To understand the situation of churches and other religious communities in Ukraine, it is important to consider the historical context. The rich and varied Ukrainian religious experience covers a period of 1000 years of written history. The dominant aspect of the Ukrainian religious tradition is its Christian heritage. It is difficult to apprehend practically any aspect of cultural, political and even economic life in Ukraine as it developed during the last century without considering the importance of the Christian churches, their doctrine, canons, liturgical practice, collective and individual spirituality, Christian art, culture and popular customs.
The Kyiv (Kiev) Principality. This Medieval state was created on the territory of present-day Ukraine in the 11th century under the leadership of Scandinavian chiefs (Vikings) and known under the name of "Rous'" or "Great Kyiv Principality". In addition to present-day Ukraine, it included territories now part of central Russia and Belarus. As to its state structure, Rous' was divided into several smaller principalities with considerable autonomy verging on independence, each ruled over by a member of the Riuryk family. Prince Riuryk was the first Scandinavian prince to have come from the north to the lands of the Eastern Slavs. He ruled over the territories of Pskov and Novgorod, whereas his brother Oleh conquered Kyiv.
After the death of Great Prince Oleh, his son Ihor, married to Olha, ruled beginning in 912. After Ihor's death in 945, Olha ruled on behalf of her minor son Svyatoslav. When in turn the Great Prince Svyatoslav died, his three sons, Olha's grandsons, Yaropolk, Oleh and Volodymyr (978-1015) inherited different principalities. Yaropolk received the Great Principality of Kyiv, Oleh the principality of Korosten', and Volodymyr that of Novgorod. However, the princes fought, and the winner of these fratricidal wars was Volodymyr. Having become the ruler of Rous', he began the task of political reunification of the various scattered and restless tribes, for which feat he received the name of "Volodymyr the Great". Succeeding him was his son Yaroslav, called "Yaroslav the Wise" because he gave ancient Rous' its constitutional and administrative code.
The Beginnings of Christianity. Christianity came to Kyivan Rous' from Byzantium; however, in the initial period, there were also contacts with Western Christianity. The first member of the ruling dynasty to be christened was Queen Olha (c. 955). She asked the German emperor Otton ² to send her bishops and priests. The activities of several missionaries led by the monk Adalbert from Òrier had considerable influence. However, Olha's son, Svyatoslav, who remained pagan, quickly sent them away. On the other hand, her grandson, the Great Prince of Kyiv Volodymyr, received Christianity from Byzantium and in turn christened the people of Kyiv [in 988]. Byzantium transmitted the evangelical message to the Slavs through a system of writing, the sacraments, the liturgical offices, scripture and other sacred texts, a calendar with a cycle of feast days for the consecration of time, a chronology and a sense of the history of salvation, modalities of prayer and spiritual life, a monastic model, exhaustive codes of moral and canon law, architectural and artistic styles, social and political ideology, and a church hierarchy; all these elements created the basis for the development of a new Christian culture in the Rous' principalities. Volodymyr radically changed his personal life style and his social vision. Having married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, he abandoned polygamy. A warrior-prince who enjoyed considerable success, he abolished the death penalty in the principality. Honored as the founder of church life in Ukraine, Saint Volodymyr the Great is also considered as being "equal to the apostles".
During the rule of his son and successor Yaroslav the Wise (1015-1054), Byzantine Christianity continued to be propagated in Slavonic throughout the whole country; legislation and public life were inspired by Christian principles. After the death of Volodymyr in 1015, the ensuing power struggle brought about the martyrdom of the princes and saints Borys and Hlib, who in brotherly love decided not to resist the aggression of their brother Svyatopolk. During the rule of Yaroslav, the famous Pechers'ka Lavra monastery was founded in Kyiv, with its two most well known monks, St. Anthony and St. Theodosiy. The biographies of its major figures are compiled in the famous Kyivo-Pecherskyi Pateryk. Yaroslav ordered the construction of the St. Sofia church in Kyiv, and c. 1039 the Greek Theopempta was sent from Byzantium to become metropolitan of Kyiv. However, after his death in 1050, wishing to remain independent, the Prince decided that Ilarion, author of the most outstanding Ukrainian theological work of the time (A Discourse on Law and Grace), would become the first Slavic metropolitan.
