Friday, 20 March 2020

Unity and Universality upon English Shores

On Saturday, 21 March, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski is enthroned as bishop of the Eparchy of the Holy Family of London. Although he is only the second eparch since the creation of a full eparchy in 2013, he is the seventh bishop to shepherd the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics of the United Kingdom.
Kyr Buchko in Great Britain
            Although Ukrainian Catholics began to settle in Britain around 1900, the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Kievan tradition (UGCC) was canonically established for them only in 1947, when Bishop Ivan Buchko was given jurisdiction over all the Ukrainian Catholic clergy and faithful scattered across western Europe, following the Second World War. He came to London on 4 January 1947 and, the following day, formally notified the local Catholic hierarchy of his charge. Raised to the rank of archbishop in 1953, Buchko held jurisdiction over Great Britain until the creation of an apostolic exarchate for England and Wales, in June 1957 (extended to the rest of the United Kingdom in 1967). And he continued as apostolic visitor over various parts of Europe until 1971.
            Being too poor to build their own churches, Ukrainians relied on generous moral and financial support of the Roman Catholic hierarchs, parish priests, and organizations. Still, the English and Welsh bishops would have preferred to have the Ukrainians under a single Latin ecclesial structure. For this reason, a proposal for a separate Ukrainian bishopric was rejected in October 1954. In the face of resistance from the bishops, the project was salvaged due to the firm leadership of Cardinal Eugène Tisserant at the helm of the Vatican Congregation pro Ecclesia Orientali (renamed “of the Eastern Churches” after the Second Vatican Council).
Tisserant 1950
With the eparchies suppressed in their homeland, Pope Pius XII had promised to restore the Ukrainian hierarchy in the diaspora, and Cardinal Tisserant helped find a way to keep that promise. Buchko was to be relieved of some of his responsibilities by the creation of individual apostolic exarchates for England, Germany, and France. Since the local hierarchs were reluctant to see a ‘foreigner,’ Tisserant asked the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Bernard Griffin, to serve as first exarch. In April 1955, Griffin accepted and the English hierarchy gave their approval. However, Scotland was to be left under Archbishop Buchko, since it was considered inappropriate for an English archbishop to hold jurisdiction in that country. Pius XII approved the apostolic exarchate for England and Wales in June 1955.
Cardinal Tisserant had obtained what was possible for the moment. Once the Latin bishops got used to the structure, a Ukrainian bishop would be appointed. But knowing the strong nationalistic feelings of the Displaced Persons (DPs), Buchko worried that the faithful would not accept an English exarch unless a there was a Ukrainian priest or auxiliary bishop at his side. He suggested proceeding with an exarchate in Germany, but the search for suitable candidates led to the postponement of both projects. In the meantime, Cardinal Griffin died prematurely and his successor, Archbishop William Godfrey, had to be approached. Godfrey accepted on 2 May 1957 and the exarchate was  finally created on 10 June 1957 with the issuing of a papal bull, Quia Christus omnes. 
The formal handover of the mission proved to be somewhat complicated. Buchko came to London, in August, to perform a final visitation and met with Godfrey to discuss the handover and appointment of a Ukrainian vicar-general, to run day-to-day affairs. Godfrey insisted that such a priest be from Canada, as a former British colony and member of the Commonwealth.
Buchko was adamant that Ukrainians witness the Latin and Byzantine hierarchies cooperating at a solemn liturgical ceremony. It had to take place in the tiny Ukrainian church in Saffron Hill, rather than at Westminster Cathedral, and the Byzantine Liturgy needed to be celebrated by a member of the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy. Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk of Winnipeg was in London in September, but did not officiate because the ceremony was delayed: the papal bull did not arrive on time and Godfrey left for Ireland on his annual vacation. 
The problem was resolved when Cardinal Tisserant instructed Archbishop Buchko to return to London to preside. The ceremony took place on 10 November 1957, according to an order of service devised by Buchko and approved by Apostolic Delegate O’Hara. The newly-appointed exarch and the apostolic delegate were received at the entrance of the church by Buchko, who presided over a hierarchical Divine Liturgy concelebrated by Ukrainian priests. As exarch, Godfrey gave the blessings in Church Slavonic and assisted from a throne on the left side, while the apostolic delegate sat in a simpler throne on the right. The papal bull was read in Latin and Ukrainian. Buchko brought greetings from the Ukrainian hierarchy, the clergy made obeisance by kneeling and kissing the ring of the enthroned exarch. The ceremony concluded with the intonation of the liturgical prayer “God grant them many years” (Mnohaya lita) for Exarch Godfrey, Apostolic Delegate O’Hara, the imprisoned Metropolitan Yosyf Slipyi, and the Ukrainian hierarchy worldwide. Godfrey was accompanied by his two priest-secretaries and his courtly gentleman, Anthony Bartlett
Godfrey & Buchko 1957
On 30 December 1957, Buchko replied to Godfrey’s letter of thanks, assuring him that he conserved beautiful memories of that solemnity which will be surely noted in the pages of the 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.
            All of Godfrey’s successors held proper enthronement ceremonies, which involved being ritually lifted into their throne and receiving a Byzantine crozier. Each ceremony was slightly different and, as with the first bishop’s, encountered some difficulties in the planning and execution. 
Enthronement 1963
Bishop Hornyak, the second exarch, was scheduled to be enthroned on 6 June 1963. Pope John XXIII died three days before. Rather than postpone, some adjustments were made. Westminster Diocese was represented by the Capitular Vicar, Bishop Craven, as the see had been vacant since the death of Cardinal Godfrey. Hornyak was lifted into the throne and given the pastoral crozier by Apostolic Delegate O’Hara. However, as a sign of mourning, the clergy wore red and the exarch wore a red omophorion. Following the Divine Liturgy, panakhyda was celebrated for the late pope.
Enthronement 1968 
On 12 May 1968, Bishop Hornyak was enthroned again, this time as apostolic exarch for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The ceremony took place at the Ukrainian church of the Protection of the Mother of God and Saint Andrew, in Edinburgh. It was performed by Apostolic Delegate Igino Cardinale and attended by the entire Scottish Catholic hierarchy: Archbishop Gray of Edinburgh, Bishop Scanlon of Glasgow, and Bishop Hart of Dundee. 
Enthronement 1989
On 10 October 1989, the third exarch, Bishop Michael Kuchmiak, was the first to be enthroned at the Ukrainian Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. The rite was performed by the apostolic pro-nuncio, with Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster assisting from a throne. On 16 June 2002, the fourth exarch, Paul Chomnycky, was enthroned by a Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar. Although several Ukrainian hierarchs came, neither the nuncio nor any of the Latin bishops were able to attend. 
Enthronement 2011
Upon his appointment as apostolic administrator in 2009, Bishop Hlib Lonchyna held an inaugural Divine Liturgy with Cardinal Husar and two English bishops assisting from the throne. After being confirmed as fifth exarch on 8 November 2011, Kyr Hlib was enthroned by the nuncio, Archbishop Mennini. Husar’s successor, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, presided at the hierarchical Liturgy concelebrated by several British bishops as well as Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Melkite Greek-Catholic and Latin clergy. Ecumenical representatives attended from Ukrainian Orthodox and Presbyterian Churches. 

