Church of Poland

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The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Founder(s) Ss. Cyril and Methodius
Autocephaly/Autonomy declared
Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized 1924 by Constantinople, 1948 by Russia
Current primate Metropolitan Sawa
Headquarters Warsaw, Poland
Primary territory Poland
Possessions abroad Brasil, Portugal, Spain
Liturgical language(s) Church Slavonic
Musical tradition
Population estimate 1,000,000
Official website Church of Poland

The Church of Poland is the autocephalous Orthodox Christian church in the country of Poland. The church has six dioceses and is currently led by Metropolitan Sawa, Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland.

While the majority of people in Poland are Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christians have resided in the land areas that have constituted Poland since the missions of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century. In the 13th century there were two Orthodox dioceses centered around Kholm and Prezemysl. Under the "Union of Brest" in 1596 the vast majority of these Orthodox believers were brought under the spiritual leadership the Bishop of Rome as Greek Catholics (Uniates) although they were allowed to continue their Eastern rites including a Slavonic liturgy, married priests, and communion with both wine and bread. Loyalties of the faithful between Orthodoxy and the Unia have varied over the ensuing centuries and tolerance between the ruling regimes and the people has varied as the borders changed. The martyrdom of Maxim Sandovich illustrates the tenseness of these relations.

In an attempt to mollify antagonisms in Poland after World War I, the Orthodox leadership in Poland and the Polish government arranged that the Orthodox in Poland organize as an autocephalous church which was recognized by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1924. In 1948, the Patriarch of Russia also recognized the autocephaly of the Church of Poland.

Today, the Church of Poland is led by the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland and includes six dioceses/eparchies: Warsaw and Bielsk, Bialystok and Gdansk, Lodz and Poznan, Wroclaw and Szczecin, Lublin and Chelm, and Prezemysl and Nowy Sacz. Most Orthodox Christians are located in eastern Poland where Polish is the liturgical language. In recent decades Orthodox believers have also returned to the Lemko region which is part of the Eparchy of Prezemysl and Nowy Sacz. Old Church Slavonic is generally used as the liturgical language in the Lemko area. It is estimated that there are about one million Orthodox in Poland.


  • His Beatitude Sawa, Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland
  • His Eminence Simon, Archbishop of Lodz and Poznan.
  • His Eminence Adam, Archbishop of Prezemysl and Nowy Sacz.
  • His Eminence Jeremiash, Archbishop of Wroclaw and Szczecin.
  • His Eminence Abel, Archbishop of Lublin and Chelm.
  • His Grace Miron, Bishop of Hajnowka and auxiliary for the Polish Army.
  • His Grace Jakub, Bishop of Bialystok and Gdansk.
  • His Grace Gregory, Bishop of Bielsk.

Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy
Autocephalous Churches
Four Ancient Patriarchates: Constantinople | Alexandria | Antioch | Jerusalem
Russia | Serbia | Romania | Bulgaria | Georgia | Cyprus | Greece | Poland | Albania | Czech Lands and Slovakia | OCA*
Autonomous Churches
Sinai | Finland | Estonia* | Japan* | China* | Ukraine*
The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.