Monday 21 November 2016

Yosyf Botsian: The Forgotten Ukrainian Bishop

In memory of 
on the ninetieth anniversary of his death
Lviv, 21 November 1926

-Born in Busk of Kamienets, 10 March 1879
-ordained priest, Univ, 21 August 1904
-doctor of theology, Vienna 1905
-rector of the Lviv Greek-Catholic Seminary, 9 October 1910
-ordained Bishop of Lutsk, Hotel Continental, Kyiv, 21 September 1914
-arrested by Russian occupiers, Lviv, 18 February 1915
-exiled to Yenissey, Siberia, 28 May 1915
-released by Provisional Government, 3 March 1917
-assisted at recognition of relics of St. Josaphat, Vienna, 31 August 1917
-returned to Lviv and resumed rectorship, 10 September 1917
-appointed vicar for Kholm Eparchy, March 1918
-interned in Lviv Seminary by Polish army, 3 November 1918
-resigned as rector due to ill health, April 1919
-Benedict XV confirmed as Bishop of Lutsk, 23 February 1921
-scholarly work at Pidhirtsi Monastery (old Lutsk Eparchy) 1922
-auxiliary bishop of Lviv, 20 October 1924
-ordained Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky (future Bishop of Lutsk) to the priesthood, 9 October 1925
-presented as archpriest of Lviv Metropolitan Chapter of Canons, July 1926.
longer article to follow

Thursday 3 November 2016

Benedict XV in Search of Peace for Ukraine

Bologna, 3–5 November 2016.

This is not the time or the place to thoroughly examine in what manner the Vatican manifested sympathy for the idea of the Ukrainian state, and what was the motive behind this sympathy. This shall be done by the historian who, at the proper time, gains access to the sources which are certainly to be found in the Vatican and other places.
— Petro Karmansky, “Cardinal Gasparri and Ukraine,” (1934)

Born during Benedict XV’s Reign
There is no peace for Ukraine, not a hundred years after it fleetingly appeared on the world stage, nor twenty-five years after having finally achieved independence, following centuries of the oblivion of imperial subjugation. One hundred years ago, Benedict XV addressed to the world the words “nations do not die.” Sometimes, however, nations are born only with great difficulty, as in Ukraine, whose cause did not provoke any moralizing campaign of sympathy from the Western powers. During the pontificate of Benedict XV, Ukraine was born as a state but died as a nation that never enjoyed a day of peace. Nonetheless, Pope Della Chiesa took up the cause of Ukraine and strove, with significant gestures, to bring peace to “his dear Ukrainians.”

Rus – Ruthenia – Ukraine
 “Nation” is a modern concept. There is no strict necessity for any given nation to come into being. But the process of national awakening among certain ethnic groups is an historical fact. Ukrainian national consciousness emerged in the nineteenth century, based on various precedents. In the ninth century, The Norse Ruriks, who ruled over Slavic tribes surrounding the Dnipro river, formed a state called Rus’ with it capital in Kyiv. The people of Kyivan-Rus eventually constituted themselves into three nations: Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. After the Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century, the political and cultural inheritance of Kyivan-Rus passed to Lithuania, Poland, and Muscovy. The people called themselves Rusyn or Ruski in the plural. Westerners began to refer to those in Poland-Lithuania as Rutheni.
Prince Volodymyr (or Vladimir) had accepted Byzantine Christianity in 988. After the Great Schism, the Orthodox Church of Rus continued to maintain some contact with the Roman Apostolic See. In 1253 Pope Innocent IV sent his legate with a kingly crown to Danylo prince of Halych, the last independent Rus principality. Most of south-western Rus passed to Lithuania but Halych was conquered in 1367 by the Polish King. North-Eastern Rus became Muscovy.
In 1439, Isidore, Metropolitan of Kyiv, signed the act of union of the Roman and Byzantine Churches at the Council of Florence, and was made a cardinal. But his efforts to make the union a reality were met with opposition at home. In 1595, the bishops of the Kyivan Metropolia signed another act of union with the Roman See. This “Union of Brest” only united portion of the Kyivan Church, while another portion remained in communion with the Orthodox world. The Kyivan Metropolitans received patriarchal-like powers from the Roman Pontiff. Yet, despite opposition from Roman Catholics and Orthodox, the Uniate Church flourished in Poland-Lithuania, and Pope Urban VIII told the Ruthenians that he hoped to convert the entire East through them.
As Muscovy, renamed Russia, encroached upon Poland-Lithuania, the Uniates were forcibly amalgamated to the Russian Orthodox Church. After the final partition in 1795, the Uniate Church was destined to survive only Austrian Galicia (named for the old Halych principality). Empress Maria Theresa abolished the term “Uniate” as pejorative, and replaced it with “Greek Catholic,” on par with her Roman Catholic subjects.
With the awakening of the nations after the French Revolution, the Ruthenians also began to assert national-ethnic consciousness. The Ukrainian risorgimento began in Austrian Galicia and was led by the Greek-Catholic clergy, in the absence of their secular nobility, which had adopted a Polish consciousness. As the popoli italici of various dialects and principalities, became the nazione italiana, so the Ruthenians of the Austrian and Russian Empires came to see themselves as a single nation. And as Italia was once only a geographical term, so the geographical designation Ukraïna was adopted as a national descriptive, to distinguish the nation from Russia.

Pro and Contra Relations with Ukraine
            Until the First World War, the Russian Empire was the most powerful state in central-eastern Europe and represented the determining factor papal policy. Viewing the region’s political and religious futures in the Russian context, Leo XIII had inaugurated a diplomatic outreach to the Russia and, at the same time, supported religious “unionism,” as opposed to Latin missionary proselytism, as a means for eventual ecclesial reunion. The policy aimed to strengthen and support Eastern Catholicism, especially among the Ruthenians, so that they would become missionaries to nearby Orthodox countries.
The papacy’s relations with the stateless Ruthenian-Ukrainian people were mainly ecclesiastical and determined by a religious-political policy geared to each empire to which Ukrainians were subject. From the second half of the 19th century, as a distinct nation began to manifest itself, the Holy See had to factor Ukraine into its outlook. Religiously, Ukrainians were viewed within a unionistic framework: Greek-Catholics in Austria were looked upon as the protagonists of unionism, and Orthodox Christians in Russian Ukraine were viewed as the object of unionistic hopes. The Holy See had no political hopes for Ukrainians, either in Austria or in Russia.  Better relations with Russia aimed to secure increased freedom for Catholics in the Tsarist Empire. Since Austria-Hungary took Poland’s place as the Catholic state in central-Eastern Europe, the Holy See saw it as an antidote against the encroaching influence of Orthodox Russia. Consequently, Rome did not favor independence for any of Austria’s constituent nationalities. The First World War threw the status quo into chaos and necessitated a reconfiguration of the papal outlook for central-eastern Europe.

