Monday 20 December 2021

Exsul Familia – A Family in Exile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 1 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Second Bishop

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

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


Developments in Canada and Europe

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

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

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


Three Apostolic Exarchates 

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

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


Redemptorist Mission in Canada

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

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

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


Saskatoon, Cathedral, new Auxiliary

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

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

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

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


Storm before the Calm

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

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


Ladyka’s final illness

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


Metropolitan Province with Three Eparchies

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Eyewitness to Ukrainian Independence

Chrystyna Lapychak/The Ukrainian Weekly

Historians are not the witnesses or the sources of history. They makes historical judgments upon the witnesses’ accounts. On the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, I have to remove my historian’s cap in order to offer a very personal memory of the events that took place in Kyiv in the summer of 1991.

Like most people, I was not privy to any of the political deliberations taking place behind-the-scenes. Nevertheless, I was on site and witnessed the reactions of natives and foreigners, sharing in their joys and anxieties in that moment and for the future.


Sometime in the early part of 1991, my religious superiors in Rome gave me the opportunity to take part in an international Ukrainian seminar, which had been organized the previous year by a group of Soviet Ukrainian cultural activists with the aid and participation of intellectuals and educators of the Ukrainian diaspora. Such a course could only take place in the context of Mikhail Gorbachëv’s glasnost/perestroika program, which aimed to modernize and democratize the Soviet Communist State. 


Inevitably, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union used the opportunity to call for ever-greater forms of national autonomy. In the summer of 1990, parliament had declared that the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign state within the USSR, but this was insufficient for many dissidents and supporters of complete independence.


It was thrilling for a young man of 21, full of ideals and religious zeal, to obtain a visa from the Soviet Embassy and enter the hitherto forbidden Soviet Union wearing religious garb and speaking Ukrainian. More than discourtesies and prejudices, I remember the kindness and sincerity of the people. The train that took us from Vienna to Lviv, had to stop at the Soviet border to lift the carries onto the Soviet-gauge wheels. The conductor brought tea in Poirot-like glasses in metal holders and, in Russian, asked to teach him the prayer Our Father in Ukrainian. On another train between Lviv and Kyiv, I met a wise old Russian Orthodox monk from Pochaiv, who was amazed at my photographs with Pope John Paul II. He said that he would never be allowed to get so close to his own patriarch. In another carriage, Uzbeks invited me to play cards with them and share their food. They had never seen a minister of religion before.


Our seminar was held in Kyiv (Kiev then). It was called “Міжнародна Школа Українистики” (International School of Ukrainian Language and Culture) and was headed by the future ambassador to Canada and Lebanon, Professor Ihor Ostash and his wife Dr Maryna Hrynych. Classes and lodgings were located at the former Communist Party school on Melnykova Street. Among those who spoke or lectured were Lina Kostenko (honorary patron of the school), Orest Subtelny, Myroslav Labunka. Subtelny’s lecturing style was the best I have ever witnessed.


I also remember with fondness our teachers Tetiana, Solomia, Mykhailo, who was our protector of sorts, and Nina, a komandantka-like Russian-speaker with a heart of gold, who appeared to run the building. I once sat down with her for a shot of hooch to get the hot water turned back on. Then there was the poor woman at the front desk of the great hall, who had to endure the faces and comments (such as "empty head") when we passed by the Jupiter-sized head of the ex-demigod, Vladimir Ilich Lenin.


Students came from Ukraine, Poland, USA, Canada, Italy, Argentina, and Australia, and not everyone had a Ukrainian background. The organizers kindly provided a room suitable for us seminarians to pray the divine services, an a local UGCC priest came from time to time to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The organizers made sure we were provided with every opportunity to get to know Kyiv, not only its historical monuments but also its contemporary aspects. These included well know cafes, a jazz club (where a student was told off for wearing vyshyvanka until it was discovered he was Canadian), and singing songs from San Remo Festival with two indomitable Italian girls, who had fallen for Ukraine. And there was an Argentinian girl Margarita, whose American-Ukrainian husband would help draft the Ukrainian constitution, in 1992.

