Friday, 22 June 2018

“In Exile No Longer” : Holy Family Cathedral Celebrates 50 years

          
On Saturday, 23 June 2018, the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Westminster solemnly marked the fiftieth anniversary of its opening. For over forty of those years, it was known as “The Holy Family in Exile.” We might say that this cathedral had its origins in two historical events: the forced emigration of Ukrainians from their homeland, during and after the Second World War; and a promise made to them by the Pope. 
The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church had been outlawed by the Soviet Communists in 1945, but Pope Pius XII defended it and made a promise to preserve the Church abroad and to reconstitute its hierarchy. His Apostolic Constitution, Exsul Familia Nazarethana (The exiled Nazarene [Holy] Family), of 1 January 1952, was part of that promise. Known as the magna carta on migration, it mandated that diocesan bishops had the duty to offer special pastoral care for migrants and displaced persons. Placing the Faith above all, the Pontiff supported he migrants' desire to maintain their ethnic traditions, language, and gave particular attention to preserving the Rites of the Eastern Churches.
Saffron Hill
Ukrainian Catholic immigrants began to form a community in London in 1946. Bishop Ivan Buchko, whom the Pope had appointed as their overseer (apostolic visitor) throughout Western Europe, visited London in January 1947, and sent a permanent pastor two months later. This priest chosen for the mission was Father Josaphat Jean of the Basilian Order, a French-Canadian who had adopted the Byzantine Rite to minister to Ukrainian immigrants in Canada. With the assistance of community leaders, organizations, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Father Jean was able to acquire a small church in Saffron Hill, Farringdon, in July 1948. The first Ukrainian Catholic church in Britain, dedicated to Saint Theodore of Canterbury, was solemnly blessed by Bishop Buchko, on 5 December 1948.
Buchko and Jean both considered this first edifice to be temporary, intended to provide a stable place for worship and to gain a foothold in London. From the beginning, however, they foresaw the acquisition of a larger church, once the congregation became stable and better equipped financially. Jean was recalled to Canada in the Summer of 1949. Bishop Buchko replaced him, as his Vicar General for Britain, with Redemptorist Father Volodymyr Malanchuk. The following year, due to ill health, Malanchuk was also transferred to Canada and was succeeded by Monsignor Oleksander Malynovsky. In the late 1950s, the little church in Saffron Hill was rededicated to the Protection of the Mother of God.
In only a few years, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church made significant progress in Great Britain. It acquired churches in several major centres, such as Manchester, Nottingham, and Edinburgh. Through the work of his minister for Eastern Catholic Affairs, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, Pius XII began to establish missionary dioceses to replace Bishop Buchko’s provisional mission. Apostolic exarchates were established: in England & Wales in 1957, in Germany in 1959, and in France in 1960.
Nevertheless, when asked for their opinion in 1954, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales were not enthusiastic about a special jurisdiction for Ukrainians. In order to soften the blow, Cardinal Tisserant asked the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Griffin, if he would take on this responsibility himself. Griffin agreed but died soon afterwards. His successor, William Godfrey also accepted and was solemnly enthroned as exarch for Ukrainians at the little Saffron Hill church, on 9 November 1957.
proposed cathedral 1959
The Papal Bull establishing the exarchate, dated 10 June 1957, stated that it needed a cathedral church in London (probably at Bishop Buchko's suggestion). The project for a cathedral fell to a new Vicar General, Canadian Redemptorist Father Paul Maluga. In March 1958, Godfrey made the first contribution to the cathedral fund of 2000 Guineas (slight more than 2000 pounds). Maluga commissioned sketches for a new church in the Byzantine style, and the fundraising campaign was inaugurated on 2 December 1959. Despite his Canadian pragmatism, energy, and enthusiasm, Paul Maluga’s project encountered opposition from segments of the local Ukrainian community and even some clergy. In the end, he raised just over 17,000 pounds, which was barely enough to buy London property.
Archbishop Godfrey was elevated to the cardinalate at the end of 1958, and was given a Ukrainian-Rite auxiliary bishop in August 1961. Maluga was passed over for a Basilian monastic from the USA, Augustine Hornyak. The bishop’s first solemn Liturgy, on 17 December 1961, had to be held in St Peter’s Clerkenwell (founded for Italian immigrants), since Saffron Hill was woefully inadequate. Godfrey died in January 1963 and, on 18 April, Hornyak was appointed to succeed him. During his enthronement on 6 June, the Apostolic Delegate, Gerald Patrick O’Hara, told Hornyak: “you deserve a better church.” 
Duncan Street church