Open Diplomacy “Above the parties”
Benedict XV’s pontificate saw a return the grande politique of Leo XIII which he himself had helped Cardinal Rampolla implement, while serving in the Secretariat of State. The policy of patient, free-maneuver diplomacy, independent of political alliances and with diplomatic outreach to all states, was perfectly suited to new states like Ukraine. In his first encyclical letter, the Pope identified nationalistic hatred as one if he principal causes of the war. Nevertheless, as the conflict developed, so Vatican policy  evolved from favoring  a political status quo to one of reserved acceptance of national movements. With Catholics on all sides of conflict demanding papal support, Benedict XV moved from favoring a policy of disinterested neutrality to that of a peacemaker and mediator “above the parties.” His two main diplomatic objectives, general pacification and drawing separated Christians closer to Rome, spoke directly to the Ukrainian situation.

Ukraine between Russian and Austrian/Polish policies
At first, Benedict XV did not have a specific Ukrainian policy. The future of “Ruthenians,” was seen the contexts of the two empires to which they were subject. The Holy See supported the integrity of Austria-Hungary as the strongest Catholic state in central Europe. As to Russia, the Vatican was favorable to autonomy or independence of as many as possible of the nations, due to the Tsarist Empire’s consistent oppression of Catholicism. This was especially true for Poland, the largest portion of which had been partitioned to Russia. During the war, the Holy See took up Polish cause and the pope included it his 1917 Peace Note. When it became clear that the Austrian Empire could not be salvaged, the Vatican turned to Poland as a substitute Catholic power. Following Polish independence, Rome situated Ukrainians between its Polish and Russian policies.

The Turning Point of Revolution
The 1917 Revolutions in Russia marked a turned-point for Vatican policy. Since the Provisional Government granted religious freedom, the Roman Curia had to consider the best way of re-introducing, in those vast regions, the Catholic presence which had been suffocated under Tsarist rule. The revolutions strengthened the national movements of Russia’s subject peoples and facilitated their independence. A the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, of February 1918, the Central Powers recognized the newly-proclaimed Ukrainian National Republic and immediately transformed it into a client state.
The euphoria that followed religious freedom in Russia gave rise to “mirages” of union between a number of national Orthodox Churches and Rome. In response to such hopes, Benedict XV established an autonomous department, the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church, to coordinate Eastern Catholic life and promote unionistic missions. The new office was given significant authority promote and defend the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Oriental Congregation, as it was often referred to, paid careful attention to religious and political affairs of the Ukrainian National Republic as well as those of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Austria.

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky
Perhaps the most important Eastern-Catholic leader of the period was Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, Archbishop of Lviv-Halych and primate of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Of Ruthenian-Polish aristocratic lineage, Sheptytsky chose to return to his eastern roots by enlisting in Basilian Order, one of Leo XIII’s unionist experiments. In the eyes of the Poles who governed Austrian Galicia, his duel pedigree made Sheptytsky ideal for leading the Greek-Catholic Church along a subservient path, at the time when Ukrainian national consciousness was taking hold.
Sheptytsky’s ideals sprang from the Leo XIII’s unionism but matured due to his personal contacts among the Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian elites. In 1907, he obtained unprecedented powers from Pius X, kept secret even from the Secretary of State Cardinal Merry del Val, to begin rebuilding the foundations for Eastern Catholic Churches where they had been suppressed by Russia. Sheptytsky cautiously but also critically supported the Ukrainian national movement in Austrian Galicia.
Only days before the election of Benedict XV, Sheptytsky was arrested by Russian invaders, as a dangerous opponent to Tsarist assimilation plans. Cardinal Gasparri launched an energetic yet fruitless diplomatic campaign for his release. From Siberian captivity, Sheptytsky sent six letters to the new pontiff, outlining his unionist vision for Russia and Ukraine. As soon as he was freed, the metropolitan established a Russian Catholic Exarchate, using the secret faculties granted him by Pius X. Benedict XV tended to favor Sheptytsky’s proposal for a predominantly Byzantine-Rite as opposed to a Latin mission, in post-revolutionary Russia. This view was fiercely opposed by the Poles, who had long held the monopoly over Catholic activities in Russia.
As long as Italy and Austria were at war, Sheptytsky was barred from visiting Rome, to explain his plans to the Pope and prove the authenticity of his special faculties. His first meeting with Benedict XV occurred in February 1921, and it provoked a turning point in Vatican policy. Pope Benedict confirmed the faculties, recognized the bishop that Sheptytsky had consecrated using them, and confirmed the Russian exarch that he had nominated.

