Saturday, 21 January 2023

William Godfrey: Remembering a Forgotten Shepherd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Coventry Ukrainian Catholic Church at 60

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal Slipyi, Coventry, 22 May 1970

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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

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

Idelbrando Antoniutti to Domenico Tardini 

25 February 1952


The British Royal Family and Canada


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

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

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


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


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


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


Idelbrando Antoniutti to Domenico Tardini 

6 June 1953


Elizabeth II Queen of Canada


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Monday, 20 December 2021

Exsul Familia – A Family in Exile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 1 November 2021

Maxim Hermaniuk and the Formation of the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolia of Canada

65 years ago, on 3 November 1956, Pope Pius XII created an ecclesiastical province (metropolia) for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, elevating the three existing apostolic exarchates to the status of eparchies and the fourth to an archeparchy. In doing so, the Pontiff bestowed canonical recognition on an already existing reality: the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada (historically known as Ukrainian Greek-Catholic – UGCC), in its hierarchy, clergy, faithful, organizations and structures, had reached ecclesial maturity. Yet, a determining factor in implementing this change was the conviction that an ideal candidate had been found to serve as the first metropolitan-archbishop.

            The UGCC began its canonical existence as a Church in Canada in July 1912, with the creation of an apostolic “ordinariate” led by Bishop Nykyta Budka. In the first years of immigration, the faithful were sporadically served by itinerant eparchial priests. From 1902, the Roman Catholic hierarchy enlisted missionary religious orders: Basilians (OSBM), Belgian Redemptorists (CSsR), and Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI). Bishop Budka established a distinct UGCC structure and recruited priests and seminarians from Austrian Galicia (western Ukraine). Throughout his tenure, the Church retained its missionary character, while fostering Canadian-born vocations. 

            From the outset, it was obvious that the task exceeded the abilities of a single bishop. Pope Pius X said as much to Nykyta Budka, in an audience granted to the new bishop on his way to take up his charge. It is difficult for a missionary bishop to find the time and energy to attend also to administrative matters. Only a few years into his mission, Budka asked for a second bishop to share the burden, but was told by Church officials that he was too young to be granted an auxiliary. 

In December 1927, the Apostolic Delegate to Canada, Archbishop Andrea Cassulo, recommended that the Greek-Catholic Ordinariate for Canada be divided in two or three, with additional bishoprics established in Edmonton and Toronto. Bishop Budka formally petitioned for a coadjutor bishop the following year, but Pope Pius XI decided instead to replace him with two younger men. Only one of the nominees, Basilian Father Vasyliy Ladyka, was prevailed upon to accept the onerous charge.

Although Galician born, Ladyka studied theology and spent his entire priestly life in Canada. He understood that a second generation of Ukrainians required clergy better suited to local culture and conditions. In Galicia, UGCC secular clergy were heavily involved in social concerns and politics. Many of them look upon their priesthood as a profession and a means to support their families. Such a model was unsuited to the rigors of the Canadian environment, where congregations provided little financial support for their clergy and church institutions. Bishop Ladyka set about augmenting the number of missionaries from the religious orders, and training his secular clergy to conceive the priesthood as a supernatural, sacrificial mission to their flocks. The Bishop tried to ingrain in them that their first duty was to catechize their poorly instructed flocks, rather than patronizing community and nationalistic initiatives. It was easier to mould rural Canadian recruits along such lines. More challenging were attempts  at convincing European clergy, who were imbued with nationalistic ideology and political causes that dominated Ukrainian life in the homeland.

In his first years, Bishop Vasyliy set about repairing the financial chaos left behind by his dedicated but administratively weak predecessor, as well as restoring the confidence and support of the Roman Catholic bishops and associations. After four years of intense activity, having crisscrossed the country several times, Ladyka had been able to observe the real conditions of the UGCC in Canada. In December 1933, he concluded that the entire Dominion was too vast a jurisdiction to permit effective governance and supervision by a single bishop. In addition to more clergy, he asked Rome to divide his Ordinariate in three, with additional bishoprics to be set up in Edmonton and Toronto. In his report to the Oriental Congregation, dated 28 December, Ladyka also recommended that one of the bishops be granted the distinction of archbishop or metropolitan, to ensure harmony in the UGCC’s governance.


