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Greek-Catholics

Greek-Catholics

Greek Catholics is the Byzantine-rite Christian community, recognising the authority of the Pope and Catholic dogmatics, but retaining the Orthodox liturgical and legal differences (liturgical language, Julian calendar, church hierarchy, marriage of priests before being ordained). The structure of the Greek-Catholic or Uniate Church in Poland is dated back to 1596. At the Synod of Brest-Litovsk, the union was signed between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. By virtue of it, some Orthodox clergymen from the eastern areas of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth accepted the authority of the Bishop of Rome. The signing of the union aggravated the relations between followers of Orthodoxy and Uniates for many years. After World War II, the property of the Greek-Catholic Church was taken over by the state and clergymen were persecuted. The situation changed after 1999, when the Pope established the Przemyśl-Warsaw metropoly. It is divided into the Przemyśl-Warsaw Archdiocese and the Wrocław-Gdańsk Diocese. The number of the faithful in Poland is estimated at ca. 55 thousand persons. The most important Greek-Catholic holidays include Christmas (7 I), Easter, Baptism of the Lord (19 I), Presentation of the Lord (15 II), Annunciation of the Mother of God (7 IV), Palm Sunday, Ascension of Christ, Day of the Holy Trinity - Pentecost, Transfiguration (19 VIII), Dormition of the Mother of God (28 VIII), Nativity of the Mother of God (21 IX), Feast of the Cross (27 IX) and Presentation of the Mother of God (4 XII). In Małopolska, Greek Catholics live mainly in its South-Eastern part – from the Sądecki Beskids to the Low Beskids. The Uniate parishes are located in Bielanka, Gładyszów, Gorlice, Krakow, Krynica-Zdrój, Łosie, Nowica, Nowy Sącz, Pętna, Rozdziele, Śnietnica, Uście Gorlickie, Owczary and Wysowa-Zdrój. Many historic Greek-Catholic churches have been taken over by the Orthodox or Roman Catholic parishes – inter alia, in Kwiatoń, Hańczowa, Powroźnik, Tylicz, Muszynka, Polany, Berest, Leluchów, Leszczyny and Szczawnik. The local Greek-Catholic and Orthodox sanctuary is located on the holy mountain of Jawor, in the Low Beskids. In the place of the revelation of the Mother of God in 1925, a wooden Orthodox church was erected. The main ceremonies at the sanctuary are held on 12 July, on the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, when the pilgrimage from nearby Wysowa takes place. The faithful carry the crosses, which are sunken into the ground near the church. Important ceremonies are also celebrated on the feast of the Intercession of the Mother of God (14.10) and on the fifth Sunday after Easter, when the water from the spring near the church is blessed. The Greek-Catholic Community in Małopolska region develops not only spiritual but also cultural traditions. Watra Łemkowska is the annual festival of Łemki culture, taking place in July in Zdynia. Ocasional "Kermeshes" seem to be interesting form of linking religion and culture "Kermesh" or religious Kiermesh is a kind of bazaar, especially popular in small Greek-Catholic parishes in southeastern Małopolska. Kirmieshes are organized mostly in Fall during parish holidays. One of the main cultural events in Gorlicki County is the Cerkiew (orthodox church) Music Festival, which gathers a lot of audience every July.

 

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