Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Reluctant-to-Accept and the Reluctantly-Accepted Bishop


Count Andrei Roman Alexander Maria Sheptytsky
Published in Progress Ukrainian Catholic News, no.15/2144 (24 August 2008), pages 6, 10, and 11.

Of the many Ukrainian national and religious leaders of the twentieth century, a name stands out as representing a universal father-figure. His name was reviled during the Soviet period not only because of its Catholic overtones but also because it had become synonymous with the defense of the persecuted Ukrainian identity. This name is Andrei Sheptytsky, Metropolitan of Halych, Archbishop of Lviv, Bishop of Kamianets-Podilsk, Primate of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and extraordinary Apostolic Exarch for the Eastern-Catholic Church in Russia. Surprisingly, however, during the early days of his career, Sheptytsky was not regarded very positively by Ukrainians. This article reveals key events in the hitherto untold story of how a young Polish aristocrat became a Ukrainian monastic priest, reluctantly accepted the burden of the episcopacy and was reluctantly accepted by the political leaders of his flock as their spiritual father.

The future Kyr Andrei entered the world as Count Roman Alexander Maria Szeptycki (Polish spelling). His father’s lineage was an ancient Ruthenian (as Ukrainians were once called) noble line which had adopted the Latin Rite and become Polish. Roman was born in 1865 at Przylbice (Prybylchi) in the Kingdom of Galicia, a portion of Poland which had been partitioned to Austria in 1772. At the time of his birth, the Austrian empire was rife with political tensions between its component nationalities. The following year (1866) saw a crucial military defeat for Austria, which hastened a radical, internal state reform along national lines. A year later, in 1867, the emperor divided the government of his realms, creating the dual-monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Two additional consequences of this compromise were the granting of parliamentary ministerial government and the handing-over of political power in Galicia to the Polish aristocracy. These two decisions would come to have a major effect on the process of choosing future leaders for the Greek-Catholic Church.
Virtually all of the Ruthenian nobility had adopted the Latin Rite to secure a political and social position. This left the clergy as the nation’s leaders and foremost among them was the metropolitan of Halych, who had inherited the Greek-Catholic primacy when, in 1807, Pope Pius VII transferred it from Kyiv (under Russian domination) to Lviv. The metropolitan commanded great political authority among the Ruthenians and promoted a policy of absolute loyalty to the ruling Habsburg dynasty in exchange for political concessions. However, by the 1860’s, the Ruthenians were developing their own educated laity and political class. By handing political power to the Poles in 1867, Austria had dealt a severe blow to the authority of the Greek-Catholic hierarchy. Believing that their nation had been sacrificed by Austria, Ruthenian leaders began to look towards Russia for political and spiritual fulfillment. This movement became known as Russophilism and it represented a serious threat to Austrian rule and to the Catholic Church in Galicia.

In the 1880’s, the Apostolic See of Rome had also turned its gaze towards Russia. The Vatican shared Austria’s fear that this aggressive Orthodox empire (and its international arm of pan-slavism) would continue to severely persecute any Catholics who fell under its rule. Nonetheless, Pope Leo XIII took a positive approach to the issue by seeking to improve diplomatic relations with the Tsarist regime. This new openness accorded with the optimism that was being expressed by Russian thinkers such as Vladimir Solovëv, who began to look positively towards Rome as the centre of Christian unity.


Pope Leo’s vision was far from Austrian political concerns. In Galicia, spiritual Russophilism within the Greek-Catholic Church seeped over into political Russophilism in Ruthenian society. The Austrian government admonished the Greek-Catholic hierarchy to curtail the movement, but throughout the 1870’s Russophile clergy succeeded in occupying the chief administrative posts of the eparchial consistories. In the early 1880’s, certain radical Russophile leaders openly declared their Russian sympathies and one parish even attempted to break with the Catholic Church (hitherto, there had not been a single Orthodox church in Galicia). The Austrian government reacted by sentencing the ringleaders and calling for the removal of Metropolitan Josyf Sembratovych, together with leading clergy. After years of delaying, it also agreed to subdivide the enormous archeparchy of Lviv by creating a second eparchy of Stanislaviv. In doing so, it hoped to lessen the authority of the Russophiles who held sway in Lviv. As a final measure, Austria sanctioned the Galician Jesuits reform of the Basilian Order, the only Ruthenian religious order then in existence.
There remained the problem of a shortage of acceptable episcopal candidates. The government was looking for bishops who would be both loyal and capable administrators. For the sake of the public peace, it sought candidates who would be acceptable to the Ruthenians and, at the same time, not antagonistic towards the Poles. The Apostolic See, meanwhile, was looking for zealous reformers who would not only decrease the influence of Russophilism but also strengthen the Church’s bonds with Rome. Looking beyond the backwater of Austrian-Galicia, Rome viewed the Ruthenian Church as an ideal base from which to spearhead a mission to Russia and the Orthodox world.


One of the major limitations concerning candidates was the lack of unmarried Ruthenian clergy. From the Union of Brest (1596) until the end of the eighteenth century, only Basilian monks were eligible to become Uniate bishops. While Austrian reforms generally strengthened clerical and educational institutions, they weakened monastic communities, thus leading to in a period of decadence among the Basilians which resulted in a lack of suitable candidates from their ranks. However, by the 1870’s, choosing Basilian bishops was again becoming a necessity, for Rome began rejecting all widowers, further narrowing the list of eligible secular priests. In 1891, the Greek-Catholic Synod of Lviv followed up by incorporating the exclusion of widowers into its own particular church law.
Enter Roman Sheptytsky who, socially speaking, had the world at his feet but having been brought-up in a very pious familial setting, it is not surprising that he gravitated toward a religious vocation. In this decision, he was much influenced by one of his mother’s spiritual advisors, Father Henryk Jackowski, Provincial of the Galician Jesuits. Jackowski also happened to be a protagonist in Pope Leo’s plan for the Greek-Catholic Church in Russia and the Basilian reform. Accordingly, the young count decided take part in Jackowski’s project-in-the making and join the Ruthenian Basilians, even though he had been brought up in the Latin Rite. His family initially expressed opposition but later acquiesced when they became convinced, with Jackowski’s help no doubt, that the new Basilians were destined to be of better spiritual calibre than the Greek-Catholic secular clergy.
Entering the Basilians in 1888, Sheptytsky took the monastic name of Andrei. Quite independent of his superior upbringing, the young monk’s spiritual and intellectual qualities were quickly noticed by his superiors. Ever watchful of his progress, Jackowski continued to entrust Father Andrei with key positions in the reformed order. Soon after his priestly ordination, in 1892, Sheptytsky was the first reformed Basilian to be appointed to the crucially important position of novice master. Four years later, he became the first reformed superior of St. Onufri monastery in Galicia’s capital city of Lviv. By all accounts, the young levite was entirely focused on the religious life, free of any desire for greater leadership outside of his religious community.
Such a naturally and spiritually gifted individual could not go unnoticed by religious and civil authorities, especially in view of the lack of celibate episcopal candidates. Besides his personal qualities, Father Sheptytsky fulfilled all Rome’s prerequisites: not only was he unmarried but he was prayerful, zealous and a convinced follower of Pope Leo XIII’s policy of respect for the traditions of the Eastern Churches and openness to Russia. In addition, he was not antagonistic to either the Latin Church or Polish society, in which he had been educated. Such qualities endeared him to a fellow Polish nobleman who was the head of the Vatican department in charge both of worldwide missions and also the Eastern Catholics. This man was Cardinal Mieczyzlaw Ledóchowski, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide.


