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2011 | 10 | 141-169

Article title

DOOMED TO NON-EXISTENCE. PIECES OF THE HISTORY OF THE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH IN POLAND, 1944-1989 (Kosciol skazany na niebyt. Z dziejow Kosciola greckokatolickiego w Polsce 1944 - 1989)

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Between 1939 and 1946, resulting from political and political-system-related as well as national events occurring in Poland, the organisation of the Greek Catholic diocese of Przemysl was destroyed to a considerable extent. As of 1946, a total of 230 Uniate parishes and branches were contained within the limits of Poland, plus five affiliated localities and other localities then remaining part of Poland, whereas the other sections of the parish were incorporated into the Soviet Ukraine. Formally, the Greek Catholic church in Poland has not been rendered illegal but its structures were being destroyed. Repressive measures and deportations of bishops from Przemysl complemented the picture, as did the deportations of local Ukrainian, Lemko and Boyko people. The latter groups included members of the Orthodox as well as Greek Catholic Church. Reactivation of the structures of the Greek Catholic Church in Poland, combined, as it was, with their establishment in the so-called Regained (i.e. formerly German) Lands, was not an easy task at all. The essential part of the challenge was to find a temple wherein to perform the Divine cult in the resettlement area. Of the most frequent actions was shared use of Roman Catholic temples, which was not seamless in practice. In some Roman Catholic parishes, Greek Catholics, being of Ukrainian origin, were rather unwelcome by the Poles who memorised the cruelties of the homicide perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists. Religious and theological argumentation was finally instrumental to overcome the resistance. There existed a few clusters of Ukrainian milieus in the former Rzeszow Province - the most resilient of them were those in Przemysl and Komancza. In the declining period of what was the People's Republic of Poland, the Greek Catholic Church in Podkarpacie area had a basic framework of its administrative structures, owing to the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church. The Greek Catholic Church regained full freedom in fulfilling its mission as the political-and-social change took place in Poland after 1989.



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