Union of Uzhhorod
The Union of Uzhhorod (referred to in the Rusyn language as the Union of Uzhorod and in the Hungarian language as the Union of Ungvár), was the 1646 decision of 63 Ruthenian Orthodox priests from the south slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, then within the Kingdom of Hungary, to join the Catholic Church on terms similar to the Union of Brest from 1596 in the lands of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The modern result of this union is the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church.
Signed in the Castle of Ungvár on April 24 by the Roman Catholic bishop of Eger, György Jakusics, the union was initiated on the Ruthenian side by the Basilian monastic order under the leadership of the monk Petro Parfenii (Peter Parthenius). The agreement allowed that the Eastern Byzantine church rite would be preserved and that the new "Uniate" priests would be elevated to the status of Roman Catholic clergy. As Orthodox clergy their status had been that of vassals with the requisite feudal duties.
The Basilian monks, led by Parfenii, agreed to the Union of Ungvár based on the following understandings:
- Preservation of eastern rites
- The right to choose bishop, subject to the approval of Rome
- Being granted the privileges of the Roman Catholic clergy
An original copy of the Union was discovered in May 2016, a half page in length followed by a page and a half of signatures of the local priests seeking full communion with the local Catholic Church. The Union is again documented in a petition dated January 16, 1652 in which six archdeans petition Vatican to confirm Petro Parfenii as the bishop of Munkács (Mukachevo).
The Union was approved by the Synod in Tyrnov (1648), however the Vatican did not ratify these conditions at that time, because Parfenii was an orthodox bishop. Only in 1655, when Rome made Parfenii its bishop of Munkács did the Union extend to the East. By 1721, the Union encompassed the entire Carpathian region.
In 1949, Soviet authorities "revoked" the Union, creating the Orthodox Eparchy of Mukachiv-Uzhhorod, under the Patriarch of Moscow. In the late 1980s the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church was re-established in Transcarpathia, following the easing of Soviet religious persecution.
- Litwin, Henryk (1987). "Catholicization among the Ruthenian Nobility and Assimilation Processes' in the Ukraine during the Years 1569-1648" (PDF). Acta Poloniae Historica. 55: 57–83. ISSN 0001-6829.
- Magocsi, Paul Robert and Ivan Pop (2005). Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-3566-3.
- Warzeski, Walter C. (1971). Byzantine Rite Rusins in Carpatho-Ruthenia and America. Pittsburgh: Byzantine Seminary Press. ISBN none.
- Ludvik Nemec, The Ruthenian Uniate Church in Its Historical Perspective, Church History, Vol. 37, No. 4. (Dec., 1968), pp. 365–388. JStor.org
- Tóth, István György (2002). "Počiatky rekatolizácie na východnom Slovensku (The Beginning of re-Catholicization in Eastern Slovakia)". Historický časopis. 50 (4): 587–606.
- Véghseő, Tamás (2015). "Reflections on the Background to the Union of Uzhhorod / Ungvár (1646)" (PDF). Eastern Theological Journal. 1 (1): 147–181.
- ByzCath.org: The Union of Uzhorod English text
- EWTN: Apostolic Letter of Pope St. John Paul II the Great on The 350th Anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod