Tuesday 10 November 2015

Saturday 1 August 2015

Nykyta Budka's University Diaries Discovered

            At the beginning of the current year, Nykyta Budka’s diary from his seminary-university years (1902–1905) was discovered by the archivist of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Gloria Romaniuk.  The 20 by 17cm notebook had been left by Bishop Budka at his chancery residence at 511 Dominion Street in Winnipeg, when he departed for Europe in December 1927.  Having been ordered to resign as bishop for Canada in November 1928, Budka was never permitted to return nor retrieve any of his belongings. His personal property was entrusted to the care of his brother Danylo, who had emigrated from western Ukraine (part of Poland, at the time) to Canada, earlier that year.  Although some of the bishop’s records passed to his successor, many of Budka’s effects were sold off and a quantity ended up in the possession of Ukrainian poet and church goodsman, Yakiv Maydanyk.  In the late 1950s Budka’s second successor, Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, repatriated many of these items to the ownership of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
            During the 1980s, the first archivist of the Archeparchy, Sister Cornelia Mantyka, oversaw a complete reorganization of Bishop Budka’s correspondence, but the university diary was not inserted in this archival collection.  Metropolitan Maxim had kept them in his possession and, following his death in 1996, the diary was placed in one of several boxes containing his books and papers. After Hermaniuk’s successor, Metropolitan Michael Bzdel, retired in 2006, the boxes were consigned to the care of archeparchial archives. At first, they were stored in a room on the second floor in the old bishop’s palace, near the chapel. In the spring of 2015, the archivist began examining the contents of the boxes and discovered the diary. Romaniuk was able to identify the contents by Budka's name, clearly written on a number of theology textbook receipts and on other loose papers inside the notebook. She was then able to identify the handwriting in the journal and, from a cursory examination of the contents and the title "Моя теольоґія в Інсбруку" (my theology [studies] in Innsbruck), realized that she had discovered a memoir from Budka’s student days. 

       Given this source’s historical importance, Romaniuk immediately brought it to Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak and noted the journal’s discovery in her March 2015 report from the Archives, indicating that it would be added to the Nykyta Budka fonds (NB) within the Archives of the Archeparchy. Metropolitan Lawrence gave his blessing to me to consult the work. Upon my arrival in Winnipeg at the beginning of July, I digitally photographed each page and loose insert, which included textbook receipts, some history and theology class notes, and a photograph taken with two other men in the mountains (perhaps the Alps) during a vacation or outing.
Budka began writing the diary on 1 November 1902, although he backdated the entries to begin in Vienna, on the day after he completed his year of military service, 1 October 1902. The diary ends on 23 July 1905, the day he passed his last theology exam and was packing his books and personal effects, in preparing to leave Innsbruck. At the time, Budka’s written language was an archaic, western Ukrainian dialect.
            Most of Nykyta Budka’s extant writings are in the form of official correspondence with hierarchs, clergy, church congregations, and individual faithful.  This diary represents a rare example of his personal reflections, which he committed to writing primarily for private reference. It is possible that Budka, whose correspondence contains several references to his awareness of the importance of historical witness, also intended these reflections for posterity.
Alpine outing circa 1903
            Having only been discovered this year, this important source was not available to me when I was composing God’s Martyr, History’s Witness. Still, the information contained in the diary does not change the overall narrative of this biography for the years 1902–1905, which Prof. Oleh Turiy and I had based mainly on letters from Budka to Sheptytsky from the Central State Archives of Ukraine in Lviv (ЦДАУЛ).
        Nevertheless, the diaries contain more frequent personal information absent from Budka’s formal correspondence. The diary clarifies certain facts which were missing from my research. Among these details are the following: detailed chronology of his life as a seminarian and university student; the identities of his closest friends and associates during these years, in particular future-bishop Yosyf Botsian, both of whom lost younger sisters in 1904; additional information pertaining to his decision to pursue doctoral studies in Vienna, following the completion of his initial theological curriculum in Innsbruck; that his 18-year-old sister was named Hanya (Anna), and that the cause of her untimely death in the Spring of 1904, was an aneurism. Budka was not able to attend the funeral but had the opportunity to visit his grieving parents shortly thereafter, during the university Easter break. 
            The fact that Blessed Nykyta kept a diary in his youthful years raises the possibility that he might have committed other personal reflections to writing in later years, which have not yet come to light.  If such documents exist, did they survive and where are they now?  A closer examination of the Budka papers in the Lviv State Archives as well as unexamined materials in Ukrainian Catholic archives in Canada might, perhaps, result in the unearthing of as-yet-undiscovered writings of this important historical and religious figure.

Friday 17 July 2015

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky's Heroic Virtues Proclaimed

Kyr Andrey toward the end of his life
In the afternoon of 16 July 2015, Pope Francis received in a private audience the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato. During the audience, the Holy Father approved decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of several Servants of God. The first among these was Andrey Roman Alexander Maria Sheptytsky (1865–1944), Metropolitan-Archbishop of Lviv-Halych. This formal declaration represents one of the penultimate stages in the beatification process. Once a miracle attributed to the intercession of Sheptytsky is formally recognized, Kyr Andrey will be declared a Blessed of the Universal Church. The cause for his beatification had been introduced in 1958. With this declaration, the "Servant of God" becomes "Venerable" Andrey.