The new exarch abandoned Maluga’s earlier project, deemed unworkable, and chose to acquire an existing church. In May 1963, the exarchate purchased the former Catholic Apostolic Church in Duncan Street, Islington. Hornyak established an advisory committee with members from all over England, together with an executive committee, to plan the necessary extensive renovations and a fundraising campaign. The executive committee was made up of Fathers Vivcharuk, Havryliuk, Orach, Muzychka, Mykhalsky, Professor Robert Lisovsky, Architect Vasyl Boretsky, Engineer Vasyl Oleskiv, and Engineer Malytsky. Boretsky was asked to prepare plans for the alterations to the exterior and interior of the building. However, by August 1964, estimated renovations of the exterior alone had risen from 30,000 to 45,000. In 1965 the bishop decided to demolish the Islington church and build a new structure. But the committee ran into difficulties with the Islington authorities over a church hall and parking space. While waiting for planning permission, Hornyak asked committee members to keep watch for another property.
King's Weigh House bulletin 1902
In August 1965, Canon Arthur Rivers, the financial secretary of Westminster Archdicoese, drew Hornyak’s attention to a property in Duke Street, which had recently come onto the market. Formerly the Congregationalist King’s Weigh House Chapel, it was being used as a place of worship for the American Navy, and the hall beneath was gallery for hire. On 27 January 1966, the cathedral committee met at the “Weighouse Gallery” to inspect the building. The asking price was 150,000 pounds, an amount far beyond the Ukrainian Exarchate’s resources. Nevertheless, Bishop Augustine petitioned Rome for permission to purchase it. The Oriental Congregation authorized the purchase in December 1966, and promised to help cover the interest on the loan, if donations from the faithful did not suffice.
The Ukrainian Exarchate had deposited its cathedral fund with the Archdiocese of Westminster at a rate of 5% interest, and Canon Rivers had promised that the Archdiocese would grant them a loan, at the same rate. But to Bishop Hornyak’s surprise, when he returned from a trip to United States in November 1966, he discovered that Rivers had left the finance office, and Cardinal Heenan said he was unable to offer the loan directly. Rivers, however, was still able to negotiate a loan from the National Bank Ltd., as Westminster diocesan debt, on behalf of the Exarchate. And the following year, Heenan made a donation of 2,500 pounds, from personal funds.
Finding himself in a very difficult situation, Hornyak appealed to the Apostolic Delegate, Igino Cardinale. The Bishop confessed that the cathedral fund was a mere 20,000 pounds, and the only foreseeable solution was to asked for a large subsidy from the Oriental Congregation, as Hornyak wrote on 5 December 1966: 
“I am asking for a part of the Universal Church of Christ, for an Exsul familia, which wants to survive here and to sustain the 'Church of Silence' in our homeland.” Archbishop Cardinale seconded the cause before the Congregation for the Eastern Church, which granted a subsidy of 100,000 US dollars, allocated by various Catholic charities. 
After difficult negotiations, bids and counter bids from a rival buyer, the cathedral committee petitioned the city for a preservation order, declaring the church to be object of art. This caused the other party, which had intended to demolish the church, to make their offer conditional, and the Charity Commission ruled in favour of the smaller, Ukrainian offer of 155,000 pounds. But this amount still necessitated a third fundraising campaign. In April 1967, the faithful were informed of the impending purchase. And on 18 July, in the presence of the committee executive, Augustine Horynak signed the contract to purchase the King’s Weigh House and its adjacent residences. These became the property of the Ukrainian Catholic Church on 26 October 1967. 
Upon the Apostolic Delegate’s recommendation, in January 1968, Pope Paul VI extended the Exarchate’s jurisdiction to all of Great Britain, including Scotland (in 1957 Godfrey, as the head of the English and Welsh episcopate, could not have jurisdiction in Scotland). Unfortunately, as with first cathedral campaign of 1959, there were those in the British Ukrainian community that sought to limit the authority and prestige of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. At the very same time, rival fundraising campaigns were initiated and, in order to frighten donors, rumours were spread that the new cathedral would not belong to the Ukrainians but to the Vatican. As a result of these intrigues, the community was mediocre in its support and the debt lingered into the mid 1970s.
In February 1968, Bishop Augustine discussed the alterations to the interior of the church with Architect Boretsky and, on 21–22 February, the priests in clergy conference gave their opinions regarding an opening date. On 29 March, Kyr Augustine informed them that the inauguration would be divided in two. In order that the church could be used immediately (as both Saffron Hill and Duncan Street had to be sold to cover part of the debt), only the most basic alterations would be made, so that a simple blessing and opening could take place by June. The full consecration rite would be postponed for a year or two, until after the installation of the iconostasis and the paying off of the cathedral debt. The simple opening was announced to the faithful in April, and Archbishop Cardinale, who had been much responsible for the acquisition of the building, agreed to attend.
