Thursday, 2 March 2023

75th Anniversary of Edmonton and Toronto Eparchies

The 3rd of March marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Edmonton and Toronto Eparchies (formerly designated exarchates). On 3 March 1948, the Apostolic See of Rome divided the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishopric for Canada into three, creating Apostolic Exarchates of Western Canada (Edmonton), Central Canada (Winnipeg), and Eastern Canada (Toronto). 

From the outset, when the Ukrainian (Greek-) Catholic Church in Canada (UGCC) was canonically established in July 1912, it was understood that the task of shepherding a flock spread in settlements across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, would be too onerous for a single bishop. Bishop Nykyta Budka was based in Winnipeg, which then had the largest Ukrainian population. He requested an auxiliary bishop in 1914, 1916, 1923, and 1927, but was repeatedly refused. When his health finally broke down, the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Andrea Cassulo, recommended that at least one more bishop be named and the territory divided between 2 or three jurisdictions with additional bases in the west and east of the country. In 1928, Rome decided to replace the exhausted and bankrupt Budka with two younger men, an ordinary and an auxiliary, but only one could be prevailed upon to accept. After three years of constant travels across the vast dominion, in December 1933, Bishop Vasyliy Ladyka requested that his ordinariate be divided, with additional bishops in Edmonton and Toronto. Cassulo seconded this request but, in the meantime, Pope Pius XI decided that Ladyka was to appoint a Vicar General for Eastern Canada. The impoverished UGCC in Canada was unable to support itself and a second bishopric would be too costly. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Villeneuve, has offered to support a Ladyka’s Vicar General in his diocese.

By the onset of the Second World War, the Ukrainian Catholic population in Canada had almost doubled reaching 300,000. Ladyka’s health was also deteriorating and an auxiliary bishop had become necessary. But the candidates presented were found wanting and Pope Pius XII asked for additional names to be added. The new Apostolic Delegate, Idelbrando Antoniutti, began collecting testimonials on various candidates but the War disbarred those residing in Europe. Antoniutti turned to the Basilians and the Redemptorists, asking their general councils to provide a list. The Basilians submitted 3 names, while the Redemptorists declined for lack of a suitable candidate. 

After submitting a terna of two Basilians and one secular priest, on 29 March 1943, the cardinals of the Oriental Congregation settled upon the candidacy of Basilian hieromonk Nil Savaryn. Born in Austrian Galicia (Western Ukraine) in 1905, Savaryn was reared in a  a pious family of farmers. He had entered the Basilian Order in 1922 and was ordained a priest in 1931. The following year, he volunteered for service in Canada, where the Order was asked to expand its mission under a newly appointed Bishop Ladyka, himself a Basilian.

In 1932, Basilian mission in Canada was raised the status of an autonomous province of the Order with its own provincial superior.  Henceforth, Canadian monks would no longer be sent to Europe but train inhouse at the Mundare Monastery. For this purpose, additional priests were recruited from Galicia to serve as teachers of philosophy and theology. As Nil Savaryn had excelled in his studies, he enlisted as one of those recruits, boarding the Cunard ship Ausonia bound for Canada in September 1932.  

During his decade service at the Mundare Monastery, Savaryn became renowned for his piety and was well liked as a professor by the fledgeling monks. In addition to teaching, he served a number of churches in the surrounding area. On the negative side he was sometimes given to melencholy, timid and reluctant to take counsel with others, preferring to write and be alone. As a result, his English conversational skills were poor. In 1938, he was appointed superior of the monastery by the Provincial Superior and pioneer missionary Navkratiy (Naucratius) Kryzhanovsky. 

Bishop Ladyka considered Savaryn worthy but gave preference to another Basilian, Father Mykola Kohut, but the latter was deemed to be too young. The Basilian General Curia in Rome as well as Apostolic Delegate Antoniutti indicated Savaryn as the principal candidate. After a lively discussion of all the options, the Cardinals who were members of the Eastern Congregation unanimously proposed Savaryn to the Pope.

The Pope accepted the cardinal’s choice and appointed Father Nil Savaryn as auxiliary bishop of Ladyka on 3 April 1943. He was informed by the Apostolic Delegate of his appointment on 23 April and telegraphed his acceptance to Ottawa. The new bishop also wrote a personal letter thanking the Pope on 11 August but, as Rome was under Nazi occupation, the letter did not reach the Vatican until 7 months later. Bishop Nil’s consecration took place in Toronto on 1 July 1943 but, since the local Saint Josaphat’s Church was too small, the ceremony was held at Saint Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, so that a large number of faithful could attend.

The number of churches and missions had increased in the 1940s along with a new generation of homegrown religious vocations. The UGCC enjoyed greater financial stability due to aid from the Roman Catholic Church and its charitable organizations, and with its own faithful becoming more established. Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers of Christian Schools established schools, academies, and hospitals. And the children of the first immigrants began to take their place in the Ukrainian community and in Canadian society. They were instrumental in the foundation of organizations such as the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League, Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood, Ukrainian Catholic Youth, and other organizations and institutions. From a missionary entity, the Ukrainian Catholic had matured into an established national community.

Bishop Savaryn had had to move to Winnipeg in 1943 and the problem of the lack of command centres in the west and east of the country remained unresolved. Bishop Ladyka became ill again in 1945 and, following the war, a large influx of Ukrainian refugees swelled the ranks of the UGCC faithful. Rome began to ask Bishop Ladyka in Canada and Bishop Bohachevsky in USA to accept large numbers of refugee clergy. The increased number priests, faithful, and organizations, coupled with the great distances that the two bishops were required to travel, warranted a new arrangement. 