1. Candidate for Przemysl, Lviv and Stanislaviv
Archival sources show that, only four years following his priestly ordination, in 1896, Sheptytsky was already being considered to replace the recently deceased bishop of Przemysl (Peremyshl). This nomination was premature and his Jesuit superiors begged Cardinal Ledóchowski to pass over the candidacy for the time-being, considering the vital role this young monk was playing in the delicate beginnings of the Basilian reform. In the end, the primate, Cardinal Sylvester Sembratovych (nephew of ex-metropolitan Josyf) proposed Canon Konstantyn Chekhovych, having omitted to mention that he was a widower. Two years later, Sembratovych himself was on his deathbed and asked for a coadjutor-bishop, again presenting one of his widower canons. This time in the know, Propaganda Fide replied that it was impossible to exempt from the laws of the Synod of Lviv (which they had worked for so many years to achieve). In the meantime, Cardinal Sylvester died before being able to present an alternative candidate.
Obtaining a successor was not a simple matter for the nomination process had become very complicated. First of all, since the Union of Brest, the Greek-Catholic primate held the privilege of nominating his suffragen bishops, not by right but in the name of the Apostolic See. The metropolitans of Halych partly inherited this privilege by being able to present three candidates to be vetted by Propaganda Fide and the papal secretariat of state. However, the Holy Roman (Austrian from 1804) emperor also held the personal privilege of presenting episcopal candidates within his realms. With the introduction of ministerial government, candidates had also to be approved by the foreign ministry and the ministry of religion. In Galicia, the local viceroy also had to be consulted. The Apostolic See was not happy with government intrusion and the nuncio reminded the emperor that the privilege of presentation was accorded to him alone, not to his ministers. In addition, the liberal ministries of the 1870’s sought confrontation with the Vatican, initiating an ever-growing conflict over episcopal appointments. This situation made it exceedingly difficult to find a candidate who was simultaneously acceptable to the Apostolic See, to Ruthenians, Poles and to all levels of government.
By 1897, Father Andrei Sheptytsky was the favoured candidate in both Vienna and Rome but not in Galicia. Ruthenian political leaders were extremely wary of Polish manipulation of their most important national institution, their Church. They had reacted strongly against the Jesuit reform of the Basilians and had been further alienated by Cardinal Sembratovych’s attempts at détente with the Polish Galician rulers (known as the New Era). The Ruthenian press had predicted that Sheptytsky’s entry into the Basilians was an attempt by the Poles to control their church from the inside. Sembratovych himself had explicitly excluded the young Basilian as his successor but for just the opposite reason; he feared that Sheptytsky would show inordinate zeal on behalf of the Ruthenians, thus upsetting the political balance that he had worked to establish.

With the cardinal primate’s death, the responsibility for the nomination passed to Emperor Franz Josef, a devout Catholic who attempted to mitigate conflicts with the Church. Already at the end of the previous year, His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty had heard favorable reports of Sheptytsky, no doubt from his Polish-Galician ministers (although Sheptytsky’s biographer, Cyrile Korolevskij, erroneously assumed that “his name was not known in Vienna”), and promised the nuncio that he would favour the candidacy. But when the nuncio suggested Sheptytsky to the government, Galician leaders once again urged caution. This time it was the viceroy, Count Leon Pininski, who repeated the same objections as the late Cardinal Sembratovych. He also suggested that, at thirty-three, two years shy of the canonical age, Sheptytsky was too young and inexperienced to become metropolitan-archbishop directly. Pininski proposed that the older and more experienced Bishop Chekhovych be transferred to Lviv and that Sheptytsky be made bishop of Przemysl. Propaganda Fide rejected the proposal outright for two reasons: firstly, Chekhovych was a widower, a state that was unsuitable for Greek-Catholic primate; secondly, Chekovych was held to be weak, and the Holy See reminded the government about the problems created by the last metropolitan who had been soft on Russophilism. In any case, Cardinal Ledóchowski had always favoured Sheptytsky and he continued to press for his candidacy.
The government then proposed promoting the aged Bishop Julian Sas-Kuilovsky of Stanislaviv and assigning him a Basilian auxiliary-bishop, who would begin to combat Russophilism by assuming the direction of the Lviv seminary. Sheptytsky was then to replace Kuilovsky in the small Stanislaviv diocese, in order to gain experience. This plan was acceptable to all concerned except Father Andrei, who had no such ambitions. He had already refused the nomination to Przemysl, two years previously, and was uncomfortable with the pressure that the government was exerting. In a desperate attempt to resist, Sheptytsky wrote three letters to the Apostolic See refusing the episcopacy, claiming that he was “unworthy” of the honor. The Jesuits, however, had grafted two special vows onto the Basilian constitutions: the first to spurn promotions and the second of particular obedience and submission to the Roman Pontiff. With the second vow in view, Sheptytsky had to include the proviso that he would only accept if ordered to by the Pope and such was indeed the will of Leo XIII and his minister, Cardinal Ledóchowski, who had been cherishing such hopes for several years. Sheptytsky’s refusal had also been prompted by his apprehension of the desperate moral state of Stanislaviv’s population, especially the clergy, imbued with Russophile tendencies. Thus, he made his acceptance of the imperial nomination conditional upon the government fulfilling its long-delayed promise of constructing a seminary for that diocese.
Having received the go-ahead from the nunciature, on 1 February 1899, Emperor Franz Josef simultaneously presented the names of Bishop Julian of the knights Sas-Kuilovsky and Andrei Count Sheptytsky to Pope Leo XIII, who announced their promotions in the consistory assembly of 19 June. Sheptytsky was ordained bishop in Lviv, on 17 September, by Metropolitan Kuilovsky, assisted by Bishop Chekhovych and Bishop Weber, the Latin-Rite auxiliary of Lviv. The following day, he was enthroned as bishop of Stanislaviv. The new Bishop immediately began a dynamic spiritual, moral and educational reform of his diocese. Not two months later, the apostolic nuncio was already praising his “rare qualities”, noting that “with prudence and caution, he has began to manifest an exceptional zeal in the government of his Diocese, where there is an extreme need to summon the clergy to a more disciplined life, which conforms to the priestly state.” Bishop Andrei’s “firm resolve” combined with his profound spirituality and warm attitude towards both clergy and laity won the hearts of the flock. Even hitherto skeptical Ruthenian-Ukrainian nationalists leaders somewhat changed their opinion of Sheptytsky from wariness to praise for his dedication to the people.