The communion of the Kyivan Church with the Catholic Church lasted for a considerable time even after 1054 (the hallmark date in the estrangement process between West and East) as attested by the numerous marriages between Kyivan princes and princesses and members of Western ruling dynasties; this was a result of the direct relations of the Kyivan Church with the Roman Apostolic See. For example, when Prince Iziaslav, successor to Yaroslav the Wise, found himself in need of assistance, he appealed to Pope Gregory VII in 1075, asking for papal protection for himself and his realm. However, in the next centuries the Kyivan Church, affiliated to the Constantinople patriarchate and located on the confines of the Greek and Latin influences, witnessed (both through Byzantium and through its neighbors, Catholic Poles, Lithuanians and Germanic peoples) events confirming the reality of the estrangement between new and old Rome. However, this experience remained indirect, and the Greek-Latin theological, ecclesial and cultural dialectic, though its influence was strongly felt in Rous', was not always completely understood or assimilated.
The Suzdal' principality and Western principalities. Some of the descendants of the Riuryks established themselves in a region situated to the northeast of Ukraine, between the Volga and the Oka, and founded a separate state with Suzdal' as capital. In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogoliubskyi attacked and destroyed Kyiv and then returned northward to his territory. This date marks the beginning of the decline of Kyiv: first Suzdal', and in due course Moscow, became the center of the new political power called Muscovy or Russia.
In the western part of present-day Ukraine, there arose the Volodymyr principality or Volhynia (988-1379) and the Halych principality or Galicia (Halychyna) (1126-1371). The Halych Prince Danylo (1238-1264), with a view to a campaign against the Tatars, reinstated ties with Pope Innocent IV in 1243, who crowned him king in 1253.
The Halych metropolinate. The Halych princes in Western Ukraine obtained Constantinople's authorization to create their own metropolinate, which existed from 1303 to 1347. This privilege was also obtained by the Polish king Casimir ²²² in 1371, but after the death of metropolitan Antoniy (1401), the Halych metropolinate no longer had its own metropolitan.
The Fate of the Kyivan metropolinate. In the meantime, in 1240 Kyiv was taken and plundered by the Tartars, thus losing its dominant position in the Eastern Slavic world. In 1341 Casimir ²²² conquered Galicia; Volhynia and all the territory on the right bank of the Dnipro up to Kyiv was conquered by the Lithuanian Grand Princes. In 1386 the dynasties of Poland and Lithuania were united in the person of the Lithuanian Great Prince who also became the king of Poland. This union was renegotiated in 1569 in Lublin, and led to the creation of a united state, the Polono-Lithuanian Commonwealth; this fact had important consequences for the evolution of the Kyiv metropolinate.
The jurisdiction of the Kyiv metropolinate extended at first over all the territory of the Eastern Slavs. After the sack of Kyiv in 1299, metropolitan Maksym abandoned the city and went north to Vladimir on the Kliazma, keeping, however, the same jurisdiction and title.
In 1308 Volodymyr, Prince of Volhynia, sent the archimandrite Petro to Constantinople in order to obtain a metropolinate for his dominion. However, Petro was appointed metropolitan of Kyiv. In 1325 he left Vladimir and went to Moscow. The Lithuanian Great Prince Olgherd (1341-1377), on whose territory Kyiv was situated at the time, insisted that Constantinople should nominate one of his own candidates to this throne. Depending on whether the influence of Lithuania or that of Moscow prevailed in Constantinople, different candidates were respectively nominated; they resided either in Moscow or on the border of the Great Lithuanian Principality, but their jurisdiction extended over all the former metropolinate which remained uniform and common to both parties up to 1458.
