Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand
The Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand is a diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Diaspora under the Church of Constantinople. It is currently led by Archbishop John (Derewianka) of Parnassus and includes former parishes of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Western Europe and Oceania.
What was to become the Eparchy of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand has its beginnings in the influx of Ukrainians into the Western Europe following the defeat of Germany during World War II and the Soviet reoccupation of Ukraine. At that time thousands of Ukrainians, including hierarchs and clergy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, fled to the West to escape the Soviets. In July 1945 the first council (sobor) of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Abroad was held in Germany to organize the life of the church in the West.
Germany was initially the center of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Abroad due to the vibrant parish life fostered by the influx of immigration from Ukraine. As these immigrants continued on to North America and even Australia and New Zealand, however, the size of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Western Europe declined, and by the 1950s most of its hierarchy had relocated to North America, leaving two bishops, Metropolitan Polycarp (Sikorsky) of Lutsk and Archbishop Nicanor (Abramovych) of Chyhyryn, to care for the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians remaining in Western Europe.
The Ukrainian Orthodox in Western Europe were divided between the two bishops, with Archbishop Nicanor supervising the remaining parishes in Germany and Metropolitan Polycarp, who had headed the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine during the war years under the oversight of Metropolitan Dionysius (Waledynski) of Warsaw, overseeing its communities in the rest of Western Europe as well as its fledgling parishes in Australia and New Zealand. At the 1952 council of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Paris Archbishop Nicanor was elevated to the rank of metropolitan and designated as the 'deputy metropolitan' of the jurisdiction's first hierarch, Metropolitan Polycarp.
When Metropolitan Polycarp reposed on 22 October 1953 Metropolitan Nicanor was elected first hierarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, with the North America-based Bishop Mstyslav (Skrypnyk) of Pereyaslav being elected deputy metropolitan in 1956.
On 27 October 1991 Archimandrite John (Derewianka) was consecrated Bishop of London and Great Britain, in 1999 being placed over all the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in Western Europe and in 2000 being given care of the Ukrainian Orthodox in Australia and New Zealand as well.
In October 2004 the ninth council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Diaspora nominated Archimandrite Andriy (Peshko) for election as auxiliary bishop for the Church in Western Europe. Fr. Andriy was consequently elected Bishop of Krateia by the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople and, after his consecration in December 2004, took up oversight of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. Bishop Andriy served in the diocese until his election in 2008 as auxiliary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Central Canada.
The Eparchy of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand currently consists of 10 parishes in Australia, 8 parishes in the United Kingdom, 8 parishes and missions in Germany, 2 parishes in Belgium, 2 parishes in France, and 1 parish in New Zealand. Although both the diocesan cathedral and consistory are located in London the diocese's ruling bishop currently resides in Genk, Belgium.
- The Church News (Ukrainian)