A Second Bishop

It would take another decade before the Vatican machinery was able to provide Vasyliy Ladyka with an assistant, and then only a single auxiliary bishop. In the meantime, a priest was to be deputized as vicar general for eastern Canada. The process for selecting a bishop became prolonged because the Oriental Congregation found each candidate wanting or unsuitable for Canadian conditions. An appointment that seemed imminent, in the spring of 1939, was put off to extend the list. In the meantime, Ladyka agreed to accept the displaced auxiliary of Lviv, Ivan Buchko, who had declined the appointment to Canada in 1928. That plan was never put into practice: Buchko went instead to New York City and was deported after the USA entered the Second World War. 

In 1942, Bishop Ladyka’s health became so precarious that the appointment of a helper could be put off no longer. The Congregation for the Eastern Church invited the general superiors of the religious orders to present candidates. The Basilians presented several while the Redemptorists declined, for lack of a suitable subject. Apostolic Delegate Cassulo composed a terna consisting of two Basilians and a secular priest. The Oriental Congregation recommended the Basilian superior of Mundare, Father Neil Savaryn, who was duly appointed auxiliary bishop by Pope Pius XII on 29 March 1943.


Developments in Canada and Europe

In the meantime, crucial developments were taking place in the UGCC. In Canada, the numbers of priests, religious, seminarians, and faithful, grew steadily in tandem with the number of churches and mission posts. Ukrainian Catholic Schools were established, as well as colleges and academies, hospitals and nursing homes administered by the SSMI. And a second order of sisters, the Missionary Sisters of Christian Charity, was founded in Toronto. Printing presses were set up by the Basilians and the Redemptorists at their respective motherhouses: Mundare, Alberta, and Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Organizations for the laity were formed locally and nationally, including the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood, Women’s League, and Youth. Branches of the Apostleship of Prayer and Catholic Action were set up in many parishes. One of Ladyka’s greatest achievements was restoring the trust of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and its organizations (such as the Catholic Extension Society), which began to heavily subsidize UGCC causes and cover the costs of training of seminarians.

In Europe, the UGCC was being transformed under the leadership of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, who sought to revive its original Byzantine ethos and purify its worship of Latin accretions. This vision was strongly supported by orientalist scholar Eugène Tisserant, who took the helm of the Vatican department for the Eastern Churches in 1936. While the Redemptorists supported Sheptytsky’s program, his suffragan bishops and the Basilians were vehemently opposed to the removal of Latinizations. The introduction of purified liturgical books in the 1940s was heavily contested and made Tisserant distrustful of the OSBM, which were placed under temporary canonical supervision, in 1946.

Following the Second World War, with the annexation of western Ukraine, the Soviets suppressed the mother Church of the Lviv-Halych Metropolia, violently merging it into the state-controlled Russian Orthodox Church. Three million Ukrainians had been deported or fled to western Europe. Among these were UGCC faithful, priests, religious, and seminarians. Due to the lobbying by Ukrainian Canadians, including Bishop Ladyka and his representatives (such as Basilian Father Josaphat Jean), the Canadian Government accepted a large contingent of these “Displaced Persons” (DPs). The influx of clergy and faithful swelled the ranks of Church in Canada. In 1945, Bishop Ladyka’s poor health forced him to spend several months convalescing in the Mundare Hospital, making the division of the Ordinariate even more urgent.


