|St. Nicholas side altar in Budka's home parish, |
Dobromirka, Zbarazh District, Ukraine
In August 1912 the Apostolic See of Rome designated the city of Patara as the titular (honourary) seat of Bishop Budka's bishopric. The reason for this was that Budka had not been appointed bishop over a territory per se, since there were no Byzantine-Rite eparchies in Canada, only Latin dioceses. Budka was given personal jurisdiction over all Ruthenian Greek-Catholics in Canada and his diocese was called an "ordinariate" (later re-named apostolic exarchate in accord with Eastern Christian nomenclature).
Titular sees were bishoprics that had ceased to function as real dioceses. Many of them were ancient Christian centres located in territories which had since fallen under Islamic Rule. Often, as in the case of Patara in Anatolian Turkey inside the Ottoman Empire, there were no Christians living there at all. Titular sees were given to curial bishops and auxiliary bishops who were not appointed to govern dioceses of their own, or to bishops such as Budka who held jurisdiction over certain faithful but not over a territory per se.
The possibility of creating a territorial diocese for Nykyta Budka had been discussed. This would have involved subtracting territory from an existing Roman-Rite diocese, perhaps where there was a large Ukrainian population, and giving it to Budka. The reason why this option was rejected was that, in order to minister to Greek-Catholics outside that small territory, Budka would have still required additional, delegated jurisdiction from every Roman Catholic bishop in whose dioceses those faithful resided. Instead, the Apostolic See of Rome, with its the universal jurisdiction, placed all Ruthenian Greek-Catholics in Canada under his spiritual care and assigned Budka a dormant titular see, designating the city of Winnipeg as his real seat.
Titular sees were a kind of legal fiction so, when composing the papal bull, the Apostolic Chancery used the following technical wording to have Pope Pius X nominate Budka: "because the church of Patara is numbered among the merely titular sees, We grant that you are in no way obligated to go to it nor personally reside there."
|Saint Nicholas of Myra, the Wonderworker|
St. Nicholas Church, Winnipeg
While not obligated to reside in Patara, Bishop Budka was indeed bound to take formal possession of his ordinariate at Winnipeg. In doing so, three coincidences occurred: The new bishop arrived in Canada on 6 December, the feast of Saint Nicholas according to the Gregorian Calendar. He arrived in his de facto episcopal seat, Winnipeg, on 19 December, Saint Nicholas Day in the Julian Calendar. Finally, Bishop Nykyta was enthroned in the parish church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on 22 December 1912. It is also interesting to note that, from 1922 to 1928 drawn-out negotiations were taking place that would likely have made Saint Nicholas, the first Ukrainian church in Winnipeg, Bishop Budka's cathedral church.