Interview with Christopher Wells for Vatican Radio 

Україномовна стаття Ватиканського Радія

Press release of Sheptytsky Institute, Ottawa

Wednesday 10 June 2015

"The Holy Father is unable to receive him."

“Regarding the proposed audience to Minister Göbbels: The Holy Father regrets that he is unable to receive him.”
- Pius XI audience with Cardinal Pacelli, 13 May 1933

“I explained to the Ambassador [of Italy] that, after the Holy Father, on Christmas Eve, had made such a great public protest against religious persecution in Germany, it would naturally have been painful for him to read in the papers last night and this morning [...] a glorification to the level of delerium of Hitler and National Socialism. And this, at a moment wheb there is not a single piece of reassuring news from Germany, not from Nunzio, nor from the bishops, nor for anywhere else, as regards the Government.”
- Cardinal Pacelli, Papal Secretary of State, 8 January 1938

“During the Audience the Holy Father remained firm in his view [not to receive the Polish foreign minister], and as to the distinction between the Minister and the person of Mr. Beck, He responded with indignation that they wanted him to play the part of Pilate and that he did not want to give the world a bad an example. [...] As for the disastrous consequences that are expected to come from such a refusal, the Holy Father he was sorry, but added that no one can prevent every bad thing from occuring. Rather, it was necessary to enlighten Mr. Beck and let him know the reality a situation that does not depend on the Holy See.”
- Pacelli to Chargé d’affairs Janikowski, 1 March 1938

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Budka Biography Receives Manitoba Archives Award

The Manitoba Archives Association has selected the author of God's Martyr, History's Witness to be one of 10 recipients of the Manitoba Day Award. The Association established the Award in
2007 to recognize users of archives who have completed an original work of excellence. which contributes to the understanding and celebration of Manitoba history. The 9th annual presentation was held at University of Manitoba Archives Special Collections, Fort Garry Campus, 330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, on 27 May 2015. The award was accepted by the author's parents, Professor Gerald and Irene McVay, together with Gloria Romaniuk, Archivist of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, who assisted in the compilation of the book.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Budka Biography Presented in Rome

The presentation of God's Martyr, History's Witness, the historical biography of Blessed Bishop-Martyr Nykyta Budka, took place on 18 March 2015, at Centro Ecumenica in Borgo Pio, near the Vatican. Presentations were given by: Bishop Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Eparch of France and Benelux and President of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv; Father James McCann, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Dr. Gianpaolo Rigotti, Archivist of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and Professor of the Oriental Institute, and the author. Father McCann acted as moderator.  Among those present were: His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church; Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, Ukrainian Eparch of Great Britain and Apostolic Visitor of the Irish Republic, Bishop Irenaeus Bilyk, Canon of the Liberian Basilica of Mary Major, Her Excellency Tetiana Izhveska, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, clergy, religious, historians, archivists and other scholars. The presentation began with the singing of Царю небесний (O Heavenly King), led by Patriarch Sviatoslav.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

News of Bishop Budka's Death Reaches Rome

New icon of Blessed Budka
from St. Basil's Seminary,
Stamford, CT

On 26 November 1956, the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church (known today as Congregation for the Eastern Churches) published a notice in it's publication, Servizio Informazione delle Chiese Orientali (Information Service of the Eastern Churches). The notice stated that word had finally reached the Vatican of the death, seven years previously, of Bishop Nykyta Budka. 

Recently, the source of this information was discovered in the Archives of the Congregation. On 28 September 1956, Archbishop Ivan Buchko, Apostolic Visitor for Ukrainian Catholics in Europe, sent a letter to the head of the Congregation, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, stating:

I am only now able to confirm to Your Most Reverend Eminence, that I have definitively ascertained the sad news that, on the 6th [sic] day of October 1949, His Excellency Bishop Nykyta Budka, titular bishop of Patara, died in a forced-labour camp at Karaganda. The city of Karaganda is located at the geographical intersection of the 50th degree of latitude and the 73rd degree of longitude. [...]

Contrary to what had been claimed, until now, that he had been reduced by mistreatment to a state of semi-consciousness, these rumours have now proven to be false (and were probably spread by the Bolsheviks themselves). It is now known with certitude that he truly heroically endured all the persecutions and died as a Confessor of the Faith, while thanking the Lord for having allowed him to suffer insults for Jesus. [...]

The source of this information is not yet known. Following the death of Stalin, in 1955 Bishop Ivan Liatyshevsky was released from the gulag and allowed to return to western Ukraine. The following year, he wrote to Father Hryniokh that Budka had died, but did not provide a date.  On 20 January 1956, Pope Pius XII issued an apostolic letter entitled Novimus nos, to mark the millennium of St. Olha's baptism in 955. In the list of of addresses, the later Bishop Budka's name still figured, as the Apostolic See did not learn of his death until September of that same year.

Soviet documents discovered in the 1990s, allegedly reporting Budka's death and burial, give the date of death as 28 September, coincidentally the same date Buchko wrote to inform the Apostolic See.