To inspect the terrain, the head of the Oriental Congregation, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, made a trip to USA and Canada in the spring of 1947. Based on his first-hand observations, together with the views of Canadian Catholic bishops (who told him that Ukrainians formed almost half of the Catholic population), on 19 July Tisserant asked Archbishop Antoniutti to lay out a detailed plan for the division of the Ordinariate into three apostolic exarchates. Ladyka was to remain in Winnipeg and continue to serve the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. But two candidates were required to become bishops in Edmonton (serving Alberta and British Columbia) and Toronto (serving Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes). 

Ladyka’s auxiliary, Bishop Savaryn, war earmarked for the west, where 33 out of 34 priests belonged to his own Basilian Order. Having served in the Mundare district, before becoming a bishop, he was very familiar with the Ukrainian community in Alberta. For five years, he had faithfully carried out his duties as auxiliary bishop, was beloved of the faithful and respected by the clergy and hierarchy. Gerald Murray, Coadjutor-Archbishop of Winnipeg, considered him to be one of most edifying churchmen that he had he ever met. 

The parish priest of Saint Josaphat’s Church in Toronto, Father Isidore Boretsky, was chosen for Eastern Canada. And as a new auxiliary to Ladyka, who was too frail to manage alone, Father Andrew Roborecky, also from Toronto, was listed. Apostolic Delegate Antoniutti submitted a map with the proposed division and Pius XII approved the creation of the exarchates on 19 January 1948. Savaryn and Boretsky were asked whether they would accept their appointments. However, Roborecky had not been universally recommended and the Pope ordered a further investigation into his suitability. Antoniutti asked that the announcement of all the appointments be made at the same time, so the canonical creation of the new exarchates had to be delayed until the appointment of Ladyka’s auxiliary was finalized. After all three candidates had indicated their acceptance, the Oriental Congregation issued a decree, on 3 March 1948, creating three apostolic exarchates for Western, Central, and Eastern Canada, naming Savaryn, Ladyka, and Boretsky as Apostolic Exarchs, and Roboretsky as auxiliary to Ladyka.

Cardinal James McGuigan (the de-facto primate of English-speaking Catholics in Canada) was deputized to install Bishop Savaryn as Exarch of Western Canada. The ceremony The ceremony took place on 13 April 1948 at Saint Josaphat’s in Edmonton, which was designated as the Western Exarchate’s new cathedral church. In attendance were 27 eparchial priests, 6 archbishops, 19 bishops (one from Africa, one from China and from Japan), 1 Abbot-nullius, 140 priests, and Sisters from various orders. McGuigan performed the act of enthronement, Bishop Ladyka preached Ukrainian, Archbishop MacDonald of Edmonton preached in English. 120 clergymen attended a luncheon at the MacDonald Hotel, and a reception for 400 parish and organizations representatives was held at the same venue, in the evening. Basilian Provincial Superior, Father Benjamin Baranyk, read the papal bull in Latin, Father Nestor Drohomyretsky read a Ukrainian translation of it, and Father Hryhoriychuk an English version. Ukrainian Catholic clergy attended from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even Ontario. 

Fathers Boretsky and Roboretsky were consecrated bishops on 27 May 1948 at Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. Cardinal McGuigan also issued a pastoral letter Canadian Catholics about the division, dated 6 May. In this letter, he affirmed that the migration of Ukrainians to North America had had a profound significance on the Catholic Church for having brought the Byzantine Rite to the new world. The cardinal contrasted the flourishing Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada with the persecuted Church in behind the Iron Curtain, noting that, among the imprisoned clergy was the first Ukrainian bishop of Canada, Nykyta Budka. McGuigan concluded that the Russian Orthodox Church had become an instrument of the Communist dictatorship in persecuting and absorbing Greek-Catholics into their ranks.

The division into three exarchates was a step towards a more definitive ecclesial structure. On 17 June 1948, the four bishops held their first joint assembly and petitioned the Apostolic See to expedite the process and raise the status of the Church an ecclesiastical province headed by a metropolitan. But Cardinal Tisserant felt this was premature and Ladyka was granted instead the personal honour of titular Archbishop.

As the elder among the new exarchs, it was assumed by many that Nil Savaryn would one day succeed Ladyka. A plan to appoint him administrator of the Winnipeg Exarchate was rejected by Rome and, in his stead, in 1951, Redemptorist Father Maxim Hermaniuk was named Ladyka’s auxiliary, while Bishop Roboretsky was transferred to Saskatoon to head an exarchate for the Province of Saskatchewan. In 1956, the exarchates were raised to the status of eparchies and Hermaniuk was named the first Metropolitan. 

Hermaniuk, Savaryn, Boretsky and Roboretsky all served as “Fathers” of the Second Vatican Council. Although, Hermaniuk was most involved in its preparation and work, Savaryn made a significant number of interventions during the Council sessions: three on the Blessed Virgin Mary, three on the Eastern Catholic Churches, four on the office of bishops in the Church, and eleven proposals concerning religious orders. In his observations which the Vatican had elicited before the opening of the Council, in 1959, Savaryn touched on the problem of the Church calendar and feast days that were working days for the faithful.