The Holy See’s Relations with Ukraine
Until the First World War, Ukrainian representation at the Papal Court was exclusively religious in character. Since the Union of Brest, the Metropolitans of Kyiv maintained a procurator to the Holy See. At the outbreak of the War, Ukrainians began a campaign to bring their still-stateless nation to the attention of the international community. They also entered into direct contact with the Roman Curia and papal diplomatic representatives abroad. Catholic aristocrats from Russian Ukraine, who were friends of Metropolitan Sheptytsky, were among Ukraine’s most ardent promoters.
The most important of these amateur diplomats was Count Michael Tyshkevych. With his vast financial resources and social connections, Tyshkevych moved to Switzerland to promote the Ukrainian cause and was largely responsible for brining it to the attention of the western press. Several qualities also made him an ideal representative to the Vatican: he had a western European education, he was a papal knight, and founder of Catholic associations in Russia. As both the Holy See and Ukraine were seeking international recognition, Tyshkevych sought to promote Ukraine by collaborating with Benedict XV’s ideals: peace and humanitarian diplomacy.
Tyshkevych had already obtained Pius X’s encouragement in founding the Kyiv Peace Association. On 27 December 1914, he approached the papal Secretariat of State for a blessing from the new pontiff, not omitting to ask for support for the suffering Ukrainian nation. On 9 January 1915, Monsignor Pacelli communicated the apostolic blessing with the qualification “(for you and your work),” likely in order to avoid any inference of support for any Ukrainian political cause. On 1 June 1916, Tyshkevych approached Pacelli again, touching on another of Pope Benedict’s key policies: church unity. He told Pacelli that both Catholic and Orthodox Ukrainians of Austria and Russia had asked him to approach him to the their “protector and intermediary” by delivering a confidential memorandum on Ukraine to His Holiness. On 9 June, Pacelli wrote to assure him that he had delivered the document personally.
 In 1917, Count Tyshkevych began to write directly to Cardinal Gasparri. Pope Benedict had launched a collection for the Poles and Lithuanians devastated by the war. On 17 February, Tyshkevych sent a petition asking for a such collection to be initiated for the Ukrainians. In March 1918, he brought greetings to the pontiff from the Association of Romans Catholics in Ukraine, as newly-elected head of their association. He also presented a memorandum in support of the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk’s controversial award of the disputed Kholm region to the nascent Ukrainian Republic.
The Ukrainian State was slow to make use of the Catholic notables that had promoted its cause abroad.  Only on 1 September 1918 did Tyshkevych ask the Holy See to accept an official Ukrainian representative. However, after the signing of the Brest Treaty, the Germans occupied Ukraine and turned it into a satellite state, recognized only by the Central Powers. Given the uncertainly of the war’s outcome, Cardinal Gasparri preferred to “defer this project, for a time.”
Michael Tyshkevych having failed, another Catholic aristocrat took up the cause. In October 1918, Jan Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz, who was serving as attaché to the Ukrainian consulate in Vienna, approached the Apostolic Visitor to Poland, Achille Ratti, on the matter of Vatican-Ukrainian relations. With the fall of Austria-Hungary, 8 November 1918 Benedict XV gave orders for his representatives to establish relations with the nationalities. In March 1919 Tokarzewski went to see the Nuncio in Vienna and informed him that his government had decided to send a three-man diplomatic mission to the Holy See, headed by Count Tyshkevych. Tokarzewski suggested that diplomatic relations were necessary due to the possibilities for Catholicism in predominantly Orthodox Ukraine. On 12 March 1919, the Ukrainian consul in Berne asked Monsignor Maglione to transmit an official request for a diplomatic mission to be accredited to the Holy See. 
Cardinal Gasparri responded to Maglione on 26 March 1919, that the Holy See would be particularly happy to enter into diplomatic relations with Ukraine, especially in view of its promised freedom for Catholicism. However, it did not accord full relations to new countries that had not been recognized by the Great Powers (meaning the Entente). In the meantime, only Tyshkevych, deemed “acceptable, being already in relations with the Papal Court,” was to be received in the role of semi-official envoy. The UNR regarded the  acceptance of Tyshkevych’s mission as recognition by the Holy See of the Ukrainian State. In reality, it merely represented a de facto recognition of the UNR Government and a gesture of good will, in the hope that, if the state would survive, the Church would be accorded the promised religious freedom.
Michael Tyshkevych spent virtually two years educating the Holy See about the Ukrainian national cause, promising a bright future for Catholicism in Ukraine, and reporting on the political and humanitarian challenges faced by the nascent republic. He was received several times by curial officials and, on 26 May 1919, by Benedict XV himself. The pontiff assured him that he supported “the autonomy of Ukraine” and had asked his representative at the Peace Conference to defend the Ukrainian cause. From August 1919, Tyshkevych took charge of the UNR delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, during which time he did not neglecting his Vatican contacts. He pursued a fruitless quest for full diplomatic recognition through 1920. The Pope’s promise to support Ukraine at the Paris Conference was confirmed by Cardinal Gasparri on 20 July 1920.

Achille Ratti and the Polish-Ukrainian War
Six month before the First World War’s end, Benedict XV sent Vatican Librarian Achille Ratti to Warsaw as Apostolic Visitor, to resuscitate the Polish Church, devastated from over a century of Russian rule. Ratti’s mission was soon extended to include Russia and formerly Austrian Galicia. By November 1918, his visitation technically included all the lands which the Ukrainians declared to be part of their national state.
In the conflict between Poles and Ukrainians, Benedict XV’s predictions about nationalistic hatred came true, and his stance as mediator “above the parties” was put to the test. Following the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy, the two nations fought over the sovereignty of Eastern Galicia. A national conflict became a religious feud between Roman-Catholic Poles and the Greek-Catholic Ukrainians. Each side was supported in their political aspirations by their respective hierarchies and clergies, and each called the Holy See to support the rightness of their cause. Ratti declared that the Pope supported both peoples but left political judgments to the politicians. He intervened with authorities from both sides on behalf of those who had been harshly treated. Although publically combatting ingrained prejudice against the Eastern Churches, privately and to his superiors he expressed relief at the Polish victory in Galicia. 
In the end, the Polish-Ukrainian War had affected Achille Ratti’s idealistic perceptions. By the time of his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, in July 1919, his attitude toward Polish Catholicism had become more critical, especially regarding its attitude toward national minorities and strong aversion to the Eastern Rites. Any correctives that Ratti offered the Poles went largely unnoticed to the vanquished Ukrainians, who were forced to endure harsh repression. Complaints about the persecution of Greek-Catholics prompted the Roman Curia to rethink its position regarding an envoy for Ukrainian affairs.