2. Nomination as Metropolitan-Archbishop
Like all Greek-Catholic episcopal nominations since the 1870’s, the 1899 nominations amounted to what had become the standard compromise between various interest groups of church and state. In addition, just before his formal nomination, Bishop Kuilovsky rejected Basilian Father Platonides Filas as his designated auxiliary-bishop and seminary rector. It was understood that the elderly bishop could not manage the large archdiocese alone and the government contemplated leaving aside Kuilovsky’s nomination altogether. At this point, Cardinal Ledóchowski made one last effort to propose Andrei Sheptytsky as metropolitan. However, since the emperor had already signed the presentation, Rome decided to go ahead, in the hope that the new metropolitan would accept Filas in time. It did not have long to wait for a solution to present itself because the infirm Kuilovsky died less than a year later, on 4 May 1900.
Now the path seemed to be cleared for the favoured candidate, Sheptytsky, who had gained experience and popularity in the eyes of his flock and of church and state leaders. The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Emidio Taljani, stated that, “despite his youth, he possesses all the requisite qualities to become an excellent archbishop.” However, even this second nomination would not go as smoothly as planned. Papal secretary of state Cardinal Rampolla informed the nuncio of the Pope’s will that Sheptytsky accept the promotion to Lviv and that Father Filas replace him as bishop of Stanislaviv. This proposal appeared to acceptable to all when Sheptytsky traveled to Vienna to perform the bureaucratic procedures. There he was presented with a new condition by the government, which he and the nuncio both deemed unacceptable; a condition which had its root in the very foundation of the Stanislaviv eparchy.
In the eighteenth century, Austria took over the financial administration of the Church and established a Religion Fund to pay salaries and expenses. It had promised to found a third Greek-Catholic eparchy as far back as the 1780’s but continued to procrastinate. Finally, during the height of the Russophile scare, the government agreed to create the Stanislaviv eparchy but could not come to a final agreement as to how it would be funded. In relinquishing his office in 1882, ex-Metropolitan Josyf Sembratovych had been granted a pension by the Lviv Archeparchy. Upon his death, instead of returning the revenue to Lviv, the government planned to use part of it to fund Stanislaviv, thus exonerating itself of having to use the Religion Fund. Sheptytsky stood firm on refusing the nomination under such conditions, and submitted a clever counter-proposal containing the proviso that any decision on the Lviv revenues be subject to the approval of the Apostolic See.
Rome, however, chose not to challenge Austria on a financial issue, in view of the fact that negotiations for new bishops were becoming ever more difficult. The nuncio assured Cardinal Rampolla that, since the government was willing to defer financial negotiations, the emperor was ready to sign the nomination. It was precisely during this period of intense negotiation that Bishop Sheptytsky led a group of pilgrims to Rome to celebrate the Jubilee Year. There he met with Cardinal Rampolla, who instructed him to accept the nomination and to forward a report on the issue for a future decision by the Apostolic See. In an audience of 29 October 1900, two days before the emperor had signed his letter of presentation, Pope Leo XIII announced to the pilgrims that their bishop was to become the new metropolitan. The following 5 November, the Viennese nuncio was instructed to initiate the canonical process of collecting testimonies from three well-known priests, which was performed on 12 November.
As if the saga had not been complicated enough, Sheptytsky sent a letter to the nuncio on 11 December, placing the decision regarding the finances in the hands of the Pope. In the same missive, however, he resolutely declared that he was not willing to endure any further government pressure and, if necessary, was ready to renounce the episcopacy to return to the monastic life. Sheptytsky’s inflexibility can be further understood in the light of the fact that he had invested personal funds in Stanislaviv, expecting the government to fulfill its promise to fund a seminary on condition that he accept the episcopacy. As a result, the bishop was left financially destitute but his persistence succeeded in convincing the government to reduce some of its claims. Andrei Sheptytsky’s nomination as Greek-Catholic archbishop of Lviv was finally proclaimed at the papal consistory of 17 December 1900 and he was enthroned as metropolitan of Halych on 12 January 1901. Having agreed to Sheptytsky’s promotion, the government nonetheless suspended the nomination of his successor in Stanislaviv for another three years, until the financial issues could be resolved.
Already in the first months of office, the new Metropolitan surprised everyone by unequivocally supporting the national and political demands of his flock, just as Cardinal Sembratovych had predicted. Despite this fact, the Ukrainian national movement continued to be wary of the Polish aristocrat, whom they suspected of being a traitor in disguise. While Sheptytsky supported every honorable Ukrainian aspiration, he continued to be misunderstood by both Ukrainian and Polish nationalists. Many of them held anticlerical or even agnostic views, having been educated in Austrian legalist philosophy which looked upon the Church as an earthly instrument of the nation. With much prejudice and little foresight, Ukrainian notables continued to passionately oppose Basilian episcopal candidates, such as Platonid Filas and Josaphat Kotsylovsky, men who were to become defenders of the national identity and even protagonists in the formation of the short-lived Western Ukrainian state. While recognizing these faults, instead of withdrawing from the political forum “into the sacristy”, Sheptytsky challenged the intelligentsia and attempted to bring the teaching of Christ to the national movement. He also emasculated the Russophile movement by inaugurating a ritualist revival that was both faithful to his Church’s Kyivan roots and also to the unity of the Universal Church. It might be said that, in some respects, he beat the ritualist and political ideologues at their own game.
With the blessing of Leo XIII’s successor, Pope Pius X, Kyr Andrei also began a secret mission to establish an authentically Russian Eastern-Catholic Church. Remarkably, not only the Tsarist government but so too the fledgling Ukrainian government objected to this mission, both for nationalistic reasons.
Metropolitan Andrei’s breakthrough with the Ukrainian national movement finally came after he had been imprisoned. The Russians imprisoned him in Siberia, in 1914, because he was a danger to their plan to Russianize the Galician Ukrainians and to make them break their ecclesial unity with the Roman Pontiff. The Polish army confined him in his own archiepiscopal palace, in 1919, after they had captured Lviv from Ukrainian forces. The Polish Government tried everything to have Sheptytsky removed as Greek-Catholic archbishop of Lviv because he was an obstacle to their plan to Polonize the Ukrainians. Having failed to achieve their designs, when Sheptytsky attempted to return to his diocese from abroad in 1923, as the Pope has specifically commanded him, the Polish Government ordered that he be interned in Poznan, in an attempt to extract from him an unconditional oath of political loyalty. Notwithstanding Sheptytsky’s consistent resistance to government intrusion in Church affairs, he outlasted each one of the regimes that persecuted him. At the time, these regimes appeared to represent the greatest danger but Kyr Andrei understood that the moral condition of the individual human beings that constitute the nation had an infinitely greater and lasting significance. Throughout his episcopal ministry, Andrei Sheptytsky retained the “firm resolve” that had been credited him by the papal representative in 1899. In exile, former political leaders lost any effective voice in the homeland. The Metropolitan never fled persecution however, and he remained to comfort his people in their plight and was finally recognized by the nation a great hero and a moral figurehead. Most significantly, he remained a living martyrios, a witness to his people of Catholic unity and fidelity (not merely in theory but also in practice) to his spiritual Father, the Roman Pontiff, Successor of Blessed Peter the Apostle.

"Catholicize not Latinize"

The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
and the Missions of Achille Ratti and Giovanni Genocchi
According to the Archives of the Apostolic See (1918-1923)

Exerpts from the introduction of my doctoral dissertation

From its origins until after the second World War, the history of Uniate (later called Greek-Catholic) Ukrainian Church is, for a large part, characterized by the history of the relations between the Roman Apostolic See and the Ukrainian Church existing within the Polish State. This historical paradigm is especially true for the period treated in this work, which is the period comprising the missions of Achille Ratti to Poland and Giovanni Genocchi to Ukraine and Eastern-Galicia, 1918-1923. During this five-year period, vast social, political and ecclesiastical changes occurred throughout Europe, for example, the end of the multi-national empires, which had ruled Poland and Ukraine since the end of the eighteenth century. Both of these nations were thence reborn as political states, and their struggles for independence were characterized by nationalistic and religious conflicts, the outcome of which had enormous consequences not only for the nations themselves, but also for the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe.

The mission of Monsignor Achille Ratti marked the first time in over a hundred and thirty years that a permanent papal envoy had been sent to the Catholic Churches in Eastern Europe. Following upon the major political transformations at the end of the First World War, the period here studied became one of great innovation with respect to the Holy See’s relations with both old and new nations. Achille Ratti became the papal representative to and for the Catholic Church in the entire region, which included Poland, the Baltic States, Russia, and Ukraine. His mission laid the groundwork for further envoys to the region, such as the Apostolic Visitation of Father Giovanni Genocchi to Ukraine and Eastern Galicia. In treating church issues of the period, it becomes evident that nationalistic aims played a large part in causing religion and politics to become tightly intertwined. Ratti and Genocchi’s missions were dominated by the political conflict between Poland and her neighbours, which, by extension became a conflict between the Catholic Church of Poland and the Catholic Churches of other nations. Ultimately, this political-religious conflict determined the scope of action of both Ratti and Genocchi, each of whom sought to mediate between the conflicting parties and to enegretically intervene on behalf of the persecuted Greek-Catholic Church. After his election as Pope in 1922, Ratti retained Genocchi as a mediator for Ukrainian affairs, sending him back to Poland, in 1923, in order to complete the second part of his mission, to Eastern Galicia.

The originality and contribution of my work lies in its examination of the views and actions of the Apostolic See and its envoys in their relationship with the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church; this work being based principally on a systematic examination of each individual piece of the relevant correspondence contained in the various archives of the Apostolic See. These include: the Archives of the Nunciatures of Warsaw, Vienna and Canada; the Archives of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs and the Archives of the Secretariat of State; and the Archives of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. I also included material from the General and Canadian-Provincial Archives of the Basilian Order of St. Josaphat and from and the Archives of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, Canada.

The dissertation has been produced under the auspices of the first Catholic faculty of Church History [at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome]. Consistent with the principles of this faculty, mine is a work of ecclesiastical history rather than of the theology of history. An historian does not attempt to make moral judgments but rather endevours to discover, understand, and interpret the historical facts in the context of the historical period. Accordingly, this work does seeks to convey the judgments of the representatives of the Roman Curia, the papal envoys and others, upon which the Apostolic See based its policy and actions toward the Churches and States in the region. Indeed, the title of this work, a quotation from Achille Ratti’s correspondence with the Polish hierarchy, is the central theme and also a bone of contention of Vatican policy: “to catholize not to latinize”. Hopefully, my work will serve to guide further related research and that it also will help clarify issues which have been hitherto unclear or erroneously interpreted, due to non-availability of relevant primary source materials.

