Saturday, 17 April 2021

The Jesuit Refoundation of Saint Paul’s in Winnipeg

Saint Paul's at Ellice & Vaughan
An Alma Mater nourishes both the intellectual and the spiritual sides of man. Two of the educational institutions I attended were run by the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits. One of the archives which I had always intended to consult was their central archive in Rome, Archivium Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI), and last month I had the privilege of doing so. ARSI is well organized and administered and each researcher is assigned an assistant. The organization of the files reveal the top-down military structure of the Jesuit chain-of-command. For instance, the files of the “Vice-Province of Upper Canada” contain scheduled annual reports by superiors, advisory counsellors, rectors, pastors. All of these were sent directly to the General Superior, who made all of the final decisions. 

The building which houses ARSI is also home to a number of outdoor cats, which I photographed through the glass corridors leading from the entrance on Borgo Santo Spirito, about 250 stairs up a hill overlooking the Vatican. Cats and historians are curious creatures. I had gone there to look for documents pertaining to Jesuit missions in eastern Europe. Nevertheless, I also found a letter from the first Archbishop of Winnipeg regarding Saint Paul’s College-High School. My curiosity led me to trace the correspondence to its source. What I discovered was a compelling story of how the Jesuits transformed Saint Paul’s from a failure into a success.

Saint Paul’s College

The Archdiocese of Saint Boniface already had its own institution of higher learning run by the French-speaking Jesuits. Discussions for establishing a college for English speakers began in 1911. In 1915, Saint Boniface was divided in two, with the western portion becoming the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.  In 1926, the first Archbishop, Alfred Arthur Sinnott, founded Saint Paul’s College for his own archdiocese. 

To assume the direction of the College, Sinnott turned to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) only after the English-speaking Jesuits declined to take up his offer. As a result of their refusal, he became cold toward the Jesuits, and there was even talk of their leaving Winnipeg altogether. Father Erle G. Bartlett, stationed at Saint Ignatius Parish, helped to heal that rift. Bartlett befriended the Archbishop and encouraged him in his plans to improve the College. 

After five years, the Oblates left and Sinnott entrusted the direction of Saint Paul’s to his diocesan clergy. He also moved it from a modest Selkirk Avenue building to the corner of Ellice Avenue and Vaughan Street, a centrally located campus with large playing fields. The magnificent Manitoba College building had been built by wealthy Presbyterians as a training centre for their ministers. When Presbyterians and Methodists joined to form the United Church of Canada, they pooled their resources at the nearby Wesley College, making Manitoba College redundant. 

William Hingston, SJ
After two years of administration by the secular clergy, the college was on the verge of collapse. The Society of Jesus was famous for its pedagogical skills and organizational methods, which had produced many of the finest universities and schools across the globe. With this in mind, Sinnott wrote to the Provincial Superior of the English-speaking Jesuits (Province of Upper Canada), Father William Hingston (son of the famous physician, senator, and Montreal mayor, Sir William Hales Hingston.) In his letter of April 1933, Sinnott asked Hingston for the Jesuits to assume the direction of Saint Paul’s. He did not hide the fact that the institution was burdened with a large debt ($178,000) but promised that the diocese would help. 

Wealthy hotelier and brewer Patrick Shea had already contributed toward an modern annex to the building, named in memory of his son Paul Ignatius, who had been a student at the Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. Shea was terminally ill and further benefactions were expected in his will. Sinnott kept pressuring Father Hingston who, looking toward his order’s future, was adverse to refuse a second time and possibly lose their Winnipeg base, “the key to the west and capital of prairie provinces.”


from SPHS Archive
Father General advised the Provincial to proceed with caution but the Archbishop, anxious to have the Jesuits assume the administration for the 1933–1934 school year, gave Hingston to understand that they could expect $10,000 annually from the Shea estate. In response to an urgent telegram asking for permission to accept the Archbishop’s offer, on 14 August 1933, Ledóchowski cabled Hingston from Zurich: “affirmative, consultoribus consentientibus (affirmative, with the consent of your council of consulters.” On 26 August, Hingston signed a contract to transfer the administration and property of the College from the Archdiocese to the Jesuit Province of Upper Canada.

Father Holland’s Team

Archbishop Sinnott had wanted Father Bartlett to lead the College but the Jesuit superiors made a careful selection of four priests, each intended to compliment the others. More intellectually gifted, Bartlett was named Dean of Studies. John S. Holland, rector of Campion College in Regina, was chosen to be rector of Saint Paul’s. This office also included the responsibility of acting as superior over his four confreres. Joseph McDonald became Prefect of Discipline, and Christopher Keating professor of Philosophy and spiritual director.

While Bartlett and others wrote to the Father General in Latin, Holland addressed his superior in his native English. Holland’s letters to Ledóchowski were atypical among the Jesuits’ reports to Rome. Rather than focusing on the internal aspects of their mission, Holland focused foremostly on people, making them the subject rather than the object. His reports from Regina began by describing the material condition of his flock, expressing concern for farmers’ failed crops and that 75% of the people were living on relief. Yet, even in such dire straits, Holland, a consummate optimist, saw “much to be thankful for.” 

On 12 January 1934, four months after assuming the rectorship of Saint Paul’s, Father Holland penned his first letter to the General Superior:

from SPHS Archive
“I dreaded coming here as rector knowing the conditions that prevailed here during the past two years. The finances were in bad shape as little attention was paid to economy; the studies were greatly neglected though lack of firmness of the part of those in charge and lack of interest on the part of the teachers; and discipline was an unknown quantity. Besides there existed little or no union among the members of the faculty.  Thank God conditions have improved and we are getting along much better than I had anticipated. We have been able to meet our current expenses so far… There is a marked improvement also in the studies but it will take time before the results will be satisfactory…”

At the end of February 1934, the Provincial Superior made his first canonical visitation (inspection) of the College to observe the progress of his confrères first-hand. He had the occasion, in his letter to the Father General of 12 March, not to regret his choice of Holland, whom he described (in Latin) as 

“extremely patient and supremely kind to Ours [Jesuits], to the students and their parents and to the other priest and lay teachers. Because of him, they submitted to the new regime and freely accepted greater burdens than previously. He is sufficiently firm but never excessively nor does he anger easily. The qualities which perhaps he lacks are found in the other Fathers. The Archbishop, who wanted Father Bartlett, now sees the wisdom of the Society in appointing Father Holland as rector.”

