Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Nykyta Budka's University Diaries Discovered

            At the beginning of the current year, Nykyta Budka’s diary from his seminary-university years (1902–1905) was discovered by the archivist of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Gloria Romaniuk.  The 20 by 17cm notebook had been left by Bishop Budka at his chancery residence at 511 Dominion Street in Winnipeg, when he departed for Europe in December 1927.  Having been ordered to resign as bishop for Canada in November 1928, Budka was never permitted to return nor retrieve any of his belongings. His personal property was entrusted to the care of his brother Danylo, who had emigrated from western Ukraine (part of Poland, at the time) to Canada, earlier that year.  Although some of the bishop’s records passed to his successor, many of Budka’s effects were sold off and a quantity ended up in the possession of Ukrainian poet and church goodsman, Yakiv Maydanyk.  In the late 1950s Budka’s second successor, Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, repatriated many of these items to the ownership of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
            During the 1980s, the first archivist of the Archeparchy, Sister Cornelia Mantyka, oversaw a complete reorganization of Bishop Budka’s correspondence, but the university diary was not inserted in this archival collection.  Metropolitan Maxim had kept them in his possession and, following his death in 1996, the diary was placed in one of several boxes containing his books and papers. After Hermaniuk’s successor, Metropolitan Michael Bzdel, retired in 2006, the boxes were consigned to the care of archeparchial archives. At first, they were stored in a room on the second floor in the old bishop’s palace, near the chapel. In the spring of 2015, the archivist began examining the contents of the boxes and discovered the diary. Romaniuk was able to identify the contents by Budka's name, clearly written on a number of theology textbook receipts and on other loose papers inside the notebook. She was then able to identify the handwriting in the journal and, from a cursory examination of the contents and the title "Моя теольоґія в Інсбруку" (my theology [studies] in Innsbruck), realized that she had discovered a memoir from Budka’s student days. 

       Given this source’s historical importance, Romaniuk immediately brought it to Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak and noted the journal’s discovery in her March 2015 report from the Archives, indicating that it would be added to the Nykyta Budka fonds (NB) within the Archives of the Archeparchy. Metropolitan Lawrence gave his blessing to me to consult the work. Upon my arrival in Winnipeg at the beginning of July, I digitally photographed each page and loose insert, which included textbook receipts, some history and theology class notes, and a photograph taken with two other men in the mountains (perhaps the Alps) during a vacation or outing.
Budka began writing the diary on 1 November 1902, although he backdated the entries to begin in Vienna, on the day after he completed his year of military service, 1 October 1902. The diary ends on 23 July 1905, the day he passed his last theology exam and was packing his books and personal effects, in preparing to leave Innsbruck. At the time, Budka’s written language was an archaic, western Ukrainian dialect.
            Most of Nykyta Budka’s extant writings are in the form of official correspondence with hierarchs, clergy, church congregations, and individual faithful.  This diary represents a rare example of his personal reflections, which he committed to writing primarily for private reference. It is possible that Budka, whose correspondence contains several references to his awareness of the importance of historical witness, also intended these reflections for posterity.
Alpine outing circa 1903
            Having only been discovered this year, this important source was not available to me when I was composing God’s Martyr, History’s Witness. Still, the information contained in the diary does not change the overall narrative of this biography for the years 1902–1905, which Prof. Oleh Turiy and I had based mainly on letters from Budka to Sheptytsky from the Central State Archives of Ukraine in Lviv (ЦДАУЛ).
        Nevertheless, the diaries contain more frequent personal information absent from Budka’s formal correspondence. The diary clarifies certain facts which were missing from my research. Among these details are the following: detailed chronology of his life as a seminarian and university student; the identities of his closest friends and associates during these years, in particular future-bishop Yosyf Botsian, both of whom lost younger sisters in 1904; additional information pertaining to his decision to pursue doctoral studies in Vienna, following the completion of his initial theological curriculum in Innsbruck; that his 18-year-old sister was named Hanya (Anna), and that the cause of her untimely death in the Spring of 1904, was an aneurism. Budka was not able to attend the funeral but had the opportunity to visit his grieving parents shortly thereafter, during the university Easter break. 
            The fact that Blessed Nykyta kept a diary in his youthful years raises the possibility that he might have committed other personal reflections to writing in later years, which have not yet come to light.  If such documents exist, did they survive and where are they now?  A closer examination of the Budka papers in the Lviv State Archives as well as unexamined materials in Ukrainian Catholic archives in Canada might, perhaps, result in the unearthing of as-yet-undiscovered writings of this important historical and religious figure.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky's Heroic Virtues Proclaimed