I remember the banners hung along the main Khreschatyk Street, in preparation for the visit of President George Bush and his wife Barbara. During that visit, Bush made his famous "Chicken Kiev speech," in an attempt to dissuade Ukraine from leaving the Soviet Union (erroneously comparing the nation to a state in the USA). The remarks were much discussed by staff and students on Melnykova Street.


A curious portent occurred during one of our Ukrainian language lessons. Our class teacher suggested we sing some Ukrainians songs. We suggested “Ще не вмерла Україна” (Ukraine had not perished and neither have its glory and freedom) the national anthem of free Ukraine, written by UGCC priest Mykhailo Verbytsky in the 1860s and adopted by the short-lived Ukrainian National Republic in 1918. Our teacher did not know the words and so she asked her diaspora students to write them on the chalkboard.  I knew it by heart from UNF Ridna Shkola, back home.


One morning, we woke to the news that a coup had taken place in Moscow and that Gorbachëv was under house arrest at his Crimean dacha. Daily news was closely followed, especially from the television placed in a central hall, where everyone could have access. Some of us, myself included, were too young and lacked experience of war or authoritarian regimes to understand the real dangers involved. 

Worried expressions were visible on the faces of the organizers, who were protagonists in the revival of Ukrainian civic and political life. Daily, Greek-Catholics prayed for Ukraine’s fate during Divine Liturgies held at Askold’s Tomb or in the Botanical Gardens, not far from the Vydubytsky Monastery. I remember hearing that the coup leaders had ordered tanks to be sent to Kyiv, presumably to quash the criticism coming from the Soviet Ukrainian Government.


24 August 1991 was a Saturday. In the early afternoon (I think), I set out for the Monastery of the Kyivan Caves (Pecherska Lavra) to purchase a wooden hand cross which I had seen the previous day. As Parliament was in emergency session, public transport was blocked or delayed and it was necessary to take a taxi cab. Mission accomplished, I returned to the school. Upon entering the hall, everyone was gathered in front of the television. In a few minutes, voting numbers were announced followed by cheers and embraces among my fellow students and teachers. I had no idea what the commotion was about. Upon questioning, one of them responded: “Ukraine is free. Parliament voted for independence.”


The school had provided tickets for an already scheduled concert at the “Kiev Palace of Culture,” for that evening. The performance was by Viryovka Choir and Dance Ensemble, directed by Maestro Anatoly Avdiyevsky. Before attending, I made a quick journey back to October Revolution Square (now Independence Square or Maidán) to purchase a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag (which was blessed at the Divine Liturgy the following day). 


In the 1980s, Avdiyevsky had formed a connection with Walter Klymkiw, director of the Oleksander Koshetz Choir of Winnipeg. As a choir member in 1987-1988, I had had the privilege of learning under Avdiyevsky's baton. Among the pieces that he taught us were Mariyan Kuzan’s setting of Shevchenko’s "Psalms of David," and Kyryl Stetsenko’s well known liturgical piece, "Bless the Lord, O my Soul." Klymkiw’s musical diplomacy with Soviet Ukraine was anathema to some political exiles of the diaspora musical establishment. Yet native Ukrainians revealed that the performances, at which sacred and religious music held pride of place, comforted and emboldened them in their strivings toward freedom and the revival of their repressed culture and language. 


With the news of parliament’s declaration, those of us going the performance were full of thoughts and emotions. On the way, our conversations were taken up with predictions about Ukraine’s fate and that of the Soviet Union. At the conclusion of the concert, Avdiyevsky asked us to rise and began to direct his ensemble in an historical performance of the Ukrainian national anthem, Ще не вмерла Україна. As the choir began, a wave of electrifying emotion passed through the onlookers. The Maestro immediately turned and beckoned us to join them in proclaiming-in-song that Ukraine’s glory and liberty were alive and well. Tears flowed and blue and yellow free-Ukrainian appeared in the audience. The ticket from the concert, printed on cheap chemical-smelling yellow-grey Soviet paper, I have kept for thirty years, carefully preserved in a book for posterity.


In the first days after independence, one by one, blue and yellow flags began to replace to Soviet flags that had stood atop the public buildings of the ancient capital for decades. Signs on government ministries also changed their colours and language. But the key events happening behind the scenes were not visible to the ordinary observer in the street. Years later, Serhii Plokhy was able to reveal them one of his many flawlessly-researched and delightful reads, “The Last Empire: the final Days of the Soviet Union.”