Cardinal enthrones Eparch 2020
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, the date of Kyr Kenneth’s enthronement was brought forward. The ceremony itself was changed to a semi-private rite performed by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, standing in for His Beatitude Sviatoslav. His Eminence had previously attended significant Ukrainian celebrations, including the 2009 inauguration (when he was yet Bishop of Birmingham). Cardinal Nichols also invited His Beatitude and all the European Eastern Catholic bishops to celebrate an hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Westminster Cathedral, in 2017. This is the first Ukrainian inauguration/enthronement in Britain to be broadcast live, over the internet. A public celebration marking the beginning of the eparch’s ministry is being planned for a later date.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Mitred Archpriest Mykola Matychak

Seminary photo 1950
An Officer and a Gentleman
(1922 –2000)

On the 20th anniversary 
of his repose in the Lord.

Born 13 December 1922. in Stibno district of Peremyshl (Przemyśl) eparchy to peasant farmers Panteleimon Matychak [Matyczak] and Anna née Yakubovska. He attended the local elementary school from 1928, the Przemyśl gymnasium from 1936 and the commercial school. He was hired by the town office in 1941. He enrolled in eighth grade in Drohobych and took the matura exam on 17 November 1942, after which he worked at a milk plant. He joined in the Galicia Division in 1943 and took the officers course at Graz, Austria, in 1944, subsequently serving as lieutenant of the battalion. Following the surrender to the British, on 10 May 1945, he was interned at Bellaria, Italy, and subsequently at nearby Rimini.

Until this day I still do not know how our release came about. Was it due to Vatican intervention? ...  Are there some documents about it somewhere? ... Perhaps, in future, a researcher will find them in some archive.  – Father Ivan Muzychka, From Rimini to Rome

Bishop Buchko visits POWs
Vatican files opened for the first time, only two weeks ago, reveal the following: In June 1945 Bishop Ivan Buchko, himself a "displaced person," began lobbying the Apostolic See to assist Ukrainian refugees and POWS in Italy. He secured permission to dispatch two Ukrainian priests (Ivan Bilanych and Mykhailo Vavryk) to furnish the five Division chaplains (4 Catholic and one Orthodox) with liturgical supplies. On 28 July, Pope Pius XII received Cardinal Eugène Tisserant in audience. Tisserant presented the plight of Ukrainians as highly urgent and, upon his recommendation, the pontiff appointed Bishop Buchko as apostolic visitor to Ukrainian refugees and POWS. He also promised Tisserant that the diplomatic arm of the Holy See would plead with the British and American ambassadors to save the Division from the Soviets. With the Pope's approval, Tisserant wrote to Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (who later became Pope Paul VI), to obtain permission for some soldiers to enter the seminary. At the same time, Bishop Buchko was given clearance to visit Bellaria and gathered the names of former seminarians as well as new recruits. On 10 November, the list of seminarians was presented to the Holy See, which forwarded it to British authorities.