In the 15th century the last Kyiv metropolitan of Greek origin, Isidor (1437-1458), took part in the Council of Florence and subscribed to the Union, which was partially accepted on Ukrainian and Byelorussian territories of the Lithuanian Great Principality, but categorically rejected in Moscow, where Isidor himself was imprisoned, and then allowed to escape. Moscow proclaimed autocephaly, electing its own metropolitan Ion in 1448, independently of Constantinople. In 1458 Pope Callist ²²² nominated as successor to Isidor, metropolitan of Kyiv, his friend Gregory, a Greek-Catholic monk. The Polono-Lithuanian rulers accepted him, but he was rejected by the Great Principality of Moscow whose metropolitans then started to abandon the Kyiv title and took on the new title of "metropolitan of Moscow and all Rous'". Thus the ancient Kyiv metropolinate was divided in half.
The Kyiv metropolinate within the Polish kingdom and the Great Lithuanian principality under the rule of metropolitan Gregory (1458-1472) remained therefore in communion with the Holy See, as well as during the rule of the following metropolitan Ì³sail (1476-1480). The rare contemporary sources show that in the second half of the 15th century Kyiv metropolitans, without breaking off ties with Constantinople, tried to maintain or to reestablish relations with the Holy See. This kind of initiative by the rusyns (in later middle ages Latin sources so named the peoples, language, culture, Church and territory of contemporary Ukrainians and Byelorussians) ended in the beginning of the 16th century when it became obvious to the rusyns that the papacy and to even a greater extent the Latin hierarchy in Lithuania and in Poland considered the Florentine Union as invalid. Throughout the 16th century the religious condition of the metropolinate declined, not having been able to resist usurpation by secular authority, the invasion of Protestantism and determined counterreformation Catholicism, while the clergy was in a sad state due to its low cultural level. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, even the Constantinople patriarchate also entered a prolonged period of decline and was unable to become a strong bulwark of support for the rusyn Church in crisis. Toward the end of the 16th century, the search for a solution led towards the conclusion of a Union with the Catholic Church.
The decision concerning the Union was made by metropolitan Mykhayil Rahozha and by all the bishops during a synod in the summer of 1595, and it was coordinated with Rome in December 1595. The Union was ratified by the synod, which took place in Brest-Litovsk in 1596. On this occasion, with the exception of the metropolitan of Kyiv and various Belarus dioceses, there were present the Ukrainian bishops of Volhynia: Volodymyr, Kholm (Chelm) and Lutsk, but the bishops from Galicia (Lviv and Przemysl) refused to join. The Union had a very different history in eastern and western regions. This controversial union led to the martyrdom of the tireless pastor, Josafat (Êuntsevych) archbishop of Polotsk, whom the Catholic Church venerates on November 12/25.
In particular the Kyiv region Cossacks (a movement or military-social class uniting free people, refugee slaves and serfs in frontier Ukrainian steppes), in addition to their political claim of a free and independent Ukraine, wanted to have the Orthodox hierarchy back, considering the Union to be a Polish phenomenon. It was reinstated in 1620 and the metropolitan was installed in Kyiv. The most outstanding of the Orthodox metropolitans was Petro Mohyla (1633-1647), who founded a European-type institution of learning in Kyiv, which in due course became the famous Theological Academy; he reformed liturgical and church life in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But this state of affairs did not last for very long. On the basis of the Andrusiv peace treaty (1667) between Poland and Muscovy, which ended the major Cossack wars, all of left-bank [of the Dnipro] Ukraine, including the city of Kyiv, passed over to Muscovy, which became modern Russia.
In the meantime Moscow, having become the center of the patriarchate, wanted to subordinate the metropolitan of Kyiv to its jurisdiction; however metropolitan Sylvester Kosiv (1647-57) and his successors opposed these efforts until 1685, at which time the Orthodox bishop of Lutsk in Volhynia, Hedeon Chetvertyns'kyi, agreed to obey the Moscow patriarchate and was named metropolitan of Kyiv. Except for the short period in the 1920's, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church for three centuries and underwent strong Russian cultural influence.
On the territory under Polish rule the bishop of Przemysl Innokentiy Vynnytskyi in 1692 openly proclaimed himself Catholic, as did the bishop of Lviv Josyp Shumlians'kyi, publicly in 1700 (privately since 1681). At last in 1702 the bishop of Lutsk, Dionisiy Zhabokrytskyi also joined the Union. As to the throne of Ìstyslav, it had been vacant for a long time. Thus all the Byzantine-rite hierarchy in the Polish kingdom became Catholic. In the 18th century, before the partition of Poland, the unified Kyiv metropolinate totaled some 12 million faithful; some were Byelorussians (in north), and some Ukrainians (in the south).