Kyr Andrey toward the end of his life
In the afternoon of 16 July 2015, Pope Francis received in a private audience the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato. During the audience, the Holy Father approved decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of several Servants of God. The first among these was Andrey Roman Alexander Maria Sheptytsky (1865–1944), Metropolitan-Archbishop of Lviv-Halych. This formal declaration represents one of the penultimate stages in the beatification process. Once a miracle attributed to the intercession of Sheptytsky is formally recognized, Kyr Andrey will be declared a Blessed of the Universal Church. The cause for his beatification had been introduced in 1958. With this declaration, the "Servant of God" becomes "Venerable" Andrey.

Interview with Christopher Wells for Vatican Radio 

Україномовна стаття Ватиканського Радія

Press release of Sheptytsky Institute, Ottawa

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

"The Holy Father is unable to receive him."

“Regarding the proposed audience to Minister Göbbels: The Holy Father regrets that he is unable to receive him.”
- Pius XI to Cardinal Pacelli, 13 May 1933

“I explained to the Ambassador [of Italy] that, after the Holy Father, on Christmas Eve, had made such a great public protest against religious persecution in Germany, it would naturally have been painful for him to read in the papers last night and this morning [...] a glorification to the level of delerium of Hitler and National Socialism. And this, at a moment wheb there is not a single piece of reassuring news from Germany, not from Nunzio, nor from the bishops, nor for anywhere else, as regards the Government.”
- Cardinal Pacelli, Papal Secretary of State, 8 January 1938

“During the Audience the Holy Father remained firm in his view [not to receive the Polish foreign minister], and as to the distinction between the Minister and the person of Mr. Beck, He responded with indignation that they wanted him to play the part of Pilate and that he did not want to give the world a bad an example. [...] As for the disastrous consequences that are expected to come from such a refusal, the Holy Father he was sorry, but added that no one can prevent every bad thing from occuring. Rather, it was necessary to enlighten Mr. Beck and let him know the reality a situation that does not depend on the Holy See.”
- Pacelli to Polish Chargé d’affairs, 1 March 1938

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Budka Biography Receives Manitoba Archives Award

The Manitoba Archives Association has selected the author of God's Martyr, History's Witness to be one of 10 recipients of the Manitoba Day Award. The Association established the Award in
2007 to recognize users of archives who have completed an original work of excellence. which contributes to the understanding and celebration of Manitoba history. The 9th annual presentation was held at University of Manitoba Archives Special Collections, Fort Garry Campus, 330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, on 27 May 2015. The award was accepted by the author's parents, Professor Gerald and Irene McVay, together with Gloria Romaniuk, Archivist of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, who assisted in the compilation of the book.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Budka Biography Presented in Rome

The presentation of God's Martyr, History's Witness, the historical biography of Blessed Bishop-Martyr Nykyta Budka, took place on 18 March 2015, at Centro Ecumenica in Borgo Pio, near the Vatican. Presentations were given by: Bishop Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Eparch of France and Benelux and President of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv; Father James McCann, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Dr. Gianpaolo Rigotti, Archivist of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and Professor of the Oriental Institute, and the author. Father McCann acted as moderator.  Among those present were: His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church; Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, Ukrainian Eparch of Great Britain and Apostolic Visitor of the Irish Republic, Bishop Irenaeus Bilyk, Canon of the Liberian Basilica of Mary Major, Her Excellency Tetiana Izhveska, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, clergy, religious, historians, archivists and other scholars. The presentation began with the singing of Царю небесний (O Heavenly King), led by Patriarch Sviatoslav.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

News of Bishop Budka's Death Reaches Rome

New icon of Blessed Budka
from St. Basil's Seminary,
Stamford, CT

On 26 November 1956, the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church (known today as Congregation for the Eastern Churches) published a notice in it's publication, Servizio Informazione delle Chiese Orientali (Information Service of the Eastern Churches). The notice stated that word had finally reached the Vatican of the death, seven years previously, of Bishop Nykyta Budka. 

Recently, the source of this information was discovered in the Archives of the Congregation. On 28 September 1956, Archbishop Ivan Buchko, Apostolic Visitor for Ukrainian Catholics in Europe, sent a letter to the head of the Congregation, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, stating:

I am only now able to confirm to Your Most Reverend Eminence, that I have definitively ascertained the sad news that, on the 6th [sic] day of October 1949, His Excellency Bishop Nykyta Budka, titular bishop of Patara, died in a forced-labour camp at Karaganda. The city of Karaganda is located at the geographical intersection of the 50th degree of latitude and the 73rd degree of longitude. [...]