Of 30 volunteers only 26 presented themselves on the morning of 21 November 1945. After travelling all day, they arrived first at Saint Peter’s Square and reached Pontifical Saint Josaphat’s College by evening. Dressed in full uniform, Matychak, the only officer among the group, rendered formal thanks to the chaplain who handed them over to the College superiors. On 28 November he signed a curriculum vitae composed for him, in Italian, by Father Ivan Khomenko (Don Iván), a biblical scholar residing at the college.

The undergraduate seminarians studied at Pontifical Urban University (Urbaniana). Matychak was chosen as vice-prefect of the college. He excelled in sociology, pedagogy, biblical exegesis, pastoral theology and missionary studies. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy 1947, a Bachelor in Sacred Theology 1950, and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology 1951. His rector, Father Yosyf Zaiachkivskyi, described him as “disciplined and exemplary, diligent, conscientious, laborious, sociable, charitable, active, strong and manly.” He was  ordained to the minor orders by Bishop Buchko in the College chapel, 4 March 1951, and to the priesthood on 3 May of the same year. 

Founding Marian Brotherhood 1954
It took several months of formalities with the International Refugee Office and British consular authorities for Matychak to be allowed to relocate to Great Britain. He arrived in December 1951 and his first assignment was curate of the Coventry pastoral zone, serving Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Somersetshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and Cornwall (December 1951–1953); from March 1953 his base was changed to Wolverhampton; his next assignment was parish priest of the Edinburgh pastorate serving all of Scotland, especially Glasgow, Galashields, Dundee, Grangemouth, Halmuir Hostel at Lockerbie, Annan, and Perth (December 1953–1971); from 1955 he also served Cumberland, Northumberland, Westmorland, and County Durham (with a pause from 1960–1962); he was transferred to the parish of Saint Olha, Peterborough (1971–1974), but was recalled to Edinburgh for a final year (1974–1975).

With Archbishop Gray of Edinburgh
Matychak's Edinburgh congregation worshipped in a chapel at a Ukrainian community centre on Mansion House Road, at Saint Columba Roman Catholic Church, Upper Grey Street, and sometimes Saint Patrick's. In 1964, they finally acquired a church in Dalmeney Street, Leith (Edinburgh), rechristened the following year as Our Lady of Pochaïv and St. Andrew. During his years of service, through sympathetic and active engagement and with his pedagogical-pastoral skills, he was very successful in organizing and keeping harmony within the Ukrainian hromada (community) and between the community and the church. 

First pilgrimage to Carfin Grotto
He founded chapters of Marian Brotherhood and Sisterhood, organized religious and social events and outings, pilgrimages, and established Ukrainian Saturday schools. He also published a multi-page bulletin for the Edinburgh pastorate. In many of his initiatives he involved the local Roman-Catholic clergy, missionary preachers, and hierarchy and received their support, often celebrating in the Latin cathedrals. He did not neglect Orthodox Christians, lending the use of his church in a pioneer ecumenical gesture, in the late 1960s, and helping them to form their own congregation. For his tireless pastoral missions, the Roman Catholic clergy referred to him as “Saint Paul of Scotland.” A few months after his visit to Scotland, on 29 November 1970, Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi made him honorary canon of the Lviv Metropolitan Chapter.

Matychak in 1990s
In 1975 Matychak was invited by Slipyi to serve as a professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome. He subsequently returned to England and served as a missionary to ‘patriarchal’ communities: Holy Protectress, Halifax (1975–1987); and Sacred Heart, Wolverhampton from 1987, where he finished the construction of a new church dedicated to Saints Volodymyr and Olha. Patriarch Yosyf (Slipyi) elevated him to the rank of mitred archpriest in June 1981. In 1989, he welcomed the new apostolic exarch for Britain, Bishop Michael Kuchmiak, CSsR, in a solemn pastoral visitation to the new church. 