Apostolic Visitation to Ukraine
In consultation with the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Ukrainian diplomats had first asked for an apostolic visitation on 14 September 1918. Achille Ratti encouraged Jan Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz to petition Holy See and even declared himself willing to perform the visitation personally. He also signaled his approval for Tyshkevych to be appointed envoy to the Holy See. Despite this, Tyshkevych voiced Ukrainian dissatisfaction with Ratti’s alleged bias toward the Poles. From May through October 1919, Tyshkevych and Tokarzewski did not cease to petition for the appointment of an apostolic visitor to Ukraine and Eastern Galicia, and the exclusion of Ratti from this charge.
The internal situation in the Ukrainian Republic was only one factor impeding an apostolic visitation. Reports continued to arrive at the Vatican of persecution of Ukrainians in Galicia, at the hands of the victorious Poles. In one such report, of April 1919, Achille Ratti expressed his own fears that the Poles intended to eliminate the Greek-Catholic Church altogether. In September, the Government threatened to recall its ambassador if the Holy See “ruled in favor of the Ukrainians.”
A summary of the Galician situation was brought to Benedict XV on 28 January 1920. The Oriental Congregation concluded that an unbiased inspection was necessary, in order to verify the reports and provide humanitarian aid. A purely religious mission was proposed without political connotations, which would show interest in Ukrainians affairs without provoking diplomatic rupture with the Poles. On 13 February, Benedict XV appointed Giovanni Genocchi as apostolic visitor to Ukraine. His shrewd judgment and diplomatic finesse were esteemed by the diplomats of Rampolla school, including his old classmate, Pope Benedict.
Genocchi’s instructions outlined three main aspects of his mission. The first was public: the visitation was a benevolent gesture, especially in the form of medical aid to devastated Ukrainian people. The second was not public: to prepare terrain for the Catholic Church in Ukraine. And the third was secret: to verify the persecution and help the Greek-Catholic Church in Polish-administered Eastern Galicia. Genocchi was told that “the Holy See has no reason to be opposed to the Ukrainians demands for statehood, if they are able to practically maintain their independence and if it is recognized by the international community, and looks benevolently on their efforts, which it hopes will be advantageous for Catholicism.” The visitor was told to emphasize the equality of the Latin and Byzantine Catholic Rites, to establish the facts in Galicia and relay them to Holy See, which would bring them to attention of Poland at an opportune time. On his way from Rome, Genocchi met with Ukrainian representatives in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw. He spoke Metropolitan Sheptytsky six times in Vienna and was impressed by his integrity and holiness.  
Hitherto the Warsaw Nunciature had been responsible for Ukrainian affairs. As the visitor had to travel through Poland, the Secretariat of State asked Ratti to take Genocchi’s mission under his wing. But unbeknown to the Vatican, Genocchi was arriving at the worst possible moment. Before he could reach Lviv, the Poles took control of his mission. Marshall Pilsudski had concluded an alliance with UNR and was in the midst of liberating it from Bolshevik rule. En route to Lviv, Genocchi was summoned to Warsaw where he was told that Pilsudski had decided that he should wait until military victories made it safe for him to go to Kyiv. Ratti promised to personally accompany him in June, Pilsudski promised to pay the journey, and Bishop Dubowski of Lutsk promised them hospitality, along the way.
Polish hopes came to naught. By the end of June, the Bolsheviks had begun  a counter-attack that would lead them to the very gates of Warsaw. As the government abandoned the capital, Ratti sent Genocchi to Vienna where, on 14 September 1920, the visitor submitted a full report to Pope Benedict. One of Genocchi’s conclusions was that “many Ukrainians feel abandoned by the Holy See because it does not [intervene to] stop the Polish persecutions.” Due to his forthright evaluations, future primate of Poland, Father August Hlond, told Genocchi that he would not be welcomed back to Poland anytime soon. The most concrete result of the apostolic visitation was the aide provided: 150,000 Italian Lire via the Red Cross for Ukrainian children, 131 cases of medicine worth 100,000 Lire, 50,000 Lire to the destitute Greek-Catholic clergy in Galicia. From Vienna, he also sent 220,000 Marks for the Latin Bishops in Ukraine, and for Greek-Catholic bishops and religious in Eastern Galicia.
Perhaps as significant as humanitarian diplomacy were the reports which the visitor sent to Rome. Genocchi’s judgments, and those of others, led Benedict XV to make more than one clamorous gestures in support of Ukrainians. On 24 February 1921, the pontiff addressed a public letter to Metropolitan Sheptytsky, ostensibly upon the re-opening of the Ruthenian College in Rome. The letter was actually a solemn act of solidary with the Ukrainian people and contained allusions to religious persecution under Polish mandate. Even Genocchi was shocked by the strength of the protest and by the fact that his mission had been cited publically. Against counsels of prudence from the Secretariat of State, Pope Benedict insisted that this letter be published in the June 1921 fascicle of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. As a result, Poland made good on its promise and recalled its ambassador to the Holy See. Then, on 16 July 1921, the pope lectured the Polish Episcopate in another public letter, admonishing them to manifest universal charity for their fellow clergy of different nationalities and rites. By the end of the year, the Polish press was reporting that Cardinal Gasparri had advised the new Polish ambassador not to upset the Holy Father by saying anything against “his beloved Ukrainians.”
The Bolshevik takeover of Ukraine precluded the possibility that Father Genocchi would be able to carry out his mission. In December 1921, he asked to be recalled on condition that the Visitation to Ukraine continue, at least on paper, as a gesture of solidarity. Upon his arrival in Rome, in January 1922, Benedict XV insisted on receiving him immediately, despite the fact that the pontiff was in his last illness and died a few days after the audience. Elected to the papacy as Pius XI, Achille Ratti retained Genocchi as his official Ukrainian advisor and sent him back to Eastern Galicia for one more visitation. In gratitude for Genocchi’s efforts, the UNR government-in-exile sent a delegation to his funeral, in 1926.

Friends and Failed Dreams
The Entente’s politics of “might makes right” prevailed over Wilson’s principals of national self-determination and over Benedict XV’s ethics which opposed a peace dictated to the vanquished by the victors. Ukraine arose from the ashes of the War, but it’s foes were too powerful and its allies to few. Nonetheless, it was destined to remain nominally on the map as “the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic,” a concession to the national movement that even Lenin was hard-pressed to refuse.

Benedict XV made a place for Ukraine in his Pax Romana, his ethical peace with the Papacy as mediator and magister. Througout the long history of its travails, Ukraine never forgot that he was one of the few leaders who showed it any kindness. When Giaccomo della Chiesa died, in January 1922, condolences arrived at the Holy See declaring that: “Ukrainians have lost a friend and magnanimous protector,” and a “special benefactor.” Indeed, the same understanding and support for Ukraine was never again to be seen in the Vatican corridors, up to the present day.

Non omnia praetera vulgata hac de re sunt: multa tabulariis sunt, quae cum proferentur, nimium quantum Benedicti sapientiam, iustitiam, constantiam, caritetem illustrabunt.  
—Laudatio Benedicti XV P.M. habita in Aede Xystina (February 1922)

Sunday 11 September 2016

Priest, Patriot, Prisoner of War, and Prelate: Petro Kamenetsky (1891–1973)

In the Vatican Archives, Nunciature in Canada series, there is a fascicle containing correspondence from the Vernon internment camp to the Apostolic Delegate in Ottawa, dated April and May 1919. I was surprised to find that one of the documents in the file had been notarised by Ukrainian Greek-Catholic priest, Reverend 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 appears to have been the only one to have been interned.  For this reason alone, aside from the fact that he was the first Ukrainian Catholic priest ordained in Canada, his life-story deserves to be explored as we mark the centenary of the First World War.
            Hitherto biographical entries have provided only general outlines of Petro Kamenetsky’s life and none mention his internment. His personal files in Winnipeg and Toronto are sparse or incomplete, and his Vatican file is virtually empty. In various publications and sources his name variably appears as Peter Kamenecky or Kamenetzky. This article is an attempt to provide a more complete biography by piecing together data from Roman and Canadian archives, as well as recent research on Ukrainian Canadians and First World War Internment. Hopefully this will serve as an impetus for further research on Kamenetsky and other little-known or forgotten Ukrainian church and civic leaders.

Early Life in Austrian Galicia

            Petro and his twin brother Pavlo were born on 26 June 1891 to Yosyf Kamenetsky and Pavlyna Yanitska in the village of Vikno in the Skalat district (present-day Husiatyn Province of western Ukraine). Their father, Yosyf, was a teacher-cantor at the church of the Dormition. Pavlo died at the tender age of 5 in 1896. Two years later, another brother, Volodymyr, was born and then a sister Sophia, followed by a third brother, Ivan. Petro began elementary school in Postolivka in 1897, and was sent to Ternopil for high school (gymnasium) in 1903. Their mother died on 16 June 1910, while Petro was completing gymnasium.
            A the turn of the twentieth century Vikno was inside the ecclesiastical boundaries of the vast Greek-Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv-Halych. In 1910, at the age of 19, Kamenetsky was accepted as a seminarian for thr archeparchy by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, and he began his priestly studies at the Lviv Greek-Catholic Major Seminary. One of the four student prefects at the seminary was Father Nykyta Budka, who was soon to be named bishop for the Ukrainians in Canada.