The other members of the Jesuit team were also playing essential roles. McDonald “successfully introduced discipline which hitherto had never existed.” A new spirit had begun: “everyone is teaching better, the students are working harder, and this was accomplished by only four Fathers who have already given the College a Jesuit aspect.” This “aspect” included the setting up of a Marian Sodality, the Apostleship of Prayer, and the practice of frequent Communion.

College Debt

In their first year, Jesuits were successful in improving the morale at Saint Paul’s, but financial problems were more difficult to resolve. And Father Hingston would live to regret his words of two years previously:  “Financially the prospect is not exorbitantly rosy… perhaps I should have driven a harder bargain with the Archbishop.” Although the Jesuits managed to reduce expenses and cover expenditures, by frugality and efficiency, the college debt continued to grow. 

Now that the Jesuits had a second mission in Winnipeg, Hingston wanted to give up Saint Ignatius Parish. Holland and his locals confrères opposed this. They warned the Father General that it would be a grave error, since the College needed local friends and benefactors and could not exist as a stands-alone affair. Holland believed that, if the parishioners of Saint Ignatius would take up the cause of the College, their attitude would spread to the other parishes of the Winnipeg Archdiocese.

In the spring of 1935, a loophole was discovered which served as a bargaining tool: Although Sinnott had transferred to college according to civil law, he had failed to secure the necessary approval from Rome, required by Canon Law. Sinnott had sent the request to the Papal Embassy (Apostolic Delegation) in Ottawa which forgot to send it on to Rome. On 4 April, the Father General wrote Cardinal Bilsetti (in charge of the Vatican education department) explaining that Hingston had been remiss about this and other matters, so sent a priest directly from Ireland to replace him.

In May 1935, the new Provincial Superior, Father Henry Keane, confessed to the Archbishop that the Jesuits would have to withdraw, as they were unable to continue at the College under the current circumstances. Sinnott responded furiously, on 10 June, that he wanted them to fulfil their contractual obligations:

 “I shall be very sorry to see the Jesuit Fathers leave St. Paul’s College, for they have done excellent work and I am much pleased with them. But with regard to the financial situation I have been grievously disappointed.” 

The College’s creditors had forced the Archbishop to pay the interest on one of the loans, and Sinnott demanded a decision from the Jesuits within three weeks.

Keane advised Ledóchowski to obtain Vatican permission to leave the College unless Sinnott helped with the debt. The Provincial did not think the Archbishop would let them go because, as he wrote to the General, “under our direction the College has flourished, the number of students has increased, it recovered its fame, it has achieved successful exam results once more.” 


On 4 July, the General responded to the Provincial that one could manage such a debt under the conditions of the Great Depression and told him to remind Sinnott of his promises of $10,000 annual support. The Jesuits were prepared to remain but not to shoulder the whole debt. Ledóchowski even expressed doubts about civil legalities because, under English Common Law, a contract was invalid if one of the conditions (i.e. annual support) was not met. When questioned, however, Father Hingston was vague about exactly what Sinnott had “guaranteed” in the way of financial support. 

Keane increased the number of priests at Saint Paul's from 4 to 7.   In the meantime, the conflict over the College soured relations between the Archdiocese and the Winnipeg Jesuits. After a year of studies in Montreal, Winnipeg seminarian John Hanley had entered the Society of Jesus. Sinnott subsequently dispatched the bill for Hanley’s studies to Keane, which he was advised to pay without protest by Ledóchowski, so as not to make relations even worse.

On 26 September 1935, the College Rector sent his annual report to the General in which he touched the misunderstanding between the Provincial and the Archbishop. John Holland explained that Sinnott was poor and his cathedral was in heavy debt. The Archbishop was under a false assumption that the Upper Canada Jesuits were wealthy and would take care of the debt. And Father Hingston had been led to believe that the Patrick Shea had made a large bequest to the College. 

Holland identified the root of the problem in the expectations placed upon the Sheas' on-going generosity. He felt that the Archbishop had been too forceful with the Sheas before the Jesuits assumed the college mantle. It was Margaret Byrne Shea, rather than her late husband, who given to charitable works and who had taken an interest in Saint Paul’s. Although she had cooled toward Sinnott, she continued to be close to the Jesuits and promised $25,000 for the College, provided that none of it went to the Archbishop.

A Mistake to Give it up

With the debt looming, the Jesuits had to carefully consider their permanence at the College. In the autumn of 1935, several Canadian Jesuits sent their views to the General Superior. On 26 September, John Holland wrote: 

“The Fathers who are here are all convinced that there is a splendid future for St. Paul’s College and that it would be a mistake to give it up. They are willing to make every sacrifice, as they have been doing, to retain it. … The enrolment has increased considerably this year…The College is becoming increasingly known and especially its reputation for order and discipline being spread. … The Archbishop is very anxious that the Jesuits keep the College. He has been quite pleased with the progress that has been made and  has shown himself ready to help us all he can.”

On 17 November, Father James Carlin, Prefect of Studies, told of Holland’s extraordinary skills: 

“The Reverend Rector shows great wisdom and discretion in all his dealing and due to his untiring efforts, the College is being spoken of most highly by the people of Winnipeg and especially by His Grace [Sinnott].” 

Carlin had a great vision for the College’s future, which included a training centre for Jesuit recruits: 

“To my mind this is the very best opening we have in Canada. We are making every possible effort and sacrifice to finance and we can do so, if given time. … Our affiliation with the University permits a theological faculty with degrees of Divinity. If we established this course we would become the Innsbruck of Western Canada. A Canisianum would prove most popular to the western bishops who are trying hard to conduct small seminaries of their own. The West is our field, if we establish immediately.”

Father Adélard Dugré, the “Assistant” (regional delegate) advised that the Jesuits accept the College but ask for a new contract, freeing them of some of the debt. And, finally, the Apostolic Delegate (papal representative), Archbishop Andrea Cassulo, said that the only way to guarantee a prosperous future for the College would be for the Jesuits to stay with it.

Refinancing and Reconciliation

At the beginning of 1936, the clouds that had been hovering over Saint Paul’s began to clear. In January, the Provincial wrote to the General that Margaret Shea had donated $6,000 to pay off one of the banks. And the Jesuits had succeeded in refinancing a loan, at a lower rate of interest.