Owing to the consecutive partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772, 1793, 1795) Galicia came under Austrian rule, whereas other Ukrainian territories were under Russian rule. The part of the united Church which was on Russian territory underwent considerable pressure throughout the 19th century. The imperial government in 1839 finally abolished the Byelorussian and Vohlynian dioceses.
The diocese of Kholm, which in 1795 became part of Austria, and then in 1815 of the "Polish kingdom" under Russian domination, was separated from the Galician metropolinate in 1829 (cf. below) and subordinated directly to the Holy See. The last Catholic bishop was Mykhaylo Kuzemskyi, who, unable to resist the constant pressure of the imperial government, left the throne in 1871 and went to Lviv. The Russian imperial government then nominated Marciliy Popel' as administrator; he had already converted to Orthodoxy and in 1875, having undergone repressive government measures, wanted to subordinate his diocese to the Russian Orthodox Church. Resistance of both the clergy and the faithful was long and heroic. Many priests were banished to Siberia and many faithful preferred death rather than to abandon the Church. There were no more Byzantine-rite priests, and Latin clergy had been severely ordered not to minister to the Uniates. Several Jesuits from the Galician province, having special permission, carried out a difficult and dangerous apostolate. When in 1905 wider religious freedom was granted (however the interdiction to create byzantine-slavic rite Catholic communities remained), many faithful publicly declared themselves Catholics of the Latin rite. Others were able to return to the Union in the period between 1918 and 1938, keeping their rite. For them the Holy See in 1931 nominated an apostolic visitator in the person of the Redemptorist bishop Mykola Charnets'kyi (1884-1959). In 1945 Volhynia was occupied by the Soviet Union, except for the city of Kholm and those territories remaining under Polish rule.
The Church in Galicia. The religious fate of Ukrainians in Galicia, under Austrian domination since 1772, was considerably better. When the united Kyiv metropolinate under Russian domination was abolished in 1806, the Holy See restored the Galician metropolinate with its center in Lviv for the lands under Austrian rule in 1807. In addition to the Lviv diocese, it included the dioceses of Peremyshl (Przemysl) and Kholm (Chelm) (finally separated in 1829), in due course (1885) the Stanyslaviv (today Ivano-Frankivs'k) diocese and in 1934 the apostolic government of Lemkivshchyna. The political situation of Ukrainians in Galicia also improved. At the Lviv University, in addition to the Polish section, a Ukrainian section was founded (which was at the time called rusyn). On June 16, 1856 Pope Pius ²Õ elevated the Lviv metropolitan Mykhaylo Levyts'kyi (†1858) to the dignity of cardinal; he became therefore the first eastern cardinal from the times of Visarion and Isidor. On November 29, 1895 Leon XXIII also named metropolitan Sylvester Sembratovych (†1898) cardinal.
To understand the modern religious development of Ukraine, including that of the Greek-Catholic Church, it is important to realize the Ukrainian tragedy of the 20th century: a history of terror and trauma which were the consequences of willful religious prosecution. During the 20th century, approximately 17 million people died violent or unnatural deaths in Ukraine. Two world wars with their victims, violence against civilians and genocide; famine after the first World War and the diabolical artificial famine of 1933; under Stalin, systematic repression of political leaders, communist party members, intelligentsia, religious leaders, army officers, and even folk musicians, which began at the end of the 1920's and lasted up to World War II; compulsory resettlements and deportations of the post-war years also carried a heavy toll of death and suffering. This brutality is a part of the personal history of each Ukrainian. Since in the Soviet Union it was impossible to speak of this cruelty publicly or even in private conversations, this tragedy remains unfathomed, the dead unmourned, the violence and injustice unpardoned, psychological and spiritual traumas unhealed. The sociological, psychological and spiritual consequences of those historical events and their perception by the Ukrainian population were hardly mentioned by researchers. When referring to problems and struggles, conflicts and insufficient social unity in Ukraine, one must always remember the heritage of modern totalitarian violence. The Soviet period in Ukrainian history is the consequence of a conscious and premeditated attempt to desecrate religious culture and to violate, weaken, and finally to destroy religious sensitivities. Despite their brutality, these policies were very successful. The Soviet Union earmarked considerable funding for ideological education in schools, universities and at the workplace. Orthodox, Catholics and all other religious confessions were systematically persecuted, driven underground or destroyed. Those religious communities who survived had their activities curtailed over many decades. The next generations were deprived of religious freedom resulting in the decadence of centenary traditions of faith.
