Polotzk (Polish, Poloczsynod of
Polotzk (Polish, Polocz), Synod of an important ecclesiastical gathering, was held on Feb. 12, 1839, and was attended by all the Greek Uniate bishops in Russia, assisted by several of the most distinguished of their clergy. Its most important action was a synodal ordinance drawn up and signed by Joseph, bishop of Lithuania; Vasili, bishop of Orsha; Anthony, bishop of Brest, and twenty-one other dignitaries, in which they declare their 'firm and unalterable decision to acknowledge anew the unity of their Church with the orthodox Catholic Eastern Church; and, consequently, thenceforth, together with the flocks committed to their care, to continue in the same sentiment with the holy Eastern orthodox patriarchs, and in obedience to the holy governing synod of all the Russias." To this act was appended the declaration of thirteen hundred and five parish priests and monastic brethren, which number was afterwards increased to sixteen hundred and seven. Besides their act, a petition was drawn up to the emperor Nicholas, praying him to sanction the union of the Uniate with the orthodox Church; which, together with the synodal act above, was submitted to the holy governing synod for examination and approval. The synod shortly after issued its decree upon the subject, by which it was ordained:
1. To receive the bishops, clergy, and flocks of the hitherto called Greek Uniate Church into full and complete communion with the holy orthodox Catholic Eastern Church, and so to be integrally and inseparably incorporated with the Church of all the Russias.
2. To confer the general blessing the he most holy synod on the bishops and clergy in particular, with prayer of faith and love to the supreme bishop of our confession, Jesus Christ, that he would confirm them from above in the confession they have made, and that he would rightly direct the work of their ministry to the perfecting of the saints.
3. That in governing those flocks which are entrusted to them, they shall take as their fundamental guide the Word of God, the canons of the Church, and the laws of the empire, and shall confirm the flocks entrusted to them in the same sentiments with those of the orthodox faith; and that they exhibit an apostolical indulgence to any differences in local customs which do not affect the doctrines or the sacraments, and bring back their people to the ancient uniformity by free persuasion, without violence, with gentleness and long-sulfuring.
This decree was signed by Seraphim, metropolitan of Novgorod and St. Petersburg, by Philaret of Kief, Philaret of Moscow, and three, prelates, besides two other ecclesiastics. It was confirmed March 25, 1839, by the emperor's own hand, with these words: "I thank God, and accept it." See Blackmore's Mouravieff, Russian Church, Append. 4 p. 430.