In May, Father Keane came from Toronto to make an official visitation. In his report to Rome, he noted that, in spite of many difficulties, the College had increased enrolment and had been successful with exam results and with human formation. In addition, “religious formation and solid teaching of Christian doctrine were constantly required “neque negligatur ad veram et christianam urbanitatem institutio (so that formation of true Christian manners be not neglected) –Letters of Saint Ignatius Loyola, 386.” He believed that “the experiment [of running Saint Paul’s] promises to be a solid success in every way.”

In his 22 May letter to Father Ledóchowski, Father Keane recounted an event incident that had occurred a few days previously. The Jesuits had invited Archbishop Sinnott to lunch and, the following day, Sinnott returned the compliment, after which he had a long conversation with the Jesuit Provincial. The Archbishop behaved very amicably, never waning in his praise for the College and the Jesuits. “Above all, he praised Fathers Holland, Kelly, and McDonald, who had “transformed the students for the better,” which had result in an increase of financial support from their families. These positive results bode well for the College’s future.

Keane was given the opportunity to explain the financial situation, which greatly surprised Sinnott. While the Jesuits were not in a position to pay the debts, the Provincial Superior argued that, given time and with a new loan, they would be able to do so. The Archbishop “begged and pleaded” for the Jesuits not to leave the College, which he characterized as “the greatest misfortune.” As to Vatican permission for the canonical transfer of the institution, Sinnott laughed and said that the matter had been bungled by the Apostolic Delegate. The Jesuits did not need to be concerned because “they cannot refuse to grant it.”

In September 1936, Father Holland sent his annual report to the Father Ledóchowski. Father Carlin’s death had dealt “a great blow to the College,” Holland described his late confrère as “a splendid religious, a capable Prefect of Studies and a tremendous worker.” From his deathbed, Carlin expressed but one regret: that he would not be able to help the College by carrying out his beloved duties. On a positive note, friendly relations with Archbishop Sinnott had been completely restored, as the Rector noted: 

“He has done a great deal for us and he is certainly interested in the welfare of the college. I think that the interview that Reverend Father Provincial had with him during the visitation helped to clear away certain misunderstandings which had existed up to that time.”

Material and Spiritual

Charles Kelly, SJ
The Jesuits had completed their fourth year at Saint Paul’s in 1937. The College had weathered the storm and had begun to really flourish. During the summer vacation, the Rector, the Provincial Superior, Fathers Charles J. Kelly and James.G. McGarry, submitted their reports to Father General Ledóchowski. These touched on three topics: finances, the Archbishop, and the religious community. 

According to these reports, the financial standing was improving and, for the first time, the interest on the loans was paid in full. Over half of the 271 students were receiving discounts, bursaries, or scholarships. Relations with Archbishop Sinnott were very good, according to McGarry, largely “due to the prudence of Father Rector.” Sinnott took an interest in the College and helped in various ways, including a Diocesan collection on Pentecost Sunday, to pay the College taxes. Father Kelly wrote that Sinnott “is more of a help to us than any other Archbishop or Bishop is to any of the other Jesuit Colleges in Canada.” But he was very conscious of his position and dignity: “he wishes all and sundry to realize that he is the Archbishop of Winnipeg.” Sinnott could be impatient but also magnanimous and expected others to show him gratitude.

The internal spirit of the Jesuit community was of primary importance to the order. Indeed, engendering a positive, united, and religious attitude was Holland’s recipe for a successful endeavour. Both he and Keane wrote that the “spirit of observance of the rule, laboriousness, charity, and cooperation abide.” Kelly could not “commend too highly the spirit of charity and piety that marks the life of the Community. … The spirit and mutual trust among the Community at St. Paul’s is noted in this Vice-Province and we wish to keep it that way.” And finally, in his 31 December report, McGarry noted: “Gubernatio hujus domus suavis est, sed non ut in laxitatem labatur. (This community is governed lightly but not in a way that falls into laxity.) Indeed, Holland monitored religious discipline daily so that that Jesuit community life remained a concrete reality. 

Sinnott blesses Shea Hall cornerstone, 1932

Sinnott’s Vision

As its founder, Alfred Sinnott considered Saint Paul’s as his own and the Jesuits his administrative agents. By the end of the decade, the buildings at Ellice and Vaughan had become too small for the needs of a college and high school with resident staff and student borders. In the spring of 1939, Sinnott commissioned an architectural plan for a major expansion which would add additional classrooms and a new dormitory to Paul Shea Hall. Without consulting the Jesuit superiors, he began a fundraising campaign and published a drawing in the Winnipeg Free Press

Father Keane’s successor as Provincial Superior, Father Thomas Mullaly, informed the General Superior that he and his counsellors were opposed to the expansion unless $100,000 could be found to cover the costs. Meanwhile, the Archbishop went to Rome to perform his ad limina visit and to present his plans to the new Pope, Pius XII, and the Roman Curia. First, he met with Monsignor Ruffini of the Vatican education department, then with the Jesuit General, who approved the matter in principle. On 11 June 1939, Sinnott addressed two letters letter to the Pope. In the first letter, he sought the Pontiff’s blessing for the expansion of the College upon which he lavished high praise:

“This College is my joy and my pride. It is now under the care and direction of the Jesuit Fathers and I am thoroughly satisfied with their work. I am wholeheartedly behind them and I will not be content until every Catholic boy under my jurisdiction receives his higher education in this institution.”

The Archbishop asked for the Jesuits be allowed to borrow $100,000 to finance the venture, and the Pope entrusted the matter to his Secretariat of State. On 8 July, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Pope Paul VI) asked the Jesuit General to accede to Sinnott’s desire, provided that he thought it “wise and opportune.”

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jesuits came up with a counter-offer. Instead of a large and costly extension, they proposed adding six classrooms which would require only $45,000. Sinnott agreed to the more modest extension and gave his solemn assurance that he would help with fundraising. On 6 June 1939, Father Ledóchowski approved the revised plan after obtaining permission from the Vatican department for religious orders. On 15 July, he informed the Secretariat of State that the matter was arranged, and Montini gave Sinnott the good news on 21 July.

Alfred Sinnott’s second letter to the Pope, presented on 11 June 1939, was also connected with his plans for Saint Paul’s. He was looking for a mark of success and a visible sign that the institution (and its founder) enjoyed papal approval. The Archbishop wrote:

“I crave a mark of benevolence and paternal encouragement that will never be forgotten in the years to come. I ask that Your Holiness will make a gift to the College of an oil painting of the great apostle St. Paul. I do not desire an original, but rather a copy of an existing picture which will be inspiring to the young men who frequent the institution.”