At the end of my reminiscence, I am tempted to offer a short, inexpert reflection. No doubt such will be found among those who have already begun to examine Ukraine’s contemporary history. Putting to rest its Soviet past has taken decades and the process is still on-going. Ukraine became independent without a coup in 1991, so perhaps it was necessary for it to have to grow into nationhood. The 2004 Orange Revolution and the 2014 Maidan were growing pains from childlike dependency toward a consciousness of national adulthood. Whether Ukraine will be healthy or a weakling depends not on the forces of history but on the virtues of its sons and daughters today.

Monday 19 July 2021

The Union of Brest at 425

The UNION of Brest (1595–1596) aimed to heal the lack of canonical unity between the Churches. In the spirit of the 1439 Florentine Union, the Orthodox Church of Kievan Metropolia (today's Ukraine and Belarus) sought to rekindle ecclesial union with the Roman Apostolic See. Prominent Roman theologians and curialists made theological, canonical, disciplinary, and liturgical arguments why they should be forced to conform to the prevailing Roman Rite. Instead, Clement VIII achieved an authentic, enduring unity by confirming their ancient customs and particularities. 

Even after the Union, the bishops-delegates were interrogated by curial cardinals as to why they were not wearing the 'proper' vestments. Unity was achieved in diversity, although not all accepted union and "Uniates" were often treated a second-class Catholics.

When Eastern Catholic migrants came to the Americas and western Europe, similar arguments were made, that multiple Rites an Disciplines within the same territory would harm the unity of the Church. Local Roman bishops cited the newcomers' aversion to the majority Rite as proof of the inauthenticity of their Catholicism. They were accused of disobedience, divisiveness, and having schismatic proclivities. One curial cardinal even cited the Fourth Lateran Council.

On closer examination, those fears were more to do with controversies within the local Churches (such as conflicts with Protestants) than going to the peripheries and casting their nets into the deep waters.

Pope Leo XIII (in the 1890s) and Pope Pius XII (after the Second World War) intervened for the marginalised, when the local Churches were too beholden to their own interests to foster unity in diversity. Thus, their names are written in golden letters in the history of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

After 130 years, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches issued a document admitting that earlier curial policies had not properly provided for the early émigré minorities. Significantly, it also admitted that, as a result of those mistakes, 100,000 faithful abandoned the Catholic Communion.

The means used to achieve unity at Brest were far from perfect. Nevertheless, despite every hindrance from tyrants, churchmen, fastidious theologians, and positivist canonists alike, today the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is a Church in its own right (ecclesia sui iuris), with an international hierarchy and more than 6 million faithful on 5 continents. 

Ut unum sint!

Monday 12 July 2021

Danylo Skoropadsky on His Father’s Death


 I first learned of Danylo Skoropadsky on a visit to the old Basilian Fathers Museum in Mundare, Alberta; a building which had been erected in 1938 to house the Basilian Press. When the Press moved to a larger premises in Toronto, and Fathers Orest Kupranets Josaphat Jean moved the Basilian Museum in to it. On 28 July 1957, the new Basilian Fathers Museum (which at an earlier state had been christened, by Jean, as the Archbishop Ladyka Museum) was solemnly inaugurated in its new premises. For the occasion, a telegram, which I recently discovered in the Vatican Apostolic Archive, was solicited and received from the Apostolic See.

            On the second floor of the old museum, there was a photograph of Danylo Skoropadsky visiting the Mundare Monastery, in 1938. It was part of his tour across Canada and the United States to promote the Hetmanite movement. The conservative political movement was headed by his father, Pavlo Skoropadsky, who had ruled as Hetman of Ukraine for a few months, in 1918. Pavlo had taken the old Cossack title Hetman and, as the movement promoted an hereditary monarchy, Danylo was accorded the filial title of Hetmanych. For a time, the Sich-Hetmanite Movement gained a certain popularity among diaspora Ukrainians, notably among Greek-Catholics. 