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptyts'kyi (1900-1944). In modern times, among Galician metropolitans the Servant of God Andrey Sheptyts'kyi ((1944) is distinguished by a particular aura. His spiritual leadership helped the Greek-Catholic Church to prepare for survival in conditions of tribulation and persecution. He was born in 1865 to a Ukrainian family which in the 18th century had given the united Church two metropolitans and two bishops, but which had become polonized in the 19th century. Having brilliantly finished his studies in law and wishing to come back to the rite of his ancestors, in 1888 he entered the Basilian order which had been reformed at the time by Leon Õ²²². Ordained priest in 1892, he exercised his ministry during several years and was named bishop of Stanyslaviv in 1899, and metropolitan of Galicia and archbishop of Lviv in 1900. In 1914-1917, metropolitan Andrey was imprisoned by the imperial authorities and banished to the heart of Russia for almost the whole of World War I. After the war, the government of the new Poland created obstacles for several years to his return to his throne.
Among the many significant activities of metropolitan Andrey during his ministry were the creation of the Theological Academy with a view to its becoming a Catholic university; the National museum; the foundation of the Studite monks and of a national hospital. He was very attached to the oriental tradition (restoration of the liturgy); his Uniate apostolate was wide and far-reaching (he protected the Russian Catholics, supported the Velehrad reunions, propagandized the idea of the Union in the West). His authority not only among the Ukrainian-Catholics, but also among the Orthodox was so immense that he was considered as the veritable father of the Ukrainian people. This magnanimous human being, gifted with extraordinary virtues and mystical charismas, tested by sacrifice, witnessed a double occupation of his diocese by the Soviet authorities at the end of his life in 1940-41and in 1944. During the nazi occupation he rescued hundreds of Jews. He passed away on November 1, 1944. The cause of his beatification is now being examined.
Life in the catacombs. After Sheptyts'kyi's death, his throne went to metropolitan Josyp Slipyi (1892-1984), first rector of the Theological Academy (1928-44) as well as bishop-coadutator with the right of succession. Violent persecutions began very soon, and on April 11, 1945 the metropolitan and his assistant Mykyta Budka (1877-1949), the bishop of Stanyslaviv Hryhoriy Khomychyn (1867-1947) and his assistant Ivan Lyatyshevsk'kyi (1879-1957), the apostolic visitator for Volhynia Mykola Charnets'kyi and the apostolic visitator for Ukrainians in Germany Petro Verhun were arrested, deported and sentenced to forced labor camps in Siberia and elsewhere. The Przemysl bishop Josaphat Kotsylovs'kyi (1876-1947) and his assistant Hryhoriy Lakota (1883-1947) were arrested for the first time on September 19, 1945, released in January, and again arrested on June 25, 1946, designated for extradition to the Soviet Union (Przemysl remained within Polish territory), and subsequently deported to the USSR and sentenced. The Soviet authorities formally liquidated the Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine. During the illegal Reunification Council that was held in Lviv March 8 - 10, 1946 the Union with Rome was abolished and the whole Galician metropolinate was subordinated to the Moscow patriarch. The St. George cathedral became the throne of the Russian Orthodox archbishop Makariy. Two priests were ordained by bishops who had submitted to Soviet pressure (Mel'nyk, Pel'vets'kyi) for the dioceses of Stanyslaviv and Drohobych. The priests who remained faithful were for the most part sentenced to labor camps. The pseudo-synod of 1946 marked the beginning of the catacomb period of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which was the greatest persecuted Christian Church in the world up to 1989. All the above-mentioned bishops died in prisons, concentration camps, internal exile, or soon after their release during the post-Stalin thaw. The exception was metropolitan Josyp Slipyi who, after 18 years of imprisonment and persecution, was released thanks to the intervention of Pope John XXIII and arrived in Rome on February 9, 1963. On December 29, 1963 he received the title of Major Archbishop of Lviv, and during the consistory of February 22, 1965 he became cardinal. Slipyi, an outstanding theologian and confessor of the faith, became a vigorous voice of the "Church of silence" in his Western exile. After Vatican II he propagandized the restoration of the oriental traditions of the Church in the diaspora, founded the Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome, consolidated dioceses in the West and headed the movement for the recognition of the patriarchal dignity of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. After his death in 1984 his successor became Myroslav Ivan Lubachivskyi , named cardinal in 1985.