Seminary and Ordination in Canada 1913–1914
With Budka, St. Augustine's Seminary 1913
   Bishop Budka began his Canadian mission with an enthusiastic new approach. Hitherto the local Roman Catholic bishops, who had turned away married Ukrainian clergy, had been unsuccessful in providing sufficient pastoral ministration to the Ukrainian immigrants. Proselytised by every religious and political faction, many Ukrainians were leaving the Greek-Catholic fold.
            In order to salvage what he could, Budka sought to quickly obtain as many native Ukrainian missionaries as possible. This alarmed his fellow Canadian bishops, who feared that he would introduce married clergy into Canada. In response to the bishops’ concerns the Apostolic See issued a decree entitled Fidelibus Ruthenis, in August 1913. The decree’s stringent regulations not only forbade married clergy, it also required prior Vatican approval for each prospective missionary. The bishop was further instructed to establish a seminary as soon as possible, in order to prepare Canadian Ukrainians as celibate clergy.
            In order to augment the number of missionaries and to set-up a seminary, Bishop Budka sought recruits from among his former seminarians in Lviv. In August 1913, eight second-year seminarians obtained permission to volunteer for the Canadian mission. One of these was Petro Kamenetsky. Accompanied by Father Lev Sembratovych, the first group of five seminarians departed for Canada on the Canadian Pacific ship “Ruthenia.” On 28 September 1913, they arrived in Canada at the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bishop went personally to welcome his new recruits and bring them to St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. 
            The five young men spent six months at St. Augustine’s, taking part in certain lectures (some of which were in Latin) and learning the English language. A Ukrainian professor, Doctor Amvrozii Redkevych, taught material specific to the Greek-Catholic Church. Pending Redkevych’s arrival, Bishop Budka, who had been a seminary professor only the previous year, gave the lectures himself. Because they arrived as seminarians, they did not require the stringent clearance required by Fidelibus Ruthenis of priests, only a “dimissorial letter” from their eparchy of origin. When Budka received these testimonials, even though they had only been six months in their new land, he ordained the first three seminarians. From his hands, they received the minor orders on 7 March, and the diaconate on 8 March 1914, in St. Augustine’s Seminary chapel. On 22 March 1914, Atanazii Cherepaniak, Yosyf Fylyma and Petro Kamenetsky were the first Greek-Catholic priests to be ordained in Canada. The ordination took place at the Italian parish of St. Helen’s. Kamenetsky was destined to be only one his class who chose to serve out his days in his new country.

First Assignment: Sifton-Ethelbert 1914–1916

Church Sisterhood, Ethelbert 1914
            Sifton, Manitoba, was one of the most populous Ukrainian settlements in Canada at the turn of the twentieth century. It was also one of the most proselytised by Presbyterians, Russian Orthodox, and the Seraphimite sect. The first Greek-Catholic churches were established in the area as early as 1900. Archbishop Langevin had obtained permission for a group of French-Canadian secular priests to serve in the Byzantine Rite and, in 1910 he sent them to the troublesome district. In addition to administering the church, the Fathers also established an apostolic missionary school for Ukrainian children.  The school project obtained mixed reviews. Although the institution educated several future Ukrainian priests, professionals, and civic leaders, many Ukrainians distrusted the motives of the good-willed ‘foreigners’, and they demanded their own native clergy. 
            At the beginning of his mission in Canada, Bishop Budka did not have enough clergy to heed these calls. Also, upon closer inspection, the Franco-Canadian clergy’s ministration was not as detrimental as some were making out. As a compromise, in November 1913 he restricted the mission of the French-Canadian Fathers to the apostolic school. This meant that, for three months, the Sifton church remained without a priest. Budka was only able to provide one after he had ordained his first set of priests. Thus, on 1 April 1914, he named newly-ordained Father Kamenetsky as pastor of the churches in the Sifton and Ethelbert districts. Before taking up his charge, he celebrated his first solemn Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Church in Winnipeg, on 7 April.
            During Kamenetsky’s term in Sifton-Ethelbert, the bishop sent a number of Ukrainian priests and laymen to teach at the apostolic school, and sent prospective seminarians to apprentice, prior to beginning their formal training. Bishop Budka charged Kamenetsky to teach the Ukrainian language at the school and, in 1915, named him spiritual director to Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, resident in Sifton. Despite such measures to Ukrainianize the school, the Sifton community remained rebellious and, encouraged by radical nationalists, refused to incorporate the church as a Greek-Catholic parish. The Ukrainian National Home also became a point of contention and Father Petro sought to bring it under Catholic influence by urging his parishioners, who represented the majority of the Ukrainian community, to join it en masse.
            When the Government of Manitoba abolished bilingual public education in 1916, Ukrainians of various parties united to form student residences and other educational institutions. In December of that year, Father Kamenetsky, who had been transferred to Rosburn, Manitoba, became embroiled in a heated conflict with a radical politician Nicholas Hryhorczuk (reeve from 1917 and later MLA for Ethelbert) over religious instruction and prayers in public schools. The following year, Bishop Budka transferred Kamenetsky to Saskatoon.  Extant records to not indicate whether this conflict, or the one over the national home, had been factors leading to the transfer.

Saskatoon Conflict 1916–1918

            In August 1916 a convention of Ukrainian Canadians of all parties established a student residence in Saskatoon.  Named for Kyivan Orthodox Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, the institution immediately became the bone of contention between Bishop Budka and a group of young radical nationalists who sought to lead the Ukrainian-Canadian community along secular lines. It was in this atmosphere of contention, in 1917, that Father Kamenetsky was assigned to the city.  Seeking to strengthen the faith community, he and his committee sold two properties purchased in 1912, then acquired old St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church. Re-christened St. George’s, this church was destined to become the cathedral church of the Saskatoon exarchate (later eparchy) in 1948.  Father Petro also advised his flock to become more active in combating the secularist element.
            In the meantime, the nationalist radicals had broken with Bishop Budka and formed the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada, which was organised along nationalist and democratic lines. Conflicts with its supporters and those of the Mohyla Institute led to the arrest, on trumped up charges, of the bishop and Belgian Redemptorist Van den Bosche (known as “Father Bosky” by the Ukrainians). The charges were immediately withdrawn and Budka and Bosky were released.