Свята Столиця й Україна

Дипломатичне посередництво Князя Токаржевського Карашевича
Published in Progress Ukrainian Catholic News (Поступ), no.5/2134, (9 March 2008), pp. 7, 12 , 14.

Дня 11 листопада 2007 року, українська греко-католицька громада в Лондоні відзначила 53-ю річницю смерти князя Івана-Степана-Маріяна з Токарів Токаржевського-Карашевича (Jan Stefan Maria de Tokary Tokarzewski-Karasziewicz). Я познайомився з ним, не в житті, бо я ще не народився, коли він помер, але дійсно з ним познайомився через його листування, через його зусилля для новонародженої української держави.

Коротко про нього особисто: Його прізвіще не дуже українське, бо він походив з давнього литовського роду зв'язаного з Україною від ХІѴ століття, коли стара Русь була під Великим Князівством Литовським. Панські землі родини знаходились в Ушицькому повіті на Поділлі, що належили до Польсько-Литовської Держави аж до кінця ХѴІІІ століття, коли та держава була поділена між Австрією, Росією і Прусією. Те, що сьогодні Західна Україна, пішло до Австрії, а Велика Україна пішла до Росії. Молодий Ян закінчив житомирську гімназію, а потім виїхав на Захід, де вивчав філософію, економію й політичні науки у Фрайбурґу, Відні, Мюнхені й Тулузі. Він здобув докорати філософіїї і політичних наук у 1910 році. Після закінчення студій, він повернувся до рідного села, де брав активну участь у громадській діяльності. Під час Першої світової війни він служив головним контролером Поділського земського комітету, а в 1917 році його обрано членом Поділського губернського та Ушицького повітового земств.

Ян Токаржевський-Карашевич належав до тих полсько-литовських аристократів, що, мешкаючи з нашим народом на українських землях, почувалися приналежними до українського народу й підтримали українські національні змагання. Тому, вже у червні 1918 р. Гетьман Павло Скоропадський затвердив постанову про призначення Токаржевського-Карашевича радником українського посольства у Відні, найважливіше після Берліну з українських посольств, бо після Берестейсько-литовської угоди з Центральними державами (підпасаний 9 лютого того самого року), Імперії Німецька, Австрійська й Отоманська (тобто Турецька) визнлали Українську Державу. Після падіння центральних держав та разом з ними гетьманського режиму, Директорія Української Народної Республіки прийшла до влади. Не зважаючи на радикальні елементи в уряді Директорії, Головний Отаман Симон Петлюра підтвердив призначення Токаржевського-Карашевича, бо хотів використати на дипломатичій службі таких аристократів, що були демократичних і патріотичних переконань. Не забудьмо, що до того часу, майже всі еворпейські дипломати походили з шляхетних родин й мали вступ до вищого суспільства й царських дворів. Так само Петлюра хотів показати західним силам, що український уряд не радикальний чи більшовицький. Князь служив у Відні до літа 1919 року, коли був перенесений до посолства в Константинополі. Там служив від 2 серпня 1919 р. до 11 грудня 1921 р., спершу як радник, від березня 1920 р. повіреним у справах (chargé d’affairs), а тоді як посол при останньому султані Туреччини. Там він зустінувся і згодом одружився у травні 1922 року з Оксаною, дочкою першого посла, відомого українського діяча Олександра Лотоцького. Після Константинополя Токаржевського-Карашевича відкличано до Тарнова заступником, а від січня 1922 року віце-міністром закордонних справ і керівником Міністерства закордонних справ УНР в екзилі. Токаржевський-Карашевич подався до демісії 3 вересня 1924 р. й виїхав до Франції. Від 1936 р. жив в Італії а від 1948 р. у Лондоні, де помер, 53 років тому.

Правду кажучи, Токаржевський-Карашевич призабутий українською історіографією. Його ім'я не з'являється у покажчиках найважніших українських історій - Субтельного, Маґочі, ба навіть Дорошенка, що його особисто знав. Навіть у працях про українску дипломатію він рідко коли згадується. Це іґнорування дає нам враження, що князь неначе не був центральною фіґурою української політики. Але насправді, у моїх пошуках я побачив, що він був дуже важливою особою у дипломатії УНР, головно у відношеннях з Ватиканом. У Ватиканських архівах існують 28 зразків кореспонденції від Токаржевського-Карашевича, листи або до нього, або де він згадується та свідчать про його ключову роль у дипломатичних зусиллях УНР з Святою Столицею. Всі листи написанні французькою мовою, бо це інтернаціональна дипломатична мова починаючи від ХѴІІ століття, часів Людвика XIV, аж до сьогодні.

Перше треба вияснити терміни. Sancta Sedes Apostolica, тобто Свята Апостолська Столиця або Престол - це офіційна назва головної влади Католицької церкви - Папи Римського разом зі своїм урядом - Римською Курією. Термін Ватикан, це радше місце, головний папський палац, так як в Англії посли акредитовані до Двору св. Якова (Court of St. James). Від 1929 р. Місто Ватикан- це назва держави, що дає Папі можливість свобідно від земних влад виконувати свою надприродну місію для всього людства. Щоб відмежувати дві сторони діяльности Ватикану, термін Апостольська Столиця використовується для внутрішніх церковних справ, а назву Свята Столиця уживається, коли йде мова про політичні відношення з державами. Згідно з католицьким вченням, Святіший Вселенський Отець відіграє основну роль ґаранта єдності у Церкві. Щоб укріпити цю єдність, з давніх часів папи відіслали до місцевих церков своїх посланців – леґатів або нунціїв. Так само висилали й представників світським володарям, щоб домовитися з ними щодо підтримки церкви та дозволу їй свобідно проповідувати Боже слово. Сьогодні папських послів до церков називають апостольськими візитаторами, або делеґатами. Для країн, що мають дипломатичні відношення зі Святою Столицею, папський репрезентант завивається апостолський нунцій.

При кінці Першої світової війни, із занепадом багатоетничних імперій, підданні їм народи як, напр., український, польський чеський та інші проголосили свою незалежність. У Східній Європі католицькі церкви, чи латинські, чи східні, знайшлися у жахливому стані після багаторічного переслідування від Російської православної держави. Перше завдання Апостольскої Столиці було упорядкувати церквовне життя, і 25 квітня 1918 р., Папа Бенедикт ХV назначив свого бібліотекаря й історика монсіньйора Акілле Ратті апостольським візитатором для Польщі й усіх країн колишньої Російської Імперії. Йому доручено, щоб він займався передусім Латинською церквою, але також допомагав східним католицьким церквам віджити й розвиватися, щоб вони могли бути посередниками церковної єдности між католиками й православними. І якраз тут увійде на арену наш дорогий князь.

Токаржевський-Карашевич був римо-католиком, дуже вірним, побожним, лицарем стародавного Малтійського ордену. Разом з іншими католиками на Великій Україні (розуміється, латиниками, бо в Російській імперії Греко-католицька церква була знищена ще в попередньому столітті) він хотів використати нову свободу для розквіту церков. У вересні 1918 р., у порозумінні з луцьким і кам'янецьким латинськими єпископами в Україні та українським Міністерством закордонних справ, він звернувся до віденської апостольської нунціятури в справі Католицької церкви в Україні. Віденський нунцій порадив йому звернутися радше до новопризначеного візитатора для всіх країн колишньої Російської Імперії, Акілле Ратті.