The Cathedral committee helped plan the opening ceremonies, which were extended over Saturday and Sunday, so that all the clergy could participate. The London parish had already had two patrons: Saint Theodore of Canterbury and the Protection of the Mother of God. For the new church, Kyr Augustine chose a new name: “The Holy Family in Exile,” based on Pius XII’s charter for displaced persons.
thanksgiving moleben, 29 June 1968
On Saturday, 29 June 1968, at 3:00 PM, Bishop Hornyak greeted Archbishop Cardinale at the cathedral entrance. In the name of the Holy Trinity, the two prelates opened the doors and sprinkled the interior of the cathedral with holy water. The bishop-exarch and twelve priests concelebrated a moleben of thanksgiving to the Mother of God. Apostolic Delegate Cardinale spoke in English and Bishop Hornyak preached in Ukrainian. Undeterred by a partial rail strike, over 1000 faithful travelled to London by coach and automobile. On the following day, Sunday, 30 June, Hornyak celebrated the first hierarchical Divine Liturgy together with Fathers Stefan Vivcharuk, Oleksander Babiy, Yarema Havryliuk, Stefan Orach, and Danylo Humnicki as deacon. The responses were sung by Boyan Choir, under the direction of Mykola Solomka. A second Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the priests in the afternoon, sung by Verkhovyna Choir of Coventry, under the direction of Mariyan Kostiuk.
Heenan, Hornyak, Slipyi 1970
The opening of the cathedral occurred during the tenth anniversary of the Exarchate and the twentieth of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Great Britain. The event marked a high point in the history of the Ukrainian community. In the fifty years that have elapsed since that joyous day, the cathedral has witnessed moments of of great joy and of bitter sorrow. An historical turning point occurred with the visit of Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi, Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church worldwide, on 8 May 1970. Slipyi’s unwavering crusade for a Ukrainian patriarchate was strongly supported by British Ukrainians, clergy and faithful alike. But a conflict between Patriarch Yosyf and Bishop Hornyak led to a bitter division. The majority of the parishioners abandoned the cathedral, and, on a Sunday morning in the late 1970s, visitors from abroad found a cold, sad place, attended by a remnant of 30 faithful. Due to lack of income, the planned second phase, including the installation of an icon screen and solemn consecration, had to be postponed indefinitely. 
A decade later, the cathedral slowly came back to life. One of Bishop Augustine's final acts was to begin installing the iconostasis with icons commissioned from Hieromonk Yuvenaliy Mokrytsky. In 1987, Hornyak was replaced by an interim administrator, Bishop Michael Hrynchyshyn, and, in 1989, Bishop Michael Kuchmiak was enthroned as the third exarch. Beginning in the mid 1990s, an influx of economic migrants from independent Ukraine transformed the cathedral, restoring much of its former glory. As a result of this change, the young and energetic Basilian, Paul Chomnycky, succeeded Kuchmiak in 2002. Less than four years later, Chomnycky was transferred to the Stamford Eparchy in USA. 
August 2007
Although thriving numerically, in a sense, the cathedral was orphaned without a bishop-exarch. During this difficult period, on 13 August 2007, a large portion of the ceiling collapsed, and divine services had to be celebrated in the adjacent hall, and at nearby Farm Street Church. In 2009, after waiting three years, the Apostolic See finally appointed Bishop Hlib Lonchyna as administrator and, on 2 August 2011, he was enthroned as the fifth exarch. Kyr Hlib was to be the last apostolic exarch. After fifty-six years, on 8 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI raised the exarchate to the status of full eparchy (diocese), and Bishop Hlib was named the first Eparch. As there was already a Catholic diocese in Westminster, the new diocese took the name of the cathedral: “Eparchy of the Holy Family of London,” but not “in Exile.” 
In 2017, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church marked seventy years in Britain, and sixty since the founding of the exarchate. To commemorate this anniversary, a hierarchical Divine Liturgy was held at Westminster Cathedral on 28 October, presided over by Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) and concelebrated by all the Eastern Catholic Bishops in Europe. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nicholas, declared: “How good it is that the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Eparchy remains under the patronage of the Holy Family, but the Holy Family ‘in Exile’ no longer.” This proclamation, from the head of the Latin Church in England, seemed to hearken back to Bishop Hornyak’s explanation of the cathedral's name, on its first patronal feast of 12 January 1969: “From a foreign land, the Holy Family ended their journey in Nazareth, because it had become their home.” 