Della Porta's original
A few days after receiving this letter, Monsignor Montini contacted the Director of the Vatican Museums, Professor Bartolommeo Nogara. The latter commissioned a copy by an artist named De Simone, of a painting by Renaissance master, Fra Bartolommeo della Porta. On 1 August, Montini wrote to inform Sinnott that Pius XII had acceded to his request:

“It was with particular pleasure that the August Pontiff learned of the growth of the College and it is His confident hope that this gift which He deigns to bestow at this time,  […] may, indeed, be a source of real inspiration to the students of the College.”

The additional classrooms were completed by the end of 1939. In December, Sinnott sent effusive thanks to the Pope “for the magnificent painting,” together with a notably large “Peter’s Pence” offering for that year. He also agreed to a new contract with Jesuits, which came into effect in April of 1940, in time for his episcopal silver jubilee. 


Even with the additional classrooms, with almost 400 students, Saint Paul’s was outgrowing its downtown campus on more than one level. Father Francis Smith’s report, from the summer of 1938, noted that Holland, who had been marvelous in dealing with the problems of the early years, was lacking a vision for the future. Holland, Kelly, and McDonald were not intellectuals and placed a great deal of emphasis on sporting activities. Also, the students of the High School were excelling at greater rate than those of the College, perhaps because the Rector himself taught the former and subconsciously gave them preference. It was time for a change if the College was to progress. Accordingly, in 1941, Holland was replaced as rector, though he continued to teach in the high school. 

St. Paul's with extended Paul Shea Hall

Abiding Spirit

John Holland had proven to be a second founder of Saint Paul’s. Despite several changes in leadership and personnel, the good spirit which he painstakingly cultivated continued to characterize the College and High School. The reports of visitations from the late 1950s testify to this fact. In 1955, Provincial Superior George E. Nunan, wrote to General Superior Jean-Baptiste Janssens, that: 

“The fidelity of the members of the Community to spiritual duties and their generosity in doing the work assigned them is gratifying. For these divine blessings and that of mutual union, the Community should be thankful to God.” 

And in 1957 Nunan said: “the charity and zeal of the members of this community is remarkable.”

Father St. Clair Monaghan, the principal of the High School, observed that “the spirit of union and religious charity existing in the community is worthy of praise and commendation.” Clemens J. Crusoe noted that “ the community’s spirit of good will and basic contentment is reflected in their work.” In 1958, future librarian Father Harold J. Drake said, “Our community here is considered to be one of the luckiest and happiest ones in the Province.”

In their reports from 1956 to 1958, Fathers Nunan, Crusoe, and Sheridan praised the High School Principal, Father Monaghan, and his assistant, Father Barry Connelly, for their “firmness in direction of studies and discipline.” Father Clarence Lynch, assisted by Jesuit Scholastic (seminarian) John English, had obtained good results with religious sodalities. And Crusoe defined Father Hanley’s course in speech as “outstanding.” Sheridan observed that the boys, who were observing a stricter dress code of jackets and ties, manifested “a more serious approach to studies and a wider interest in things spiritual.” 

Old Wine in New Wineskins

Archbishop Sinnott did not live to see his vision for Saint Paul’s become a reality. In 1954, the year of his death, the University of Manitoba extended an invitation to relocate to its Fort Garry campus, offering cost free land on a renewable 99 year lease. The College would have to find the money to construct a building. After much discussion, in the spring of 1956, the Jesuits accepted the offer.

In order to ensure the future of the College, on 18 May 1956, several Jesuits, led by College Rector Cecil C. Ryan, asked the General Superior for permission to establish a lay advisory board. This was to bring prestige to the institution by the association of prominent citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, from Winnipeg business and professional sectors.  In addition to funds received from private donors, the Province of Manitoba provided $100,000 toward the construction of the new Saint Paul’s.

Cecil Ryan, SJ
In December of 1957, Nunan quoted Sinnott’s successor, Archbishop Philip Pocock, as saying that “the transfer of the College to the university campus is the greatest thing that has happened to the Archdiocese since his arrival.” Construction was on schedule, thanks to the efficient handling of the project by Father Ryan. Father Drake quoted the Archbishop’s words of praise at a clergy dinner, held in January 1958 at the old buildings: “Father Ryan has done a magnificent job of public relations for the College during his term of office, and he wished there was some loophole that would allow an even further extension of that term.” 

In fact, Ryan’s term had already been extended a year to oversee the completion of the new College. The new Provincial Superior, Father George F. Gordon, obtained further permission to delay the announcement of the new rector until after the opening ceremony, because Pocock wanted Ryan remain in office until that event took place. In a report to the General, Gordon described the October 1958 inauguration as “a very notable event in the history of Catholic education in Canada.”

In 1964, the High School relocated to its a new building of its own, taking with it the painting which Pius XII gave Archbishop Sinnott for Saint Paul’s. Originally displayed in the main foyer, it has since been moved to the entrance of the new chapel. Bartolommeo della Porta’s renaissance original was hidden away in the bowels of the Vatican Museums, and has never been since. Documents pertaining to the Winnipeg copy were discovered in the Vatican Apostolic (formerly know as the “Secret”) Archive, only weeks after the papers on Saint Paul’s were unearthed in ARSI.

Father Holland’s Corner

Father Drake wrote that “the story of Saint Paul’s is a good one, and has to be told.” The same goes for the story of its refounder and his Jesuit team. The decision to appoint Holland to lead Saint Paul’s was fortuitous. He began his mission by accompanying young men in a search for wisdom to its Source. And in retirement, he continued to accompany alumni and friends and share news, making use of his prodigious memory. His care for the Saint Paul’s family, past and present, was epitomized in his column, “Father Holland’s Corner.” 

John S. Holland ended his earthly mission in 1987, at his beloved Saint Paul’s. Both High School and College communities prayed over his bones, invoking the Divine Mercy in thanksgiving for his care. Now it is time for us alumni to care for his memory and that of the schools he helped transfigure.


