Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Church of Czech Lands & Slovakia celebrates autocephaly

(Basilica) - The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia celebrates on Tuesday its 21st anniversary since the bestowing of autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1998.

The history of this Church dates back to the 9th century legacy of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the enlighteners of the Slavs.

Its modern history started after World War I when Czechoslovakia was mainly inhabited by Catholics.

At that time, many Russians and Ruthenians came to Czechoslovakia.

Among them, priest Matej Pavlik, the future Orthodox bishop and martyr Gorazd, stood out. He had a major influence in the country’s future and was declared a saint in 1987.

Back then the Orthodox numbered almost 40 000.

In 1921, the Serbian patriarch of Belgrade consecrated Bishop Gorazd of Prague as the first independent bishop of the Czechs. During World War II, the church was disbanded and Bishop Gorazd and other Orthodox clergy members were executed in the summer of 1942 by the Nazis for alleged connections with the resistance movement. Also, many people, including Orthodox priests, were taken to forced labor camps.
In September 1987, bishop Gorazd was glorified by the Czechoslovak church for his contribution to the development and organization of the church and also for his martyrdom in the events of 1942.

After the fall of the Communist regime and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Church restructuring was needed. Thus in November 1992 the Holy Synod resolved to establish two Metropolises, one for each of the two countries, which would include two suffragan dioceses each.

In 1993, the Slovak government decided that almost all the Churches and the church buildings owned by the Orthodox Church be handed over to the Greek Catholics, and the Orthodox believers were forced to build new churches and parish houses with some financial support from the state.

So far, over 50 churches were built on the territory of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and aspiring priests study at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Prešov at the Šafarik University, receiving study grants from the state.

Today the church is headed by His Beatitude Rastislav, Archbishop of Prešov and Metropolitan of the the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

Metropolitan Rastislav visited Romania in 2017 at the feast of St Demetrius the New, protector of Bucharest, when he concelebrated at the festive Divine Liturgy together with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Patriarch Daniel of Romania, and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.

A short time after his visit to Romania, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav gave an exclusive interview which was published on basilica.ro.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. When will Mayan Orthodoxy be coming to the Czech Lands?

    1. I'm sorry I don't quite get it. But the Czechoslovak mission was a mission of the Serbian church. This was based on a Hungarian law recognizing all Orthodox in their kingdom as belonging to the Serbian church. At least, that's what I read.
      But here too, Constantinople got into the act and interfered by consecration of a rival Czech bishop, Savatty.

    2. This is exactly right. When a young hieromonk (now a canonized saint) Alexis Kabaliuk from Carpatho Rus' presented himself and his credentials to Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim III seeking his omophorion, Alexis was told by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself to go to the Serbian Church in Karlovci, because they had jurisdiction over the area. So the "Return to Orthodoxy" movement among Greek Catholic Carpatho-Rusyns and the discovery of Orthodoxy movement among Czechs was under the auspices of the Serbian Church.

      Once the mission to restore Orthodoxy in Hungary-turned-Czechoslovakia proved successful, Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis "remembered" that these lands ACTUALLY always and for ages of ages belonged to the jurisdiction of Constantinople and appointed Bishop Savaty Vrabec. Plus ça change...

    3. I suppose on the one hand, it's good that the EP got involved in places like Poland, Finland, Estonia, and later Latvia. For political reasons, no Russian church, ROCOR, MP,or other was allowed in these former lands of the Russian empire. The one exception was Lithuania, where the few Orthodox were Russian or Belarusian; virtually no ethnic Lithuanians. There was a Metropolitan under the MP.
      But the Czechoslovak mission was another matter. I would not be surprised if it could be proven that Archbishop Savaty was involved in some kind of Masonic skullduggery. This would have fit in with Meletios Metaxakis and Czech President Masaryk.
      Fr. Savaty was a Czech priest Monk from Volhynia in Western Ukraine. Some Czechs had settled there when it was still part of Russia. Many of them became Orthodox.

  3. Ha! I literally laughed out loud at this insightful comment, Jake.

    Your question raises an interesting point though...I reckon that it will happen as soon as the EP feels Mayan Orthodoxy has achieved "canonical maturity", and, of course, they must do so without a hint of ethnophyletism.