Wednesday 12 November 2014

Interviews and Press Releases

Archbishop Cyril Vasil, SJ
Secretary of the Vatican department
 for the Eastern Churches,
receives the Budka biography

"Russia and Ukraine: A Violent Past, a Cloudy Future," Dorothy Cummings McLean for Catholic World Report. Includes info on the Budka Biography

"Historian Takes a Hard Look at Budka's Accomplishments" Ramon Gonzalez for Western Catholic Reporter

"Biography of Bishop Nykyta Budka Launched in Edmonton" Press release of CIUS (Українською)

Budka Book Launch (CIUS) with photos

"Banff Symposium a Timely Examination" Press release of UofA Wirth Institute

Video Interview with Jan Bentz for EWTN
English  German

Thursday 2 October 2014

Budka Biography Launch

Participating in the presentation: Jars Balan (CIUS), Father Peter Babej (St. Josaphat Cathedral) Volodymyr Kravchenko (CIUS), Father Peter Galadza (MASI), Orest Eveneshen and Serge Cipko (Budka Society), Father McVay, Bishop David Motiuk.  

Sunday 28 September 2014

Praise for Budka Biography

Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies has issued the following communique, announcing the publication of the God's Martyr, History's Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada:

Sheptytsky Institute Co-publisher of Groundbreaking Biography

Father Athanasius McVay, a Canadian Ukrainian Catholic who has spent years working in the Vatican archives, has just published his long-awaited biography of Bishop Nykyta Budka. The Sheptytsky Institute was pleased to be the co-publisher along with the Eparchy of Edmonton. The 614-page book is meticulously researched and illustrated with rare photographs. 

“With this publication, Father McVay has established himself as the premier historian of the modern Ukrainian Catholic Church,” said Fr. Peter Galadza, acting director of the Sheptytsky Institute. “We await many more publications from this outstanding scholar.”

Following the official launch in Edmonton on 24 October 2014, the book will be available for purchase from Sheptytsky Institute and the Edmonton Eparchy.

Friday 12 September 2014

Patriarch Sviatoslav Receives Budka Biography

Metropolitan Lawrence, Patriarch Sviatoslav,
Bishop David, Bishop Ken (photographer)
On 10 September 2014, during the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Lviv, Ukraine, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major-Archbishop of Kyiv-Haklych and Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, was very pleased receive a copy of my biography, God’s Martyr, History’s Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada. It was presented to him by Bishop David Motiuk and Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak.

Reported by 
Eparchy of Edmonton 

Monday 25 August 2014

Budka Biography Published

God's Martyr, History's Witness: 
Blessed Nykyta Budka 
the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada 

has been published by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton 
and the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky
Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.

An abridged table of contents of the 615 page book may be found here.

A private launch for contributors and benefactors took place on 22 August (photo)

Copies are available via the Edmonton Eparchial Chancery
and Sheptytsky Institute 
at a cost of $25

The publication is announced at Edmonton Eparchy,
the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, and RISU.

Friday 22 August 2014

Internment of Ukrainians in Canada

With Dr. Karen Lemiski,
curator of the Basilian Fathers Museum, Mundare, Alberta
Vatican Radio’s Christopher Wells spoke with Fr Athanasius McVay, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest from Canada, and an expert in early 20th-century ecclesiastical history. Fr McVay says that, in addition to the positive commemorations of the men and women who sacrificed themselves during the war, it is important also to remember the victims of the war, at home and abroad. “Alongside the brave soldiers who gave their lives, there were our own Canadian citizens and immigrants… who were deprived of their civil rights, and many were interned in internment camps during the war.”
During the war, he says, it was “not so much the government, but the general population, [that] became very suspicious and fearful.” Although the government needed to take steps to ensure there was no activity that could be detrimental to the war effort or the morale at home, Fr McVay says, “I think it’s generally recognized today that they exceeded their mandate, because the internment was really not necessary, and it was really not caused by anything these people had done.”
Fr McVay says: “These commemorations should be about remembering. History is often called the memory of mankind, and I think that we owe it to history to remember these events and to make some symbolic redress – but to move forward, and learn from our mistakes, and to make a better value world, to promote our Catholic values.”
Christopher Wells interviews Father Athanasius McVay on Internment of Ukrainian-Canadians