To presume to eulogise one man is to pipe up for a whole generation.
– The Poet Laureate, The Patriarchs, 17 April 2021


Sunday, 7 March 2021

"Conciliabolo" : Rome and the 1946 Lviv Pseudo-Synod

Today marks the 75thanniversary of the Lviv pseudo-sobor, which took place from 8–10 March 1946. In the past 25 years, few English works have revealed new information in its regard. Based on recently declassified Vatican archival sources, this article seeks to make a modest contribution by revealing what, when, and how the Apostolic See of Rome learned of facts leading up to and resulting from that event.

            During the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland (Western Ukraine) 1939–1941, Stalin fell back on old Tsarist plans to suppress the Greek-Catholic Churches. But attempts to entice clergy to defect floundered on the moral authority enjoyed by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. When the Red Army returned to Lviv in July 1944, the Metropolitan was already declining, and died within four months, on 1 November. With Sheptytsky out of the way, the NKVD operation was given the go ahead.    

In the spring of 1945, as the Second World War was coming to an end, an Iron Curtain descended upon the eastern half of Europe. On the Old Continent, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) found itself subject to atheist Communist rule in the east, and in the west, its clergy and faithful displaced across hundreds of refugee camps. In this moment, two projects were set in motion: the first, led by refugee Bishop Ivan Buchko though Pope Pius XII and the Vatican Curia, to raise the agonizing UGCC from the ashes of destruction; the second, concocted by Joseph Stalin and his henchmen, to destroy the Church once and for all.


Vatican Information System

            By the twentieth century, the Roman Curia had adopted a multi-tiered system of gleaning information from local Churches: The first tier was the apostolic nuncio (or apostolic delegate for countries that did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See). The nuncio/delegate or his deputy sent regular reports to the papal Secretariat of State, the central office which acted as moderator of all the curial departments. The State Secretariat had a section for internal church-related matters, and also a foreign office for matters pertaining to political and diplomatic affairs. If an issue pertained to the competency of a specific curial department (such as the Congregation for the Eastern Church), then the nuncio/delegate sent his report there. The second tier of information came from local clergy: first the diocesan bishop/eparch and the hierarchs of province or country. Trusted informers also included religious superiors, especially the Jesuit provincial, and local clergy with particular knowledge or expertise in various questions. The third tier was information from diplomatic and civil authorities, such as an ambassador to the Holy See.

            During the Second World War, this system partially broke down, as communications became difficult and habitual channels were cut off. With the closure of the nunciature of Warsaw, in September 1939, information had to be sought after from the nunciatures in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Catholic prelates from Allied countries also used their political and military contacts to keep the Pope and his Roman Curia informed. Among the most important liaisons in the Allied countries were the apostolic delegates in London and Washington D.C., William Godfrey and Amletto Cicognani. The Holy See approached ambassadors of countries that had relations with the Soviet Union for information regarding Soviet occupation zone. For countries under Axis control, it used the Nunciature to Italy or Berlin. Military chaplains, such as the Italian military expedition that to the USSR in 1941, also sent reports. Among these were UGCC priest-students in Rome, such as Vasyl Vavryk, Meletiy Voinar, Petro Diachyshyn, and Volodymyr Hrabets, recruited by the Italian military via Yevhen Onatsky, for their knowledge of Ukrainian and other Slavic languages.


From the Diplomatic Service 

The Vatican first heard of Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s death via the Polish Ambassador to the Holy See, Casimir Papée, and announced it in the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on 14 and 15 November 1944. The news of the hierarchy’s arrest (on 11 April) also came from Polish diplomats. On 15 June 1945, the Polish ambassador in Washington D.C. informed the apostolic delegation that Metropolitan Slipyi and the other bishops had been arrested. Already at that time, they believed that it was apparent that the Soviets were aiming to destroy the Uniate Church by replacing it with Russian Orthodoxy. (The Government-in-Exile had already warned the Vatican of the dangers to millions of Catholics behind the Curzon Line, following the Yalta Conference, when Molotov had commented that the Soviets would not tolerate Catholics, only Orthodox.) On 18 June, Apostolic Delegate Amletto Cicognani passed this information to Monsignor Tardini, head of the papal Foreign ministry, who informed the Pope on 6 July. 


From Ukrainian Clergy 

Details of Sheptytsky’s funeral and the enthronement of his successor were dispatched by Metropolitan Yosyf Slipyi on 19 November 1944, but did not reach Rome until 6 March 1945. Cardinal Tisserant, the head of the Pope’s Eastern-Churches department, brought Slipyi’s letter to Pius XII, who ordered that the account be published in L’Osservatore Romano.

From his Roman exile, Sheptytsky’s auxiliary bishop, Ivan Buchko, became a focal point for Ukrainian exiles and organizations. Pius XII appointed him as apostolic visitor for UGCC throughout western Europe, and Buchko began to lobby for material and pastoral aid for tens of thousands of his displaced countrymen. He also began to lay the groundwork for the creation of a full global hierarchy, to make up for those suppressed in the homeland.

            Bishop Buchko began to receive news from the Ukrainian underground, via European contacts, of the preparations for schism taking place in Soviet Ukraine. 

On 27 March 1945 he informed the Secretariat of State that his compatriots in America reported that 38 priests in Galicia (Western Ukraine) had been shot and 145 priests had been “invited” to become Orthodox or face deportation. On 1 July, he received a letter from Father Gabriel Kostelnyk’s surviving sons, Iriney and Zenon (interned at Bellaria-Rimini) confirming that, in 1941, the NKVD had already tried to get their father to lead a movement to unite UGCC with the Russian Orthodox Church. Buchko communicated this to Cardinal Tisserant on 30 July.

In July 1945, an eyewitness, Father Bronisław Kreuza (Tadeusz Rzewuski), arrived in Rome. He submitting a long and extremely detailed report to the Oriental Congregation, chronicling the events that occurred in Lviv from the summer of 1944 until his departure on 15 June 1945. These included: the death of Metropolitan Andrey, the arrest of the bishops and principal clergy, a shrewd analysis of Kostelnyks background and character, attempts by Fathers Klymentiy Sheptytsky and Yosyf Kladochny to dialogue with Kostelnyk. A Capitular Vicar, Canon Mykola Galant, had been duly elected within the remaining members of the Lviv Chapter of Canons but was sone arrested and a clandestine vicar general [Redemptorist Father Joseph de Vocht] was secretly governing the Lviv Archeparchy. Father Klymentiy played the leading role in public and dispatched Rzewuski-Kreuza to Rome to inform the Curia of what was taking place. On 11 August, he was permitted to recount some of the story in an audience with Pope Pius XII.