Nil Savaryn served as exarch and later eparch of Edmonton until his death on 8 January 1986. After the release of Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi from the Soviet Gulag, Savaryn strongly supported him in his quest for a Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchate. During the last two years, the eparchy was administered by his successor, Bishop Demetrius Martin Greschuk.

Saturday, 21 January 2023

William Godfrey: Remembering a Forgotten Shepherd

It is not true that William Godfrey has been forgotten, for we are remembering him. Christians are an historical people, in that our faith is firmly rooted in the memory of God’s salvation wrought in human history. The Communion of Saints is the celebration of those who have reposed yet remain with us by Grace and through their enduring inheritance. 

     But it is true that professional historians have relegated Godfrey to oblivion. Comparing him to other Westminster Archbishops, Michael Walsh noted: “No one has ever written a biography of Cardinal William Godfrey, and it is highly unlikely that anyone ever will.” The public is dazzled by clamorous deeds, but Godfrey’s life and service was, for the greeter part, lived out of the public eye. He gave none of his time to writing memoires and much of his service to others remained unknown, obscured by a veil of discretion.

     William Godfrey was beloved by the good and the needy, but he did not cut an attractive figure to fashionable, progressively minded sophisticates. He was a cautious comforter who spoke in the wartime cadence of sacrifice for the greater good, which the emerging Cool Britannia found inconvenient and even incomprehensible.

The impact of a person on history is judged by their whole life and not by particular episodes or periods. William Godfrey’s generous service spanned four decades, and with the opening of Vatican archival sources up to 1958, a greater portion of his robust activity can now be rescued from oblivion. Thus, this kind shepherd shall be restored to a proper place in history.  

For this occasion, it is necessary to select aspects of Godfrey’s ministry that have remained obscured, and to pass over many of his better-known achievements. While we will omit the first half of his life, it is important to mark certain qualities, already evident as a young man, which led to success in later endeavours. 

From his seminary days, we learn that William was a brilliant student but also one who was very human. He was musical, a wonderful mimic and storyteller but also a patient listener. He was popular among his peers yet reserved. As a professor, he was strict on principles but showed understanding to the many seminarians who sought his spiritual counsel. He was true, and thus deeply trusted by peers and students alike. 

Serving as a mentor to future shepherds, his personal qualities also recommended him to diplomatic missions, the most important of which was Apostolic Delegate in Great Britain, the first papal representative in the realm since the Reformation. In 1938, rising tensions in Europe necessitated a direct channel of communication between the Holy See and His Britannic Majesty’s Government, a role for which, by his personality and Roman experience, Godfrey was aptly suited. 

London sent Osborne to Rome not because he was a powerful man but because he was a delightful man.” This was a description of Francis D’Arcy Osborne, British Minister to the Holy See, but it is equally apt to describe Willian Godfrey and hints at why he was chosen to be Apostolic Delegate in London. His delightful character enabled him to establish lasting contacts among people of all classes, with diplomats who called upon him frequently, and with the most notable in British political and ecclesiastical life. 

As Derek Worlock later wrote, he possessed “great noblesse of spirit in counting among his friends from all walks of life, from dukes to sacristans and college servants, and even his critics remained his friends.” He was sensitive but had deep spiritual life and exuded serenity, even when everyone around him was in turmoil. He communicated warm and charitable ‘humanity’ and gentle fatherliness. Gerald Patrick O’Hara, who succeeded him as papal delegate, wrote: “It can be said that he, with his exemplary piety and correctness, placed the Pontifical Representation at the centre of Catholic life.” 

Godfrey fulfilled the instructions received from Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli in the autumn of 1938: “Make sure to be encompassed by such a degree of consideration that those sentiments will always endure.” Although apostolic delegates are not accredited diplomats, HM Government trusted this discreet Englishman in confidential matters. The guest list of a private reception, given for him in 1942, read like a who’s who of British political and ecclesiastical life. As a result, his successor was welcomed like an ambassador by the Foreign Office, with a luncheon in the Commons and a private reception in the speaker’s chambers, the Prime Minister being in attendance. 

            The Government’s openness was not mirrored, at first, by the insular Catholic hierarchy, which had not been consulted on the appointment. In the early years, Godfrey had many occasions to experience the Johannine words, which he prayed each day at the end of Mass: In proprio venit, et sui eum non receperunt. But his kindness and diplomacy melted all reserve, and Godfrey quickly developed cordial, even close relationships with the bishops, especially his two immediate predecessors at Westminster, Arthur Hinsley and Bernard Griffin. At the height of London’s wartime suffering, Cardinal Hinsley wrote: 

Your coming to us as Apostolic Delegate was a great consolation to me and a source of strength. I knew that in you I have a friend always ready to give me sympathy and help in all difficulties and trials. Let me thank you very heartily for your support and ready assistance.

The future Pius XII had instructed Archbishop Godfrey to maintain the least possible publicity as Apostolic Delegate. John Heenan accorded Godfrey faint praise in suggesting that he had “little impact in his robust years because as a diplomat he knew to keep silence.” On the contrary, now that Vatican files have been opened, we must correct Cardinal Heenan by affirming that: in his robust years, he had a great impact because he knew to keep silence.