Three Apostolic Exarchates 

Following the Second World War, Pope Pius XII undertook to restore the suppressed UGCC with a hierarchy in the lands of immigration. In the summer of 1947, Cardinal Tisserant made an inspection tour of North America, visiting Ukrainian Catholic communities from Montreal to Vancouver. Upon his return to Rome, he told Apostolic Delegate Idelbrando Antoniutti that at least three bishops were necessary for Canada. Antoniutti was instructed to consult Bishop Ladyka, so as to prepare a project for the division of the Ordinariate and a list of episcopal candidates. Edmonton was to be the seat of an apostolic exarchate (a term which replaced “ordinariate”) for western Canada; Winnipeg was to remain the seat of the central exarchate; and Toronto was to become an exarchate for eastern Canada. Bishop Savaryn was selected for Edmonton, where the member of his own Basilian Order were most numerous. Two secular priests were selected to fill the other appointments: Isidore Boretsky for Toronto and Andrew Roboretsky (already recommended in 1939) as Ladyka’s new auxiliary. Pius XII sanctioned the division of the Ordinariate into three Apostolic Exarchates on 3 March 1948. The consecrations of Boretsky and Roboretsky took place in Toronto, in June. The new Canadian hierarchy held their first conference and petitioned the Apostolic See to establish an ecclesiastical province, headed by a metropolitan. Cardinal Tisserant judged this step to be premature, conferring instead a titular archbishopric on Ladyka, as the senior hierarch.

With healthy young bishops in place, the new exarchates expanded rapidly, accepting priests from Europe, establishing new missions, building churches, setting up branches of the newly formed lay organizations, holding congresses. But the situation was not all rosy. Ladyka had lacked the willpower to establish either a major or a minor seminary, as the Vatican had repeatedly requested. The task for training the youth fell upon the religious orders, which established their own juniorates. Also, the liturgical reform were not being as implemented as energetically and uniformly as Cardinal Tisserant desired. Ladyka’s suffragan bishops quarrelled with him over the stipulated division-in-three of the former Ordinariate’s liquid assets. The Apostolic Delegate reported that, although the exarchs held regular meetings, “each acts on his own accord.”


Redemptorist Mission in Canada

In 1906, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSsR) began its mission to Byzantine-Rite Catholics among the Ukrainians in Canada. However, due to the demands of Bishop Budka, they also set up a community in Galicia under the supervision of Metropolitan Sheptytsky. This mission was to overtake the Canadian venture in number and importance. The Belgian CSsR struggled to convince Canadian Ukrainians of their altruistic motives. A feud with the Christian Brothers in Yorkton and other conflicts convinced the Belgian superiors to transfer Ukrainian recruits to eastern Poland, where the CSsR had been given a mission to former Greek-Catholics in Volhynia. One of their number, Nykolai Charnetsky, was selected as bishop and apostolic visitor over that mission, dubbed Neo Unia. That future Blessed-Martyr ordained Father Maxim Hermaniuk to the priesthood on 4 September 1938.

With the first Soviet occupation of 1939, the Neo Unia mission was suppressed and the CSsR shifted its focus and support back to its original Eastern-Rite mission in Canada. However, more effective superior was needed to put the Canadian mission back on track. Accordingly, at the beginning of 1948, the Belgian Provincial Superior, Father Buys, announced that Father Hermaniuk was to be transferred to Canada. 

After completing his noviciate, in 1934 Maxim Hermaniuk was sent to study at the prestigious Catholic University in Louvain (Leuven), in Belgium. Following his ordination, four years later, he was scheduled to begin graduate studies at the Angelicum, in Rome, but, when the war erupted, his superiors sent him back to Louvain. There, Hermaniuk achieved the highest academic excellence as well as pastoral experience, especially with Ukrainian university students which he served as chaplain. When his reassignment became known, his Ukrainian confreres and Bishop Ivan Buchko (who had become Apostolic Visitor over UGCC in western Europe) complained that his transfer would be a terrible blow to the mission to Ukrainian DPs in Europe. But Hermaniuk was deemed essential for Canada, and the capable young priest was sent packing in October 1948. Shortly after his arrival, Buys named him superior of the CSsR’s Ukrainian vice-province.


Saskatoon, Cathedral, new Auxiliary

            Neil Savaryn had been a very deferential auxiliary bishop to Vasyliy Ladyka, and continued to enjoy the latter’s confidence even after he was transferred to Edmonton. Nonetheless, Ladyka entrusted financial matters to his savvy chancellor, Basil Kushnir, who was also parish priest of his tiny pro-cathedral. Kushnir was very much the model of a worldly, politicking European priest. He was successful in raising funds to build a magnificent new cathedral church for the Winnipeg exarchate. Saints Vladimir and Olga Cathedral was opened on 15 April 1951, amidst great pomp. The impressive guest list included civic and religious dignitaries, including Cardinal McGuigan of Toronto (the de facto primate of English-speaking Canada), archbishops and bishops of Latin and Byzantine Rites from Canada and USA, the Premier of Manitoba, mayors, parliamentarians, judges, the president of the University of Manitoba, and 8,000 faithful (10 of which fainted in the massive crowd, during the lengthy ceremony). This achievement consolidated Kushnir’s hold over church administration and won him the papal honorific of domestic prelate (a mid-grade Monsignor).

