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 incarnated 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? 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Yosyf Slipyi enters the Second Vatican Council

"Greeted with an ovation by the Council Fathers, the Metropolitan of Lviv of the Greek Catholic Rite, Józef Slipyj, made a firm and authoritative intervention against atheism at the council session on 11 day of this month [November].

In his speech, the Metropolitan appealed to the Council to find the most appropriate and effective ways for our time to fight this widespread evil and danger throughout the entire world. This appeal to create specific norms for the apostolate of the struggle against atheism made a profound impression on those present. It was like an echo of the words of the Holy Father, spoken at the opening of the second session of the Council.

The first appeal to the struggle against atheism, at the Council, came from the lips of a bishop from behind the Iron Curtain.

The Metropolitan also requested that the Council raise the Metropolitan See of Kiev-Halych to the rank of a patriatchate: the Uniate bishop emphasized that those lands belonged to the sphere of Western Christianity, and of their connection with Catholic Rome and the See of St. Peter."

– Information Service of the Embassy of the Polish Republic to the Vatican, no. 31, Rome, 13 November 1963. 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

On the 80th Anniversary of the Election of Pius XII

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI opened the files of the Pontificate of Pius XI (1922–1939). Documents of the archives of the Apostolic See can be consulted up to 11 February 1939, with some exceptions. One such exception are the fascicles concerning the death of Pius XI and the election of Pius XII in the Archive of the Nunciature of Warsaw, in the Vatican Secret Archives. They contain updates from the Roman Curia to the Warsaw Nunciature and official messages of congratulation. Local church archives are invariably open beyond February 1939, and I have translated a message from the Oriental Congregation addressed to Bishop Ladyka, which was sent to all Eastern Catholic superiors. Historians eagerly await the opening of at least a portion of the Apostolic See's archives from of Pius XII's pontificate. Perhaps this eightieth anniversary will be the harbinger of that happy event. 

Update: On 4 March 2019, Pope Francis announced that he has consented to the opening of the fonds of the pontificate of Pius XII (1939–1958), in March 2020.

From the Archive of the Nunciature of Warsaw:

Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini to Archbishop Filippo Cortesi, Nuncio

2/III 1939
Vatican City
[I have the] pleasure to announce [that] Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli [has been] elected Supreme Pontiff Pius XII [,] alleluja. Deign [to] make [the] announcement [to the Polish] Government.

Cardinal Eugène Tisserant to Archbishop Filippo Cortesi

Vatican City, 2 March 1939

Your Excellency will not have failed to notice the delicate allusion that the new Pontiff addressed, in His first message, not only to the Bishops, the Clergy and to all the children of the Catholic Church spread everywhere across the world, – especially those who are suffering in poverty and pain – but “also to those who dwell outside the bounds of the Catholic Church.” And undoubtedly among the first of these, the heart of the Supreme Pontiff included the separated brethren to which, moreover, the August hope that Pius XII made a point of expressing is addressedthat “they would willingly accept divine assistance from Us, at this most solemn hour which We have implored in prayer from Almighty God.”

From the Archive of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg:

Cardinal Eugène Tisserant to each Eastern Catholic hierarch

Vatican City, 2 March 1939

            Eastern Christianity has very particular reasons to share the joy of the Catholic world at the election of the Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli as Supreme Pontiff with the name of Pius XII.
            He is not new to eastern religious questions as, in His multiple offices, He often dealt with them with vigilant attention and always with desirous hope of a priest and apostle. Now Pius XII assumes the Prefecture of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church after already having offered, for many years, the wisdom of his counsel for its better administration, while fervidly and prudently collaborating with the codification of Eastern canon law.
            And if His office of Supreme Pontiff – which He seems to indicate in the very choice of name – will be inspired by the magnanimous paths traced by the genius and piety of Pius XI, then the East is certain to have, in Pius XII, a Shepherd like the Former, lovingly solicitous of its every need and hope. And if, from the motto borne on his coat of arms “Opus iustitiae pax,” it is reasonable to envision a program, then it can be said that, by Pius XII, the East will continue to be governed with that goodness and justice which are the only sources of peace.
            And wherefore, Most Reverend Excellency, may Your joy be great and that of all the clergy and people which constitutes your crown, and may their feelings of filial devotion and generous confidence reach the Most High, Who again has given the Church its Visible Head. A new era of greatness and glory is announced for Catholicism, and the Christian East shall have the richest part in this general rejoicing.
            United to Your Excellency and to His entire diocese in rendering praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, I again unite myself to Your prayer and to those of Your faithful, that the sweetest Mother of God will protect, comfort, and enlighten, the Holy Father Pius XII in the Pontificate which begins today. 