Surprisingly, Godfrey made significant inroads in inter-church relations, which were, then, still proto-ecumenical in the Catholic Church. Godfrey’s ecumenism took the form of irenic social relations with Anglicans and Orthodox. He corresponded warmly with prelates such as Cosmo Lang, William Temple, George Bell, and at their request interceded for Orthodox prelates and Anglican chaplains interned in Axis-held territories. He met with them, informally, mainly at the Athenaeum, of which he became a member with the strong support of the Anglican primates. 

On Good Friday 1944, during the German occupation of Rome, Archbishop Temple wrote a letter of solidarity to Pius XII which the besieged pontiff appreciated and acknowledged, through Godfrey, who wrote the following to the Anglican Primate: 

I wish to tell you how deeply I appreciate the words which you were moved to write to me on the day which is so sacred and held in such grateful remembrance by all who love and follow Our Lord.

At the behest of the Dean of Westminster, Godfrey asked Cardinal Mercati, head of the Vatican Library, to initiate a search for the lost crucifix of Saint Edward the Confessor, which had been discovered during preparations for the coronation of James II, and subsequently given to the Pope by the Old Pretender. Although the quest proved fruitless, the Dean was very much indebted to Godfrey for having intervened.

The Apostolic Delegate also succeeded in helping several Anglo-Papalists to fulfil their spiritual quest. Sadly, the conviviality of the previous two decades cooled in the early the 1950s, when a shrill Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher became defensive, perhaps because the Catholic population was increasing while Anglican churchgoing was decreasing. Relations began to thaw after Fisher’s visit to Pope John XXIII, and they blossomed under his successor, spiritual giant Michael Ramsey.

As a result of William Godfrey’s noble diplomacy, the British Sovereign and the Roman Pontiff began addressing each other, for the first time in four centuries, through regular diplomatic channels. In 1956, the Queen sent an official delegation and formal letters to Pius XII on his 80th birthday and, the same year, started receiving the Apostolic Delegate at her reception for diplomats. In May 1959, Godfrey became the first English cardinal since Reginald Pole to be invited to dine with the Sovereign and was the first Archbishop of Westminster to have an official representative of the Monarch at his funeral. Nevertheless, his efforts to raise the apostolic delegation to the rank of inter-nunciature floundered on the reluctance of Catholic notables to press the issue, fearing a negative reaction from Canterbury.

William Godfrey also engaged with Orthodox Christians. After the First World War, Representatives of various Ukrainian factions established bases in London, one of which was Pavlo Skoropadsky’s Hetman Movement. Skoropadsky had been installed as Ukrainian head of state in 1918, by the occupying Austro-Germans. After the war, he set up in Berlin, but by the end of the 1930s he perceived that his strongest support came from Ukrainians in democratic Canada and the USA. As a result, the Hetman sent Danylo, his son and heir, to study in England.

Danylo’s avuncular advisor, Vladimir de Korostovetz, began a cordial correspondence with the Apostolic Delegate, thoroughly informing him about Ukrainians and their ongoing quest for self-determination. By January 1947, when Bishop Ivan Buchko came as Apostolic Visitor to establish the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church canonically, Godfrey surprized him with his knowledge of Ukrainian affairs.

Archbishop Godfrey furnished letters of commendation to representatives from Canada en route to the Continent to repatriate hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians, 30,000 of which arrived in Britain by 1949. The good Archbishop cared for and followed the progress of the fledgeling Ukrainian Catholic mission. He informed local ordinaries of the presence and spiritual needs of the new arrivals. He wrote to civil and military authorities to facilitate pastoral visitations to POW and refugee camps, and helped overcome bureaucratic obstacles so that Ukrainians could receive the ministration of their own clergy. He advocated for and acted as mediator between the missionaries and the local Latin Rite hierarchy. He petitioned the Holy See for spiritual and material assistance, and liaised with other nuncios to find lodgings and scholarships for Ukrainian university students. 

At the end of 1948, Godfrey made use of Government contacts to block the deportation of 300 Ukrainians, who were too infirm to accept regular employment. In reply to hearty thanks from the president of Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, he replied: “It was not only a satisfaction but an honour to me to be of any service whatever to your good and sorely tried fellow-countrymen.”

Others have written on William Godfrey’s short term as Archbishop of Westminster. I shall confine my remarks to his role as Apostolic Exarch for Byzantine-Rite Ukrainians (and Belarusians to 1960), which he accepted a few months after coming here to Archbishop’s House.

Commenting on Godfrey’s enthronement as Exarch at the little church in Saffron Hill, named for Saint Theodore of Tarsus, onetime Archbishop of Canterbury, Apostolic Visitor Buchko commented: 

That solemnity will be surely be noted in the pages of history, not only of the Ukrainian Catholic Church but also those of the Universal Church, during which unity and universality were magnificently resplendent upon English shores.

         Unity and Universality, essential marks of Christ’s Church, is the reason why William Godfrey accepted this responsibility. The presence of Eastern Churches is not a luxury. It is an essential witness that the Universal Catholic Church is, by its very nature, a communion of particular Churches with their own law, spirituality, and distinct ritual traditions. Due to historical circumstances, the Latin Church became predominant around the world. Migrants did not have access to their own clergy and were forced to adhere to the Rite of their new land. Seeking to preserve and foster unity and faced with mass migration, the Universal Church discerned the necessity to preserve the Eastern Catholic Churches outside of their home territories.