Bishop Hlib, Clergy, Faithful, 23 June 2018

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

First Ukrainian Church in London


“How I Found the Church at Saffron Hill”

translated from “Як я знайшов церкву на Сафрон Гіл?,” 
in Наша Церква, vol. 15, no. 2 [79] (April–June 1967), p. 14–17.

Father Josaphat Jean, London 1947
I have been in England several times in my life. I was there before the First World War, in 1912, but did not meet with Ukrainians then. In the winter of 1921, I was again in London with Dr. Kost Levytsky to lobby for the Ukrainian question at the British Parliament. After that, I was in England in 1922, 1923, and 1925. 

I know that, in 1922, the Ukrainian Diplomatic Mission, headed by Dr. Stefan Vytvytsky, was in London. Ivan Petrushevych also lived there. From 1925–1939 travelled around England Yakiv Makohin, who considered himself a descendant of Prince Rozumovsky. He established the Ukrainian Bureau in London where Drs. Kisylevsky, Biberovych, and Ivan Petrushevych worked.

Digitaries of our Church also visited Britain: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, Bishop Nykolai Charnetsky, Father Rector Yosyf Slipyi, our present Major-Archbishop and Cardinal. In the final years before the Second World War, Mitred-Archpriest Jacques Perridon from France and Belgian Redemptorists came to minister.

It must be said, however, that Ukrainian immigration to Great Britain really began during the Second World War. In 1944, Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers in London established the Ukrainian Club at Sussex Gardens, Paddington. Beginning in October 1945, a portion of the Canadian Forces started to return home, and their place was taken by Ukrainian soldiers in General Anders’ Polish Corps. Among these were Greek-Catholic chaplains Antin Hodys, Stefan Koliankivsky, and Ivan Dumych. Afterwards, Rev. V. Pashkivsky joined them, for a sort time.

Having received a mandate from Bishop Ivan Buchko, whom the Apostolic See had named Apostolic Visitor for all Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Western Europe, with the agreement of my Basilian superiors, I officially arrived in England on 1 March 1947. I immediately went to Westminster and requested an audience with Cardinal Bernard Griffin. The head of the Catholic Church in England received me very courteously, and we spoke at length about how to provide pastoral care for Ukrainian Catholics. I asked the Cardinal if we could acquire a small church for our religious needs, and well remember his response: “My own Catholics do not have enough churches for their own needs, since they were subject to much misfortune during the War. Some of our churches were damaged and, although some have been restored, there are still not enough. But I know that there are many un-renovated Protestant churches for sale. Look for one and, when you find it, let me know and I will help with the purchase.”

I then, immediately broached a second matter with the Cardinal, this time a personal one. Cardinal Griffin was a very merciful person. He picked up the telephone receiver and, for a long time, spoke with the superior of the Oratorian Fathers (London Oratory), and arranged the matter then and there. For a time, I could stay at the Oratory.


fragment of Jean to Griffon
The superior received me very courteously and gave me a comfortable room. I felt as if I was one of my own Basilian monasteries. I celebrated the Divine Liturgy, every morning, in the magnificent church, sometimes even using the High Altar. I partook of the common table together with the Oratorian Fathers. I especially loved to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the marble chapel of St. Wilfred, who was the principal patron of the founder of the London Oratory, the Servant of God, Father Faber (1814–1863).

