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The Uniats in Russia

In 1386, Lithuania and Poland were united, when the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiello married the Polish Queen Jadwiga. This was known as the "Personal Union of Poland and Lithuania." It was the beginning of Roman-Catholic advances on the Lithuanian and the Russo-Lithuanian nobility. Until the middle of the 16th Century, these advances were not very intense. In 1569, both countries became one kingdom created by the Union of Lublin and are known today as Poland, in which Polish Roman-Catholic influence became a governing factor. The city of Kiev and the Volyn province also became Polish. By 1596, the Polish king was able to replace the Orthodox hierarchy with candidates who leaned toward the polish-catholic direction. Those quasi-orthodox bishops, being loyal to the Roman-catholic polish government, created the Brest Union with the Roman-Catholic church — and officially gave the Orthodox Church in Poland to Rome. The conditions were as follows: the people and hierarchy would recognize The Pope’s church supremacy, but would keep their inner Church regime and order of divine services.

The general Orthodox public did not agree with the unworthy segment of its hierarchy and the fight began to keep the Orthodox faith and their nationality. In this fight, a very important role was played by the Dnieper Cossacks and those residing beyond the Dnieper rapids. As Poles tried to subordinate Cossacks to Polish landowners and began to persecute the Orthodox Church — the Cossacks began to revolt. These were very severe and cruel.

In 1648, the uprising against Poland was headed by the hetman Bohdan Chmielnicki, which was supported by the general population of the Orthodox public in the South West of Russ. The war was very difficult and the hetman suggested to Cossacks to unite with the Tsar of Moscow. The "general public meeting," in the city of Perejaslow, at the beginning of 1654, unanimously decided: "we are willing to go under the Orthodox Tsar of Moscow..." The Tsar Alexei Mihailovich, "accepted the Little Russ under his eminent reign" giving them complete self-government and an army made up of Cossacks.

Later, when Poland was submitted to Russia (First division of Poland — 1773; second — 1793; and third 1795) majority of people, that were forced to be uniats — returned to the Orthodox Church.

In order to attract the Orthodox population into Roman-Catholicism after the revolution of 1918 — the Roman Catholic Church created the "Eastern Rite." The services are conducted like in the Orthodox Church, but the teaching is catholic. After World War Two many Russian emigrants were lured into the "Eastern Rite" through financial aid and care-packages. Others, that did not understand the essence of the "Eastern Rite" were lured by the appearance of Orthodoxy. Presently, the "Eastern Rite" publish many religious books in Russian and are preparing an army of clergy missionaries to convert Russian people into Catholicism.

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