On 14 August, a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate in Lviv wrote to her superiors in Rome of Kostelnyk’s activities. Bishop Buchko forwarded an Italian translation of the letter to the Vatican. On 9 September 1945, he received details of the violence of the Initiative Group’s campaign from Father Volodymyr Prokopiv of the Przemyśl Eparchy (who would be arrested and deported to USSR in October). On 22 September, Buchko forwarded the information to the Oriental Congregation: Mykhailo Melnyk, Vicar General for the Przemyśl Eparchy in Soviet territory, was had the reputation of being a good preacher and theology professor; Antoniy Pelvetsky, who had been Buchko’s seminarian in Lviv, was deemed intellectually mediocre; and Kostelnyk, who was notorious to the Apostolic See, was known for his anti-Roman and anti-celibacy publications. Before the Second World War, Kostelnyk became involved with mysticism and false visionaries. He was also reported to have lost control of his behaviour and have become an alcoholic due to pressure from the NKVD and the murder of his son Bohdan, at their hands.  Buchko had also been informed that there were Russian Orthodox bishops working as agents of the NKVD.

Bishop Buchko also submitted Italian translations of 5 documents: the first two were signed by the members of the Initiative Group; the first, dated 28 May, informed the clergy that the government was placing the Group in charge of UGCC to prepare a merger with Russian Orthodoxy; the second, dated 16 June, was a request to Soviet officials to sanction their plans; a third document was the reply of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian USSR, approving their work; and a fourth was the protest against the activities of the Group, addressed to Molotov, signed by the Metropolitan Chapter and faithful priests. Buchko had received the documents from the Ukrainian Information Service in Munich, which had obtained them via the Ukrainian underground or, as he guessed, via Bishop Kotsylovsky. Cardinal Tisserant forwarded the report and translations to the Secretariat of State on 18 October. 

On 5 November 1945, the spiritual director of the Przemyśl seminary, Father Mykola Denko, took advantage of a courier leaving for Czechoslovakia to pen an overview of the situation to Bishop Buchko, as the former was unaware of what was known beyond of the Iron Curtain. He wrote of the arrest of Bishop Kotsylovsky, of NVKD tortures, and the death of many priests. Some had accepted Orthodoxy since they lacked the courage to endure deportation, imprisonment, and torture. Some clergy and faithful from that eparchy that sought protection from the Latin bishops but had been turned away. Writing from Frankfurt on 6 December, Basilian Father Stefan Reshetylo wrote of the arrests in the Przemyśl Eparchy and confirmed the apostasy of the members of the Initiative Group. Buchko submitted this letter to the Oriental Congregation on 14 January 1946.

At the end of December 1945, a similar report was written by a professor of the same seminary, Father Volodymyr Holynsky. He reported that Mykola Galant, Capitular Vicar of Lviv, was dead, and that Canon Kunytsky was dying. Metropolitan Andrey’s old entourage, For the time being, Fathers Klymentiy, Kladochny and Kotiv were still living at Saint George’s Palace. (This report did not reach the Rome until June 1946). In April 1946, a letter was received from Khomyshyn’s secretary, Father Sudak, who had escaped the USSR and was hiding in Warsaw, furnishing details of Khomyshyn’s arrest.


Papal Encyclical

In February 1945, Patriarch Sergei of Moscow died and was succeeded by Metropolitan Alexei. On the occasion of his election, an appeal to Greek-Catholics to break with Rome, bearing the new patriarch’s name, was distributed in Soviet Ukraine. The appeal also accused the Vatican of “arming the faithful against all peace-loving people and leading them in the opposite direction, against the whole world.”

A copy of this appeal reached Rome in the summer, with the arrival of Father Rzewuski-Kreuza. Bishop Buchko translated it into Italian on 6 September and it was sent to Monsignor Tardini on 17 September. A translation a booklet against the Papacy, recently published by Kostelnyk, was also sent to the State Secretariat on 12 December. These documents were further evidence that the Soviets were preparing to suppress the UGCC. 

Since the 950th anniversary of the Union of Brest was approaching, Buchko wrote to Cardinal Tisserant, asking for a message of encouragement for the persecuted Church. Cardinal Tisserant decided on a papal encyclical and received the go-ahead from Pius XII during an audience of 27 October 1945. This solemn commemoration was to be used simultaneously as a protest against the persecution of the UGCC. 

The encyclical’s text was prepared by Jesuit Father Emil Herman, a professor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and adviser of the Oriental Congregation. It was divided into three parts: a history of the Union, its positive results, the tragic contemporary situation. The first part contains strong praise of the late Metropolitan Sheptytsky (reworked from texts which Tisserant had previously proposed to the State Secretariat for a letter on Kyr Andrey’s anniversary). And the final section included a thunderous condemnation of Alexei’s enticements to schism. The papal message encouraged fidelity but foresaw martyrdom.

On 22 January 1946, the Oriental Congregation submitted the final draft of the encyclical to the Internal Affairs section of the Secretariat of State. In a cover letter, Tisserant explained to Monsignor Montini that official Latin translation had been done by the Jesuit General Curia and reviewed by Herman. Since the document concerned the UGCC, the Congregation had decided to use Ukrainian versions of the names of people and places, reviewed by Bishop Buchko.The encyclical Orientales omnes Ecclesias, bore the date 23 December 1945, the anniversary of the Union, but it was actually published on 20 January 1946.

The immediate reactions to the encyclical were diverse. Ukrainian Catholic were overjoyed by papal solidarity. Buchko thanked Tisserant and asked for a group audience with the Pope, so that the Ukrainian community in Rome could pay him their homage. On 3 April, Father Emanuïl Korduba, head chaplain of the 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers of the Ukrainian (formerly Galicia) Division, interned as POWs in Rimini, wrote thanking thanked the Pope for the encyclical which “condemned the heretical summons to schism.” For some reason, this letter was not shown to the Pope until October 1946, at which time Pius XII was recorded to have said: “it’s a beautiful letter.” 