Monday 4 August 2014

Ukrainian Canadians: For King and Canada

To the Rev. Clergy and all the faithful Ruthenians:
         Not long ago the world was stirred by the news that Austria is fighting with Servia. All other powers decided to wait and mainly England with all her might and efforts tried to make the war local and maintain peace.
        At the time when no state was endangered by war except Austria and Servia, when England did not call her citizens to defend their homes, then, we issued a circular in which we stated that Austria, through the Austro-Hungarian Consulate challenges her loyal subjects to stand under the Austrian flag. We also stated that the Ruthenians who arrived here only for a short period ought to bey the call of Austria and go to defend their homes and families.
... Our new home of Canada challenges her faithful subjects to gather under the British Standard and be ready to give their lives and properties for the British cause. Today all the nationalities living under the British flag send their sons to defend that flag.
           In this event when to us as loyal citizens comes England with appeal to have us gathered under her flag, when Britain needs our aid, we, today as faithful citizens of the part of the British Empire the Canadian Ruthenians have before us a great and solemn duty to flock under the flag of  our new land and under this standard give our lives and blood.
           Ruthenians,– Canadian citizens: It is our great duty to defend Canada, for it is the land that not only received us and gave us shelter under the Constitution of the Great Empire, but more than that, it gave us liberty in developing ourselves spiritually.
       Once more Ruthenians; it is our holy duty to be in readiness and offer everything for Canada.
      It isn our home to which we swore allegiance, for which we declared to give lives and all in its defence when necessity demands.
       It is our dear Motherland whereon our families, relatives, children, property, our hearts and future depend.
      Therefore, in these most critical times as now, we must remember that as true Sons of Canada bound y the Oath of Allegiance to our King, we must flock to the British Standard.
        Put aside all party and radical feelings, aside all indifference.
      We conscientiously and with deep feelings of loyalty and duty want and will help our new country when endangered by enemies.
         Ruthenians, Canadian Citizens: You that have already sown allegiance to be loyal to your King George 5th, and you that intend to do so, remember that the present moment demands you. For any unloyal word or action here as in any other country in time of war death is punishment for treason.
          Loyalty binds you to deeds and sacrifice and when the Empire calls for this everyone must be ready even to put up his life.
          If it were necessary and possible to organize a regiment of the Canadian Ruthenian Citizens, it would be obvious sign that the Ruthenians in Canada are true subjects and are ready to sacrifice everything for their new home.
          Secondly we declare that we must fulfil our duties not only from the standpoint of the law but with deep feelings of duty.
          Only God knows how this war the greatest in history is going to end.
          Pray God that He may with His almighty power shorten this terrific storm and cause its end and that our new home may not suffer loss.
        In view of the fact when our former letter was issued then, the war was exclusively between Austria and Servia, and only few believed that it will spread over other Kingdoms; viewing the fact that there existed a peace in England and that England did not call her subjects to action, we declare emphatically that our letter of the 27th of July, in view of the new altered political situation, is irrelevant and must not be read in public and churches.
        Instead we urge the clergy t read the present letter during the sermons in their parishes and inform accordingly the Ruthenians of their solemn duty to the Great British Empire.

— + Nicetas Budka, 6 August 1914
(English translation of the Bishop's Chancery, August 1914)
published in Kanadyiskyi Rusyn, 8 August 1914

Friday 1 August 2014

Generation Mobilization - The Guns of August 1914

“Call to Austrians in Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 31 July 1914
The official proclamation of the partial mobilization order issued by the Government of Austria-Hungary was published in Winnipeg yesterday in “The Ukrainiann Voice” and other papers of the nationalities concerned.  German is the official language of Austria, but about ten languages are spoken by the people within the boundaries of the Empire.  Consequently, the proclamation of the partial mobilization appears in the two German papers of Wpg., in the seven Ruthenian and in the one Hungarian paper of the west.
            The men concerned in the mobilization are being informed by announcement cards, in addition to the mobilization orders.  The order promises that expenses of travelling will be paid, and this will make considerable difference in the returning, as it is considered that many of the men, in these hard times, are too poor to bear their own expenses.
            When the expenses are to be paid, and even advanced to those unable to meet them at the moment, it is expected that a large number of the men will respond to the call to arms.
            The Austrian proclamation issued from the local consulate is an interesting document, and as published in the papers yesterday, reads as follows: [...]
            It is very difficult to obtain any information regarding the spirit of Servians in Western Canada and whether orders of mobilization have been issued to them.  There are not many Serbs in Winnipeg, but Moose Jaw and Regina number quite a few among their cosmopolitan population.

Deserters Pardoned
By Austrian Emperor on condition they offer for service now
(Toronto July 30/14). Local Austrian subjects of various races have been officially advised that they are wanted only if they receive individual notice to that effect. Those who do not receive such notice will remain where they are.
            It is stated with absolute authority that a manifesto has been issued by the Austrian Government granting official pardon “By the grace of the Emperor” to all subjects under military discipline who have previously deserted, or in any other way evaded their military duties. All to whom this applies must, in order to receive pardon, present themselves at once for military service without waiting for a summons.
            It is anticipated that when this becomes widely known there will be an exodus of some thousands from Canada.