            Hetman Pavlo remained in Berlin while Danylo was given a cosmopolitan education of university as well as learning a trade. Such preparation would help him, as future leader of the international Hetmanite movement, to identify with him supporters and they with him. As a result, Danylo became a very popular among Ukrainians of various political and religious views. With the Second World War about the break out, in August 1939, Danylo was dispatched to London to gain British support, where he teamed up with his father’s emissary, Vladimir de Korostovets.

            The Vatican Archive holds the Archive of the Apostolic Delegation in Great Britain. One of its fascicles is entitled “Ukrainians” and contains correspondence with various Ukrainian clerical and lay representatives, including Skoropadsky and especially Korostovets. Beginning in 1940, they established friendly contacts with the papal representative (apostolic delegate), Archbishop William Godfrey, to whom they gave a “crash-course” on Ukrainians. Although both Orthodox Christians, Skoropadsky and Korostovets admired Catholicism, given its support for their movement and the Church’s anti-communist stance. Having gained his sympathy, Godfrey interceded for them and other Ukrainians before British church and state authorities. 

             De Korostovets introduced Skoropadsky to Godfrey in May 1940, and made repeated visits subsequently. By the end of the war, the Hetmanych had established confidential relations with the papal envoy. On 7 July 1945, he went to see the Apostolic Delegate with Father Mykhailo Horoshko, a Greek-Catholic chaplain with the Canadian Forces, who was stationed in London at the time. Danylo had received tragic news from Germany and was seeking advice and assistance from the papal diplomat. Godfrey, responded with “sympathy and understanding” and advised Skoropadsky to write to head of the Papal Secretariat of State’s Diplomatic Section, Monsignor Domenico Tardini. Five days later, on 12 July, Danylo had composed 2 letters, transcriptions of which I reproduce here:


 Your Excellency,

            I hope you will forgive me for troubling you with this letter. Only the deepest anxiety about the fate of my family, or, to be more exact -of its remaining members- is my excuse. His Grace Archbishop W. Godfrey advised me to write to you and I am venturing to do so.

            Several days ago news reached me that my father, Paul Skoropadsky, former Hetman of the Ukraine in 1918, has died in Metten, Deggendorf (near Prattling), Bavaria as a result of wounds. I do not know how he was wounded, I have, however, reason to believe from other sources that it happened during a air-raid on Prattling on or about the 14th of April.

            With him was my second sister, Elisabeth, as well as our old nurse. The latter two, according to the above short message, were also wounded and are still in the hospital in Metten. My sister was apparently so weak that she could not write the letter herself which was therefore written by an unknown Ukrainian to me and forwarded through Belgium probably by a Belgian prisoner of war returning home.

            There is no possibility of getting an exact picture of what has actually happened and in what circumstances my sister Elisabeth is at this moment. I very much fear that she and our old nurse (both of them wounded) are absolutely alone, with no moral support, and probably without any means.

            I only know that my father with Elisabeth and the nurse were on the way from Berlin, through Weimar, to join the rest of my family in Oberstdorf, Bavaria. The latter, comprising my mother, the eldest sister Mary and my brother Peter, an invalid from birth, were staying with Russian friends, the Mordvinoff’s, at “Het-Haus”, 40 Loretto-Strasse, Oberstdorf-Allgäu, Ober-Bayern, Germany. However about them too I have no exact news and I fear that they also are facing great difficulties. I only know that until the end of June when I received indirect news that the members of my family in Oberstdorf were alive, my mother knew nothing of the whereabouts of my father, my sister Elisabeth and our old nurse.

            I would be immeasurably grateful, Your Excellency, if you find it possible that something  should be done for them all through the channels of the Catholic Church to help them in their present position, in the first case my wounded sister and our nurse. I am certain that Elisabeth is anxious to join the rest of the family in Oberstdorf. For both of the  realisation that someone is trying to help them would be of great oral support. The same applies to my mother (she is 66 years old), who has now to face, after having lost my father, all the present hardships alone and without my being able, from this country, to be helpful to her. The moment there is any possibility of establishing direct contact from here by mail and also the possibility of sending money, I will do so, however, for the time being, this is impossible.