Internment 1918–1920

Ethelbert 1916
            The circumstances leading to Kamenetsky’s arrest still need to be clarified.  Only two Ukrainian Catholic archival sources make reference to it.  The first is an entry in the ledger, called the Ordinariate Book, which listed all official correspondence by the Greek-Catholic bishopric. On page 11 number 15, an undated entry (the previous one was dated 24 August and the subsequent entry 25 September 1918) contains the following short phrase: “Father Kamenetsky interned.” The second source is a letter from Budka to Metropolitan Sheptytsky dated 22 November 1918. The relevant passage reads as follows:
“This last year the student Swystun founded a new Orthodox faith in Saskatoon for Presbyterians and atheists and is making terrible trouble. On the back of the Presbyterians he had me and two priests arrested, of whom, Father Kamenetsky, is still interned until this day.”
            Budka associated the new church with Presbyterians because several of its leaders had been educated at Presbyterian institutions, and because its democratic organisation seemed to resemble a Protestant rather than a traditional Orthodox Church. Bearing in mind this clarification, it appears that Kamenetsky’s arrest was related to the conflict between Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox in Saskatoon.
            Earlier in the war, two other Ukrainian priests, Father Mykola Shumsky of Calgary and Father Atanazii Fylipiv of Winnipeg, had also been arrested but were immediately set free. Bishop Budka lobbied for Shumsky’s release with the federal justice minister via the Apostolic Delegate in Canada. Two Winnipeg lawyers testified for Fylypiv. To the Apostolic Delegate  Budka wrote: “it is a serious thing, if Catholic priests are so easily put in jail.” And commenting on the accusations against Shumsky, the Bishop argued that: “he is unable to commit treason to Canada, because he is ordained here for Canada and has a Canadian orientation.” This argument applied equally to Kamenetsky, except that, while he and Shumsky were Canadian according to Church law, in civil law they were still Austrian subjects, having arrived in Canada only a year before the the war; (Fylypiv had become a naturalised British subject over seven years previously).
According to a bill passed by the Canadian Parliament on 18 August 1914, “enemy aliens” (foreign nationals of countries at war with Britain), could be arrested and interned if they were deemed suspicious or caused any sort of disturbance. Although a paper trail exists regarding the Catholic Church’s response to Shumsky’s arrest, no analogous documentation has yet come to light on Kamenetsky’s case. His personal file, located in the Archives of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, does not contain a single record from 1917 to 1922.
Nevertheless, government records reveal that arrested between August and September 1918, as the result of a denunciation to Canadian authorities from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI accused Kamenetsky of suspicious activities while performing missionary work in Cuba.  It seems unlikely that he could have travelled to Cuba during his short time in Canada. Accusations might have been made in the context of “red scare” fears of Communist conspiracies, since Kamenetsky had become embroiled in the Catholic-Orthodox conflict in Saskatoon. Further research is required to determine if informants invented the accusations (as they had done in the case of Bishop Budka) to implicate and eliminate him from ministry in Saskatoon.
Father Kamenetsky became prisoner number 980 and was interned at the camp at Vernon, British Columbia. An entry in the Greek-Catholic Ordinariate book, under the date 13 February 1919, records that Bishop Budka sent a certificate to the internment camp, testifying that he had ordained Kamenetsky to the priesthood. This document was probably requested by camp officials, in order to permit Father Petro to minister to his fellow inmates. A curriculum vitae from his personal file in the Toronto Eparchial Archives states that Kamenetsky acted as “chaplain” to this camp and established a small congregation there.
            Fellow prisoners turned to Kamenetsky for assistance in other matters, besides spiritual ones. A Croatian inmate, Ivan Tomich (prisoner 493), initially interned at Mara Lake, BC in December 1916, was subsequently transferred to Vernon. Having been arrested for spousal violence, Tomich was seeking a photograph of his two children. In September 1918, Swiss consular authorities informed him that the children were being looked after by the Sisters of Providence Orphanage, New Westminster, BC. Tomich wrote to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Vancouver in February and again in March 1919, requesting a photo. Finally, on 14 April, an angry response arrived signed by a J.S. Foran, stating that the Society had no time for requests from people like Tomich. Foran went on to lay moral blame on Ukrainians for some alleged actions by Austria and Germany during the war:
“I know enough of the care and attention given to the prisoners taken by your people in the late war and there has not any of them ever will forget the brutal customs practised on our men whilst under the care of Germany and Austria, whilst we were striving to feed and care for their children and yours, giving to all, like treatment. I trust that our government will deport you to the country from which you came as an undesirable and in this way rid ourselves of undesirable company. Your wife has the children [...] but I will do what I can to have the whole lot deported out of this country to where you came from and to the only place that fits people of your makeup.”
            Whatever crimes Tomich himself had committed, such a reply from a representative of the Catholic Aid Society was so shocking for its un-Christian tone and crass prejudice, that Tomich’s fellow prisoners urged him to take the matter further. On the same day that Tomich received the letter, Father Kamenetsky signed an “affidavit” stating that Tomich had indeed received the reply. And on 3 May 1919, the committee which represented German and Austrian prisoners in Vernon replied to Foran, on Tomich’s behalf. They accusing him of hypocrisy and blamed their own interment on the kind of prejudice that Foran had expressed:
“... it is men of your type who have caused the thousands of us, who have settled in this country upon the invitation of your Government, an endless amount of worry, persecution and unhappiness during the long and painful years of war, through their hysterical attitude towards us and through their ignorance of our peaceful aims and aspirations. It is men of your type, who make us yearn impatiently for the moment when we may turn our backs to a country that has broken faith with us in such a flagrant manner. Is men of your type, who prevent those in authority to permit the few amongst us, who have their families and properties in this country, to return to them, and who have made them long in vain since months for the moment when they will be reunited with their dear ones. It is men of your type, who will not permit ill-feeling and hatred to abate and who are presenting mankind with a gift far deadlier than war itself.”
            On 6 May 1919, the prisoners’ committee sent copies of the correspondence to the Apostolic Delegate in Ottawa, noting that they had been witnessed by Kamenetsky. The papal delegate, Archbishop Pietro Di Maria, replied on 20 May, assuring the committee that he had “carefully taken cognisance” of the correspondence. But the delegation’s file does not indicate whether or not the matter was taken any further.
Petro’s father, Yosyf Kamenetsky, who had imigrated to Canada in 1912, sent numerous petitions to the Minister of Justice and General Otter, begging for the release of his two sons, Petro and Ivan. Father Petro was discharged on on 1 November 1919, upon the intervention of Father Redkevych, Bishop Budka’s liaison with the government. The Vernon internment Camp was closed down on 20 February 1920.