Contrary to what had been claimed, until now, that he had been reduced by mistreatment to a state of semi-consciousness, these rumours have now proven to be false (and were probably spread by the Bolsheviks themselves). It is now known with certitude that he truly heroically endured all the persecutions and died as a Confessor of the Faith, while thanking the Lord for having allowed him to suffer insults for Jesus. [...]

The source of this information is not yet known. Following the death of Stalin, in 1955 Bishop Ivan Liatyshevsky was released from the gulag and allowed to return to western Ukraine. The following year, he wrote to Father Hryniokh that Budka had died, but did not provide a date.  On 20 January 1956, Pope Pius XII issued an apostolic letter entitled Novimus nos, to mark the millennium of St. Olha's baptism in 955. In the list of of addresses, the later Bishop Budka's name still figured, as the Apostolic See did not learn of his death until September of that same year.

Soviet documents discovered in the 1990s, allegedly reporting Budka's death and burial, give the date of death as 28 September, coincidentally the same date Buchko wrote to inform the Apostolic See. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Interviews and Press Releases

Archbishop Cyril Vasil, SJ
Secretary of the Vatican department
 for the Eastern Churches,
receives the Budka biography

"Russia and Ukraine: A Violent Past, a Cloudy Future," Dorothy Cummings McLean for Catholic World Report. Includes info on the Budka Biography

"Historian Takes a Hard Look at Budka's Accomplishments" Ramon Gonzalez for Western Catholic Reporter

"Biography of Bishop Nykyta Budka Launched in Edmonton" Press release of CIUS (Українською)

Budka Book Launch (CIUS) with photos

"Banff Symposium a Timely Examination" Press release of UofA Wirth Institute

Video Interview with Jan Bentz for EWTN
English  German

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Budka Biography Launch

Participating in the presentation: Jars Balan (CIUS), Father Peter Babej (St. Josaphat Cathedral) Volodymyr Kravchenko (CIUS), Father Peter Galadza (MASI), Orest Eveneshen and Serge Cipko (Budka Society), Father McVay, Bishop David Motiuk.  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Praise for Budka Biography

Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies has issued the following communique, announcing the publication of the God's Martyr, History's Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada:

Sheptytsky Institute Co-publisher of Groundbreaking Biography

Father Athanasius McVay, a Canadian Ukrainian Catholic who has spent years working in the Vatican archives, has just published his long-awaited biography of Bishop Nykyta Budka. The Sheptytsky Institute was pleased to be the co-publisher along with the Eparchy of Edmonton. The 614-page book is meticulously researched and illustrated with rare photographs. 

“With this publication, Father McVay has established himself as the premier historian of the modern Ukrainian Catholic Church,” said Fr. Peter Galadza, acting director of the Sheptytsky Institute. “We await many more publications from this outstanding scholar.”

Following the official launch in Edmonton on 24 October 2014, the book will be available for purchase from Sheptytsky Institute and the Edmonton Eparchy.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Patriarch Sviatoslav Receives Budka Biography

Metropolitan Lawrence, Patriarch Sviatoslav,
Bishop David, Bishop Ken (photographer)
On 10 September 2014, during the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Lviv, Ukraine, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major-Archbishop of Kyiv-Haklych and Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, was very pleased receive a copy of my biography, God’s Martyr, History’s Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada. It was presented to him by Bishop David Motiuk and Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak.

Reported by 
Eparchy of Edmonton 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Budka Biography Published

God's Martyr, History's Witness: 
Blessed Nykyta Budka 
the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada 

has been published by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton 
and the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky
Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.

An abridged table of contents of the 615 page book may be found here.

A private launch for contributors and benefactors took place on 22 August (photo)

Copies are available via the Edmonton Eparchial Chancery
and Sheptytsky Institute 
at a cost of $25

The publication is announced at Edmonton Eparchy,
the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, and RISU.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Internment of Ukrainians in Canada