Mykola Matychak died on 17 March 2000 in Wolverhampton. Funeral Parastas was sung on 30 March at the church he had completed. On the following day, his former comrade-in-arms, Bishop Kuchmiak presided over the Funeral Divine Liturgy. According to his family’s wishes, he was buried in Zymna Voda, Ukraine.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Cardinal Hlond's Secret Report on the Polish Dictatorship

on the religious-political situation in Poland

Excerpts from a report from the Primate of Poland, 
Cardinal August Hlond, to Pope Pius XI

Rome, 14 March 1932

Characteristics of the governing class

            The greater part of the governing coalition is made up of people who are religiously indifferent and positively adverse to Catholicism: Socialists, freethinkers, sectarians, apostates, and Freemasons. […] The present-day government, with the rarest exceptions, is made up of Officers of [Piłsudski’s] Legions with a mediocre intellectual culture and little political preparation. Dictatorship is the principal of the government and the military, and it is their method to view and act upon issues. They do not pay much attention to meeting European standards and especially they do not see the need to [use] them in internal administration. […]
            The concept of the state has not yet crystalized in the governing program. It oscillates between Fascist and Bolshevik concepts. Yet the omnipotence of the State is one of the foundations o the present political system. The citizen, the individual, does not count for anything. The family is virtually excluded from any influence over the spirit of education in state schools, which promote the cult of Marshall Piłsudski. The nation […] is generally governed in a sectarian sense, pushed toward a non-Christian future. 

(The complete 17-page report is contained in the Archive of the Vatican Secretariat of State)

Friday, 8 November 2019

Conference on Father Josaphat Jean at Lviv University

In conjunction with Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat in Ukraine and the Basilian Fathers Museum of Mundare, Alberta, are sponsoring a conference on Father Josaphat François Joseph Victorien Jean. Coordinated by Father Artemiy Novitskyi of Zhovkva, the conference will take place at the University from 29–30 November 2019. Three Canadian-Ukrainians will be participating at the event. The conference is part of the centenary celebrations of the founding of the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR), in the Foreign Ministry of which the native French-Canadian served. The following is an English translation of the program:

29 November 2019

Yeronim Hrim, OSBM 
(Basilian Philosophical-Theological Institute, Briukhovychi)
The Life and Work of Father Jean, OSBM.

Pietro Shkrabiuk
(Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Lviv) 
“From Krekhiv to Buchach (1913–1919)” – state-building inspiration of Father Jean.

Liliana Hentosh
(Ivan Franko National University, Lviv) 
Diplomatic Activity of Father Jean during the Years of Struggle for Ukrainian Statehood, 1918–1921.

Athanasius McVay
(Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, Canada) 
“You have not changed at all” : the Relatioship of Father Josaphat Jean with Nuncio Achille Ratti – Pope Pius XI.

Presentation of two of Dr McVay’s books.

30 November 2019

Oleh Pavlyshyn
(Ivan Franko National University, Lviv) 
The Historical Context of the Pastoral and Diplomatic Activities of Father Jean.

Yustyn Boyko
(Studite monk, Lviv) 
Father Jean’s Studite Period (1923–1931).

Artemiy Novytsky, OSBM
Father Josaphat Jean’s Ministry in Canada (1931–1972).

Athanasius McVay
(Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, Canada) 
“Metropolis of the Universe” : Father Jean as Dean of UGCC in Great Britain.

Karen Lemiski
(Basilian Fathers Museum, Mundare, Canada )
The Unexpected Collection of the Basilian Fathers Museum.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Polish Government-in-Exile Mourns Metropolitan Sheptytsky

The following statement from Minister of Religion and Education, Monsignor Zygmunt Kaczyński, appeared on the front page of Dziennik Polski and L'Osservatore Romano, respectively the principal news organs of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London and of the Holy Apostolic See:

"The loss of Metropolitan Sheptytsky is grave as much for Poles as for the Ukrainian peoples of Poland. The deceased combined in his person the eminent qualities of pastor of souls and patriot. Throughout forty-years of intense activity, he efficaciously contributed to the development of the religious and cultural life of the entire [Polish] nation and, understanding the absolute necessity, he constantly strove to bring Ukrainians to Poles closer together, on the frontiers of the their common homeland. During the occupation, Metropolitan Sheptytsky maintained his constant line of conduct, concerned as always for so many suffering people. In his pastoral letters, he always encouraged the faithful and his fellow citizens to maintain cohesion, deploring their fratricidal conflicts. We unite, the minister concluded, with the Ruthenian [Ukrainian] Catholics of the district of Lwów, who have been left orphaned of their Shepherd, and we mourn the loss of such an eminent personality and pray ardently for the repose of this chosen soul."

— “Per la Morte di Mons. Szeptyckyj,” in Osservatore Romano (15 November 1944), p.1. cfr. "Minister ks. Kaczyński o śp. Metr. Szeptickim," in Dziennik Polski i Dziennik Zołniera (10 November 1944), p. 1.