            I enclose herewith: A) A letter to my mother and I would be very grateful if it could be conveyed to her. She is without any direct news from me since the beginning of the war. B) A letter to M-me A. de Korostovetz, who is presumably staying also in Oberstdorf, if not, her whereabouts should be known by my mother. […]

            I am very much worried about the present discussion on the status of people like my family who are stateless. Their future seems very doubtful. Any transfer to the East would mean for them death or deportation. I would be immeasurably grateful for anything Your Excellency would find it possible to do to allay their anxieties.


Dated the same day, 12 July 1945, Danylo enclosed the following letter, written in English, to his mother Alexandra:


            Darling Mother,

            I am writing you these lines still under the impression of the first shock on receiving the news about father a couple of days ago. How terrible all this is, especially as it was only a few days before the cessation of hostilities! I don’t know whether you have managed to establish contact with Lily and Anna, who both were, according to the message from Dmytro Hryschtchynskyj, on the 12.6.45 in hospital in Metten, near Deggendorf, Bavaria. I hope that our Catholic friends who are forwarding this letter to you will be able to help her and Anna and all of you and to bring you all together in Oberstdorf.

            Personally I have no doubts that the message from Hryschtchynskyj (it was forwarded to me through Belgium) is true. However, I must admit I have never heard his name before. On the other hand his news (that Father died on the 26thof April in Metten as results of wounds) is corroborated by similar rumours, which reached Ara [Aleksandra de Korostovets] from Switzerland and then Vladimir here. News about Father appeared first in the “Swoboda” 38 Jersey City, N.J., USA. However, there was only a short note saying that Father has died on the 26 of March which was hardly possible. In the meantime I received, as I said, the message from Hryschtchynskyj, which was written on the instruction of Lily. He did not give any further details except that Lily and Anna were still in the hospital in Metten (on June 12th), furthermore he gave me your address in Obserstdorf, which I knew.

            I have at once initiated steps through Capt. Mattlaw with the British and American Authorities to have, if possible, an official confirmation and also to help Lily and Anna to join you all in Oberstdorf. But this, as always, takes long time.

            To you all I want to say this: we must face it and take it, as so many other people have done in this war. I should have been at my Father’s side to hear his last words and to tell him that I will always continue his work. However God has decided otherwise ad we are helpless to change it.

            Now we must look ahead and make, if possible, plans for the future. I don’t know at all in what circumstances you are. Have you managed to save something or are you without any means? What is the position of Aunt Olga and her family in general? At the first opportunity I could forward you a little money and I know that our people in Canada and U.S.A., with whom I am in contact will not let us down.

            I think the right thing is first that Elisabeth and Anna should join you in Oberstdorf, then to establish contact with me and let me exactly know what is your position as far as money and other means are concerned, and then to decide, whether you should stay for the time being in Oberstdorf (where life is probably cheaper) or should try to go to Iritirzor[?] (I have made all the necessary applications for obtaining of visas along time ago. There were difficulties, but I hope it will be possible to overcome them. In any case P. Kovaliv in Geneva, wrote me You could stay for several months with him, until things in general settle down.

            I hope it will be possible for you to send me a message using the sae channels as I have sending you this letter.

            I have also notified Pavlo Rodzienko about your position. He is with the Forces in Italy. In particular I wrote him about the urgence [sic] of help for Lily. It is not possible to write about everything in this letter as space is short and it must be forwarded in the morning. Only a couple of words about Vladimir and myself. We both are alright and are working hard to help you all. Also we don’t forget our friends, fellow countrymen elsewhere.

            I am working in my factory and am preparing quite well. Michael Hethman is as helpful as always. Everybody in the New World is very anxious about all of you.

            Personally I am not married yet, but am in love with the same woman of whom I wrote to you and Father a long time ago. She has helped me to go through many difficult times during the last years. The question of marriage is still open, and will depend, dear Mother, on your word an advice and also on what were the ideas of Father on this matter. I will write you about all this at some later date, as now the question of having you all together, in safety and warmth, is more urgent.

            God bless you all! Kisses to all of you! My love to Aunt Olga and all her family and do not get downhearted, as we all think of you and are working for you.

            Yours Danylo

            P.S. Vladimir is sending his love to Ara and to all of you. D.