Токаржевський-Карашевич написав перший лист до візитатора Ратті 14 вересня 1918 р., звертаючись “не як офіційний представник моєї країни, але як добрий католик”. Він писав, що його країна хоче розривати всі зв’язки з Росією й тому потребує допомоги вищої церковної влади, щоб відновити католицькі структури в Україні, які були придушені російською владою. Токаржевський-Карашевич зауважив, що “На жаль, Українська Держава ще не визнана Святою Столицею”, мабуть на його думку, “через попередніх революційних урядів” (тобто Рада УНР). На кінці він просив пораду, чим Українська Держава може ввійти в офіційні відношення зі Святою Столицею і просив Ратті стати її речником перед Ватиканом. Треба зрозуміти, що Україна потребувала інтернаціонального визнання, бо від часу Бересть-литовского трактату між Україною та Центральними імперіями держави Антанти, тобто Англія, Франція й Італія, розривали навіть неформальні відносини з Україною. У цей період, хоч Свята Столиця була позбавлена своєї власної території (у 1929 р. частинно поверненою Папі під назвою Держава Місто Ватикан), все ж таки відгравала важливу роль в інтернаціональних справах, головно як моральний голос й посередниця між супротивними державами. Інший представник України, граф Михаїл Тишкевич, людина подібного походження й національних переконань як Токаржевський-Карашевич, вже 1 вересня звернувся прямо до Святої Столиці, щоб визнала Україну, та його просьби одержали відмовну відповідь.

Токаржевський-Карашевич мусив чекати білше як місяць на відповідь. Але це не тому, що монсіньйор Ратті не приділяв велику увагу до тих питань, а просто тому, що він був у дорозі, виконуючи свій мандат як папський візитатор, відвідуючи церкви тих польських територій, що до того часу були під Німеччиною й Австрією. Коли Ратті повернувся до Варшави й побачив цей лист, негайно відписав Токаржевському-Карашевичеві дуже теплими словами, перепрошуючи за пізню відповідь і, своїми словами, «цілим моїм серцем хочу прислуговувати моїм дурзям, щоб бути вашим промовцем у Святому Престолі». Він порадив, щоб Україна офіційно звернулася до Святої Столиці, і коли б уряд його запросив, він сам готовий приїхати в Україну, щоб провести апостольську візитацію, тобто відвідати католицькі церкви, як перший крок по дорозі до евентуальних дипломатичних зв'язків Ватикану з Україною. Через тиждень монсіньйор Ратті написав до свого настоятеля кардинала Ґаспарі, папського Секретеря стану, віддаючи подяку Богові та людям доброї волі, тобто Карашевичу.

Але, відвідини Ратті не здійслилися ні в Росії, ні в Україні. Наступного місяця Центральні держави здалися й німецько-австрійскі воїни покинули Україну, а тим самим і Гетманський режим. Того ж листпопада, опозиція сформувала Директорію під проводом Винниченка й Петлюри, і Скоропадський пішов у грудні у відставку. Директорія лишила Токаржевського-Карашевича, Тишкевича та інших дипломатів, які були призначені попередніми режимами, на своїх місцях.

З’єднання ЗУНР з УНР у січні 1919 року приніс три мільйони греко-католиків у політичний форум Великої України, а ще до того безнадійний стан УНР підкреслив потребу шукати допомоги від Папи Римського. Напевно мав вплив на ці зусилля й митрополит Андрей (Шептицький), що дружно співпрацював з графом Тишкевичем ще з передвоєнних часів. У лютому 1919 р. Тишкевич переконав Петлюру прийняти пораду Ратті й зробити якийсь крок. 15 того ж місяця, листом папському Секретареві стану, Головний Отаман повідомив Святу Столицю, що його уряд висилає делеґацію до Святого Престолу очолену Тишкевичем, щоб вирішити справу про дипломатичні відношення. Це рішення було досить відважне, бо по етикету, Свята Столиця мала б перша погодитись приймати таку делеґацію.


Через три дні, 19 лютого, Токаржевський-Карашевич знов написав до монсіньйора Ратті. У тому листі, він визнав про зміну режимів (від Гетьманату до Директорії), яка не вимагала від нового уряду приймати пропозіцію Ратті про його апостольску візитацію. Він також повідомив візитатора, що Директорія вирішила послати делеґацію до Святого Престолу і тому, задля посади Ратті, як візитатора всіх колишніх російських країн, Токаржевський-Карашевич просив у нього рекомендаційного листа для графа Тишкевича, щоб його могли представити кардиналам Римської Курії. У цьому листі знаходиться цікава для нас фраза: Токаржевський-Карашевич висловлює надію “на європеїзацію України”. Ратті відписав 4 березня й просив, щоб далі інформувати його про цю місію.
21 лютого, князь листом повідомиив і віденському нунцію Вальфре ді Бондзо про плани нового українського уряду. Нунцій вислав ці інформацій візитаторові Ратті, а 6 березня дав свою оцінку кардилалові Ґаспарі. Нунцій Вальфре підтвердив думку Токаржевського-Карашевича, що представник Святої Столиці в Києві укріпив би церковний рух відхилення від Росії й прихилення до Риму між українцями. Хоч він хвалив особу Токаржевського-Карашевича, однак нунцій сумнівався, чи український уряд цілком поділив би його прихильні думки до католицизму й висловив думку, що уряд уживає такі пропозіції цілковито з політичних міркувань. Не зважаючи на ці реалістичні сумніви, віденський нунцій заохотив кардинала секретаря прийняти місію Тишкевича.

Князь Токаржевський-Карашевич відписав до Ратті 19 березня з обширнішою інформацією про особу графа Тишкевича: що той є папскьим лицарем й що його син був єзуїтом. Він також подав інформації, але дуже нечисленні, про інших можливих членів місії, семінариста Петра Карманського та монсіоньйора Юрика. Ще раз, Токаржевський-Карашевич піддав думку, що якщо Свята Столиця погоджується, могла би обмінятися послами з Україною. Але оскільки Ратті не знав Тишкевича, він відписав Токаржевському-Карашевичу 1 квітня, що треба попросити рекомендаційного листа від Тишкевичевого єпископа, Пйотра Маньковського, латинського єпископа Кам'янця-Подільского. Все ж таки, по двох днях Ратті написав до кардинала Ґаспарі, обережно підтверджуючи пропозицію Токаржевського-Карашевича. Однак єпископ Маньковський відмовився написати рекомендаційного листа, бо Токаржевський-Карашевич остерігав його, що Польське духовенство може загрожувати Українській Державі, і що латинський єпископат повинен ясно висловити своє становище щодо національного питання. Монсіньйор Ратті відписав Токаржевському-Карашевичу 25 квітня, що він уже написав був до кардинала Ґаспарі про українську місію і її членів.

Від квітня 1919 року, Токаржевський-Карашевич перестав на якийсь час займатися цими справами, бо Свята Столиця приймала надзвичайну українську місію. Цим вона de facto визнала український уряд, але, за дипломатичними звичаями, чекала на визнання інших держав, щоб визнавати вповні або de jure незалежну українську державу. Від того часу, з Риму граф Тишкевич займався українськими справами при папському дворі.

У літі 1919 року Токаржевський-Карашевич перейшов від українського посольства у Відні до константинопольського й по дорозі провів цілий липень у Римі. Листом від 12 липня Тишкевич представив його кардиналові Ґаспарі, щоб Токаржевський-Карашевич міг би інформувати Святу Столицю про прикрий стан українців і Греко-католицької церкви в Галичині під польською окупацією. 24 липня свяченик Кирило Королевський так само представив князя, цей раз кардиналу Маріні, керівникові ватиканської конґреґації відповідальної за Східні церкви. У розмові з Маріні 25 липня, Токаржевський-Карашевич просив інтервенції Святої Столиці за переслідуваного польською військовою владою митрополита Андрея (Шептицького). Токаржевський-Карашевич писав до Маріні, що митрополит Андрей, “не лишень національний наш герой але теж пропаґатор нашої віри й дуже відданий захисник Католицької церкви”. Ватиканські урядовці були так задоволені Токаржевським-Карашевичем, що папа Венедикт ХV в кінці прийняв його в приватній авдієнції, яка тривала майже годину, розпитуючи докладно про ті справи, що князь представив був куріяльним кардиналам.
У липні 1919 р. монсіньйор Ратті став папським нунцієм до незалежної Польщі, додаючи до своєї церковної місії завдання дипломатичного представництва до Польської держави. За це, а також через польсько-українські конфлікти, українські політики й навіть духовенство вважали Ратті не дуже прихильним до української справи. Вони не здавали собі справи про його численні дипломатичні зусилля за інтернованих українців (про котрі свідчать тепер відкриті архіви) й так само не зрозуміли, що папський представник нікому не може давати арґументи проти їх політичних противників. Свята Столиця й церква сприяє мирові й тому стає на стороні всіх. У словах Ратті до латинського й греко- католицького архиєпископів Львова, “Папа одинаково любить усіх своїх дітей”.

