The Polish Orthodox Church Assembly of Bishops met on April 2. The meeting was chaired by Metropolitan Sawa. They issued the following statement on Ukrainian autocephaly (the words in bold are in bold in the original).

Communiqué of the Polish Orthodox Church Assembly of Bishops on Ukrainian autocephaly
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“The Polish Orthodox Church Holy Assembly of Bishops took note of the correspondence concerning autocephaly in Ukraine, received from: Constantinople, Alexandria, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, the United Nations Organization for Human Rights, as well as letters from groups of faithful part of the Orthodox autocephalous Church of Poland.

It was decided that:

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland maintains its position concerning the ecclesial situation (autocephaly) in Ukraine, expressed in resolutions #340 p. 3 (May 9, 2018) and #341 p. 9 (November 15, 2018), and in the letters sent by Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and all Poland, on behalf of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, to the faithful interested in this question. It was said that:

‘In the name of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland, in response to your letter regarding the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, I inform you unambiguously that the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland was and is in favor of granting the full independence, autocephaly, to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

I said it as the head of the Church during my intervention in Crete [at the holy and great Council of 2016, TN]. The position of the Orthodox autocephalous Church of Poland is clear and consistent with the Orthodox Church teaching. The autocephaly of the Church in Ukraine must be given according to the dogmatic and canonical norms of the whole Church, and not of a group of schismatics. Those who left the Church and have been deprived of their priestly ordination, cannot represent a healthy ecclesial body. It is an uncanonical act, violating the Eucharistic and inter-Orthodox unity. This is what the authors of the letters [we received] must know.

The autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland has been collaborating with the other Orthodox Churches at the international level, to straighten out the ecclesial situation in Ukraine. We pray with this intention and call all those for whom the love of Orthodox unity and peace among men is dear, so that God may grant this unity to the brotherly country of Ukraine. In the name of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, I ask of you who care about ecclesial life, to reinforce your prayers for the above-mentioned intention, + Metropolitan Sawa, March 14, 2019’.  

In addition, because of the false information regarding the episcopal consecrations received by the ex-bishops in Portugal, the Holy Assembly of Bishops declares that the bishops having received their episcopal ordination from the hands of the Greek Old Calendarists, and who were welcomed in our Church at their request, were received in it through a new ordination made by the hierarchs of the Orthodox autocephalous Church of Poland. In this way, the dogmatic and canonical order of the Orthodox Church was preserved.

Thus :

– His Eminence Gabriel, bishop of Lisbon, received the episcopal ordination on August 28, 1990 in Warsaw (consecrators: His Eminence Metropolitan Basil, Their Excellencies: Archbishop Sawa, Archbishop Simon, Archbishop Jeremiah, Bishop Abel)

– His Eminence Theodore, bishop of Evora, received the episcopal ordination on November 11, 1990 in Lisbon (consecrators: Their Excellencies Archbishop Sawa, Archbishop Simon, Metropolitan Gabriel).

– His Eminence Jan, bishop of Silves, received the episcopal ordination on December 14, 1997 in Lisbon (consecrators: metropolitan Gabriel, archbishop Simon, bishop Theodore).

Editor’s note: Bishop Gabriel of Lisbon (Eduardo Henrique Pinto da Rocha, +1997) was received in the Polish Orthodox Church in 1990, after having been a member of the Greek Old Calendarist group of Archbishop Auxentios (Pastras, +1994), from whom he had received a first episcopal consecration, recognized as invalid by the Polish Orthodox Church.
The details given here by the Polish Orthodox Church are a response to assertions made by autocephaly supporters, according to whom several local Churches have received bishops coming from uncanonical groups without a new ordination.

Source in Polish

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here Newsletter

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