universal Church there should be
any change in the ceremonies and Typicon of the Greek Church, we shall
share all this as people of the same religion.
- We have heard that some have departed for Greece to procure ecclesiastical
powers and return here to advise and influence the clergy and extend
their jurisdiction over us. We, therefore, request the King's Grace
to order precautions to be taken on the state borders so that anyone
bearing such jurisdictions and excommunications be barred from entering
the kingdom. Otherwise, grave misunderstandings could arise between
the pastors and the flocks of the Church.
- All these things we the undersigned, desiring holy concord for the
praise of God's Name and for the peace of the Holy Church of Christ,
we have given these articles which we consider necessary for our Church
and for which we require agreement in advance and guarantees from the
Holy Father the Pope and from the King's Grace, our merciful lord, for
greater security, we have committed our Instructions to our Reverend
brothers in God, father Hypatius Potij, the Protothrone, Bishop Volodymyr
of Brest', and Father Cyril Terletsky, Exarch and Bishop of Lutsk and
Ostrih, so that in our name and in their own name they should ask the
Most Holy Father the Pope, and also the King's Grace, our merciful lord,
to confirm and guarantee beforehand all the articles which we have here
given in writing, so that assured as to the faith, the Mysteries, and
our ceremonies, we might come to this holy accord with the Roman Church
without any violation of our conscience and the flock of Christ committed
unto us and likewise that others who are still hesitating, seeing that
we retain everything inviolate, might more quickly come after us to
this holy union.
Given in the Year of God 1595, the month of June, the first day according
to the Old Calendar.
MICHAEL, Metropolitain of Kiev and Halych and all Rus'
Hypatius, Bishop of Volodymyr and Brest'
Cyril Terletsky, by the grace of God Exarch and Bishop of Lutsk and Ostrih
Leontius Pelchytsky, by the grace of God Bishop of Pinsk and Turov
[The seals of eight bishops are added, including Gedeon Balaban of L'viv
and Dionysius Zbirujski of Kholm.]
Thanks to http://www.archeparchy.ca/history/union_of_brest.htm
for this article!
<Go to Robert Taft, SJ, Anamnesis,
The 'Healing Memories' and the Problem of 'Uniatism'>
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