Monsignor Kaczyński later returned to Poland, was arrested by the Communists in 1948 and 1951, and was executed in prison on 13 May 1953.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Vatican "Secret" Archive changed to "Apostolic"

ASV consultation hall as it was in the 1990s, before modernization
The Holy See announced today (28 October), the the official name of the Archivium Secretum Vaticanum (Vatican Secret Archive) is changed to Archivium Apostolicum Vaticanum (Vatican Apostolic Archive). In a motu proprio letter dated 22 October, Pope Francis explained that he was ordering the change in nomenclature after consulting close advisers and the Archive's Prefect. The papal letter, which alludes to "a vigorous and firm hope for progress" (no doubt in historical sciences and accessibility to the archival collections) provides a cursory history of the institution, emphasising that, over time, it has undergone various changes in structure and name. During one period, it was indeed known as the Apostolic Archive. From about 1646 it has been called Secretum (or Privy)  to distinguish it from archives with more public and civic administrative functions. The Letter argues that, in recent years, the understanding of the Latin term secretum has been lost among the general public [but not by scholars ed.] and the name has given rise to various erroneous impressions and caricatures (contained in popular literature and films). In 1881, Pope Leo XIII opened the papal archive to international scholars. Thenceforth, each Pontiff extended the chronological limit of constable materials. In 1985, John Paul II released documentation to the end of the pontificate of Benedict XV(1922). Benedict XVI opened the materials of the pontificate of Pius XI (to February 1939). Earlier this year, Francis announced that the coveted papers of Pius XII's reign (to October 1958) would be released on 2 March, the anniversary of the latter pontificate. The Vatican Archive is a collection of several historical archives of princely families, Roman Curial departments, and papal nunciatures and delegations. Its superiors and staff are experts specialised in archival sciences and church history. The Archive also offers a course with a diploma in archival studies. The announcement took many by surprise, even within the institution. One wonders whether the well-known abbreviation for citations "ASV" exclusive to the Vatican Archive, will now be changed to "AAV", an abbreviation common to other collections.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Yosyf Botsian:
 Bishop of Lutsk and Dreamer of the Revival of Eastern Catholicism

Imagine the suffering to the heart of a bishop to see those faithful which God had entrusted to him, perishing without pastoral assistance, while he was bound hand and foot. — Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, November 1926

Yosyf Botsian (1879–1926) is one of the important figures in the twentieth-century revival of Eastern Catholicism in Ukraine. Following his formation in several intellectual centers of Austria-Hungary, Botsian was brought into the chosen circle of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky's disciples.  Appointed rector of the Lviv Theological Seminary, he helped reform the institution according to Jesuit models, emphasizing spiritual development over external discipline. He also continued scholarly work and encouraged the social engagement of both seminarians and clergy. During the First World War, Botsian was sent into exile in Russia; before they were separated, Sheptytsky secretly ordained him as bishop of Lutsk, thus closely associating Botsian with his own dream of the restoration of Eastern Catholicism throughout the historical lands of the Kyivan Metropolia. Unfortunately, Botsian was never able to occupy his see. While Lutsk was incorporated into the new Polish republic following the First World War, neither Sheptytsky and Botsian nor the Oriental Congregation could overcome the opposition of the Polish government and of some Polish Roman Catholic hierarchs to the renewal of the Byzantine rite in eastern Poland. Effectively deprived of his episcopal rank in the last years of his life, Botsian endured disappointment, persecution, illness, and an untimely death. Groomed as Sheptytsky’s successor, Botsian never fulfilled this role, and his dream of the spread of Eastern Catholicism beyond Galicia and its return to the rest of Ukraine would not be fulfilled until after his death. 