From the Archive of the Nunciature of Warsaw:

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky to Archbishop Filippo Cortesi

In Pace.                       Léopol, 9 March 1939.

            I beg Your Excellency to deign to receive, in the name of His Holiness the Pope, the homage of obedience, of fidelity and of piety, which I present to Him on the day of His Holiness’s coronation in the name of my clergy, my faithful, and my own mediocrity.
            The magnificent conclave of 2 March was such a striking manifestation of the unity of the Church, that we felt a very great joy. Permit, Excellency, that I congratulate you – who takes the place of the Holy Father. This conclave, no less than the August Person of Pius XII, increases our supernatural hope that, under the reign of this pontiff, the poor eastern nations separated from the Church by the Eastern schism, will return, little by little, to the unity of the Catholic Church, or move toward this unity by evermore understanding that it is the word of the Almighty. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Warsaw Nunciature and the Lateran Pacts

The following telegram was sent by Cardinal Pietro Gasparri to the apostolic nuncio in Warsaw, Archbishop Francesco Marmaggi:

rome, 6 february 1929, 8:30 pm

no222- tomorrow thursday [you] will communicate [to the] diplomatic corps the following:

two years ago [the] italian governent confidentially expressed [a desire to] settle [the] roman question.

[the] holy father  asked all [the] cardinals who said [he] should not refuse such desire in comformity [with the] noted response [of] leo xiii.

private conferences [took place] for express conditions [of] his holiness [which] led [to the] stipulation not only [of a] treaty but also [of a] concordat to settle [the] italian religious [question].

both convenetions [are] inseperable [and their] signing [is] imminent.

[the] treaty ensures [to the] holy see essentially [the] arrangement always desired [: the] right to complete liberty [and] independence really necessary [to] govern [the] universal church.

[the] concordat sufficiently accounts [for the] religious situation [in] italy.

y.[our] i.[llustrious] l.[ordship is to] remain [in] warsaw.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Canadian Greek-Catholic Statutes 1915

A facsimile of the 1915 Statutes (Norms) of the Ruthenian [Greek]-Catholic Church in Canada is now available online. The text of this document is reproduced in Ukrainian and English and analysed in Bishop David Motiuk's book Eastern Christians in the New World, and is also discussed in my historical biography of Blessed Nykyta Budka, God's Martyr, History's Witness (p. 85–88)The online scan of the original publication, intended for the use of the clergy only, provides a fascinating picture of the Greek-Catholic Church in Canada (which included Ukrainians, Rusyns, and Slovaks) in the setting of First World War Canadian society. Drafted by canonist. Rev Dr Amvroziy Redkevych (1880–1961), the norms were later approved by Bishop Budka with his clergy at the first diocesan synod in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in January 1915. This text interesting for its archaic Ukrainian orthography, which was in use among Galician Ukrainians until the end of the First World War. 

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Canon Delkevych's Ecclesiastical History notes

Yosyf Delkevych (1822–1912) was a priest of the Przemyśl (Peremyshl) Eparchy. He served as professor of ecclesiastical history at Lemberg (Lviv)University from 1866,  deputy of the Galician Diet 1868–1969, and honorary canon of the Przemyśl cathedral chapter from 1875.

