Developments in the Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle

The Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle was established in 1970 under the late Patriarch Peter II Zhurawetsky, in whose memory the Patriarchal seat has been held vacant since his death in 1994. From the outset the executive duties of the Patriarchal office were devolved to the Ecclesiast of All Byelorussia, the first holder of this office having been the late Prince Kermit of Miensk. Under Prince Kermit, the Patriarchate was latterly maintained as a private ekklesia of the Royal House Polanie-Patrikios.

Since the succession of Prince Edmond of Miensk to the position of Ecclesiast of All Byelorussia on the death of his adoptive father Prince Kermit in 2015, there has been an increase in the ecclesiastical activities in exile of the Patriarchate, these having been centred on missions in Brazil which have latterly expanded to other countries.

Recent developments among the clergy of the Patriarchate have caused profound concern, in particular the complete breakdown of the relationship that had existed between the clergy and the Exarchate based in Brazil, which resulted in representations being made to the Ecclesiast. With efforts to bring about peace and reconciliation having failed, and with the priority being to safeguard the faithful and to ensure that any ministry of the Patriarchate should be fully in keeping with orthodox Christian principles, it has been necessary to initiate a revision of the policy of the Patriarchate and in particular its relationship with those missions that have hitherto been associated with it and which have operated under the working name Igreja Católica Ortodoxa Bielorussa no Brasil.

With immediate effect, the position of the Patriarchate has reverted to the former status of a private ekklesia of the Royal House Polanie-Patrikios solely. As such, its only member of clergy is now the Prince of Miensk as its Ecclesiast. All former members of the clergy, all lay ministers and all attached missions have been released from the Patriarchate immediately and without canonical penalty. They are therefore free to re-organize themselves under a new canonical administration or to join other churches should they wish.

Those clergy and missions who have wished to remain with our communion have been transferred to the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Order of Antioch, whose lists will be updated in the near future to reflect this.