Friday, 26 July 2019

British Pilgrimage to Rome 1969

by Engineer Vasyl Oleskiw (1924–2016)
[Василь Олеськів, “У поклоні Верховнону,” 
in Наша Церква, vol. 18, no. 1 [90] (January–March 1970), p. 7–9.]
 On Thursday, 2 October 1969, Ukrainian pilgrims from Great Britain, together with their Bishop Kyr Augustine Hornyak and three parish priests, arrived in Rome for the solemn consecration of the noble Sobor of Saint Sophia. On that day, they experienced perhaps the greatest and most moving moments of their visit to the Eternal City. On that day, at 3:30 in the afternoon, they were received in a private audience by His Beatitude Major-Archbishop Cardinal Yosyf, at the Ukrainian Catholic University of Pope Saint Clement. On that day they had the joy to personally meet with our Chief Hierarch, Confessor of the Faith and of the Ukrainian nation, to touch the same hand which, not long ago, had been tortured, to exchange a brief word, and to receive his blessing.
            Our group greeted the majestic figure of His Beatitude Kyr Yosyf with enthusiastic applause. With visible emotion, Kyr Augustine gave the following address: 
“Most Blessed Hierarch, here before you is the bishop, priests, representatives of Ukrainian organizations, and faithful which, together, constitute the People of God of the Apostolic Exarchate in Great Britain. It is our pleasure to render You filial homage, fidelity and love. We are all children of our Mother-the-Church which was cut down in our native land but whose roots have spread far and wide, even across the English Channel and which sprung up on the other side— a beautiful branch which is the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain. It remains part of the Universal Church and of the Ukrainian Nation.”
            “We came to take part in the solemn consecration of Saint Sophia and to observe the achievements which are the result of Your intense labours and of God’s grace upon His children. Wherefore it is a pleasure for us to greet you as our Dearest Hierarch and, on this occasion, to bring you the gift of these cloths for the high altar and side altars. The material from these cloths was made by the same firm that furnishes Buckingham Palace, and the embroidery upon it is the work the members of the Organization of Ukrainian Women in Great Britain (OUZ) from Coventry, Leicester, and Waltham Cross, and of our Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in London. We also brought a collection toward Saint Sophia, which has already surpassed two-thousand pounds sterling, and which is to continue and which we hope will surpass three-thousand pounds. For our country, this represents a very considerable gift, especially considering that were are still fundraising to pay the debt on our new Cathedral.”
            “On this occasion when we come before Your Beatitude, it is a pleasure for me to render homage and filial love, and to repeat and once again invite Your Beatitude to visit us in Great Britain. We hope that this will take place in the coming year, perhaps around the time of Green Holidays [Pentecost], so that, as with other eparchies around the world, we too might have the joy of welcoming you among us and that You would lift our spirits with Your presence. This [visit] would surely bright forth the choicest fruits for our Church. which grows and flourishes not only to support our life in the lands of emigration but also to support our suffering Church [in Ukraine]. Surely our growth, in a wider sense, represents the fruits of the [spiritual] merits of Your sufferings.” *
            “And here I would like to say that we, the bishop, clergy, and all the faithful, share your dreams and hopes which we have also taken upon ourselves that, God willing, our Particular Church (Pomisna Tserkva), our Ukrainian Catholic Church will soon be crowned with a Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchate.”

            A powerful chorus of Mnohaya lita [God grant him many years] concluded those sincere and heartfelt greetings, to which His Beatitude Kyr Yosyf responded with emotion:
            “Most Reverend Bishop, Dear Pilgrims! I am extraordinarily pleased that, particularly from Great Britain, you came here in such numbers. Our Ukrainian Church in Britain should raise its powerful voice. Never forget that you live in a country that, since the Middle Ages, had ruled the world. I hope that, living among that people, you would benefit from even a small portion of their practical wisdom, courage, and composure, for which the British are famous. Then, like it or not, living among that powerful nation spread across the globe, you will acquire their virtues and characteristics and bring a good portion of those positive qualities to the history of the Ukrainian Nation.”
            “I am especially grateful to you, Dear Bishop, for your donations and for these beautiful altar cloths. God grant that they be a visible testimony of the strength and consciousness of the unity of the Ukrainian nation across the entire globe. And may they serve as a powerful prayer to the Lord God for the many years of your labours. I am especially grateful, especially to You, Bishop, that you are the first in Europe to acquire a Cathedral church as a stronghold and enduring home. Do not fear because, having fled your homeland, you are living as if in a foreign country. Rather the opposite is true: for we should be represented everywhere and have our own homes and strong enclaves. By establishing such homes far and wide, today our emigration can do much more that all those 45 million in Ukraine! Reflect well on this, that your voice, your achievements, your deeds is a voice heard by the world and has tremendous significance. And it is precisely this that our opponents and our enemies fear the most! And if you, Most Reverend Bishop, will lead this people and direct it, you can be confident that the majority of the Ukrainians in Great Britain will be a powerful support, not only for you in Britain, but also for the entire Ukrainian nation throughout the world.”
            “God grant You many years! God grant You success! God grant that you form Your children to become well-educated wise people and leaders, and also that you may succeed and not have to live by begging for bread but from the labour of your own hands. And when you become prosperous and are able to support not only yourselves but also the Church and the whole nation, and raise your children to become honourable people, then you will have fulfilled your calling. May God grant you many years and His blessing.”

            After singing Боже великий, Творче всесильний (O Great God, Almighty Creator, look upon our native land), Kyr Augustine presented to His Beatitude Rev. Ivan Muzychka, Rev. Stefan Orach, Rev. Teodor Tysak, as well as representatives of Ukrainian organizations: Ivan Ravliuk (AUGB), Maria Sydor (OUZ), Bohdan Rohach (SUM), Roman Stryhanyn (Plast), Vasyl Oleksiv (UVC, UIC), Vasyl Bortesky (Obnova), Vasyl Dubil (OBV), V. Parubochy (church men), Onufriy Shtunder (Church elders), I. Yavorsky (cantors), I. Shkatuliak (church contacts).
            At the end of this moving encounter, each of the approximately 70 people greeted His Beatitude separately. In the middle of an historic Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchs, our Major Archbishop sacrificed a lot of time, attention, and love for us. It has made an impression on us which will remain as an enduring testimony not only for those who took part but also the entire Ukrainian community in Great Britain. 

* Slipyi accepted the invitation to visit Britain from 9 to 24 May 1970.  