But the Universal teaching was often perceived as burdensome or superfluous by local churches, as Cardinal Griffin wrote to Archbishop Godfrey in 1946: “An attempt was made during the time of my predecessors to send a priest of the Byzantine Rite to this country to set up a centre, and they strongly resisted.” Griffin also resisted, at first, but the Apostolic See was determined to protect Ukrainians and help them form a strong community in exile which, one day, would aid in the restoration of the Mother Church, after the defeat of the totalitarian regime imposed by Moscow. 

National and cultural assimilation is an inevitable process, but religious and ritual assimilation are not and, as Griffin himself declared in The Catholic Herald, in 1948: Any attempt to integrate Ukrainians “would be one of defiance to the policy of the Holy See, which has ever demanded the fullest respect of all Catholics for the venerable Eastern rites.”

By the 1950s, Ukrainian Catholics demonstrated, not only that they had not been assimilated, but that they were preparing a new generation of British-born faithful and priests. This necessitated a permanent structure, and the universal ministry of the Roman Pontiff established Apostolic Exarchates in western Europe. 

The first was to be in Britain, where the Ukrainian community had achieved a greater stability. Accordingly, the British hierarchy were consulted but felt that the structure was best managed within their Latin dioceses. They did not realize that they lacked the necessary knowledge and experience to properly govern an Ecclesia sui iuris that, although in full communion, was entirely distinct from their own. The Congregation for the Eastern Churches resolved the impasse by offering the position of Exarch to Cardinal Griffin, who accepted but died before the plan could be put into practice. The post was next offered to his successor. And this was providential for, among Roman Catholic churchmen in Britain, Archbishop Godfrey knew best and sympathized most with Ukrainians.

In accepting, William Godfrey understood that he was to provide the Exarchate with a good start and to prepare for a native successor. Until such time, he administered the Exarchate through a vicar general, he met with his Ukrainian clergy and community lay leaders and advocated to Rome for more priests. The Exarch visited Ukrainian churches in Wolverhampton, Bedford, Nottingham, blessed the campaign to build or acquire a cathedral, and donated generously toward this project and for a church in Coventry. During a visit to Saffron Hill, he remarked:

This building which is your church is small, but your hearts are great. You cleave so tenaciously to your national traditions, yet above all you remain so loyal to the Holy Catholic Church. It is a privilege to be associated as Exarch with people who have borne the heavy trial of exile and persecution.

Exarch Godfrey took steps to clarify discrepancies between his Latin and Byzantine clergy. The Exarchate was given its own listing in the Catholic Directory, distinct from ethnic chaplaincies of the Latin Rite. In June 1959, he issued a pamphlet entitled “Regulations of Canon Law Regarding Different Rites.” This practical guide explained that Eastern faithful could not change rites by attending a Latin Church. Catholic schools were reminded that Eastern children had received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Baptism. When our Society of St. John Chrysostom was brought back to life in 1959, the Cardinal and Exarch agreed, for himself and his successors, to be our patron. 

Three months before his death, Godfrey wrote a dedication in a prayerbook for a priest freshly ordained at his hands, that concluded with the following words: Senex puerum portabat: puer autem senem regebat. The old man carried the child, but it was the child that led the old man. From the Office of the Purification, the verse recalls Simeon bearing the infant in his arms. Yet it was the Christ-Child who was leading the old man to fulfilment.

In this inscription, William Godfrey was identifying who he was: Despite later honours, he was first and foremost a priest, a humble servant of those in need. That verse also summarizes his role as Exarch. He accepted the burden to bring the fledgeling Ukrainian diocese into being and to protect its first steps. And within a short time, he handed it on to the next generation, just as he passed the torch, symbolically, to the young levite he had consecrated.

       Cardinal Godfrey's final act of discretion was to keep secret his last illness, so as not to distract from the vital work of the Second Vatican Council. As he lay dying, Archbishop Michael Ramsey set out to bid him farewell but, arriving too late, was the first person to offer condolences.

       Five-thousand faithful came to honour and remember William Godfrey at the Cathedral where he spent many hours in prayer and present among his flock. There too, his Ukrainian auxiliary and soon-to-be the new Exarch, Bishop Augustine Hornyak, led the panakhyda office for the dead. This prompted an article in The Times entitled, “Two Dirges for Cardinal.” We have prayed that requiem again today, sixty years on, concluding with the very same prayer: O Saviour, make his memory endure forever.

Bishop Hornyak, Cardinal Exarch Godfrey, Archbishop Buchko, December 1961

Given at the tomb of Cardinal Godfrey 
in the crypt of Westminster Cathedral, 21 January 2023.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Coventry Ukrainian Catholic Church at 60

Timeline by Bohdan Mandziuk
It has been a very traumatic year for Ukrainians worldwide. A number of celebratory events had to be postponed after Russia’s war in Ukraine intensified, in February. Communities and organizations across the globe focused on aid to Ukraine and welcoming refugees. Some were still able to commemorate significant milestones in their histories. A stained-glass window remembering Ukrainian-Canadian servicemen and women in Britain was hallowed at St. James's, Sussex Gardens, in London, on 8 May 2022. As well, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bradford marked their 70th anniversary. Today, I discovered that St. Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Coventry is also marking their  60th on Sunday, 31 July. As a tribute to my dear friends from that community, I thought to compose a brief history of this church, taken mainly from my manuscript of the History of UGCC in Britain “This Family in Exile”, which is currently in editing.

