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The process and stages of the acquisition of autocephaly by the Polish Orthodox Church are explored. The formation of a socialist model of public administration in Poland after the Second World War required the resolution of some problems, in particular the restoration of canonical communication between the Polish and Russian Orthodox Churches. The cause of the conflict between these Churches was the proclamation of the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1924. The Soviet and Polish governments were interested in abolishing this Tomos. The state and church relations in the USSR provided for the establishment of strict control over the Russian Orthodox Church, which was turned into an instrument for solving the geopolitical problems of the Soviet government. The strengthening of the Moscow Patriarchate was a part of the struggle for the future structure of the postwar world, in which the USSR was to take the lead. Concerning the Polish government, the entry of the Polish Orthodox Church into the orbit of influence of the Moscow Patriarchate was a guarantee of its loyalty in all spheres of socialist construction, including the national question. The plans of the Soviet and Polish authorities to change the canonical status of the Polish Orthodox Church in Poland in the first stage (1944 - October 1947) aimed at abolishing autocephaly and subordinating it to the Moscow Patriarchate. In the second stage (November 1947 - June 1948), the Polish government decided to preserve the autocephalous status of the Church due to the strengthening of opposing forces. It was proposed to repeal the Tomos in 1924 and grant autocephaly by the Moscow Patriarchate. Strengthening the personnel potential of the Polish Orthodox Church with the Russian clergy provided for the removal from the office of Metropolitan Deonizii of Warsaw and his followers. The creation of a plan for the realization of these tasks and their implementation belonged to senior government officials; this indicates the political nature of the proclamation of the Tomos in 1948 and the lack of its canonical justification. The resumption of canonical communication between the Churches contributed to the strengthening of the positions of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ecumenical Orthodoxy, which was soon reflected in the decisions of the Meeting of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches (July 1948) and directed against the Holy See and the world ecumenical movement.
Bystrytska, Ella and Volik, Nadiia
"The Question of the Autocephalous Status of the Polish Orthodox Church in the Documents of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church (1944-1948),"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 41
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol41/iss3/3