The first decade after the official liquidation of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was characterized by relentless persecutions of the community, which was compelled to go underground. After the death of Stalin in 1953 the surviving condemned clerics were selectively authorized to return from Siberian exile to Western Ukraine at the discretion of the political authorities, which boosted the development of the underground Church. The episcopal succession was preserved, a new generation of underground priests was educated in secret seminaries, and religious communities adapted their life-style to the situation. The underground Church maintained its integrity and continuity through its moral courage and innovative pastoral practice. On the eve of his return from exile in 1963 metropolitan Slipyi ordained the Redemptorist Father Vasyl Velychkovskyi (1903-1973) bishop and also nominated him his locum tenens; he in turn transferred his archiepiscopal responsibilities to Volodymyr Sterniuk (1907-97) in 1972.
With the beginning of perestroika the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church began to emerge from its underground state. Numerous attacks of the state authorities and the difficult polemics within the Orthodox Church, which between 1989 and 1992 was divided at first into two, and subsequently into three jurisdictions, have not prevented the spontaneous adhesion of the majority of western Ukrainians to the Greek-Catholic Church. When impressive demonstrations showed that the movement for legalization of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church could not be suppressed, the Soviet authorities recognized the existence of the Greek-Catholic communities at the end of November 1989. In the ensuing months, hundreds of parishes and Orthodox priests declared their transition to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in those places where it had traditionally been present.
The hierarchy, consisting of tens of secretly ordained bishops, began to renew their ministry, the church institutions and the educational, social and cultural apostolate. On Palm Sunday 1991, the head of the Church Cardinal Lubachivs'kyi returned from exile to his throne. That same year Ukraine proclaimed its independence (August 24, which was ratified by an impressive referendum (December 1). By April 20, 1993 four new dioceses were created: Kolomyia-Chernivtsi, Sambir-Drohobych, Ternopil' and Zboriv. In 1994 the Lviv Theological Academy was reopened as the cornerstone of the future Catholic university. In 1996 the Kyiv-Vyshhorod exarchate for central and eastern Ukraine was founded. On October 14, 1996, given the advanced age of Cardinal Lubachivs'kyi, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Synod nominated Mgr Lubomyr Husar as his bishop-assistant with delegation of ordinary powers.
To understand religious life in modern independent Ukraine, it is important to concentrate on the immediate context of the end of the '80s and beginning of the '90s. After perestroika and a period of renaissance, there came rapid liberalization and rapid cultural and ideological changes. The psychological depressurization, the drop in tension, created an atmosphere of excitation. Euphoric transition to a pluralistic dimension characterized every aspect of Ukrainian life. It brought openness to the West, inclusion into the universal processes of globalization through mass media, pop-culture (in particular popular rock music), media and image. The advent of an immediate domination of world commerce was announced by a fast inflow of the most powerful and well-known multinational corporations.
Euphoria, excitation and the social and cultural frustrations engendered by new freedoms, discoveries, opportunities and problems are still are awaiting a full evaluation. There are considerable mind-boggling fluctuations and juxtapositions so characteristic of transitional development. A whole spectrum of postmodern factors and values suddenly have infused Ukrainian society which had not previously as a whole been exposed to them.
All these factors - historical tradition, 20th century trauma and terror, religious persecutions, rapid change, birth of the new state, social and economic calamities of transitional Ukraine - define the conditions for development of religious life during the last years. They created the space for considerable hope and expectations, but also for inexpressible alarm and fear.