            Ladyka had presented Fathers Kushnir and Roboretsky among his choices for auxiliary bishop. Kushnir had been excluded for his maverick style and involvement in politics. The zealous and energetic Roboretsky, assuming the charge of auxiliary in 1948, attempted to make order of Ladyka’s administration. He was successful in establishing parish boundaries but ran afoul of the Basilians for insisting that their church, located directly across from the cathedral, be moved to a part of Winnipeg where a Ukrainian Catholic church was still lacking. He also crossed swords with Kushnir, who had retained the office of vicar general, over financial and administrative matters. In doing so, Roboretsky lost the confidence of his Archbishop, whose poor health had made him heavily dependent on others. A project was devised, approved by Ladyka, to split the Central Exarchate in two, creating a new bishopric in Saskatoon to which Roboretsky was to be appointed.

            During the Great Winnipeg Flood of 1950, Archbishop Ladyka abandoned his flooded riverside residence and took refuge with the Basilians in in Mundare. He spent several months, totally incapacitated with a weak heart, in the Mundare Hospital, where hope was lost for his recovery. On 15 August, he petitioned the Pope to appoint Bishop Savaryn apostolic administrator of the Central Exarchate. Cardinal Tisserant suspected that this was done under pressure from the Basilians. Apostolic Delegate Antoniutti, however, recommended that Savaryn remain in Edmonton, where the Basilians were in the majority, and a candidate from the other male religious order be selected. 

The Superior the Ukrainian Redemptorists, Maxim Hermaniuk, received august praise from leading Canadian and European churchmen and religious superiors, including the Basilian Vice-General and Bishop Boretsky. Hermaniuk was deemed to be the most educated UGCC clergyman in Canada. He was a devout religious, held a wide view of affairs, and spoke English better than any Ukrainian bishop. On 3 March 1951, Pius XII approved the division of the Central Exarchate into Winnipeg and Saskatoon Exarchates. Hermaniuk was appointed coadjutor to Ladyka and Roboretsky– Exarch of Saskatoon. However, the Apostolic Delegate asked that Hermaniuk’s office be commuted to Auxiliary bishop, since he was still untried, and on condition that he be appointed Ladyka’s Vicar General. The bishop-elect attempted to decline the appointment but to no avail. Maxim Hermaniuk was consecrated bishop during the celebration of a Ukrainian Catholic Eucharistic Congress, on 29 June 1951, in the new Saints Vladimir and Olga Cathedral. 


Storm before the Calm

The Edmonton and Toronto Exarchates began with great energy and enthusiasm and, after only a few years, were transformed with the influx of DP clergy and faithful. The Western Exarchate held a provincial synod in 1952 but, the following year, a feud began between Bishop Savaryn and the Basilians, which was actually a conflict between European and Canadian-born clergy. Savaryn had begun to replace OSBM with secular clergy, in the parishes, and initiated the liturgical purification envisioned by Metropolitan Sheptytsky and Cardinal Tisserant. Nevertheless, under the influence of a small group of DP priests, this reform was carried out in an clumsy and imprudent manner, without catechizing the faithful. The same group tried drive the Basilians out of youth formation, targeting their summer camp, and demanded the OSBM be removed from Saint Josaphat’s Cathedral. Rural Canadian-born folk resented the unfamiliar language and style of the European Fathers, and organized petitions and protests in an attempt to remove them.