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

"Reverend Major" : the Story of Father Anton Hodys

London, December 1947
Solving a mystery is gratifying to everyone, not just historians. People are happy to discover the final piece of the puzzle or find the missing link. It brings a sense of completeness to our incomplete existence. Yesterday, I experienced such satisfaction. My colleagues Roman Skakun and Vasyl Harandza helped resolve a conundrum that had been bothering me for a year. Last December, I finished a draft of a history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain without having discovered what became of one of its first priests.
Ukrainian Greek-Catholics had been settling in Britain since about 1900 but the Church formally set up a stable mission at he end of the Second World War. Most of the first missionary clergy had to flee their homeland or were serving as chaplains in various armies. Subsequently, almost all of the first priests to serve in UK moved on to other missions in USA, Canada, Australia, and the European continent. I was able to trace their life stories after the UK except for the first one to leave, the Reverend Major Anton Hodys. All sources draw a blank on him after May 1949 when, as Father Josaphat Jean was quoted in the minutes of the London parish chronicle, he “left the country permanently.” From that moment, it was as if Hodys vanished from the face of the earth, at least as far as the Ukrainian Catholic Church was concerned. Over the past year, my colleagues and I have collected the following biographical details, the early years of which were compiled by Skakun from Ukrainian sources:
Anton or Antin Hodys was born on 5 November 1901 in Stryi, Austrian Galicia (present day Ukraine). In 1905 his family moved to the nearby village of Bratkivtsi were he attended the first and second grade at the local elementary school. In 1909, he was sent back to Stryi to attend the more prestigious Kilinsky school and, from 1911, he attended the local gymnasium (grammar school). In 1915, he was conscripted into digging defensive ditches for the occupying Russian Army. At some point during the Russian occupation, he travelled to Kiev to ransom his father, who shared the fate of many nationally-conscious Ukrainians deported away from the front to central Ukraine, northern Russia, Siberia, and east Asia.
In the last days of its existence, Emperor Karl I attempted to turn Austria-Hungary into a federation of autonomous nations under the Habsburg Crown. But with the surrender of Austria imminent, Ukrainian leaders declared an independent Western Ukrainian State on 1 November 1918. Hodys participated in establishing Ukrainian rule in Stryi: From 1 to 20 January 1919 he was sent a reconnaissance and propaganda mission to Transcarpathia, where he established contact with the Brashchayko brothers, prominent local Ukrainophile activists. Subsequently, he trained at officers school in Kolomya and fought on the Nyzhniv-Koropets front in the Fourteenth section of the Zabolotivsky trainee division of the Third Galician Brigade. 
Polish forces drove the Western Ukrainian Army out of Galicia, beyond the Zbruch river. After taking a month’s rest in Vinnytsia, Hodys was sent to the front to repell Denikin’s Volunteer Army. After a second rest-leave he contracted typhoid fever and was sent for treatment. On the road from Zhmyrenka to Proskuriv he was captured by the Poles who sent him to a hospital in Kamianets Podilsk. 
In the meantime, Poland had struck a deal with the other Ukrainian State, the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), which agreed to sacrifice Galicia (western Ukraine) to Poland, in exchange for military support against Russia. Generals Piłsudski and Petliura joined forces to drive the Bolshevik armies out of Ukraine. After recovering, Hodys joined the Third Iron Brigade of the UNR army and was sent to the front near Bar. The Bolsheviks pushed the brigade back across the Zbruch River into Galicia and destroyed it near Kopychyntsi. With both Ukrainian armies defeated and the cause for independence lost, Hodys returned home in July 1920 to resume his schooling.
Antin Hodys completed grades 6 through 8 at the Stryi Gymnasium and passed his graduating exam on 8 June 1922. Subsequently, he attempted to enrol at the Lviv Greek-Catholic Seminary but was turned away due to lack of available places. He worked for a year on the Oil Fields in Ripne and was finally accepted to the seminary on 25 October 1923. Following the completion of his theological studies on 25 June 1927, he received sacred ordination at the hands of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky: to the diaconate on 10 June and to the priesthood on 17 June 1928.
Like the majority of the diocesan clergy in the Eastern Churches, Hodys married before ordination, likely during the interim year between completing seminary and the diaconate. According to an online genealogy resource apparently managed by a relative, his wife’s name was Irena-Olga (1906–1972), daughter of Henryk and Zenovia Schprintz. In 1936, the couple had twins, Yuriy (+1984) and Zenovia (Schlegell) (+1995).
Antin Hodys was given his first assignment as a curate in Kamyanka Strumylova (today Kamyanka Buzko) on 1 July 1928. During this time, he continued to be actively engaged in Ukrainian cultural and civic affairs. He was a member of the local Prosvita educational association, a supporter of Ukrainian nursury schools, he set up chapters of the Apostleship of Prayer and Confraternity for a Holy Death. In 1931, he took on the additional job of professional religious instructor at the local gymnasium.
But something altered Hodys’ trajectory in a radical way. Europe was becoming more militarized and Poland was no exception. Marshall Piłsudski had imposed a virtual military dictatorship in 1926. By the end of his life, the regime began to abandon any restraint shown toward the ethnic minorities, which made up a third of the population. As Piłsudski lay dying, his colonels concocted a scheme to forcibly assimilate the Ukrainians and Belarusians by the early 1940s. 
Only Ukrainians considered very loyal could be accepted into the ranks of the Polish military. On 1 July 1934, Hodys was accepted as a military chaplain with the rank of captain, considering his previous service as an officer. His first assignment was Kraków and in 1938, he was sent to Bielsko in Upper Silesia, where he also acted as administrator of the Greek-Catholic military parish of Saint Basil. 
Hodys took part in the unsuccessful defence of Poland from the German invasion in September 1939. Driven south across the border, his corps was interned in Romania but, after nine months, they were released and, via Italy, regrouped in France with the Government-in-Exile. After the Germans invaded France, the Polish Government and Army corps fled to Great Britain. After witnessing the London Blitz he and his fellow soldiers were sent to Scotland. On 5 September 1940, he took part in a rally of Polish Military Chaplains in Glasgow, in the presence of President-in-Exile Raczkiewicz and other officials. Hodys was promoted to the rank of major and assigned to the First of three Polish Corps within the British Army. Unlike General Anders' Second Corps, the First Corps did not see active service in Europe but remained in Scotland for defensive purposes. In 1947, he was assigned to work as one of the secretaries of Bishop Józef Gawlina, head of Polish military chaplains. After demobilization, Polish soldiers were sent to resettlement camps. Hodys was assigned to minister to them as well as to Ukrainians in Canadian brigades. He served the Association of Ukrainian Soldiers in the Polish Army which became part of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain in 1946.
Hodys (centre) 
with UGCC priests, London, Spring 1947