Now the Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine has 15 bishops and nearly 2200 priests, 750 monks and 1100 nuns, 3000 churches and 5 million faithful.
There were three major waves of Ukrainian emigration: from 1880 till 1914, during and after the Second World War, and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The first wave of emigration came almost exclusively from Western Ukraine, which is why the overwhelming majority of emigrants were Catholics. The second and third waves of emigration come from everywhere in Ukraine.
United States. Ukrainians from Galicia, Transcarpathia and Bukovyna who immigrated massively to America starting in 1880 settled mainly in Pennsylvania. Attached to their rite and not knowing any English, they soon requested that priests come from the old country. The first Ukrainian Catholic priest was Ivan Volans'kyi who arrived in the USA in 1884. The first parish was created that same year in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and in 1885 the first eastern rite church in USA was built there. From then on the number of parishes grew; numerous priests arrived to minister to their compatriots. Their mission was regulated by appropriate decrees of the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide dated October 1, 1890, April 12, 1894, May 1, 1897, and in particular by the bull Ea semper dated June 14, 1907.
In the beginning of the 20th century there was discussion around the nomination of a Byzantine-Slavic rite bishop for these immigrants, who numbered 250 000 in 1900. This question was even more urgent in that the Russian Orthodox Church in this country had a whole church organization led by a metropolitan who in 1905 left his former throne in San Francisco and went to New York. This Orthodox hierarchy was appealing in particular because of the interdiction [by Rome] of married Greek-Catholic priests, and as early as the first decade of the 20th century hundreds of parishes and thousands of faithful joined the Orthodox Church. To settle all these difficulties, in 1907 the Holy See nominated a first bishop in he person of Soter Ortyns'kyi from the Basilian order of St. Josaphat, however without the ordinary jurisdiction.
Taking into account the difficulties which arose because of the Latin hierarchy, in 1913 the Holy See created an Apostolic Exarchate based in Philadelphia and headed by Ortyns'kyi up to his death on March 28, 1916.
Meanwhile various difficulties and frictions arose among the faithful from Galicia and Transcarpathia (then under Hungary), and after Ortyns'kyi's death, two apostolic administrators were appointed, one for each group (Petro Ponyatyshyn for Ukrainians), and this division became final when two separate Apostolic Exarchates were formed, the first for "the faithful of Transcarpathia" with its center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the second "for the faithful of Galicia" which kept its throne in Philadelphia.
The post-war immigration significantly increased the number of faithful in the Philadelphia diocese; therefore in 1956 the Holy See authorized one more diocese in Stamford, Connecticut. On July 12, 1958 the United States Ukrainian community received metropolinate status with its center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an auxiliary diocese in Stamford, Connecticut. With the division of Philadelphia the diocese of St. Nicholas was created on August 14, 1961 in Chicago. A fourth diocese in Parma, Ohio, was created on December 5, 1983.
Meanwhile Ukrainians in Canada, left mostly to themselves, became an easy prey for Russian Orthodox and Presbyterian proselytism, and later for a propagandist named Svystun who created his own religious movement. To provide the appropriate spiritual help to immigrants in Canada, in 1912 the Holy See created an Apostolic Exarchate with its center in Winnipeg. The first bishop was Mykyta Budka (renounced in 1927; died a martyr's death in the Soviet prisons in 1949).
Taking into account the considerable distances and the increase in the number of the faithful, in 1948 the Winnipeg diocese was divided into three dioceses, and in 1951 a fourth was added.
Finally on November 3, 1956 the Canadian Ukrainian community received metropolinate status with centers in Winnipeg, and subordinated dioceses in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Toronto. On January 27, 1974 a fifth diocese was created in New Westminster.
Brazil. Ukrainian emigration from Galicia to Brazil began in 1892, but most of the immigrants arrived after 1895. They settled in the inner provinces, Parana and Santa Caterina, working mostly in agriculture. The first Ukrainian priest arriving to Brazil in 1897 was Father Nikon Rozdol'skyi who succeeded in building three churches over several years. The same year the Basilian Sylvester Kizyma settled in Prudentopolis. Then other Basilian monks came, as well as the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate (1911).