The outcome of this battle, which ended only in 1959, was twofold: After much negotiation and protests, the OSBM finally gave up the cathedral in exchange for canonical rights of four churches in Mundare, Edmonton, Vegreville, and Vancouver. Savaryn lost much prestige over the affair, especially after Hermaniuk was called in to perform an apostolic visitation, which resulted in the removal of two of the DP ringleaders from the chancery. The Basilians also abandoned plans to run the UGCC minor seminary in Edmonton, turning their energies to a private high school in Toronto. The Canadian hierarchs had to approach the Redemptorists to start the minor seminary, which opened in 1956, in Roblin, Manitoba. St. Vladimir’s College was a tremendous success for the forty years it was administered by the CSsR. It provided numerous vocations to the priesthood and to a number of religious orders, as well as religiously educated laity that maintained a strong, enduring Ukrainian Catholic identity. 


Ladyka’s final illness

Bishop Maxim Hermaniuk’s first three years as auxiliary bishop of the Winnipeg Exarchate were tranquil. But in December 1954, Archbishop Ladyka became incapacitated once more. The exarchate’s affairs ground to a halt as Hermaniuk was unable to access finances, which the Archbishop had kept entirely to himself and his private advisors. The time had come for Hermaniuk to be made coadjutor, which would give him a right to assume the governance of the Exarchate, leaving Ladyka as titular head, out of consideration for many years of dedicated service. Hermaniuk was appointed coadjutor on 25 February 1955, but Ladyka refused to give him access to the finances and blocked an attempt to purchase property. As a result, the new apostolic delegate, Giovanni Paníco, recommended that Hermaniuk be given exclusive governance. On 19 January 1956, a decree was issued by the Oriental Congregation naming Maxim Hermaniuk Apostolic Administrator of the Exarchate. When informed, in April, the Archbishop meekly accepted “the will of the Holy See,” under obedience. Vasyliy Ladyka lived for another five months, cared for by the SSMI at the Exarchate’s summer camp, finally succumbing to his illness on 1 September 1956.


Metropolitan Province with Three Eparchies

In August 1951, newly-consecrated Bishop Hermaniuk informed the Apostolic Delegation in Ottawa that the Ukrainian Orthodox had elected Archbishop Ilarion (Ohienko) as Metropolitan-Archbishop of Winnipeg. That act led to the unification of two jurisdictions into a single Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada, and to the founding of bishoprics in Edmonton and Toronto. That December, Archbishop Antoniutti repeated his recommendation to Rome, that the UGCC be raised to a full ecclesiastical province headed by a metropolitan. The Apostolic Delegate reasoned that that new arrangement would foster greater unity and uniformity in the Canadian UGCC. But Cardinal Tisserant did not want to confer the dignity on Archbishop Ladyka, whose lacklustre performance in implementing of the purified liturgical books and establishing a distinct UGCC seminary he strongly castigated.


In the 1950s, Bishops Savaryn, Boretsky, and Roboretsky, committed serious blunders, and only Bishop Hermaniuk avoided censure. The Oriental Congregation watched his performance closely, while he took over the administration of Winnipeg from Ladyka. Having handled the transfer with great tact, and given his superior intellectual qualities, Hermaniuk was recommended for the office of metropolitan. The elevation of the UGCC in Canada was to take place at the end of celebrations of the millennium of the baptism of Saint Olha, grandmother of Prince Volodymyr and ruler of Kyivan-Rus (a precursor of modern Ukraine) and co-patron of the Winnipeg Cathedral.

On 3 November 1956, a decree was issued raising the Apostolic Exarchates of Edmonton, Toronto, and Saskatoon to eparchies (full dioceses), and Winnipeg to an Archeparchy and head of a Metropolitan ecclesiastical province. On that day, Hermaniuk was visiting his Redemptorist confreres in Newark, New Jersey. He returned to Canada on 14 November, to take part in the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Just after noon on the following day, 15 November, Archbishop Panico informed him of his elevation. Later that day, the other bishops received the news with great joy, despite the fact that their junior had been selected for the highest dignity. 

Metropolitan Maxim’s enthronement ceremony took place on 12 February 1957 at Saints Vladimir and Olga Cathedral. After initially declining to attend, out of fear of Winnipeg’s “Siberian temperatures,” Archbishop Panico accepted the invitation to perform the ritual. In his remarks, he noted that the Apostolic See of Rome had founded a new Metropolia in Lviv in 1806, when the Catholic Kyivan Metropolia was suppressed by the Russian Empire. The same Russian State had suppressed the Lviv-Halych Metropolia in 1946. A few months before the enthronement took place, word had reached the west that Metropolitan Yosyf Slipyi was still alive in Siberian captivity. Panico also honoured the memory of the first bishop, Nykyta Budka, news of whose death in the gulag had only recently reached the west. (Budka was beatified in 2001).