            P.S. I have received a letter yesterday from Olenka’s father in law and we are going to try to find him in Würzburg or elsewhere. Also her husband until last night I did not know his name. D.

 The handwritten letters to Tardini and his mother remain in the Archive of the Apostolic Delegation. Further research is required to determine the reason they were never forwarded to Rome. Likely, Godfrey sent a summary to his superior, who perhaps indicated that the communications could not be forwarded. Godfrey was extremely zealous in another matter: the rescue of Gertrud of Habsburg-Lothringen and her children Maximillian and Claudia. They arrived safely in Paris, Dublin, and London, accompanied by Vladimir de Korostovets’s wife Aleksandra (Ara).


Ara de Korostovetz
            Danylo Skoropadsky continued to have close relations with Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Britain until his untimely death, eleven years later. Below are a list of some events which I have come upon in my research:

            On 15 January 1946, Skoropadsky introduced Father Vasyl Kushnir to the Apostolic Delegation. As President of the Canadian Ukrainian Committee, he had “come to Europe to study the position of the Ukrainian Displaced Persons on the Continent.” Kushnir was instrumental in repatriating Ukrainian refugees from DP camps in Germany to Canada and USA.

            On 27 April 1947, together with Ara and Vladimir de Korostovetz, he attended a Divine Liturgy at the 218 Sussex Gardens celebrated by Canadian Greek-Catholic missionary, Father Josaphat Jean. After the Liturgy, Jean held the inaugural meeting of Saint Theodore of Canterbury Greek-Catholic Parish. These Orthodox notables took part and pledged their support to help acquire a building for the fledgling congregation.  

On 17 January 1948, Father Jean sent Skoropadsky and de Korostovets to lobby the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Griffin, for a church building in London. Following that meeting, Griffin became more energetic in helping to look for a suitable structure. The Orthodox leaders continued to actively liaise until a church was found.

            Skoropadsky became one of the founders of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) in January 1946.  After a rift occurred in the organization, in 1949, he accepted the titular headship of AUGB and sought to bridge all divisions in the Ukrainian community. Rather than acting as a partisan politician, Skoropadsky was content to be a figure of unity among various parties, in imitation of the role of the British Monarchy.

            Vladimir and Ara Korostovets participated in a pilgrimage to Rome for the papal Holy Year of 1950. Ara was an iconographer and donated an icon of the Madonna of Hoshiv (a western Ukrainian shrine) to Pope Pius XII, for which she received a telegram from the papal Secretariat of State. In 1953, Ara completed the iconostasis of the Belarusian Catholic Mission begun by another iconographer.

In August 1953, Hetmanych Danylo thanked Archbishop Ivan Buchko for his work on behalf of all Ukrainians, during an AUGB reception for the Archbishop, at 49 Linden Gardens. In February 1954, Skoropadsky made sure to have the head of the Greek-Catholic Church in Britain, Monsignor Aleksander Malynovsky, next to him at the head table, during a banquet held for Danylo’s fiftieth birthday.

In 1956, Skoropadsky organized an 11,000 strong Polish-Ukrainian protest to Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain. Some have speculated that, in revenge, Khrushchev ordered his assassination the following year; the first of a series of poisonings of Ukrainian émigré leaders which, in 1961, were shown to have been ordered by the dictator. Monsignor Malynovsky had the unenviable task of representing the UGCC at Skoropadsky funeral, at the end of February 1957.

Only three months later, in May 1957, Archbishop Godfrey accepted the nomination as the first Apostolic Exarch for Greek-Catholics in Britain. He had been offered the post because he had succeeded Cardinal Griffin, who had already accepted the appointment in 1955, but died before the exarchate could be established. The succession was fortuitous for Ukrainians, since Griffin had been rather lukewarm to their cause whereas, thanks in large measure to his friendship with Skoropadsky and Korostovets, Godfrey was extremely well prepared to assume spiritual leadership over Ukrainian Catholics, whose national and religious causes he sympathized with. 

As yet in a pre-ecumenical period, Skoropadsky and the de Korostovets’s forged solidarity among Ukrainians of different denominations and factions, working to breakdown down prejudices and establish close cooperation, for the prosperity of the local hromada and the benefit of the Ukrainian nation spread across five continents.