For three weeks, I looked all over London for a church. I scoured the papers, but found nothing. In Paddington there was a ruined Protestant church but the architect thought that it would be difficult to repair it. Then, from 28 March, I began a novena in honour of the Servant of God, Father Faber, the founder and first superior of the London Oratory. Each day, I celebrated the Divine Liturgy and prayed ardently in for the intention of finding a church. I remember that 4 April 1947 was Latin (Gregorian) Good Friday, and I was not allowed to celebrate Divine Liturgy in Church. Then I went to Father Faber’s room where there was a small altar. That year was the hundredth anniversary of the Faber’s conversion from Protestantism to the Catholic Church. In a state of great peace, I celebrated the Divine Liturgy and was renewed with interior strength and hope. 

Saffron Hill church
The next day, Saturday, I finished my novena and set out to continue my search for a church. This time I chose the Holborn area. Emerging from the underground,  I stopped at the oldest church in London at Ely Place, Saint Ethelreda (1252 AD) and prayed there for a long time to find a church for Ukrainians. When I was returning to Farringdon underground station I saw a stone church, at the bottom of a dead-end street, that looked unused. Entering the lower area via stairs, I knocked at the side door. A woman came out; it was Mrs Guidera, the wife of the local alderman. Seeing that I was a priest, she kindly invited me into the house, and it was there that I first learned about the church. It was a Catholic Church that, for the past 50 years, had been used as a school and had been damaged a little, in one place, by a bomb. Alderman Guidera had received funds from the city to fix the roof and, for this, Cardinal Griffon allowed him to live in one part of the school. “Our neighbour, said Mrs Guidera, has a door and window factory. He wants to buy this school so that he can expand his business and is offering the cardinal £5,000. I believe that this building is worth that amount. 

After examining the school, which had once been a church, I virtually flew to Westminster. The cardinal promised to reserve this building for the Ukrainians in London, with the proviso that Westminster Diocese could buy it back in the event that the Ukrainians no longer needed it.

And thus, with God’s help and the prayers of the Father Faber, Ukrainians received their first religious base which would soon helped to invigorate the life of our Church. For 20 years, in modest, dead-end Saffron Hill, God abided with the Ukrainian exiles and they have have reamined with Him and have been fulfilled. I hear that Divine Providence will shortly lead you to a new temple, your first cathedral [1967]. May God bless you! In your new church also remember me, just as I remember my chosen Ukrainian people, each day, for which I gave my whole heart. 

Note: Father Jean's reminiscences were always somewhat romanticised and inexact in chronology, as primary correspondence of the period invariably demonstrates. Letters from Jean to Griffon and diocesan officials reveal that Jean had proposed several churches, all of which were deemed unsuitable, for various reasons. He discovered the 143 Saffron Hill property on Good Friday of the following year, 26 March 1948, long after he had departed from the Oratory and was living at the Ukrainian Bureau in Sussex Gardens. The Guideras were forced to leave the adjoining premises at 144 Saffron Hill, which was turned into parish offices. S. Guidera did not become an alderman until 1953.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Andrey Sheptytsky's Sacred Walking Stick


As I (unfortunately) near the end of my current research project, my friend and colleague Gloria Romaniuk, Archivist of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, sent me a photo, for which I had been searching for a long time. It came from a collection belonging to the late Bishop Michael Hrynchyshyn, CSsR, longtime postulator of the cause of beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.  He received the photo from Dr. Pavlo Senytsia, alumnus of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Theological Academy in Lviv, and editor of a multi-volume collection of articles regarding that institution. The second and third volume of this work, entitled "Світильник Істини" (Beacon of Truth) contains a partial reconstruction of the story of this famous cane. I have used these and other sources in my work on Sheptytsky, which includes articles regarding his apprenticeship of two priests, each of which, at one time, he looked upon as his successor. Each one of them was to receive this cane as a symbolic gift, in dramatic and perilous circumstances of the First and later of the Second World War.


Who did Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky look upon as his successor? Above all, he was looking for a someone who understood and was dedicated to his principal cause: promoting the union of the Orthodox Churches with Rome or, as he referred to it, “la Cause de l’Union.” During his long term as Metropolitan of Lviv-Halych, he considered several possibilities, among which was his own brother, Hieromonk Klymenti. However, above all others, two members of his clergy stood out for their moral and intellectual gifts, each of whom, at one time, the Metropolitan looked upon as a successor. Both men bore the same Christian name, Yosyf (Joseph). Both were chosen by Kyr Andrey to educate and form his clergy, as rector of his Major Seminary. Both were gifted academic theologians that had studied in Innsbruck and Vienna (and Rome). These men were Yosyf Botsian (1879–1926) and Yosyf Slipyi (1892–1984).