With the formal establishment of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Britain, Hodys was numbered among the clergy under the jurisdiction of Apostolic Visitor, Bishop Ivan Buchko. He was among those who welcomed Buchko at Victoria Station during the latter’s second visit on 21 November 1947. In December, Buchko assigned him, together with Josaphat Jean and Petro Diachyshyn, to be responsible to serve southern England. Hodys attended meetings of the parish council of the first Ukrainian Greek-Catholic church in Britain, Saint Theodore of Canterbury, Saffron Hill in London. Buchko also named him one of his counsellors for the British mission and Hodys gave a presentation on canonical and civil marriage law in the United Kingdom at the Ukrainian clergy conference (soborchyk) held in January 1948.
Following the Second World War, Great Britain was left damaged and in an impoverished state. Most of the clergy assembled at the January conference, some elderly and ready for retirement, wanted to leave England for an better life. In addition, Rome had given instructions to send married clergy to Canada and USA, where they could serve under Ukrainian Catholic bishops and perhaps reunite with their families. Major Hodys was no exception. In the Summer of 1948, a chance meeting with an American bishop at a restaurant in Piccadilly Circus presented such an opportunity. Bishop Eugene McGuiness of Oklahoma City was looking for European missionaries to serve his frontier diocese. Following their conversation, he invited twelve Polish Army chaplains to Oklahoma. Before leaving for the United States sometime in April 1949, Hodys was listed in the Ukrainian Catholic directory as residing at Hillside Monastery in Potters Bar, Middlesex. By 18 May, as reported at the London parish council, he had left Britain for good.
As an army chaplain, Major Hodys functioned as a biritual priest, also serving in the Latin Rite. In order to take up McGuiness’s offer, did he have to hide the fact that he was married and of the Byzantine Rite? This could be the case as subsequent information contained in the diocesan necrology, and in an interview given in 1978, he concealed his Ukrainian ethnicity and Byzantine-Rite origins. Diocesan records list him, falsely, as having been ordained in Katowice. 
Mercy Hospital chaplain 1978
In America, he anglicised his name to “Anthony” and was briefly placed at Holy Angels Parish, Oklahoma City. The following year, 1950, he was named chaplain to Villa Therese Carmelite Convent and School, where he served for 19 years. Finally, in 1969, he was assigned as chaplain of Mercy Medical Centre of the Sisters of Mercy, where he served for 12 years. He passed to his eternal reward on 28 April 1981 and is buried in Resurrection Memorial Cemetery.
We are still waiting for more information promised by the kind archivist at the Oklahoma City diocesan archive. Perhaps it will clarify some missing points. For example, why did Hodys have to wait until 8 June 1974 to be incardinated into Oklahoma City? Did it have anything to do with the death of his wife two years previously? In the 1978 interview, he appears to have altered his life-history to conceal his Ukrainian past. Hodys said that he had been back to Poland twice and was in contact with his brother and sister. Where did his wife and children live (Poland or USSR?) and did he ever see them again?