Meeting Bishop Luka, with the Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church Antony Mikowski

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Philaret, on September 29, 2022, a meeting of the Secretary of the Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada, Bishop of Philadelphia Luka (Zgoba) , with the Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church Antony Mikowski took place.

At the invitation of Bishop Anthony, the meeting of the hierarchs was held at the Central Residence of the PNCC administration in the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. With Bishop Luke was accompanied by his secretary and deacon of the St. Nicholas Stauropygian Patriarchal Cathedral of the city of Philadelphia, the Mitrophorian Archpriest Oleksiy Kacharai.

Delegates of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate were warmly welcomed by Prime Bishop Antony Mikovsky and Ordinary Bishop Jerry Rafalko - of the Western Diocese Polish National Catholic Church Chicago, as a member of the synod.

Bishop Luka conveyed to the Chief Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church Anthony Mikowski greetings from His Holiness Philaret, Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus of Ukraine, and expressed his gratitude for the comprehensive support and assistance to Ukrainians both here in the United States and in Poland. Bishop Luka emphasized the really great help of Poland and all Poles to Ukraine during the extremely difficult time of Russian terror.

The parties strongly condemned the full-scale invasion of Russia into the territory of Ukraine with all elements of the criminal anti-human activity of Russian murderers and looters, which is a flagrant crime and a violation of all existing international norms and conventions aimed at protecting the life and dignity of a person and the Ukrainian people.

Separately, the bishops of the two denominations condemned the criminal activities of the Russian Patriarch Kirill, who openly supports the line of the modern Russian government, leading his faithful and his entire church in a terrible, even frankly anti-Christian, blasphemous way, calling to kill. Cyril justifies the war of aggression against Ukraine by promoting the openly heretical doctrine of Russian chauvinist ethnophilism.

The historic meeting lasted about four hours. The parties discussed a number of important issues related to the development of the two churches, parish life, spiritual education, the development of interfaith relations in modern conditions, ensuring the personnel potential of the Polish and Ukrainian churches, the creation of an Orthodox chair for future clergy and a conductor's department at an already existing theological seminary, as well as protection of Ukrainian refugees and their children in the conditions of Russia's armed aggression against the state of Ukraine.

Bishop Anthony Mikovsky noted that the main mission of Christian churches in the USA is to spiritually and comprehensively take care of their peoples who are far from their homeland. This is especially important for Ukrainians who, driven by the horrors of war, ended up in large numbers on the American continent.

During the meeting, the parties coordinated projects of development of church parishes and educational institutions important for both denominations in seven states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Florida. At the request of Bishop Luka, the Polish National Catholic Church will from now on involve Ukrainian children in recreation in its summer children's camps with the involvement of priests and volunteers of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

The parties also agreed to open in 2023 the Department of Orthodox Theology at the Savonarola Theological Seminary of the Polish National Catholic Church in the city of Scranton for students of church education. Future directions of interaction between Ukrainian, Polish and American scientists and professors were also discussed. It is planned to hold a conference with the participation of the Ukrainian and Polish clergy, intelligentsia, as well as the formation of joint cultural events between the fraternal peoples.

It was agreed to include clerics of the UOC-KP in the USA to the already active pension fund of the PNCC. In particular, Bishop Luka held an official meeting with the Financial Secretary of the Polish National Union of America, Mr. John C.Andrzejewski III CFO/Secretary.

Bishop Luka once again thanked the First Hierarch, Bishop Anthony, the episcopate, the clergy and the faithful of the Polish National Catholic Church for the funds that were collected in Polish parishes and transferred to the Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate to support Ukrainian refugees, most of whom came from Warsaw.

According to the results of the negotiations, it was agreed to prepare a memorandum for signing by the two churches in the presence of representatives of the state authorities in the city of Philadelphia.

After the talks, Bishop Antony Mikowski gave Bishop Luka a tour of the St. Stanislaus Cathedral and the entire headquarters of the Polish National Catholic Church and inspected the premises of the theological seminary. Today, the cathedral is the seat of the Central Diocese of the PNCC, which stretches from Albany, New York, to Washington, DC, and serves 120 parishes and about 25,000 members.

After a warm meeting, discussions and fruitful work, the First Hierarch of the PNCC invited a guest from Philadelphia and those present to a meal.

The UOC Vicariate of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada expresses its sincere gratitude to Chicago Bishop Yaroslav (Jeri) Rafalko for organizing a high-level meeting of the hierarchs of the Orthodox and Catholic churches.

We will remind you that the first meeting with the representative of the Polish People's Catholic Church, the Ordinary Bishop of the Western Bishopric, Jarosław (Jeri) Rafalko, which initiated the ecumenical dialogue between the bishops of the fraternal Slavic peoples, took place on July 16, 2022 in Chicago.