Father Botsian was the first to receive the cane, during the First World War, when he was accompanying Metropolitan Andrey to Kyiv. Sheptytsky had been arrested by Russian Imperial authorities, when they invaded Austrian Galicia and captured Lemberg (Lviv), in September 1914. He was deported to Kyiv and destined to spend the rest of the war in Russian confinement, at one point in a prison monastery for religious dissidents. The Tsarist authorities allowed three ecclesiastics to accompany him on the first part of his journey. These were Father Yosyf Botsian, the seminary rector, Father Dmytro Yaremko (1879–1915), the vice-rector, and Brother Yosyf Grodsky, the Metropolitan’s valet. They arrived in Kyiv and were confined at the city’s Hotel Continental.

In 1908, Kyr Sheptytsky had received special powers from Pope Pius X, confirming him as administrator of all Uniate eparchies that had been uncanonically suppressed by the Russian State, from 1772 to 1875. Among these powers was the right to ordain bishops for these dormant sees. After arriving in Kyiv, He spent several days in intense reflection and prayer. Fearing for the survival of the Greek-Catholic Church, Sheptytsky decided to make use of the special powers to ordain Botsian and Yaremko to the episcopacy. By virtue of the same faculties, he assigned them the suppressed bishoprics of Lutsk and Ostrih.

On 9/22 September 1914, Metropolitan Andrey told Yosyf Botsian to prepare himself to receive episcopal ordination the following day. The ordination took place in secret, on 10/23 September 1914, at the Hotel Continental. Kyr Andrey did not have all of proper vestments and sacred vessels, Thus, instead of the episcopal crozier, he presented Botsian with his walking staff, upon which he carved the following: “Д. І. Сеп. Р.Б. ≠ЦДІ А.Ш. Й.Б” (On 10 day of September in the Year of the Lord 1914 Andrey Sheptytsky to Yosyf Botsian).” The newly consecrated bishops and Grodsky were permitted to return to Lviv, whereas Sheptytsky was deported to Nizhni Novgorod and thence to Kursk, Suzdal, and Jaroslavl, deep within European Russia. Kyr Andrey had the dubious fame of being the only Catholic bishop imprisoned during the First World War. While Petrograd claimed that this was necessary, due to evidence of political intrigue found during a search of the latter's papers, documents from Russian archives show that the decision to eliminate the Uniate leader was taken before the Tsar's armies invaded Austria-Hungary.

Botsian and Yaremko were deported to Siberia the following year. Yaremko did not survive his Siberian confinement, whereas Bostian’s health was ruined by it. Forced by illness to resign as rector in 1919, Botsian was never permitted to take possession of his eparchy. The Second Polish Republic, which had occupied Volyn and its capital Lutsk, imposed an invisible barrier (known as the Sokal Border) prohibiting Greek-Catholics from ministering east of the Lviv-Halych Metropolia. Shortly before Kyr Botsian's untimely death, Father Slipyi, who had been made rector in 1925, invited him to move to the Lviv Seminary, while quarters at the canons’ residence near Saint George’s Archcathedral were being prepared. On 21 November 1926, Slipyi administered the Sacrament of Holy Anointing to Botsian, whom he discovered lifeless, sitting in a chair in the seminary corridor. The following day, Slipyi preached a farewell sermon. The the funeral, which was the largest that Lviv had witnessed in many years. Writing to the Nuncio tweek weeks later, Slipyi commented: “We all regret the death of Bishop Botsian, because it is a great loss for our Church and a weakening of its situation.”

In 1939, Yosyf Slipyi began his own episcopal ministry as a clandestine bishop. Like Botsian, his nomination remained secret for just a little over two years and did not appear in any official church publication. After sending a personal courier to Rome, Metropolitan Andrey received word indicating that that Pope Pius XII had acceded to his request for a successor. In a letter, written in code, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant told the Metropolitan: “you may consider Your beloved disciple to be Your coadjutor and successor. You may proceed to make him such with the necessary function.” In other words, he could go ahead with the episcopal consecration. Describing the ceremony, Slipyi later wrote to a friend in Switzerland:

In place of a bishop’s crozier I received the Metropolitan’s wooden walking staff which, already once in Kyiv, he had given to Bishop Yosyf Botsian, of blessed memory, as a shepherds crozier, and also the same episcopal ring and the same hieratikon [that he had give Botsian]. These items had been rescued, in a very mysterious way, before the Bolsheviks destroyed the Major Seminary. In this, I specifically perceived the hand of Divine Providence.