Токаржевський-Карашевич приїхав до Константинополя 2 серпня і, мабуть, домовившись з Тишкевичем, далі пропонував призначення окремого папського представника для України. Дня 1 вересня місцевий апостолський делеґат Анджело Дольчі написав до кардинала Ґаспарі, що Токаржевський-Карашевич просив за такого навіть не офіційного представника, бо він дуже допоможе, коли рішиться справа існування незалежної України.

Князь так само таємно повідомив Дольчі, що український уряд почав переговори з Константинополським патріярхатом за Українську автокефальну православну церкву і, якби це сталося, Католицька церква втратила би багато ґрунту в Україні.
Повернувшись до Риму знову в жовтні 1919 року, нунцій Ратті дав рекоменцаційного листа монсіньйорові Черетті, відповідальному за церковні справи, що торкалися політичних питань, щоб Токаржевський-Карашевич міг би знову представити нещасний стан українців у Східній Галичині й переслідування Греко-католицької церкви. Того ж місяця, повернувшись до Царгороду, Токаржевський-Карашевич написав два листи до папських урядовців, знову благаючи, щоб призначити апостольського візитатора. На цей останній лист відповів сам кардинал Ґаспарі 9 грудня. Кардинал зауважав, що умовини ще не відповідні, щоб вислати візитатора в Україну. У дійсності, уряд УНР контролював дуже мало території, білшість котрої того часу була в рухах українських білшовиків і армій росіян білогвардійців.

На початку 1920 року, не зважаючи на всі неґативні відповіді, стан українського народу, і в Галичині, і у Великій Україні тривожив ватиканських представників і крім листів від українських дипломатів, папська курія одержала звіти від своїх-таки папських дипломатів, головно від нунція Ратті з Варшави, і від Митрополита Андрея та інших греко-католицьких священиків, що дозволили їм представити конкретну пропозіцію Папі Бенедиктові. Під час авдієнції 28 січня, не цілих двадцять днів після неґативної відповіді Ґаспарі Токаржевському-Карашевичу, єпископ Пападопулос, секретар Східної конґреґації, склав звіт про стан Греко-католицької церкви в Галичині й взагалі про домагання українського народу. Пападопулос пропонував призначити візитатора, офіційно, щоб координувати матеріяльну й медичну допомогу для Великої України але, неофіційно й таємно, щоб так само доглядати стан українців у Східній Галичині. Папа апробував цей план і 13 лютого призначив італійського місіонера, отця Джованні Дженоккі апостолським візитатором України. На це призначення Токаржевський-Карашевич написав останній свій лист до Святої Столиці з Константинополя, цей раз до голови Східної конґреґації, до котрої був доповідав візитатор Дженоккі. В імені Українського уряду та взагалі від усіх українців, князь висловив задоволення за це важний крок призначення Дженоккі. Нарешті, те, що Токаржевський-Карашевич пропонував ще від 1918 року, здійснилося.

Крім усіх згаданих листів, я знайшов ще один лист нашого князя у Ватиканських архівах. Останній лист від 22 травня 1922 р., Токаржевський-Карашевич написав як уже віце-міністер закордоних справ уряду УНР в екзилі. Цей останній лист дуже подібний до його першого листа з 1918 року. У ньому віце-міністер підкреслив, що уряд УНР приділяє величезне значення добрим стосункам зі Святою Столицею і ще надіється, що справи Католицьких церков в Україні можуть бути упорядковані. Хоч після цього листа Токаржевський-Карашевич уже білше не писав до Святої Столиці, однак ми знаємо з інших джерел, що він мав приємні контакти з тими церковними діячами, з якими він мав зв'язки як урядовець, включно з колишнім нунцієм Акілле Ратті, якого в лютому 1922 року вибрано Папою Пієм ХІ.

Хоч князь Токаржевський-Карашевич вернувся до приватного життя вже 1924 року, однак далі брав участь в українській громаді. Дуже мало про нього написано. Можливо тому, що з одного боку, така людина не цілком зрозуміла нашому народові, головно нашим політікам, що не мали соціяльних зв'язків із суспілством, звідкиля походив Токаржевський-Карашевич. Наприклад, Дмитро Дорошенко, міністер закордоних справ Гетьманського режиму, що був фактично відповідальний за призначення Токаржевського-Карашевича радником при Віденському посольстві, сказав про нього: “Він є трохи дивак (на мій погляд), дорожить титулами, є лицарем Мальтійського ордену, але людина наскрізь чесна, щира й шляхетна». Ці слова майже співпадають з тими, що писали про нього апостольські нунції 1918 року й певно віддзеркалюють загальне враження про Токаржевського-Карашевича - особа вищих рідкісих якостей. Це особа що практикувала чесноту шляхетности, чесноту, що не має нічого спільного ні з посілостями, ні з політикою, а радше стосується того, як поводиться людина. Це життєва філософія, що творить стан або клас людей, що живуть вищими вартостями у відношенні до себе самого і до інших.

A Greek-Catholic Bishop Returns to Lutsk

Published in in Progress Ukrainian Catholic News, no.3/2132, (10 February 2008), Winnipeg, pp. 12 and 14, and in Sower (Сівач), vol. XXIII, no. 2 (24 February 2008), Stamford, p. 13.

On 15 January 2008, after one-hundred and eighty years, a Greek-Catholic bishop was finally appointed to reside in the city of Lutsk, Ukraine. This event one of great historical significance and of justice for our Church, after having been deprived of an church structure in the region for so many years. The debate over the Greek-Catholic Church of Lutsk continued throughout the previous century and Bishop Josaphat Hovera joins a long line of illustrious predecessors, many of whom were confessors of Catholic unity amidst great persecution.

The eparchy of Lutsk-Ostrih dates from about 1326 and was one of sufragen sees of the metropolia of Kyiv-Halych. Being a prominent eparchy, over the centuries, several of Lutsk’s bishops were promoted to metropolitan of Kyiv. In 1589, during a pastoral visit, the patriarch of Constantinople named Lutsk’s bishop Kyryl Terletsky as his exarch for the entire Kyivan metropolia. Six years later, Terletsky would be one of two bishops sent to Rome to reestablish full communion between the Kyivan and the Roman Churches. The following year, in 1596, this act was confirmed by all but two of the hierarchy, and is is referred to as the Union of Brest, the birth of the Uniate (later renamed Greek-Catholic) Church.

From 1609 to 1702, four bishops occupied the see of Lutsk, which consisted of about one-hundred parishes in union with Rome. Despite the fact that Polish King Wladyslaw IV had given the eparchial properties to the Orthodox, Bishop Zabokrytsky accepted union with Rome in 1702, and was consequently imprisoned by the Russian Tsar, dying ten years later in Siberia. After him, there were eleven more uniate eparchs of Lutsk. Following the partition of Poland (1772-1795), Lutsk was one of the three Greek-Catholic eparchies preserved in the Russian Empire. However, in 1828, Bishop Syrotynsky had to flee when the Tsarist government unilaterally abolished his eparchy as a prelude to the violent suppression all Greek-Catholic structures in Russia.

As far as the Apostolic See was concerned, any attempt by the civil authority to abolish a diocese was invalid. However, no new Greek-Catholic bishop would thenceforth be permitted to occupy the see of Lutsk, which the official Vatican publication the Gerarchia Cattolica continued to list as vacant. In 1873, however, the notation concerning this eparchy vanished from the Gerarchia even though it had never been suppressed by a church decree. This fact was evidenced, in the 1920s, through a diligent search of the Vatican archives by the scholarly Monsignor Angelo Mercati, future Cardinal-Librarian-Archivist of the Holy Roman Church.
After the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tsar Nicholas II issued an edict which temporarily permitted a degree of religious freedom within his domains. Some former Greek-Catholics sought to return to their Church but were hindered by the lack of clergy and church buildings at their disposal, and so adopted the Latin Rite as the only viable option. The possibility of freedom for the Greek-Catholic Church would resurface during the First World War when Austria occupied the province of Volyn. In 1916, about fifty Greek-Catholic priests from Austrian Galicia were sent to minister to the Ukrainians of that region. Their arrival, however, was preceded by an extraordinary occurance.