Maxim Hermaniuk’s enthronement happened 65 years after the first Ukrainian Catholic immigrants reached Canada, in 1891. It was attended by 21 Canadian Roman Catholic archbishops and bishop, the entire Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy in Canada, USA, and Europe, the Manitoba Lieutenant Governor, Premier, the Mayor of Winnipeg, and a personal representative was sent by Canadian Prime Minister, Louis Saint Laurent. For the historic occasion, Cardinal Tisserant deputized Archbishop Buchko to represent of the Oriental Congregation. The event was felt by Ukrainians around the world and would be the first of many. The following year, the American exarchates were also raised to eparchies headed by a Metropolitan in Philadelphia. From 1957 to 1961 Apostolic exarchates for Ukrainians were established in Britain, Brazil, Australia, France, Germany, and Argentina. 

Metropolitan Hermaniuk held the first Conference of the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy at his enthronement. The same Conference, at his initiative, actively lobbied for the release of Metropolitan Yosyf (Slipyi) at the Second Vatican Council, to the great embarrassment of certain Vatican bureaucrats, who had agreed to supress criticism of the Soviet regime in exchange for the presence of Russian Orthodox advisors. Slipyi’s release and euphoric acclamation by the Council Fathers permanently altered the Catholic landscape and led to profound changes within UGCC itself. Among the UGCC hierarchs, Hermaniuk was the most important contributor to the theological preparation and discussions at the Council, during which he made at least 22 interventions. His contributions to the teachings on collegiality and ecumenism were particularly valuable. While the Council was still in session, he lent his authoritative voice in petitioning the Pope for synodal governance and for a Ukrainian Catholic patriarchate.

Metropolitan Maxim shepherded the Winnipeg Archeparchy for 36 years. During his term, the UGCC in Canada underwent many changes and challenges. In the 1950s, the UGCC started using “Ukrainian Catholic Church” as its official name. Many parishes were founded and new church buildings replaced older structures. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral was adorned with icons, frescos, and stained glass windows depicting the history of the Church. A modern Immaculate Heart of Mary School building, administered by the SSMI, replaced Saint Nicholas parochial school in 1962. In June of the same year, Hermaniuk held a provincial synod for the entire Metropolia, with delegates from all 4 eparchies. In the early 1970s, Ukrainian and English vernaculars replaced Church Slavonic as the language of liturgical worship. In 1972, he invited to Winnipeg Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky, who had been released from the Soviet Gulag, That Confessor of the Faith died the following year and was beatified in 2001. A fifth eparchy for British Columbia and Yukon was established in 1974. And the Ukrainian Catholic seminary, so ardently desired by the Apostolic See, was finally established in Ottawa in 1981. 

Upon reaching the age of 75, in 1986, Hermaniuk tendered his resignation to the Roman Pontiff, in accordance with Canon Law. The same year, he hosted a Ukrainian Youth For Christ Rally, which harkened back to a gathering he had attended in Lviv, in 1933. The Metropolitan was permitted to return to his native Ukraine, for the first time, in 1989. His resignation was finally accepted by John Paul II on 16 December 1992. Rosary in hand, Maxim Hermaniuk died on 3 May 1996 in the room which he had occupied since 1951, at the episcopal residence built by his predecessor on the banks of the Red River.

In 2012, an English translation of Hermaniuk’s Second Vatican Council journal entries was published by Jaroslav Skira, following by an accompanying volume in 2020. The prelate was also mentioned, numerous times, in the diaries of the secretary of the Council’s influential theological commission, Father Sabastiaan Tromp, SJ, which historian and theologian Alexandra von Teuffenbach began publishing in 2006. Thanks to the support of Hermaniuk’s successors, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada, and a lively interest by historians and theologians, we can look forward to new research on this fascinating historical figure, in the upcoming years.