 Poles complained that the encyclical’s proper names were not the Polish version. A telling critique came from Paris, when the text of the encyclical was published in La Croix and Études. On 11 February 1946, Dominican Father (Archimandrite) Christophe-Jean Dumont complained that certain “unilateral” passages of the document had offended the Russian Orthodox and even Russian Catholics. Dumont, who served a s superior of a mission to Russian émigrés, expressed concern for possible tensions between the two religious denominations. Like other missionaries, he had been encouraged to understand and even absorb the mentality and culture of his flock. As a result, he had acquired a Russian reading of history, which looked upon Ruthenians (Ukrainians, Belarusians, Rusyns) as Russians who had strayed from the Mother Ship. In this vein, Dumont commented that, Although it was unfortunate that the Soviet state had intervened, yet, “could this not be a solution to the prickly Ruthenian question.” Dumont had proposed to Yves Congar that he allude to this in Témoignage Chrétien. (At the height of Vatican Ostpolitik, in July 1963, Dumont would be dispatched to Moscow to offer felicitations for Patriarch Alexei's episcopal jubilee).


Synodal Preparations

It appears as if Father Holynsky’s report, written at the end of December 1945, was the first to specifically mention that a synod was being prepared by the Initiative group (although this information did not reach Rome until three months after that event had taken place).  

On 6 January 1946, the Vicar General of the Basilian Order, Father Dionisiy Holovetsky, passed on a report from Father Mykhailo Ivanyshyn, who had come from Lviv to Warsaw at the end of 1945. The same month, an undated seven-page report was submitted by Redemptorist Father Maurice Van de Maele through Monsignor Forni of the Prague Nunciature. It recounted the Soviet religious policy from the moment of their occupation. At first, Roman and Greek Catholic Churches were encouraged, to keep the locals calm and content. Then, in 1945, when victory was in sight, the policy of one state – one religion was announced. Van den Maele noted that none of the monastics had yet given in but that many secular priests had succumbed to save their families from deportation to Siberia. “A great synod” was already being talked about and “the nationalist youth” (many of which were the children of the clergy hiding in the forests) had threatened to kill Kostelnyk if he carried out the planned schism.

In February, Tardini informed Tisserant that Forni had also received another report from a Basilian, who claimed that 90% of priests that had gone into schism. Tisserant replied that this did not correspond with the information received from Van de Maele, and asked for the name of the source. Forni replied that the information had come from Father Sebastian Sabol in Trebišov, Czechoslovakia, a few kilometres from the Soviet border. Forni noted that Sabol was in constant contact with his compatriots and was greatly trusted by Bishop Pavel Gojdič of Prjaševo (Prešov). On 16 May Tardini specified that Sabol confirmed that his information had been accurate but that the percentage of apostate priests had been exaggerated.

Meanwhile, Polish sources continued to send information from behind the Curzon line, regarding preparations for schism. The Basilians in USSR had lost their monasteries and Bishop Kotsylovsky, who had been detained in Rzeszów, had been deported to USSR, presumably to Kyiv to join his imprisoned brother bishops awaiting trial.

Cardinal Tisserant, who appears to have taken little notice of Dumont's angst, went on the offensive by giving a number of interviews to the press regarding the recent papal encyclical. On 28 February, he spoke to the Italian press about the persecution of UGCC in USSR and how clergy and faithful were being forced to accept the state religion, laying some of the blame at the doorstep of the Patriarch of Moscow. From 1–3 March, similar interviews appeared in the English-language press, especially the New York Times. Buchko wrote to Tisserant on 2 April that, although several prominent cardinals, such as Tisserant, de Barros Câmera, and Griffin, had raised their voices against the persecution, the international Catholic press had reported little on Orientales omnes.


Reactions to the Pseudo-Sobor

The Lviv pseudo-Sobor took place on 8–10 March 1946, after which the results were announced on Radio Moscow. On 19 March, the nunciature in Cairo wrote that it was bring reported that “the head of Uniates in Lvov had broken with Rome.” On 24 March, the Apostolic Delegate had telegraphed from Washington, asking the Secretariat of State for clarification on: who were Kostelnyk, Melnyk, Pelvetsky that had signed a letter to Stalin declaring the Union abolished; why the Greek-Catholic bishops had not reacted, and if some were dead, as rumoured. Tisserant replied that the signatories were apostates (no longer qualified representatives), and that the UGCC hierarchs had been arrested the previous April. The rumours of Khomyshyn’s death were suspected to be true, but Slipyi’s was not confirmed. 

            The first public response from the Vatican was an article entitled “I greco-cattolici nell’Unione Sovietica” (Greek Catholics in the Soviet Union), published in L’Osservatore Romano on 25–26 March 1946. The piece reported news from Études on Kostelnyk and the pressure on the clergy to commit schism. The text of the Initiative Group’s letter to Soviet officials and appeal to the UGCC clergy (already translated by Buchko in in September 1945) were also included. The article also noted that La Croix had published the faithful clergy’s protest  to the Initiate Group on 20 October 1945.

            On 26 March, the apostolic Delegate in London, William Godfrey, reported that a letter had been issued by Council of Christians and Jews, signed by Socialist leader and politician, Ernest Bevin. The letter expressed concern that the secession of UGCC from Rome had been brought about under pressure, and noted the encyclical Orientales omnes.

            When Ukrainians learned of the fake synod, they began to issue their own protests and statements of solidarity. On 29 March 1946, a telegram was sent to Pius XII, signed by Rev. Dr Basil Kushnir (of a visiting Canadian committee) on behalf of 9,000 soldiers of the Ukrainian Division in Rimini. On 30 March, Bishop Buchko wrote directly to Pius XII. In apocalyptic language, he declared that the devil was attempting to deceive the world into believing that the UGCC had spontaneously broken the Union, although no one was free under Stalin. The bishop renewed his request for an audience for all Ukrainians in Rome, including 30 priests and religious brothers and sisters, representatives of 5,000 Ukrainians in the Polish Corps and the 4 Catholic chaplains from Rimini. In reply, Buchko was told that the Pope appreciated the declarations and would do his best to help the Ukrainians in Italy. However, an audience would not be a good idea, since it would draw attention to them at a time when the USSR was lobbying for their repatriation. 

            On 5 April, Tisserant informed Tardini that there were only 2 apostate priests on the Polish side of the border and that reports of quasi-universal apostasy among the clergy on the Soviet side were exaggerated. Tisserant asked the Secretariat of State to thank Cardinal Hlond and Bishop Sokołowski for the care they had shown to the Greek-Catholics.