Friday, 22 June 2018

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

Ukrainian version: "Вже не вигнані" Патріярхат, no. 6 [470] (листопад–грудень 2018), ст. 21–24.
On Saturday, 23 June 2018, the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Westminster solemnly marked the fiftieth anniversary of its opening. For over forty of those years, it was known as “The Holy Family in Exile.” We might say that this cathedral had its origins in two historical events: the forced emigration of Ukrainians from their homeland, during and after the Second World War; and a promise made to them by the Pope. 
The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church had been outlawed by the Soviet Communists in 1945, but Pope Pius XII defended it and made a promise to preserve the Church abroad and to reconstitute its hierarchy. His Apostolic Constitution, Exsul Familia Nazarethana (The exiled Nazarene [Holy] Family), of 1 January 1952, was part of that promise. Known as the magna carta on migration, it mandated that diocesan bishops had the duty to offer special pastoral care for migrants and displaced persons. Placing the Faith above all, the Pontiff supported he migrants' desire to maintain their ethnic traditions, language, and gave particular attention to preserving the Rites of the Eastern Churches.
Saffron Hill
Ukrainian Catholic immigrants began to form a community in London in 1946. Bishop Ivan Buchko, whom the Pope had appointed as their overseer (apostolic visitor) throughout Western Europe, visited London in January 1947, and sent a permanent pastor two months later. This priest chosen for the mission was Father Josaphat Jean of the Basilian Order, a French-Canadian who had adopted the Byzantine Rite to minister to Ukrainian immigrants in Canada. With the assistance of community leaders, organizations, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Father Jean was able to acquire a small church in Saffron Hill, Farringdon, in July 1948. The first Ukrainian Catholic church in Britain, dedicated to Saint Theodore of Canterbury, was solemnly blessed by Bishop Buchko, on 5 December 1948.
Buchko and Jean both considered this first edifice to be temporary, intended to provide a stable place for worship and to gain a foothold in London. From the beginning, however, they foresaw the acquisition of a larger church, once the congregation became stable and better equipped financially. Jean was recalled to Canada in the Summer of 1949. Bishop Buchko replaced him, as his Vicar General for Britain, with Redemptorist Father Volodymyr Malanchuk. The following year, due to ill health, Malanchuk was also transferred to Canada and was succeeded by Monsignor Oleksander Malynovsky. In the early 1960s, the little church in Saffron Hill was rededicated to the Protection of the Mother of God.
In only a few years, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church made significant progress in Great Britain. It acquired churches in several major centres, such as Manchester, Nottingham, and Edinburgh. Through the work of his minister for Eastern Catholic Affairs, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, Pius XII began to establish missionary dioceses to replace Bishop Buchko’s provisional mission. Apostolic exarchates were established: in England & Wales in 1957, in Germany in 1959, and in France in 1960.
Nevertheless, when asked for their opinion in 1954, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales were not enthusiastic about a special jurisdiction for Ukrainians. In order to soften the blow, Cardinal Tisserant asked the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Griffin, if he would take on this responsibility himself. Griffin agreed but died soon afterwards. His successor, William Godfrey also accepted and was solemnly enthroned as exarch for Ukrainians at the little Saffron Hill church, on 9 November 1957.
proposed cathedral 1959
The Papal Bull establishing the exarchate, dated 10 June 1957, stated that it needed a cathedral church in London (probably at Bishop Buchko's suggestion). The project for a cathedral fell to a new Vicar General, Canadian Redemptorist Father Paul Maluga. In March 1958, Godfrey made the first contribution to the cathedral fund of 2000 Guineas (slightly more than 2000 pounds). Maluga commissioned sketches for a new church in the Byzantine style, and the fundraising campaign was inaugurated on 2 December 1959. Despite his Canadian pragmatism, energy, and enthusiasm, Paul Maluga’s project encountered opposition from segments of the local Ukrainian community and even some clergy. In the end, he raised just over 17,000 pounds, which was barely enough to buy London property.
Archbishop Godfrey was elevated to the cardinalate at the end of 1958, and was given a Ukrainian-Rite auxiliary bishop in August 1961. Maluga was passed over for a Basilian monastic from the USA, Augustine Hornyak. The bishop’s first solemn Liturgy, on 17 December 1961, had to be held in St Peter’s Clerkenwell (founded for Italian immigrants), since Saffron Hill was woefully inadequate. Godfrey died in January 1963 and, on 18 April, Hornyak was appointed to succeed him. During his enthronement on 6 June, the Apostolic Delegate, Gerald Patrick O’Hara, told Hornyak: “you deserve a better church.” 
Duncan Street church