Austrians Leaving to Fight
(Montreal, July 30) The German liner Millahad, now in port from Rotterdam and Antwerp, will carry back to Europe the first Austrians to sail from Montreal to the seat of war. When the vessel clears from thisn port Saturday morning or possibly on Sunday morning there will be at least 200 of the local Austrians on board hurrying back to Austria at the call of the Emperor. 5000 Austrians in Montreal are supposed to answer the call of the sovereign for they are in te first and second reservists.  Quite a number of the collony have become British subjects and so are exempt from military service in the conflict. Austrian labor agencies are crowded today. On the door of each one is posted in a conspicuous place the order from the local consul requiring the first reservists to leave for home at once.  They are to report to him to arrange for passage. The notices are dated the 28th inst., and stamped with the local seal.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Partial Mobilization - 26 July 1914

Ruthenian Partial Mobilization.
           In Austria-Hungary His Imperial Majesty has proclaimed partial mobilization (___) supplement the general forces ___ on war footing).
            Those who are obligated to the call to arms as reservists are being notified of the fact by summons cards.
            Those called  will be reimbursed their travelling expenses.
            Those called, who do not have sufficient funds for the journey, have to call on the nearest Imperial and Royal representative, presenting their summons cards, and there the funds for the journey will be paid.
            All others summoned will have the funds for the journey to join the colours returned later.
            Those among the summoned whose home is on the frontiers of the Monarchy, instead of to the nearest representative of the Imperial and Royal Governemnt are to report directly to their government station at home..
           His Imperial and Royal Majesty Emperor Franz Josef І granted amnesty to those who did not report for conscription and also to those who are classified as deserters, if they immediately return home.
            Winnipeg, 26. July 1914.                   

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Centenary of the First World War

Historians such as Margaret MacMillan, John Polland, Roberto De Matei, discuss the causes of the Great War, which began on 28 July 1914. The video, produced by Catholic News Service, features the often ignored Vatican's diplomatic efforts to mediate between the powers and to end the war.

Friday 4 July 2014

Budka Biography Sent to Press

This morning, my biography of Blessed Nykyta Budka was submitted to the printer. It will take about six weeks to print and then an additional few weeks to bind.  Stay tuned for updates.  Here is a history of the book's composition and an abridged table of contents.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Bishop Budka on the Assassination at Sarajevo

... For quite a number of years the war-cloud has hung over our country which, however, did not realise it, and it was held off by the efforts of the peace-loving Emperor Franz Joseph I. Then happened an incident which would exhaust the patience of the most patient of men. On June the 28th, Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, a man of great hopes in the present difficult moment for Austria, was assassinated in Sarajevo, together with his wife, by the bullet of a Servian student. This loss was greatly felt by the monarch and all nationalities of Austria, and especially by Ruthenians, who held great and deserving hope in him.  The enemies of Austria, and especially the enemies of the Ruthenian Ukrainians, do not conceal their satisfaction on account of this tragic loss.  The Canadian Ruthenian Ukrainians sympathise with the sorrow of our Motherland, and give proof of it by special services in the churches for those assassinated and in the prayer for the welfare of the maternal country. ... 

—(Pastoral Letter, 27 July 1914: version printed in the Northwest Review8 August 1914)

Saturday 14 June 2014

Bishop Budka on Ukrainian Independence

"As I write this, I feel that I am in Lviv, where a war is going on after the world war. It is a war for values that in theory have already been won in the world, but in our homeland they are yet being birthed in blood and agony. Merciful God, how bitter it must be to live there—have mercy upon us and finally grant us peace! The Faith of our brothers and national freedom are constantly foremost in all our thoughts. We know little of what is happening there, but we believe that one and the other are progressing."  

— To Metropolitan Sheptytsky, November 1918, during the war for Ukrainian independence (p. 275 of the upcoming bio)

Saturday 24 May 2014

Petro Kamenetsky: Priest, Patriot, Prisoner of War

In the Vatican Archives, Nunciature in Canada series, there is a fascile containing correspondence from the Prisoners of War Committee at the Vernon, BC internment camp to the Apostolic Delegate, dated April and May 1919. I was surpised to find that one of the documents had been notarized by Ukrainian Greek-Catholic priest, Rev. Petro Kamenetsky, “himself a prisoner of war in this camp.” Although he was not the only Ukrainian Catholic priest arrested in Canada, during the First World War, Kamenetsky apperas to have been the only one to have been interned. For this reason alone, his interesting life-story deserves to be explored during this centenary of the outbreak of the war.

Born:  26 June 1891, Vikno, Skalat (Husiatyn), Ukraine
Arrived in Canada: 28 September 1913, Halifax, NS
Ordained priest: 23 March 1914, Toronto, ON
1st pastorship: 1 April 1914, Sifton and Ethelbert, MB
Interned: August 1918, Vernon, BC
First pastor of the following churches:
- 1917, St. George's Church (Cathedral), Saskatoon, SK
- 10 October 1937, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Toronto, ON
- 1962: Protection of BVM Parish, Toronto, ON
Appointed honourary canon: 1940
named domestic prelate (Monsignor): 1959
elevated to mitred archpriest: 1969
died: 31 January 1973, Toronto, ON