With Dr. Karen Lemiski,
curator of the Basilian Fathers Museum, Mundare, Alberta
Vatican Radio’s Christopher Wells spoke with Fr Athanasius McVay, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest from Canada, and an expert in early 20th-century ecclesiastical history. Fr McVay says that, in addition to the positive commemorations of the men and women who sacrificed themselves during the war, it is important also to remember the victims of the war, at home and abroad. “Alongside the brave soldiers who gave their lives, there were our own Canadian citizens and immigrants… who were deprived of their civil rights, and many were interned in internment camps during the war.”
During the war, he says, it was “not so much the government, but the general population, [that] became very suspicious and fearful.” Although the government needed to take steps to ensure there was no activity that could be detrimental to the war effort or the morale at home, Fr McVay says, “I think it’s generally recognized today that they exceeded their mandate, because the internment was really not necessary, and it was really not caused by anything these people had done.”
Fr McVay says: “These commemorations should be about remembering. History is often called the memory of mankind, and I think that we owe it to history to remember these events and to make some symbolic redress – but to move forward, and learn from our mistakes, and to make a better value world, to promote our Catholic values.”
Christopher Wells interviews Father Athanasius McVay on Internment of Ukrainian-Canadians

Monday, 4 August 2014

Ukrainian Canadians: For King and Canada

To the Rev. Clergy and all the faithful Ruthenians:
         Not long ago the world was stirred by the news that Austria is fighting with Servia. All other powers decided to wait and mainly England with all her might and efforts tried to make the war local and maintain peace.
        At the time when no state was endangered by war except Austria and Servia, when England did not call her citizens to defend their homes, then, we issued a circular in which we stated that Austria, through the Austro-Hungarian Consulate challenges her loyal subjects to stand under the Austrian flag. We also stated that the Ruthenians who arrived here only for a short period ought to bey the call of Austria and go to defend their homes and families.
... Our new home of Canada challenges her faithful subjects to gather under the British Standard and be ready to give their lives and properties for the British cause. Today all the nationalities living under the British flag send their sons to defend that flag.
           In this event when to us as loyal citizens comes England with appeal to have us gathered under her flag, when Britain needs our aid, we, today as faithful citizens of the part of the British Empire the Canadian Ruthenians have before us a great and solemn duty to flock under the flag of  our new land and under this standard give our lives and blood.
           Ruthenians,– Canadian citizens: It is our great duty to defend Canada, for it is the land that not only received us and gave us shelter under the Constitution of the Great Empire, but more than that, it gave us liberty in developing ourselves spiritually.
       Once more Ruthenians; it is our holy duty to be in readiness and offer everything for Canada.
      It isn our home to which we swore allegiance, for which we declared to give lives and all in its defence when necessity demands.
       It is our dear Motherland whereon our families, relatives, children, property, our hearts and future depend.
      Therefore, in these most critical times as now, we must remember that as true Sons of Canada bound y the Oath of Allegiance to our King, we must flock to the British Standard.
        Put aside all party and radical feelings, aside all indifference.
      We conscientiously and with deep feelings of loyalty and duty want and will help our new country when endangered by enemies.
         Ruthenians, Canadian Citizens: You that have already sown allegiance to be loyal to your King George 5th, and you that intend to do so, remember that the present moment demands you. For any unloyal word or action here as in any other country in time of war death is punishment for treason.
          Loyalty binds you to deeds and sacrifice and when the Empire calls for this everyone must be ready even to put up his life.
          If it were necessary and possible to organize a regiment of the Canadian Ruthenian Citizens, it would be obvious sign that the Ruthenians in Canada are true subjects and are ready to sacrifice everything for their new home.
          Secondly we declare that we must fulfil our duties not only from the standpoint of the law but with deep feelings of duty.
          Only God knows how this war the greatest in history is going to end.
          Pray God that He may with His almighty power shorten this terrific storm and cause its end and that our new home may not suffer loss.
        In view of the fact when our former letter was issued then, the war was exclusively between Austria and Servia, and only few believed that it will spread over other Kingdoms; viewing the fact that there existed a peace in England and that England did not call her subjects to action, we declare emphatically that our letter of the 27th of July, in view of the new altered political situation, is irrelevant and must not be read in public and churches.
        Instead we urge the clergy t read the present letter during the sermons in their parishes and inform accordingly the Ruthenians of their solemn duty to the Great British Empire.

— + Nicetas Budka, 6 August 1914
(English translation of the Bishop's Chancery, August 1914)
published in Kanadyiskyi Rusyn, 8 August 1914