Following the Second World War, 30,000 Ukrainian Displaced Persons immigrated to the United Kingdom and were settled in 500 towns, cities, refugee and workers' camps across the country. About two-thirds were Greek-Catholics from Western Ukraine (Galicia). Church authorities dispatched missionary clergy to serve the scattered flock and Bishop Ivan Buchko (Archbishop from 1953) was given jurisdiction over them, as well as all Ukrainian DPs in Europe.

As the refugees were scattered in hundreds of settlements, the clergy had to set up missionary bases, from which they could travel to the surrounding settlements. Six pastoral zones were established at the end of 1947, each served by two priests. They were re-divided into seven zones in May 1949. At first, Coventry was served from Ely because a larger number of refugees were located in camps and hostels in Cambridgeshire. The first priest to serve that area was Father Josaphat Jean. In a letter to Archbishop Godfrey of 22 August 1947, he mentioned Coventry among the places where the faithful were located. Jean was assisted by Father Modeste Gnesko, in the Summer of 1948, and then by Father Petro Diachyshyn, who visited Coventry and 26 camps and hostels, from March to April 1949.

With the arrival of more clergy, the pastoral zones were modified again in August 1949. Father Emanuil Korduba was transferred to Coventry, which was quickly becoming a Ukrainian centre. He was given charge over Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. Korduba was assisted by Father Yuriy Spolitakevych. When hostels in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex were closed, two priests were no longer needed in the area. In September 1950, Korduba was transferred to Manchester. Spolitakevych and Diachyshyn volunteered for a mission in Australia, and newly-ordained Father Mykola Matychak was sent to Coventry in January 1952. Matychak changed his base to Wolverhampton in 1953 and was assisted in Coventry by Father Petro Lisovsky. In November 1954, Father Stefan Vivcharuk, who had been serving in Paris, took over the Coventry pastoral zone but made his base in Birmingham. Four years later, some of his territory was included in a new Bedford pastorate, assigned to Father Ivan Hasiak. For three months in 1959, Father Alexander Baran assisted Vivcharuk while waiting to emigrate to Canada. Father Volodymyr Dzioba replaced Vivcharuk in December 1962, when the former was appointed chancellor.
Archbishop Buchko, Coventry 1956
In the 1950s and 1960s, Ukrainian religious leaders visited Coventry: Mitrat Malynovsky assisted with Lenten Confessions in March 1951. Archbishop Buchko made a first brief stop to Coventry on 18 July 1952, and a solemn visitation was organized in July 1956. After the formation of the Apostolic Exarchate, the new Vicar General, Paul Maluga, visited and preached a mission from 13 to 16 March 1958. Bishop Augustine Hornyak visited in 1962, 1965, 1969. Missions for the twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries of UGCC in Britain were preached by Basilian Fathers Maksym Markiv, on 22 May 1967, and by Athanasius Pekar, on 25 November 1972. The most important visit to the congregation occurred on 22 May 1970, when Cardinal Slipyi (known as Patriarch Yosyf from 1975) visited and celebrated the Divine Liturgy.

Ukrainian Catholics in Coventry first worshipped at Christ the King RC church in Coundon. In 1948, Canon Raymond Walsh welcomed them to Saint Elizabeth RC church. After his appointment, the lively Father Vivcharuk began looking for a larger building for worship. In January 1956, he acquired a new domivka: a church residence and national home at 482 Foleshill Road. This building was blessed and opened by Archbishop Buchko in July.
Vivcharuk’s ambitious projects were aided by Vicar General Maluga. At a meeting in February 1961, Maluga told the assembled clergy that they needed to increase collections in order to acquire new church buildings in Nottingham, Coventry, and Bolton. In August of the same year, Cardinal William Godfrey, the first apostolic Exarch for Ukrainians, made a token monetary contribution toward the purchase of a temporary church for Coventry.
In July 1961, Father Vivcharuk acquired land at Broad Street and Stony-Stanton Road complete with an old wooden Methodist hall. The first church house was sold while the Methodist hall was repaired and turned it into a “temporary” church, until the congregation could raise funds to build a new structure. The church, rechristened Saint Volodymyr the Great, was blessed by Bishop Hornyak on in March 1962. At the same time, a mosaic icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour was installed Saint Elizabeth’s, bearing the inscription: “Gift from Ukrainians of Coventry in thanksgiving for use of Church of St. Elizabeth 1948–1962.” A plan to build a new church in the Hutsul style (Vivcharuk was a Hutsul) was never brought to completion.
            In the 1950s, Coventry became one of most vibrant Ukrainian communities in Britain. The Ukrainian Catholic congregation, numbering 700, began to increase as Ukrainians from Wales and Northern England settled in town. In 1953, the first branch of Brotherhood of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) was established by visiting Redemptorist missionary, Bohdan Kurylas. Members of this confraternity undertook to care for the church and clergy residences, and also took part in church singing and carolling. In the 1950s, other chapters were set up in larger centres, such as Edinburgh and Bradford, due to the efforts of energetic pastors. With the arrival of Father Maluga, the brotherhood became active in organizing church events. Coventry OLPS hosted a reception for the parish praznyk of the Protection of the Mother of God, on Sunday, 18 October 1959. During Maluga’s tenure, Coventry was considered one of the most vibrant branches.
Coventry’s other Ukrainian organizations were also very active. Among these were: a male Choir, Verkhovyna, under the direction of Marian Kostiuk (1926-2000), which performed across the country; drama and dance troops; and a Saturday school, with qualified teachers. Kostiuk’s choir sang the responses at a Divine Liturgy on 24 May 1959, at the Ukrainian church in Saffron Hill, London, in the presence of Exarch Godfrey. They also sang at a commemorate concert in Godfrey’s honour, held at Westminster Cathedral Hall. Verkhovyna sang the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Lourdes Grotto of Hednesford Shrine, during the annual Ukrainian pilgrimage in July 1961. Over a thousand Ukrainians attended. On 30 June 1968, the choir led one of the Divine Liturgies during the opening ceremonies of the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile. Kostiuk emigrated to Australia in 1975, where he continued to establish and work with Ukrainian community choirs.