Metropolitan Andrey intended this deliberate gesture to contain various layers of meaning: it symbolized that Slipyi was following in Botsian’s footsteps as Sheptytsky’s chosen successor; it also signified that, as Botsian had been consecrated secretly in emergency circumstances, so too Slipyi was being called to exercise his episcopal ministry in hardship and peril. This symbolic act was a clear indication that the “torch” had (literally) been passed from Botsian to Slipyi.

In a letter to Pope Benedixt XV in 1917, Sheptytsky had himself observed that it was that very Hand of Divine Providence which had freed him and Bostian from Siberia and brought down the mighty colossus, which had held the Uniate Churches captive for centuries. However, Providence also decreed that Slipyi was destined to share in many aspects of his predecessors’ fates. After having served 8 years in prison, he was exiled to Yenissey and Krasnoyarsk in Siberia where, almost forty years before, Bishop Botsian had been held. Following eighteen years in the Gulag, upon his elevation to the sacra porpora in 1965, Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi paid tribute to the earlier Father Yosyf who, but by the same mysterious Providence, might have taken his place as Metropolitan Andrey’s successor. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Coat of Arms of Kyr Andriy (Rabiy)

A Revolution of Quality

            The coat-of-arms of Bishop-elect Andriy Rabiy, by heraldic artist and draftsman Matthew G. Alderman, represents a “revolution of quality,” in the world of Ukrainian ecclesiastical heraldic design. After years of waiting for such an opportunity, it is my pleasure to present this magnificent example, in the creation of which I had the honour to act in a small advisory role.

Arms of Andriy Rabiy

            The arms of Kyr Andriy (Rabiy), newly-elected Auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia, represents one of the most refined examples of contemporary Ukrainian ecclesiastical heraldry, and this for three reasons: because it was created by a professional heraldic artist; because it is faithful to the laws of ecclesiastical heraldry; and because of its simplicity. 

            Coats of arms consist of two components: a shield and its external ornaments. The symbols (charges and ordinaries) upon the shield represent the identity of the person who bears the arms, while the external ornaments denote their rank and position. Each arms is described in a heraldic language; an archaic form of English containing Norman-French terminology. In that language, Rabiy’s arms are to be officially described as follows:

Or, in base three hillocks vert, from the central hillock a cross couped azure of three bars, the central bar longer than the upper and lower bars; on a chief enarched of the third, three mullets of five points argent in arc. The whole placed on a mantle purpure, tasselled and corded or, lined argent, ensigned with a Greek mitre, all set over an Eastern crozier and processional cross in saltire.

            In heraldry, the two metalic tones of gold and silver are equivalent to the colours yellow and white. They are described as “or” and “argent.” Other colours are similarly described with archaic terms: green=vert, blue=azure, purple=purpure. A hillock is a small hill; “couped” means that the cross’s arms do not extend to the edge; mullets are stars with straight edges. “Saltire” means the episcopal cross and crozier are arranged in an “x” shape.

            The internal elements (charges and ordinaries) of a new coat of arms can be chosen with a certain degree of freedom, provided they conform to heraldic principles. The external ornaments, however, are determined by heraldic law. A good heraldic artist will select (or help the bearer of the arms select), arrange, and depict elements and colours of the arms tastefully. The internal elements of these arms were carefully selected by Bishop-elect Andriy himself, after a period of reflection and prayer. When doing so, he wisely chose to follow the rule of noble simplicity.

            The “charges” and “ordinaries” on the shield symbolize various aspects of Andriy Rabiy’s life and mission, which began in Ukraine and continue in the United States of America. The upper heraldic “field” (background/zone) is blue and contains three white stars arranged in an arch. These symbols come from the arms and flag of the United States of America and also represent the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, where he serves. The curve of the blue field can be said to recall the curve of the heavens and the protective mantle of the Mother of God.

