Vasyl Lypkivsky in the metropolitan vestment shortly after being elected as Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine and Head of the UAOC. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Kyiv, October 1921.

Delegates of the Second All-Ukrainian Church Council of the UAOC, which was conducted under control of the Soviet authorities. The Chekists forced all participants to vote for dismissal of Lypkivsky. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Kyiv, 17-30 October 1927.

The bell removed from the St. Vladimir Cathedral during an anti-religious campaign. Kyiv, 1929.

Vasyl Lypkivsky
1864-1937

Vasyl Lypkivsky is a symbol of the Ukrainian national revival and struggle for independence from the Moscow national church — the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). He stood up for the comprehensive renewal of the church and a return to application of Ukrainian language and customs. Ukrainians know and respect Metr. Lypkivsky as a priest who in 1919 in Kyiv held the first liturgy in Ukrainian. Lypkivsky advanced his ideas during the Ukrainian War of Independence. In 1919 he became a dean of Saint Sophia’s Cathedral (one of the main ones in Ukraine). The Russian church defrocked him for his pro-Ukrainian activities. In May 1920, Lypkivsky’s idea succeeded — the UAOC was proclaimed and he was assigned as its head — Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine. Lypkivsky travelled with his sermons to nearly 500 parishes around Ukraine and thousands of villages joined the newly created church. Such a church — national, influential among people and spreading traditions and national identity, was a threat to the occupying Bolshevik regime. As was its leader. In 1926, Lypkivsky was arrested for anti-Soviet agitation, but released with warning. The following year, he refused to sign a document of cooperation with the Soviet authorities. And in 1927, the All- Ukrainian Church Council, intimidated by Bolsheviks, dismissed Lypkivsky from church leadership. Lypkivsky was placed under house arrest and kept under supervision for 10 years — until the end of his life. The Metropolitan was starving and living in poverty and complete isolation — he had no right to leave Kyiv, preach sermons, visit parishes, communicate with believers. In 1930, the UAOC was forced by Cheka to “self-dissolve”. Thousands of priests and believers were imprisoned, shot or deported. On 22 October 1937, Lypkivsky was transferred to prison and interrogated. He was accused of intent to separate Ukraine from the USSR and to form an independent state. On 27 November 1937, according to the NKVD’s sentence, Vasyl Lypkivsky was shot. He is canonised in independent Ukraine.