On 14 April 1946, the Central Aid Committee of Ukrainians in Germany sent a letter to the Holy See repudiating the pseudo-synod, declaring that the Ukrainian National Republic (a kind of umbrella organization for various political factions) considered it an act of deceit and violence. The letter also noted that bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church had issued a condemnation at their synod in Esslingen, Wurttemberg. The hierarchs noted that Orthodoxy would never force conversions and expressed their sincere fraternal compassion and prayers to God shorten the sufferings of the UGCC. To a declaration from the Ukrainian Committee in Berne, Switzerland, Tardini wrote Nuncio Bernardini, on 28 April, that the Holy Father knows of the plight of Ukrainians and had issued Orientales omnes in solidarity with them. The Ukrainian General Council of Liberation also sent a memorandum on the pseudo-sobor to Monsignor Montini on 22 May.

On 12 June, Bishop Buchko reported to Cardinal Tisserant that, Radio Moscow’s announcement of the pseudo-sobor had provoked protests from refugees in Germany. He had received 34 protests signed by thousands of Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox. Buchko described them as the indestructible voice of the UGCC’s union with the Pope, which those in homeland were prevented from expressing. All of the declarations were in Ukrainian except for one, written in Latin. Buchko had them translated into Italian for the Apostolic See. The bishop noted that, among the signatories were: political representatives including former MPs of the Second Polish Republic, a former senator, members of the League of Ukrainians from German concentration camps, members of the League of university students, and thirteen priests.

On 22 June 1946, these declarations were presented to Pius XII by Bishop Arata. Tisserant’s deputy at the Oriental Congregation. In response, the Pope “blessed persecuted Ukrainian people from his heart.” Arata was instructed to “make these declarations known to the world but cautiously, so as not to harm those in homeland.” Canon Yustyn Hirnyak of Stanyslaviv, representing 122 refugee priests and faithful in Austria, had brought another declaration protesting the “conciliabolo” (imposter council) to Rome and protesting their attachment to the Apostolic See. Cardinal Tisserant presented it to Pius XII on 13 July. 

Finally, on 13 July, Apostolic Delegate Godfrey reported to the papal Secretariat of State on the declarations and accusations against the Church by Radio Moscow. William Godfrey believed that the behaviour of Soviets was destroying the esteem they had won among the Allies during the war. He also noted that, in response to the pseudo-sobor, the Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Anglican Communion) had issued statement expressing hope that the Soviets would show more tolerance.



            A year later, information continued to arrive describing resistance to the “conciliabolo.” In March 1947, a priest who had escaped gave information to Apostolic delegate Cicognani and Cardinal Tisserant asked Bishop Buchko to evaluate it. On 2 May, Buchko noted that it was very different from news he had received from the Ukrainian Information Service. Although he judged such news “incomplete in content” he guessed that the Information Service was the same as the one called “KIRA.” Buchko’s information was that there were entire regions in the Carpathians Mountains where UPA was sheltering faithful priests. In the former Przemyśl Eparchy, priests audibly commemorated the Pope in the liturgical services. The apostate Bishop Melnyk was rumoured to be tacitly consenting, and even supporting those priests who had secretly remained faithful to Rome. In August 1946, the Information Service reported that about half of the priests accepted the sobor, while others preferred deportation to Siberia. Six were killed by UPA as soon as they returned home from the pseudo-sobor. No religious were yet reported to have submitted to Moscow.

Sometime toward the end of 1946, a copy of a letter by Father Kostelnyk, addressed to a priest in his native Bačka region of Yugoslavia, was sent to Bishop Buchko, who translated it into Italian and submitted it to the Oriental Congregation. Dated 15 November 1946 and signed “Gabor,” the letter stated that Kostelnyk was always convinced that the Union with Rome had been the ruin of the UGCC (identifying it with Polish hegemony). He claimed that noting could be done in 1941 without destroying the Church but times had changed in 1945. He suggested that union with the Russian Orthodox Church was “the only way,” proven by fact that 1110 out of 1250 priests had accepted it. (No mention of the assassinated, tortured, or deported).

Kostelnyk believed that the Red Army had saved the western Ukrainians from annihilation at the hands of avenging Poles. Since the UGCC bishops had been accused of collaboration with the Germans, the only way to save the UGCC was to accept the freedoms the Orthodox had won through loyalty to USSR. Kostelnyk declared himself innocent before God and history, and suggested that the Križevci Eparchy follow his lead. He ended with the warning (in ideological language): “Be careful the progress of history does not crush you under its wheels.”           

Kostelnyk had told his friend that he was planning to visit Yugoslavia to help them join Orthodoxy, but first the terrain had to be prepared. On 24 May 1948, the chargé d’affaires of the Belgrade Nunciature, Joseph Hurley, informed Rome that the priests and faithful of the Križevci Eparchy had remained faithful and were preparing to resist Kostelnyk upon his return. But the planned visit never took place. On 24 September 1948, Bishop Buchko informed the Oriental Congregation that Kostelnyk had been assassinated. On 28 September, Monsignor Luigi Poggi informed Monsignor Tardini that Patriarch Alexei had declared that the assassin was a “bourgeois Ukrainian nationalist” acting on orders of the Pope. The lurid accusation might have been designed to lesson papal prestige in countries, such a Italy, were the Communist parties were on the offensive, seeking to take power. Whatever the reason, it was considered sufficient for an official denial, which appeared as an article entitled “Calunniose Perfidie” (Calumnious perfidy), on the front page of the 19 January 1949 issue of L’Osservatore Romano.

UGCC hierarchy 1959
Historians expert on Ukrainian sources, such as those that participated in the recent UCU conference on the Pseudo-Synod, will be able to compare what the Vatican was told to other sources, in order to determine what was accurate and was false. In examining only some of documentation of the Roman Curia of the period, we can already see that the Holy See, fare from being disinterested or standing aloof, was very concerned to the fate of the UGCC. Highly influential in this process was Bishop (later Archbishop) Ivan Buchko, whose efforts to preserve the UGCC and Ukrainian diaspora organizations were crowned with great success. This was due to the generous financial and moral support of the Apostolic See, mediated through the intercessions of Cardinal Eugène Tisserant. the Pope continued to publically proclaim solidary for Ukrainians in apostolic letters and encyclicals, and by the creation of bishoprics and metropolitan provinces throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia. By the time of the his death, in October 1958, Pius XII had established the UGCC hierarchy across 4 continents of the globe.