Prairie Ministry 1921–1933

            Following his release, Petro Kamenetsky returned to parish ministry. Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, his pastoral work in Saskatchewan and Manitoba proved difficult and discouraging. In 1921 Bishop Budka assigned him to Canora and Norquay, Saskatchewan. When the Allied Powers had placed Eastern Galicia under Polish administration, the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR) launched an campaign for the international community to support its independence. The ZUNR sent representatives to Canada and sought support from among the clergy. Ukrainian Orthodox leader, Wasyl Swystun, ran for federal parliament in December 1922. Many Greek-Catholics supported his campaign, hoping that a Ukrainian in parliament would increase support for the independence of their homeland. Perhaps the wiser from his earlier conflict in Saskatoon, rather than opposing the candidacy, Kamenetsky openly supported it. Even the Ukrainian Catholic newspaper Kanadiiskyi ukrainets observed tacit neutrality toward the campaign.
            Bishop Budka, however, was unhappy at such open support for his arch-rival, Swystun, and decided to transfer Kamenetsky to Fort William, Ontario, in February 1922. This caused not a little dissatisfaction among the Canora faithful. The following month Kamenetsky convinced the bishop to let him continue to serve in the countryside, because he felt that the rural faithful appreciated him more. Perhaps He was still scarred from his experience in Saskatoon. In hindsight, such apprehensions appear ironic, considering the success and popularity that Father Petro would enjoy in the urban centres of Sudbury and Toronto.  Bishop Budka heeded his request and assigned Kamenetsky to Arran and, the following year, to Rosthern and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 1924 he was transferred to Hafford, Saskatchewan and, at the beginning of 1925, he to Vita, Manitoba.
Winnipeg, December 1923
            Petro Kamenetsky had emerged from captivity a changed man. During his internment at the Vermon camp he had contracted serious rheumatism. When he had arrived in Canada nine years previously, he was young and fit, with a full head of wavy hair.  Yet, by the winter of 1923, a photo of the Ukrainian secular clergy shows that he had become bald and overweight. Like a number of his confreres, he had become discouraged by the divisions and lack of support from the faithful and told Bishop Budka that he was thinking of returning to his native Lviv Archeparchy. By 1925, Kamenetsky’s health had deteriorated futher and he asked the bishop for a two-month sick leave. Following this convalescence, he was assigned to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, from where he was also to serve and Transcona, Janow, and Kenora, Ontario. 
            In the Fall of 1926 Bishop Budka transferred Father Petro to Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Ethelbert, where he was to remain for seven years.  He was also responsible for serving the communities of in Mink Creek, Roblin, Garland, Pine River, Sclater, Cowan, Winnipegosis, Ashville, as well as the smaller settlements at Venlau, Kulish, Zalissia, Dry River, Ukraina, South Bay, Cowan, and Valley River. Budka told him reside in Sifton, in order to teach and hear the confessions of the children. Following the closing of the Apostolic Missionary School in 1917, the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate took over the building and established their own school, but they had been forced to leave in 1924 after the building burnt down. Kamenetsky’s efforts for their return, came to fruition in 1933. 
            The Ethelbert faithful were sorely in need of religious instruction and Father Petro observed that they had little understanding of the teachings of their faith. His efforts to catechise and to remind them of their moral duties led to numerous complaints. The new Ukrainian bishop, Vasylii Ladyka (appointed in 1929), considered moving Kamenetsky back to Canora, or to Fort William, Ontario, where he had been originally destined in 1922. 
            Kamenetsky’s father and two siblings had preceding him to Canada in 1912. His brother Volodymyr had entered the Basilian Order in 1918 and assumed the monastic name Vasylii. Ordained a priest in 1926, Father Vasylii arrived in Canada in January 1930 to begin forty years of missionary work. During his Winnipeg (1935–1937) and Edmonton (1943–1949) pastorships, he oversaw two major projects: the purchase of Holy Family Cemetery near Winnipeg, in 1937, and the completion of Edmonton’s St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, in 1948. 
            In Ethelbert, Father Petro went to live with his sister, her husband, and their aged father, who had become senile. At the time, Father Petro was himself receiving electro-therapy for rheumatism, was sick all throughout the month of June 1931. While hospitalised he was glad to receive a rare visit from his brother, Father Vasylii. When making weekly visits to Dauphin for treatment, Father Petro did not neglect to minister the sick and dying in the local hospital. On the way he also stopped to visit Ukrainians congregations in Roblin, Merridale, Shortdale and Shell River, Manitoba.
            Despite his pastoral zeal, during a pastoral visitation of April 1932, Bishop Ladyka found a divided Ethelbert Parish, with some favouring and some opposed to their pastor.  Ladyka delayed any transfer due to old Yosyf Kamenetsky’s condition, but by the end of 1933, Father Petro himself was ready for a change.  He requested and was granted an “audience” with his bishop on 1 November 1933.  This meeting would prove to be providential for, exactly two weeks later, Bishop Ladyka transferred him from the prairies to Ontario, where he was to serve for the rest of his life with great zeal and success.

Sudbury 1933–1937

Altar Boys guild 1940s
            On 14 November 1933 Bishop Ladyka notified Father Petro that he was appointed parish priest of Sudbury, Ontario, as of St. Michael’s Day (22 November according to the Julian Calendar). Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (St. Mary’s) was a poor church building and Kamenetsky soon began to improve both its interior and its exterior. In his first month he established an Apostleship of Prayer group to improve the spiritual state of the community.
            The local nickel mining provided employment for many Ukrainians. Bur despite their relative financial comfort, they did not sufficiently support their church or their pastor. The parish priest had to live in a single room above the church sacristy and took his meals at the local Catholic hospital, where French-Canadian sisters took pity on him. The parish had only sixteen registered families and, of these, only six were fulfilling their duties. Despite such hardships, some parishioners lobbied to have Kamenetsky’s monthly remuneration reduced from 80 to 60 dollars.
            Father Petro exhibited much zeal in serving the surrounding communities. The church in Conniston burnt down in 1934 but, the following year, the congregation bought a Communist hall and converted it into a chapel. In 1935 Kamenetsky made four visits to the impoverished community in Sault Ste. Marie.  He also advised the bishop to establish congregations in Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Shumacher, Ontario and Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, areas of large but scattered and unorganised Ukrainian settlements.
            The Ukrainian community in Sudbury was very politically divided, and political divisions had a divisive effect on St. Mary’s Parish. The three main political groups were Communists, the Ukrainian Hetmanite Organization (UHO) and the Ukrainian Nationalist Home (USH). The Communists were the most numerous and did not associate with the church. The Hetmanites had enjoyed the support of Bishop Budka, who saw the conservative movement and its Sich sporting clubs as a bulwark against nationalist radicals and Orthodox. The previous parish priest had also supported them, but Kamenetsky was wary of the movement because, he observed, it put “the nation first and God second.”  He sought to win back the sixty USH families who had abandoned the church after their hall opened in 1934. This angered members of the Sich, who complained to the bishop of the new pastor’s nationalist proclivities. Ladyka advised Kamenetsky to concentrate his energies on the remaining families.
            Kamenetsky, ignored this advice and worked tirelessly for the return of the lost sheep. Over a period of ten months the USH members were won over. They returned to the parish and continued to sent their children to Catholic schools and the number of Confessions and Holy Communions doubled. Parish membership increased from 16 families in 1933 to 200 in 1935. Father Petro thus explained his position to the congregation:
“the future of our church does not rest on any political party, it depends on the number of good church members who consciously fulfil their religious obligations. As their pastor he is obliged him to treat them all equally, honestly and sympathetically.”
            The return of the USH to the parish infuriated the Sich-Hetmanites because the latter had been seeking a political monopoly in the Greek-Catholic community. UHO members stopped frequenting the Sacraments, refused to pay their parish dues, and advised people not to contribute toward the church debt.  By winter 1939 the Sudbury Sich had severed its ties with the parish altogether. Despite the exit of the Hetmanites, Kamenetsky had successfully revived the parish and paid off the mortgage in full. In 1936 he reported a one-hundred percent increase in the number of Easter Confessions.