Friday, 1 August 2014

Generation Mobilization - The Guns of August 1914

“Call to Austrians in Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 July 1914
The official proclamation of the partial mobilization order issued by the Government of Austria-Hungary was published in Winnipeg yesterday in “The Ukrainiann Voice” and other papers of the nationalities concerned.  German is the official language of Austria, but about ten languages are spoken by the people within the boundaries of the Empire.  Consequently, the proclamation of the partial mobilization appears in the two German papers of Wpg., in the seven Ruthenian and in the one Hungarian paper of the west.
            The men concerned in the mobilization are being informed by announcement cards, in addition to the mobilization orders.  The order promises that expenses of travelling will be paid, and this will make considerable difference in the returning, as it is considered that many of the men, in these hard times, are too poor to bear their own expenses.
            When the expenses are to be paid, and even advanced to those unable to meet them at the moment, it is expected that a large number of the men will respond to the call to arms.
            The Austrian proclamation issued from the local consulate is an interesting document, and as published in the papers yesterday, reads as follows: [...]
            It is very difficult to obtain any information regarding the spirit of Servians in Western Canada and whether orders of mobilization have been issued to them.  There are not many Serbs in Winnipeg, but Moose Jaw and Regina number quite a few among their cosmopolitan population.

Deserters Pardoned
By Austrian Emperor on condition they offer for service now
(Toronto July 30/14). Local Austrian subjects of various races have been officially advised that they are wanted only if they receive individual notice to that effect. Those who do not receive such notice will remain where they are.
            It is stated with absolute authority that a manifesto has been issued by the Austrian Government granting official pardon “By the grace of the Emperor” to all subjects under military discipline who have previously deserted, or in any other way evaded their military duties. All to whom this applies must, in order to receive pardon, present themselves at once for military service without waiting for a summons.
            It is anticipated that when this becomes widely known there will be an exodus of some thousands from Canada.

Austrians Leaving to Fight
(Montreal, July 30) The German liner Millahad, now in port from Rotterdam and Antwerp, will carry back to Europe the first Austrians to sail from Montreal to the seat of war. When the vessel clears from thisn port Saturday morning or possibly on Sunday morning there will be at least 200 of the local Austrians on board hurrying back to Austria at the call of the Emperor. 5000 Austrians in Montreal are supposed to answer the call of the sovereign for they are in te first and second reservists.  Quite a number of the collony have become British subjects and so are exempt from military service in the conflict. Austrian labor agencies are crowded today. On the door of each one is posted in a conspicuous place the order from the local consul requiring the first reservists to leave for home at once.  They are to report to him to arrange for passage. The notices are dated the 28th inst., and stamped with the local seal.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Partial Mobilization - 26 July 1914

Ruthenian Partial Mobilization.
           In Austria-Hungary His Imperial Majesty has proclaimed partial mobilization (___) supplement the general forces ___ on war footing).
            Those who are obligated to the call to arms as reservists are being notified of the fact by summons cards.
            Those called  will be reimbursed their travelling expenses.
            Those called, who do not have sufficient funds for the journey, have to call on the nearest Imperial and Royal representative, presenting their summons cards, and there the funds for the journey will be paid.
            All others summoned will have the funds for the journey to join the colours returned later.
            Those among the summoned whose home is on the frontiers of the Monarchy, instead of to the nearest representative of the Imperial and Royal Governemnt are to report directly to their government station at home..
           His Imperial and Royal Majesty Emperor Franz Josef І granted amnesty to those who did not report for conscription and also to those who are classified as deserters, if they immediately return home.
            Winnipeg, 26. July 1914.                   

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Centenary of the First World War

Historians such as Margaret MacMillan, John Polland, Roberto De Matei, discuss the causes of the Great War, which began on 28 July 1914. The video, produced by Catholic News Service, features the often ignored Vatican's diplomatic efforts to mediate between the powers and to end the war.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Budka Biography Sent to Press

This morning, my biography of Blessed Nykyta Budka was submitted to the printer. It will take about six weeks to print and then an additional few weeks to bind.  Stay tuned for updates.  Here is a history of the book's composition and an abridged table of contents.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Bishop Budka on the Assassination at Sarajevo

... For quite a number of years the war-cloud has hung over our country which, however, did not realise it, and it was held off by the efforts of the peace-loving Emperor Franz Joseph I. Then happened an incident which would exhaust the patience of the most patient of men. On June the 28th, Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, a man of great hopes in the present difficult moment for Austria, was assassinated in Sarajevo, together with his wife, by the bullet of a Servian student. This loss was greatly felt by the monarch and all nationalities of Austria, and especially by Ruthenians, who held great and deserving hope in him.  The enemies of Austria, and especially the enemies of the Ruthenian Ukrainians, do not conceal their satisfaction on account of this tragic loss.  The Canadian Ruthenian Ukrainians sympathise with the sorrow of our Motherland, and give proof of it by special services in the churches for those assassinated and in the prayer for the welfare of the maternal country. ... 

—(Pastoral Letter, 27 July 1914: version printed in the Northwest Review8 August 1914)