Cardinal Slipyi, Coventry, 22 May 1970

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

A "Canadian Queen" - the Apostolic Delegation in Ottawa reports on Elizabeth II

Translations of reports from Vatican Apostolic Archive, Archive of the Nunciature of Canada fonds.

Idelbrando Antoniutti to Domenico Tardini 

25 February 1952


The British Royal Family and Canada


The death of His Majesty George VI of Great Britain and the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth also had the greatest resonance in this country. It seems superfluous to dwell on the editorials and chronicles that, for a few days, filled the local press, recalling everything that could be of interest to the public, with particular references to the official trips made to Canada by the late King, in 1939, and last October of the new Queen.

Catholic newspapers were not inferior to others in expressing national condolences, while the [Canadian] Episcopate interpreted the sentiments of the faithful in widely circulated public messages. In all Catholic churches, memorial ceremonies were celebrated with a sizable participation of authorities and the people, during which specific speeches were made. The Administrator of Canada [in place of the late Governor General], Hon. T. Rinfret and Prime Minister Hon. St. Laurent, together with various members of the Federal Government, attended the solemn ceremony which took place in the Catholic Cathedral of Ottawa. I [also] attended, accompanied by the staff of this [Apostolic] Delegation.

Alongside these manifestations, a new fact has caught the attention of the public. While in the official documents of the death of George VI, he is called “King of Great Britain, of Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the seas, defender of the faith etc." in the act of proclamation of the new Queen, she is called: “by the grace of God, Queen of this realm and of other realms and territories; head of the Commonwealth [...]" Dominions” have become “kingdoms” and “colonies “territories.”


At the receptions held for the Hon. Winston Churchill, during his recent visit to Canada [...] the Prime Minister, Hon. St-Laurent, always avoided any allusion to “Dominion” and “Empire” in his statements and speeches, always calling Canada by the name of  “Realm,” while the British Prime Minister, Hon. Winston Churchill, recalled significant episodes of the glories of the "Great Dominion" and the historical function of the Empire. All this solemn vocabulary came to an end in the official document of accession to the throne of Elizabeth II. It seems to be the starting point of a new constitutional evolution in the countries of the British Commonwealth, of which Canada is a part, and the decisive influence that this country has had in the modification of the aforementioned terminology is now recognized.


The British, as practical people, understood the need for the new title, in order to continue to maintain the unity of the countries of the Commonweatlh. It is now a question of how the rich and, at the same time, imprecise vocabulary of the British monarchical system will be interpreted. In this regard, it has already been stated that an innovation in speech is acceptable if the appellative “realms” is used to demonstrate the equality that must exist between all the countries of the British Commonwealth. But the same innovation would not be accepted if Britain wanted to use this title to strengthen imperial ties, contrary to the progress already made in the path of national independence of the various countries concerned.


Elizabeth II was here proclaimed Queen of Canada, and Canada, which of all the nations of the British Commonwealth was the first to recognize her as Queen, does not intend to return to its ancient imperial affiliation. This is the main aspect and meaning of the new situation. [...]


Idelbrando Antoniutti to Domenico Tardini 

6 June 1953


Elizabeth II Queen of Canada


I think it opportune to give your Most Reverend Excellency some thoughts on the participation of Canada, and particularly of Canadian Catholics, in the recent events that took place in London, on the occasion of the solemn coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth II is the first “Queen of Canada.” This title, already approved by the Federal Parliament of Ottawa [in February], had the august royal sanction in a document signed in London and personally remitted by the new Sovereign to the Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon. Louis St-Laurent, who took part in the coronation on behalf of the Canadian government and people. [...]


It can be said that this visit consolidated the relations between the British Royal Family and Canada, and also facilitated the choice, for the first time, of a viceroy [Governor General] of Canaadian origin who, in 1952, became the official representative of the Crown in this nation. [Vincent Massey] [...]


The celebrations of this week therefore took on a historical-legal significance in Canada, since not only was the coronation of the new Queen celebrated, but the title given to the young monarch of “Queen of Canada” was publicly proclaimed. Perhaps the people did not follow the meaning of this juridical element, but the press and, even before the press, the authorities could not fail to take the utmost account of it.


It should be recognized that the respectful sympathy of the public towards Elizabeth II and her Family, and the specific title that has now been attributed to her, have everywhere given rise to a series of solemn and enthusiastic demonstrations.


The civil ceremonies had their most solemn expression in Ottawa. On the day of the coronation, impressive military parades were held in this capital, which ended in a public ceremony in Parliament Square, where the Governor General gave an appropriate address, followed by the Queen's Speech broadcast from London.