Following upon the opportunity presented by the Tsar’s Edict of Religious Tolerance, in 1907, Pope Pius X granted Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky secret powers over the entire Eastern-Catholic mission in Russia. These powers included the right to ordain and install bishops, in special circumstances. The Russians invaded Lviv in 1914 and arrested the Metropolitan, deporting him to Siberia. Making use of these extraordinary faculties, Sheptytsky ordained to the episcopacy the rector of the Lviv seminary, his close collaborator Josyf Botsian, conferring on him the designation “bishop of Lutsk”. Upon Sheptytsky’s release from prison, on 18 August 1917, he immediately asked Pius X’s sucessor, Benedict XV, to confirm the nomination. The Metropolitan would have to wait just over three years for this confirmation as his planned visit to the pope was blocked by the Italian government, which was at war with Austria-Hungary. In the meantime, he assigned Botsian to minister to oversee the Greek-Catholic missions in Ukrainian territories occupied by Austria and Germany.

Though Metropolitan Andrei had informed Austrian officials, the Latin Bishop of Lutsk-Zhytomyr objected to Botsian’s mission because no Greek-Catholic bishop or diocese of Lutsk existed, at least according to the Annuario Pontificio (the Gerarchia Cattolica's sucessor). The Polish clergy feared that, instead of bringing the Orthodox into union with Rome, Botsian and his priests would entice the former Greek-Catholics to leave the Latin Rite. They also feared that the scope of the mission included support for Ukrainian as opposed to Polish sovereignty over Volyn. After the defeat of Austria, the Polish Republic took control of the region and Kyr Botsian’s title as bishop of Lutsk provoked to a political conflict, since his mission ran counter to Poland’s policy of assimilation of the local Ukrainian population. The Polish government considered it their right to approve episcopal appointments, a privilege which had been conceded to the Austrian emperor. Many Poles saw Botsian’s appointment as a sign of Holy See’s sympathy for the Galician Ukrainians’ quest for independence. Polish politicians requested official clarification regarding the papal confirmation of Botsian’s ordination, which had occurred on 24 February 1921. They accused Metropolitan Sheptytsky of furnishing the Holy See with false information regarding the ordination and even attacked the papal nuncio Achille Ratti (the future Pope Pius XI), on the pretext of his presumed pro-Ukrainian sympathies. These concerns were brought before the papal secretary of state, Cardinal Gasparri, by the Polish legate Dr. Wiernz-Kowalski.

Once Gasparri had obtained a report from the Oriental Congregation, he replied to the legate on 26 June 1921, that Botsian’s ordination “was made by Monsignor Sheptytsky on his own personal initiative, in lieu of the faculties accorded him by the Holy Father Pius X. Since the aforementioned Monsignor acted in virtue of such faculties, the nomination made by him is to be regarded as valid, and consequently the present Pontiff could not have done otherwise than to accept it. Nevertheless, His Holiness did not refrain, precisely in view of the special circumstances, to give the order that Monsignor Botsian would not perform any act of jurisdiction.”
Wiernz-Kowalski recognized this declaration as sufficient and the Holy See considered the Botsian affair concluded. In reality, however, the Polish government was still not satisfied and installed a new legate to the Vatican, Count Skrzynski, to pursue a more aggressive policy. The Oriental Congregation had to issue a clarification to the new nuncio to Poland, stating that the nomination to Lutsk was made before the existence of an independent Polish state, and further that, in virtue of the Union of Brest, the Holy See recognized the Ukrainian primate’s right to directly nominate and consecrate his suffragen bishops. At the beginning of 1922, Monsignor Skirmunt, liason between the Polish hierarchy and the Roman Curia, attempted to have Bishop Botsian’s granted a completely new title, since the Polish government was even opposed to Botsian being titular bishop of Lutsk. Skirmunt’s plan, however, involved keeping the change secret from the Oriental Congregation which, two months later, submitted Bishop Botsian’s name for the Annuario Pontificio, with the title “Bishop of Lutsk”. The publication of the 1922 Annuario caused a political incident making it appear as if Holy See had gone back on its promise that Bishop Botsian would not exercise episcopal jurisdiction. The Annuario was prompted re-issued with Botsian’s name removed.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Andrei asked Botsian to reside in Pidhirtsi, within the pre 1784 boundaries of the see of Lutsk. The Holy See continued to look for a resolution and, even as late as 1924, Cardinal Gasparri inquired about the possibility of allowing Botsian to exercise jurisdiction in the Lutsk area. Since this solution was still not acceptable to the Polish regime, after the signing of the 1925 concordat with Poland, Pius XI decided to appoint Botsian auxiliary-bishop of Lviv. Sheptytsky and Bostian declared their unwavering loyalty to the papal will but furiously protested Botsian's renunciation of the Lutsk if it meant the effevtive suppression (once again) of the eparchy. In the end, the Pope appointed Botsian auxiliary of Lviv without changing his original title. As Gasparri wrote privately to Sheptytsky, as to his auxiliary's titular see "nihil innovetur". Most of his battles fought and lost, Botsian died, broken-hearted in 1926.

Not to be outdone by exaggerated nationalism, Pius XI blessed a project which came to be known as the Neo Unia. Polish church and lay notables had been suggesting that Eastern Catholicism was being used as a tool for Ukrainian nationalism. The Neo Unia sought to internationalize the mission in Volyn by conceding it to the Jesuits, thus attempting to separate religious and national-political issues. The Neo Unia, however, ended in failure. More successful was the mission of the Eastern-Rite Redemptorists in Volyn, initiated in 1926, the year of Bishop Botsian’s death. Five years later, their superior, Mykola Charnetsky, was named bishop and apostolic visitor to Byzantine-Rite faithful of the region. When Poland was occupied in 1939, Metropolitan Sheptytsky once again used his special powers to name Charnetysky exarch of Volyn, but the latter was never permitted to exercise that mission. After the Soviets retook Eastern Galicia, he and his fellow Greek-Catholic bishops were arrested, most dying in exile. After serving time in the gulag, Bishop Charnetysky was permitted to return to Lviv where he died in 1959. That same year, a priest who had been ordained by Bishop Botsian, Redemptorist Vasyl Velychkovsky, was clandestinely named exarch of Lutsk by Sheptytsky’s sucessor, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj. Slypyj was not able to ordain Velychkovsky a bishop until 1963, when both met briefly in a Moscow hotel, just before Slipyj was to be exiled from the Soviet Union. Velychkovsky had already shared Slipyj’s fate of prison and torture and would follow him into exile in 1972. Both Bishops Charnetsky and his sucessor Velychkovsky were beatified by the Servant of God John Paul II in 2001.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Latin Church structure in Lutsk was restored and began to flourish. Unfortunately, the local Greek-Catholic community was not able to organize itself at the same level. The establishment of the archiepiscopal exarchate is a highly historic move, as it is the first time since 1828 that the Apostolic See has been free to confirm a Greek-Catholic primate’s nomination of a bishop for Volyn. Being a missionary diocese, an exarchate is a first step to the long-awaited restoration of the ancient Ukrainian Catholic bishopric of Lutsk.

Holiness Amidst Politics

The Social Virtues of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky

Published in Progress Ukrainian Catholic News, no.3/2108, (11 February 2007), p. 10, 12.