Toronto 1937–1973

            On 4 September 1937 Bishop Ladyka transferred Petro Kamenetsky to Toronto. The city already had an established parish, St. Josaphat’s but, with the arrival of new immigrants throughout the 1920s and 30s, it was in dire need of more churches. Father Petro’s assignment would be to serve at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and in the East Toronto area. In 1928 and old Protestant church had been purchased on 276 Bathhurst Street, through a bequest from the late Archbishop McNeil. In 1935 Basilian missionary Father Andrii Trukh founded a religious brotherhood at the church. 
            Our Lady of Perpetual Help was formally established as a separate parish on 8 October 1937, with Father Kamenetsky as its first parish priest.  In his first years, the new pastor founded brotherhoods, sisterhoods, a youth group, and a school. Bishop Ladyka made a canonical visitation in May 1939 and, this time, he was very pleased with what he saw. The following year, as Father Petro celebrated his silver jubilee of priestly ordination, Ladyka conferred upon him the dignity of honorary canon. Undoubtedly a reward for his long and faithful service, this was also a sign that the bishop considered him one of his best priests.
            During the Second World War, Canadian authorities sought to avoid the internal tensions that had occurred during the previous war. The government encouraged Canadians of Ukrainian origin to form a committee, which was to work closely with federal authorities to ensure a united patriotic front within their community. The Toronto branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee was founded on 21 February 1941, and Canon Kamenetsky was elected its honorary president. Representation from both Catholics and Orthodox helped bring the committee to foster a sense of unity to the Ukrainian community of Toronto. Kamenetsky’s role also cleared him of any suspicion, especially since, in the previous year, his name had published in suspicious journal without his knowledge or consent. This incident caused him great anguish because of what had happened to him during the previous war. Kamenetsky enthusiastically defended the Committee before the lacklustre support of some of the Ukrainian-Canadian clergy.
            As he had done in Sifton many years previously, Canon Kamenetsky continued his support for and served as long-time to the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Over the years he contributed many religious articles to the Ukrainian Canadian press. In August 1942, he travelled to Winnipeg to represent Eastern Canada at the celebrations of Bishop Ladyka’s 30th priestly anniversary. Although hospitalised with pneumonia in January 1943, he nevertheeless made a complete recovery. He helped establish a Ukrainian Catholic Students Institute in September 1945 and made pastoral visitations to the soldiers who had returned from the war but were housed far away from the church.

With Bishop Boretsky 1949
           After many years of planning, in 1948, the Roman Apostolic See finally divided the single Canadian Greek-Catholic diocese into three apostolic exarchates. Rome selected two prominent priests from Ontario to fill the new charges: Isidore Boretsky was named bishop for Eastern Canada, and Andrii Roberetsky was named auxiliary bishop to Ladyka, who had been elevated to the rank of Archbishop. Although he had been the senior cleric in Eastern Canada, Kamenetsky was passed over.  It would be interesting to know if his nationalist reputation or, in the words of Roberetsky, his “record from the last war” (arrest and internment) had any bearing on him not having been episcopabile.
During the inauguration of the Toronto exarchate, on 27 May 1948, Kamenetsky was chosen to read a Ukrainian version of the papal bull establishing the diocese. One of Bishop Boretsky’s first acts was to name Kamenetsky as first consulter of his priestly council, in recognition of his senior status. The following year Kamenetsky was transferred to Scarborough, Ontario. In 1950, he functioned as exarchal administrator, during Bishop Boretsky’s Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome. On 20 January 1959 he was granted the dignity of domestic prelate of His Holiness, which carried the courtesy title of Monsignor. He received the distinction together with Basil Filevich, future bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Saskatoon.
Domestic Prelates of Toronto Eparchy 1959
In 1960, Bishop Boretsky entrusted Kamenetsky with yet another foundational project: the construction Protection of the Mother of God parish in Toronto. The corner stone was laid on 2 September 1960 and the church was completed on 18 August 1963. Kamenetsky served as its first parish priest from 1963 to 1964. On 30 December 1964, a banquet and concert to honour Kamenetsky’s 50 years of priestly service.
            Monsignor Kamenetsky’s name spread beyond the Ukrainian community and he became well-known in Catholic circles across Canada. Though he developed heart disease as early as 1947, he did not enter into his final illness until 1968. In 1969 Cardinal Yosyf Slipyi, Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church worldwide, elevated him to the rank of mitred archpriest.  When asked to describe his priestly journey, he replied: “твердий але утішний (harsh but full of consolations).”
Petro Kamenetsky died on 31 January 1973 in Toronto, and was buried on 3 February at Mount Hope Cemetery. He was predeceased by his father, Yosyf, in 1938. His brother Ivan was killed accidentally in 1949, and his sister Sophia had died in 1960. His youngest brother, Basilian Father Vasylii, died in Mundare, Alberta, in 1970. An obituary printed in the Brandon (Manitoba) Sun, noted that Monsignor Petro had ministered as a “priest for 58 of his 81 years.”


Holy Protection 1963
Archives of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Книга Ординаріяту, Nicetas Budka, Secular Priests, Petro Kamenetsky (PK).
Archive of the Eparchy of Toronto (St. Nicholas Church).
Archivio della Congregazione per le Chiese Orientali, Ruteni.
Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Arch. Nunz. Canada.
Library and Archives of Canada, R174-69-6-E; RG13 A2, vol. 239, file 2497.
Перший Шематизм Торонтонської Єпархії 1948–1963, Торонто 1963, p. 98.
“Апостольський Екзархат Схід. Канади” Українські вісті, vol. XXI, no. 33 (17 August 1948), p. 1.
Біографічний Довідник до Історії Українців Канади, p. 273.
Beginnings of Ukrainian settlement in Toronto, 1891–1939, p. 41.
Чверть сторіччя на владичному престолі 1948–1973, Юліян Бескид, ed. (Toronto: Наша Мета, 1975).
Dmytro Blažejovskyj, Ukrainian Catholic Clergy in Diaspora, p. 100.
Andrew Gregorovich, “The Ukrainian Community in Toronto from World War One to 1971,” Polyphony (Summer 1984), p. 123–126.
Bohdan Kordan, No Free Man: Canada, the Great War and the Enemy Alien Experience (unpublished manuscript), p. 361.
Lubomyr L. Luciuk, Roll Call: Lest We Forget. Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The Kashtan Press, Kingston 1999, p. 30.
Orest. T. Martynowych, Ukrainians in Canada,The Formative Period 1891–1924. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton 1991.
Orest. T. Martynowych, Ukrainians in Canada, The Interwar Years, Book 1: Social Structure, Religious Institutions, andand Mass Organizations. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton 2016.
Athanasius D. McVay, God's Martyr, History’s Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka, the First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop of Canada, Edmonton 2014.
Пропам’ятна Книга з нагоди золотого ювілею поселення украінїського народу в Канаді 1891–1941Голос Спасителя,  Йорктон 1941.
Stacey Zembrzycki, According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury's Ukrainian Community.  University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver 2014.
“Peter Kamenecky,” Dauphin Herald (7 February 1973).