The ecclesiastical authorities took direct part in all civil ceremonies and also celebrated special religious functions. This [Canadian] Episcopate had indeed enjoined that, in all the churches, a special ceremony would take place to ask for Heaven’s assistance upon the new Sovereign and her subjects. Thus, alongside the commemorative functions held in the cathedrals and in all the parishes, the people felt that they were appropriately called to consider the Christian principles of the authority of the rulers and the dependence of the governed. [...]

Monday, 20 December 2021

Exsul Familia – A Family in Exile

Last August, a 68-year-old document was extracted from decades of dust into the light of the present and republished in Italian by the Vatican press. It was Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution, Exsul Familia Nazarethana, or the Nazarene (Holy) Family in Exile, first issued on 1 August 1952. 

An Apostolic Constitution is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the popes, in the form of a bulla (led-sealed parchment). The background to this was that the Second World War had forced 12.6 million displaced persons (DPs) to seek refuge in various western European countries. Over 3 million of them were Ukrainian. These refugees asked to be ministered to by clergy that spoke their native languages and understood their customs and cultures. Many bishops asked Rome to issue guidelines, the result of which was the first systematic reflection on human migration in the papal magisterium.

Pius XII noted that displaced persons lose much of their security and human dignity, and help up the example of the Holy Family from Nazareth (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) as an example for migrants of every age. The document also outlined the nature and extent of papal charitable works in favour of millions of DPs, during and after the war (from which Ukrainian religious and cultural entities also benefited). It called for greater, more specified pastoral care of refugees, mandating that ethnic, linguistic, and ritual traditions be supported by local Catholic hierarchs. For its extensive substance and provisions, Exsul Familia became known as the magna carta of migration.

The papal charter was also significant for offering a reflection, not merely on the migration of ethnicities, but also of rites. It provided indications on how the powerful Latin Church should deal with the smaller, more vulnerable Particular Churches. Bishoprics established in the twentieth century for Byzantine-Rite Catholics in Canada, USA, Brazil, and even Italy, were cited as examples of papal solicitude. For the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which had been violently suppressed by the Soviets in countries within their “sphere of influence,” this confirmed the pope’s promise to protect it and restore it in the lands of immigration.

The teaching of Exsul Familia was supposed to serve as a buttress against resourceless Eastern Catholics being forced to assimilate to predominant Latin Rite in their countries of refuge. It was also expected that that Eastern-Catholic missionaries would henceforth be given a freer hand by local Latin hierarchs. Surprisingly, the opposite happened. Exsul Familia laid down principals but its implementation had been entrusted to Roman Curial department known as the Consistorial Congregation. The juridical norms issued by that department replaced existing apostolic visitations to ethnic and linguistic groups with priest-delegates responsible to the Consistorial.

From the moment these norms appeared, diocesan functionaries began to question the authority of Archbishop Ivan Buchko, the Apostolic Visitor for Ukrainian Catholics, who had been granted direct authority over the clergy and faithful throughout western Europe. The wording of the norms made it appear that the papal constitution had also supressed Buchko’s jurisdiction. Chancery functionaries told Buchko’s officials that they would have to apply to become ethnic delegates under Latin diocesan structures. Buchko appealed to the Congregation Pro Ecclesia Orientali to resolve the issue. On 16 November 1953, that Congregation's head, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, addressed an official letter to Archbishop Buchko, clarifying that Exsul Familia and its accompanying norms did not pertain to the Eastern Rites. 

The Latin Particular Church has long had issues with ritual and spiritual diversity within the Catholic Communion and, historically, has very often mistaken itself to be the unique expression of Catholicism. Having experienced this first-hand, at home and in exile, Buchko acted quickly to have more permanent structures put in place. Following the Exsul debate, he petitioned the Oriental Congregation replace his visitation with apostolic exarchates. These were indeed established: in Britain, in 1957; in Germany, 1959; and in France in 1960. 

Hieromonk Parteniy Pavlyk's 
the Holy Family's Flight into Egypt
In August 1962. on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, a conference was held in Rome to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Exsul Familia. In attendance was Augustine Hornyak, Auxiliary Bishop and soon to be Exarch for Ukrainian Catholics in Britain. The conference and perhaps even more so the papal charter made a  great impression on the freshly-minted bishop, whose flock identified as скитальці or post-war political “exiles.” When seeking financial assistance for a suitable cathedral church, he pleaded with the papal representative in London: “I am asking for a part of the Universal Church of Christ, for an Exsul Familia, which wants to survive here and sustain the ‘Church of Silence’ in our homeland.” After receiving a large subsidy, Hornyak surprised everyone by christening his new cathedral “Holy Family in Exile” after Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution. The name “Пресвята Родина в Скиталю” was also intended as a reminder to his flock that the Almighty, who had temporarily permitted the Holy Family’s exile, would, one day, allow exiled Ukrainians to return to their own native land.

The year 2022 will mark two important anniversaries: the seventy fifth anniversary of the canonical establishment of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Britain (3 March 1947), and the seventieth anniversary of Pius XII’s Exsul Familia (1 August 1952). In an introduction contained in its new edition, Professor Andrea Tornielli of Vatican Communications notes that Pope Francis’ teachings on migrants have their roots in Exsul Familia. What many in Rome and elsewhere will be surprised to learn is that a cathedral in London, the spiritual Nazareth of thousands of migrant workers today, stands as a living witness to the first Catholic migrants’ charter.