In our time, historians are generally in agreement as to the positive qualities of Metropolitan-Archbishop Andrei Sheptytsky. During his lifetime, his holiness and virtue were spoken of by lay and church leaders, and many considered him a hero and father of his nation. Nonetheless, his beatification process has been inordinately delayed, partially due to political considerations. I believe that Sheptytsky’s holiness is found, if not principally, then at least prominently in his political action.
Most of us have been brought up believing the axiom that religion and politics do not mix. This axiom was invented by non-believers who wanted to eliminate religion from the visible life of humanity, relegating it behind closed doors or, as is often said, to the sacristy. But religion is a human right and therefore has a right to be manifested and practiced in freedom, in the public domain. Some point to the fact that, in recent times, the Catholic Church tended to prohibit its clergy from becoming involved in politics. Neither is this true. The Church prohibited the clergy from partisan politics, in which religious and human interests are found on more than one side. Instead, the Church has always encouraged its leaders to become involved in protecting mankind, in speaking in defense of the oppressed and in defending human rights, especially when they are threatened. The Church uses political means for religious and humanitarian ends.

Admittedly, the case of Metropolitan Sheptytsky is a particular one, but then so was the situation in Eastern Europe at the time, especially the situation of the Ukrainian Nation. As in the case of other Eastern European nations, the clergy, the only educated class, became the leaders in the process of national awakening. In an age of socialism and atheism, Metropolitan Sheptytsky wanted the Church to have a voice in the national movement, in order to guide the nation according to Christian principles.

Metropolitan Andrei did not initiate a conflict, nor did he sustain it or foment it. The neighbouring Polish and Ukrainian Nations had been in conflict for several centuries. From 1772-1795, Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The Austrian sector (named Galicia) was made-up of approximately half Polish and half Ukrainian; the Poles mainly in the West and Ukrainians in the East. With the awakening of ethnic self-consciousness rise of nationalism, the nations within multi-national states, such as Austria and Russia, began to seek own political self-determination, autonomy and even independence. Such was the case in Galicia where Poles and Ukrainians vied for control of the region.

Both nations, in some way, had been deprived of their intellectual and national elites. Thus, the clergy, as the keepers of the national consciousness, were very involved in politics. This was more so true of the Metropolitan of Lviv, who was the highest moral and even political authority in Ukrainian Galicia. Today, we would say that the clergy were fulfilling their role as guarentors of human rights and promoters of freedom and justice for their oppressed peoples. Sometimes, however, their involvement in politics became extreme and discriminatory, especially when the success of the other nation was perceived as a threat to their own. With the Polish Church being Latin and the Ukrainian Byzantine, the conflict of nations spilled over into a conflict between Churches. Even though both Churches were Catholic, they looked upon each other as opponents.

After the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, in October-November 1918, Poles and Ukrainians attempted to establish their own governments in Galicia. Polish leaders wanted to re-unite all of Galicia with the other Polish lands to re-create their former state. Ukrainians wanted to unite only Eastern Galicia with Russian Ukraine and create a new state. A terrible war ensued in which Catholic clergy on both sides became involved. Both Polish and Ukrainian armies sought to punish the clergy for their national involvement. The principle religious leaders exchanged harsh words and even accusations that each side had not done enough to mitigate their nation’s forces, especially in the harm inflicted upon the Churches. In the end, the superior military forces of the Poles conquered. Eastern Galicia was placed, at first in trust, and then permanently under Poland in 1923. The antagonism between the nations continued inside the Polish State until the arrival of the horrors of the Second World War.

Chauvinism blinds reason and equity. In supporting his people’s cause, indirectly, Sheptytsky came into conflict with the Polish cause, but not because he opposed that cause, in principle. In accusing Sheptytsky of political intrigue, his opponents were projecting their own mind-set and methods upon him. The underlying error in their accusations was that they did not accept that the Ukrainian people (and Church) deserved equal rights. Sheptytsky fought for this and thus earned their anger. Without exception, his foes also opposed Ukraine. On the other hand, Sheptytsky did not oppose Poland but neither did he oppose Ukrainian goals. In point of fact, the Metropolitan’s opponents expected that he should have opposed his own nation for their sake.

Both the Supreme Council of League of Nations and the Holy See was extremely concerned that Poland’s excessive territorial ambitions would turn all of her neighbours against her, endangering her very existence. Along with international political and religious leaders, Sheptytsky opposed the excessive claims of Poland, because they came into conflict with the well being, not only of his own nation, but also that of the entire region and even of Poland itself. The future Pope Pius XI, Archbishop Achille Ratti, then Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, observed that national sensitivity caused the Poles to view any criticism as motivated by hatred or opposition to their nation. In fact, this criticism was for Poland’s benefit. To reassure but also to correct them, Pope Benedict XV wrote to the Polish bishops that “Our love and our towards your nation, beloved children and venerable brothers, has but a single limitation, that laid down by duty and by justice.”

While Sheptytsky’s enemies attacked him personally, the Servant of God refrained from personal criticisms. Sometimes he had to defend himself but his correspondence is remarkably free of any acrimony towards his opponents, which he never mentions by name Yet, the Metropolitan was not alone in speaking in his defense. Significant correspondence regarding Andrei Sheptytsky’s virtues may be found in the Vatican Archives, some of which I reproduce here, in translation:

On July 25, 1919, Ukrainian envoy, Prince Jan de Tokary Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz wrote to the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church: “M[onsi]g[no]r. Sheptytsky is not only a Ukrainian national hero, he is the propagator of our faith, the most fervent promoter of the Church.”

Concerned for his well-being during the Polish occupation, on March 13, 1920, the same Oriental Congregation wrote, in its instructions to Father Genocchi, Apostolic Visitator to Ukraine: “ The Visitator will seek to inform the Holy See precisely as to the conditions in which that most worthy Prelate, whose attachment to the Holy See is beyond doubt, finds himself.”

Upon learning of the Appointment of an Apostolic Visitator, on March 15, 1920, Sheptytsky wrote to the head of Oriental Congregation: “Above all, I want to assure Your Eminence that we will not conceal anything from the Apostolic Visitator. Our defects, our faults, our sins, everything will be revealed to him. I also hope that he will find good qualities and virtues, which the evils of the war and the humiliations of these past years have perhaps increased. In any case, he will see that we all want to be good Catholics and devoted children of His Holiness.” These are not the words of a partisan politician or of one with hatred in his heart, but of a humble saint.

In 1907, Pope Pius X had given Sheptytsky secret extraordinary faculties for the Russian Empire. With them, Sheptytsky attempted to work towards church union in Russia. This too caused a conflict with the Polish missionaries, who wanted to convert the Orthodox (and even the Eastern Catholics) to the Latin Church. Their lobbying caused Pope Benedict XV to suspend these special faculties indefinitely. When this decision was communicated to the Metropolitan, he replied, on July 18, 1919: “In all matters, I freely submit to the decision of the Holy Apostolic See; in all things I gladly obey.” Later, the faculties were restored, after Sheptytsky had the opportunity to present his case to the Pope, in person, and furnish prove of the secret faculties which had been accorded by Benedict’s holy predecessor.

Reporting to Monsignor Benedetti of the Oriental Congregation, on November 27, 1921, Apostolic Visitator Giovanni Genocchi wrote the following description of the Metropolitan’s person: “In the intimacy of conversation, I could clearly see what a holy soul he is and that he had no other guiding motivation, except than the charity of J[esus] Christ. His judgments are very rare that proceed from excessive enthusiasm or optimism. He sees important questions well and clearly and submits like a child, not being attached to his own opinion. He is also extremely patient, like a martyr. One needs to keep him in long conversations and ask him about everything. There is much to learn from him.”

Metropolitan Sheptytsky was a holy man, precisely because he did not avoid politics. Like the Church itself, he made use of political means for religious ends and for the promotion of human rights and values, especially for the promotion of the Catholic Faith in Ukraine and Russia. A more compromising stance would have been much easier but not morally responsible, being himself the highest moral authority of his nation.
Andrei Sheptytsky died on November 1, 1944. The Cause for his beatification was introduced in 1958 but it soon encountered opposition. Since the fall of Communism and the independence of both Poland and Ukraine, old political and nationalist antagonisms have faded. In recent years, not only Ukrainians, but also Poles, historians and churchmen alike have expressed their appreciation of Sheptytsky’s profound wisdom and holiness. In 2001, in Lviv, the capital of old Galicia and the city most disputed between Poles and Ukrainians, the greatest Pole in history, the Servant of God John Paul II, expressed his desire to see Andrei Sheptytsky beatified. We pray that Divine Providence fulfills this wish through his worthy successor in the Papacy.