The lower field is yellow and contains a blue three-barred cross mounted on green hills. Blue and yellow are the colours of Ukraine and a cross with three vertical bars is the symbol of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. The first hill recalls Mount Sinai, where Moses received The Law. The second— Golgotha, where Christ became the New Law in fulfilling the Old Covenant. The third symbolizes two hills in the city of Lviv, Kyr Andriy’s birthplace: the first is the hill on over which the city’s namesake, Prince Lev, built the High Castle (a symbol of the city); and the second, the hill on which Saint George’s Archcathedral stands, where Rabiy served as a young man, and where he will be ordained a bishop.

The form of the shield was chosen to best depict the internal elements, while drawing on a number of typical late medieval/ Renaissance Central European examples.

            The external ornaments of the arms are the episcopal mantle, an Eastern crozier with two serpents entwined around the Cross (recalling Moses’ healing staff), and the processional cross carried before the bishop (In heraldry, only an archbishop has a double bar on this cross). While the internal elements are characterized by the simplicity of their number, colour, and arrangement, the externals are designed to reflect the dignity and solemnity of the episcopal office.

            As an additional decoration, the heraldist trimmed the mantle with a yellow and blue band containing wheat and grapes, symbolizing the priesthood and the Eucharist. The mantle (mandyas) is ornamentally tied with chords to reveal the shield.

            The Greek (Byzantine) mitre is ornamented like a crown with precious stones. This symbolizes the bishop’s authority, while reminding us of the crowns which the just shall received from Christ. Crowns are important in Byzantine sacramental theology and are used for the Mystery of Holy Matrimony (also known as Crowning).

            Episcopal mottos are not mandatory but are very common. Kyr Andriy chose a portion of a verse from the Holy Scriptures that summarizes his high-priestly calling and also alludes to his studies in Church Law. Psalm 118 (119) verse 77 is a prayer for God’s mercy upon those who follow His Law: “Show me your compassion that I may live, for your law is my delight.” (In the original Church Slavonic: “Да прїидутъ мнѣ щедрѡты твоѧ, и живъ бyду, іакw законъ твoй поучeнїє моє єсть.”

to be continued... 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sheptytsky on the February Revolution


Metrpopolitan Andrey Sheptytsky to Pope Benedict XV

In Pace!    
                                            
Jaroslavl le 16 mars 1917

Très Saint Père!

Benedictus Deus Israël, quia visitavit plebem Suam!  L’ancien regime toujours persecuteur appui et soutien du schisme a croulé, comme foudrozé par la main du Tout-Puissant, changement providentiel, miraculeux, "mutatio dexterae Altissimi"— une parole de Dieu dans l’histoire de ce bas monde.  La liberté de tous les cultes et de toutes les propagandes promise par le gouvernement semble assurée pour de longues années.  La “porte est donc largement ouverte,” il s'agit de ramener au bercail de l’Église catholique le plus grand nombre d’âmes, peut être l’Eglise russe tout entière— ce qui du reste ne semble pas possible, sans l’intervention de Dieu— humanement parlant.  [...] 

26 Avril 1917 Petersbourg

Cette lettre ecrite a Jaroslawl, avant ma liberté attendait inachevée une occasione de Vous être envoyée Très St. Père.  Le nouveau gouvernement m’a rendu la liberté le 25 mars. On m'a permis de venir à Petersbourg.  Arrivé ici le 31 mars je suis tombé gravement malade. […]

Dès aujourd'hui, avant que les ennemis de l'Eglise, les gens de l’ancien régime réattrappe quelque influence il faut obtenir l'abrogation de toutes les lois contraires à la liberté de l’Eglise— les ordonances de ministère sont sensées d'être abrogées. [...]

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Yosyf Slipyi: Metropolitan Sheptytsky's Successor



Among other significant historical commemorations, the year 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Yosyf Slipyi: priest, scholar, rector, bishop, metropolitan, cardinal-in-pectore and, following 18-years in the Soviet Gulag, major-archbishop, cardinal, and finally acclaimed patriarch of a Church that had spread across five continents of the globe. It also marks the centenary of his priestly ordination at the hands of his mentor, Metropolitan Andrey Count Sheptytsky.

As this year began, I happened to be working on an article about Slipyi but not out of an interest for him, per se. My interest in him, and for the purpose of which I was given access to still-classified files, is as a member of  Sheptytsky’s inner circle; his closest collaborators that shared his vision and strove to make it reality. My purpose it to examine Slipyi’s early career and describe the qualities, achievements, and circumstances which led to him to become Sheptytsky's successor as head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

(to be continued...)