The new exarch abandoned Maluga’s earlier project, deemed unworkable, and chose to acquire an existing church. In May 1963, the exarchate purchased the former Catholic Apostolic Church in Duncan Street, Islington. Hornyak established an advisory committee with members from all over England, together with an executive committee, to plan the necessary extensive renovations and a fundraising campaign. The executive committee was made up of Fathers Vivcharuk, Havryliuk, Orach, Muzychka, Mykhalsky, Professor Robert Lisovsky, Architect Vasyl Boretsky, Engineer Vasyl Oleskiv, and Engineer Malytsky. Boretsky was asked to prepare plans for the alterations to the exterior and interior of the building. However, by August 1964, estimated renovations of the exterior alone had risen from 30,000 to 45,000. In 1965 the bishop decided to demolish the Islington church and build a new structure. But the committee ran into difficulties with the Islington authorities over a church hall and parking space. While waiting for planning permission, Hornyak asked committee members to keep watch for another property.
King's Weigh House bulletin 1902
In August 1965, Canon Arthur Rivers, the financial secretary of Westminster Archdicoese, drew Hornyak’s attention to a property in Duke Street, which had recently come onto the market. Formerly the Congregationalist King’s Weigh House Chapel, it was being used as a place of worship for the American Navy, and the hall beneath was gallery for hire. On 27 January 1966, the cathedral committee met at the “Weighouse Gallery” to inspect the building. The asking price was 150,000 pounds, an amount far beyond the Ukrainian Exarchate’s resources. Nevertheless, Bishop Augustine petitioned Rome for permission to purchase it. The Oriental Congregation authorized the purchase in December 1966, and promised to help cover the interest on the loan, if donations from the faithful did not suffice.
The Ukrainian Exarchate had deposited its cathedral fund with the Archdiocese of Westminster at a rate of 5% interest, and Canon Rivers had promised that the Archdiocese would grant them a loan, at the same rate. But to Bishop Hornyak’s surprise, when he returned from a trip to United States in November 1966, he discovered that Rivers had left the finance office, and Cardinal Heenan said he was unable to offer the loan directly. Rivers, however, was still able to negotiate a loan from the National Bank Ltd., as Westminster diocesan debt, on behalf of the Exarchate. And the following year, Heenan made a donation of 2,500 pounds, from personal funds.
Finding himself in a very difficult situation, Hornyak appealed to the Apostolic Delegate, Igino Cardinale. The Bishop confessed that the cathedral fund was a mere 20,000 pounds, and the only foreseeable solution was to asked for a large subsidy from the Oriental Congregation, as Hornyak wrote on 5 December 1966: 
“I am asking for a part of the Universal Church of Christ, for an Exsul familia, which wants to survive here and to sustain the 'Church of Silence' in our homeland.” Archbishop Cardinale seconded the cause before the Congregation for the Eastern Church, which granted a subsidy of 100,000 US dollars, allocated by various Catholic charities. 
After difficult negotiations, bids and counter bids from a rival buyer, the cathedral committee petitioned the city for a preservation order, declaring the church to be object of art. This caused the other party, which had intended to demolish the church, to make their offer conditional, and the Charity Commission ruled in favour of the smaller, Ukrainian offer of 155,000 pounds. But this amount still necessitated a third fundraising campaign. In April 1967, the faithful were informed of the impending purchase. And on 18 July, in the presence of the committee executive, Augustine Horynak signed the contract to purchase the King’s Weigh House and its adjacent residences. These became the property of the Ukrainian Catholic Church on 26 October 1967. 
Upon the Apostolic Delegate’s recommendation, in January 1968, Pope Paul VI extended the Exarchate’s jurisdiction to all of Great Britain, including Scotland (in 1957 Godfrey, as the head of the English and Welsh episcopate, could not have jurisdiction in Scotland). Unfortunately, as with first cathedral campaign of 1959, there were those in the British Ukrainian community that sought to limit the authority and prestige of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. At the very same time, rival fundraising campaigns were initiated and, in order to frighten donors, rumours were spread that the new cathedral would not belong to the Ukrainians but to the Vatican. As a result of these intrigues, the community was mediocre in its support and the debt lingered into the mid 1970s.
In February 1968, Bishop Augustine discussed the alterations to the interior of the church with Architect Boretsky and, on 21–22 February, the priests in clergy conference gave their opinions regarding an opening date. On 29 March, Kyr Augustine informed them that the inauguration would be divided in two. In order that the church could be used immediately (as both Saffron Hill and Duncan Street had to be sold to cover part of the debt), only the most basic alterations would be made, so that a simple blessing and opening could take place by June. The full consecration rite would be postponed for a year or two, until after the installation of the iconostasis and the paying off of the cathedral debt. The simple opening was announced to the faithful in April, and Archbishop Cardinale, who had been much responsible for the acquisition of the building, agreed to attend.
The Cathedral committee helped plan the opening ceremonies, which were extended over Saturday and Sunday, so that all the clergy could participate. The London parish had already had two patrons: Saint Theodore of Canterbury and the Protection of the Mother of God. For the new church, Kyr Augustine chose a new name: “The Holy Family in Exile,” based on Pius XII’s charter for displaced persons.
thanksgiving moleben, 29 June 1968
On Saturday, 29 June 1968, at 3:00 PM, Bishop Hornyak greeted Archbishop Cardinale at the cathedral entrance. In the name of the Holy Trinity, the two prelates opened the doors and sprinkled the interior of the cathedral with holy water. The bishop-exarch and twelve priests concelebrated a moleben of thanksgiving to the Mother of God. Apostolic Delegate Cardinale spoke in English and Bishop Hornyak preached in Ukrainian. Undeterred by a partial rail strike, over 1000 faithful travelled to London by coach and automobile. On the following day, Sunday, 30 June, Hornyak celebrated the first hierarchical Divine Liturgy together with Fathers Stefan Vivcharuk, Oleksander Babiy, Yarema Havryliuk, Stefan Orach, and Danylo Humnicki as deacon. The responses were sung by Boyan Choir, under the direction of Mykola Solomka. A second Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the priests in the afternoon, sung by Verkhovyna Choir of Coventry, under the direction of Mariyan Kostiuk.
Heenan, Hornyak, Slipyi 1970
The opening of the cathedral occurred during the tenth anniversary of the Exarchate and the twentieth of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Great Britain. The event marked a high point in the history of the Ukrainian community. In the fifty years that have elapsed since that joyous day, the cathedral has witnessed moments of of great joy and of bitter sorrow. An historical turning point occurred with the visit of Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi, Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church worldwide, on 8 May 1970. Slipyi’s unwavering crusade for a Ukrainian patriarchate was strongly supported by British Ukrainians, clergy and faithful alike. But a conflict between Patriarch Yosyf and Bishop Hornyak led to a bitter division. The majority of the parishioners abandoned the cathedral and, on a Sunday morning in the late 1970s, visitors from abroad found a cold, sad place, attended by a remnant of 30 faithful. Due to lack of income, the planned second phase, including the installation of an icon screen and solemn consecration, had to be postponed indefinitely. 
A decade later, the cathedral slowly came back to life. One of Bishop Augustine's final acts was to begin installing the iconostasis with icons commissioned from Hieromonk Yuvenaliy Mokrytsky. In 1987, Hornyak was replaced by an interim administrator, Bishop Michael Hrynchyshyn, and, in 1989, Bishop Michael Kuchmiak was enthroned as the third exarch. Beginning in the mid 1990s, an influx of economic migrants from independent Ukraine transformed the cathedral, restoring much of its former glory. As a result of this change, the young and energetic Basilian, Paul Chomnycky, succeeded Kuchmiak in 2002. Less than four years later, Chomnycky was transferred to the Stamford Eparchy in USA. 
August 2007
Although thriving numerically, in a sense, the cathedral was orphaned without a bishop-exarch. During this difficult period, on 13 August 2007, a large portion of the ceiling collapsed, and divine services had to be celebrated in the adjacent hall, and at nearby Farm Street Church. In 2009, after waiting three years, the Apostolic See finally appointed Bishop Hlib Lonchyna as administrator and, on 2 August 2011, he was enthroned as the fifth exarch. Kyr Hlib was to be the last apostolic exarch. After fifty-six years, on 8 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI raised the exarchate to the status of full eparchy (diocese), and Bishop Hlib was named the first Eparch. As there was already a Catholic diocese in Westminster, the new diocese took the name of the cathedral: “Eparchy of the Holy Family of London,” but not “in Exile.” 
In 2017, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church marked seventy years in Britain, and sixty since the founding of the exarchate. To commemorate this anniversary, a hierarchical Divine Liturgy was held at Westminster Cathedral on 28 October, presided over by Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) and concelebrated by all the Eastern Catholic Bishops in Europe. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, declared: “How good it is that the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Eparchy remains under the patronage of the Holy Family, but the Holy Family ‘in Exile’ no longer.” This proclamation, from the head of the Latin Church in England, seemed to hearken back to Bishop Hornyak’s explanation of the cathedral's name, on its first patronal feast of 12 January 1969: “From a foreign land, the Holy Family ended their journey in Nazareth, because it had become their home.” 

Bishop Hlib, Clergy, Faithful, 23 June 2018

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

First Ukrainian Church in London

“How I Found the Church at Saffron Hill”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 3 November 2017

Andrey Sheptytsky's Sacred Walking Stick

Жезлъ твой и палица твоѧ, та мя оутѣшиста. 
Thy crook and thy staff have comforted me. (Psalm 22/23)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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