On November 14, 1951 the Holy See created a pluririte Ordinariate for Eastern Catholics in that country. In 1958 the Ordinary was given an assistant-bishop for the Ukrainian community, the Basilian Yosyf Martenets. On May 30, 1962 this Ukrainian community was separated from the Ordinariate and received Apostolic Exarchate status headed by the same bishop as exarch. The Exarchate's center was established in Curitiba, federal state of Parana. In 10 years, taking into account the successful development of this community, the Holy See elevated the Exarchate to diocesan status under the name St. John the Baptist Diocese of Curitiba for Ukrainians. The abovementioned exarch became its first head. Mostly Basilian priests provide pastoral service to this day.
Argentina. Ukrainians immigrated to Argentina between 1898 and 1905, almost exclusively from the Buchanskyi area in Galicia. The first Ukrainian priest in Argentina was the Basilian monk, Klymentiy Bzhukhovskyi, who arrived in 1909 from Brazil. Then came other Basilians, who for many decades, together with the Basilian sisters, were alone in ministering to Ukrainians. In 1959 a pluririte Ordinariate was created where the Ukrainians constituted the most numerous group. In 1961 the Ukrainian Salesian Andriy Sapelyak was nominated assistant bishop to the Ordinary and Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainians. In 1968 an Apostolic Exarchate was created for them, headed by this bishop as exarch.
Australia. Ukrainians settled in Australia after the Second World War, in particular in 1947-1950. In 1970 they were 37 000, 22 000 Catholics and 15 000 Orthodox. On May 10, 1958 the Holy See created an Apostolic Exarchate for the Catholics, including New Zealand and Oceania; the first exarch nominated was bishop Ivan Prashka. In the Apostolic Constitution on this subject, the center of the Exarchate was to be Sydney, but on Prashka's request and by decree of the Sacred Congregation of Eastern Churches (December 12, 1958) the center became Melbourne.
Western Europe. Ukrainian emigration to these countries is also rather recent, and dates more particularly from the post-war period. To provide help to the Ukrainian refugees in Western Europe, in 1946 the Holy See nominated Archbishop Ivan Buchko as Apostolic Visitator with the powers of Apostolic Administrator.
When this community was consolidated, three Apostolic Exarchates were created: the Exarchate of England and Wales in 1957, subsequently modified in 1967 (including Scotland) to the Exarchate of Great Britain; in 1958, the Exarchate of Germany and in 1960, the Exarchate of France, which also had jurisdiction over Ukrainians in other countries of Western Europe. The economic crisis in Ukraine in the 1990s gave rise to a new wave of immigration (numbering 200 000 in Italy alone). Church structures have only started looking for ways of responding to the pastoral needs caused by these post-Soviet processes.
It is too early to say today how the Greek-Catholic Church will evolve. The key condition for fruitful religious development is the presence of inspired spiritual leaders who are capable of far-reaching vision. Such spiritual leaders take generations to develop. The Ukrainian society of the 20th century had a generous share of them: through the twisted labyrinths of this historical period, the Greek-Catholic Church was led by outstanding hierarchs: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptyts'kyi, metropolitan Josyp Slipyi and a whole cohort of bishop- martyrs and confessors of the faith, who uncompromisingly identified themselves with the Church and served the community during a half-century of clandestine activity.
What is the task of religious organizations and communities, academic establishments and individuals living outside Ukraine?
All of us are called to solidarity in prayer with the Christians of Ukraine. Prayer cures wounds, fills abysses and softens difficulties. Moral solidarity can induce material help. The best place to direct material help is educational institutions. Investment in the education of leaders in the religious sphere, as well as in other spheres, will be to the greatest advantage for revival and reforms in Ukraine.
This short sketch of the Greek-Catholic Church in independent Ukraine aimed to emphasize some of the main phenomena of religious experience in modern Ukraine. A perception of the general historical and cultural context is useful for understanding the origins, conditions and perspectives of the religious situation in Ukraine at the beginning of the third century. We hope that this understanding will help the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to share its rich inheritance - firstly its most recent inheritance of martyrdom witnessing the truth of the Resurrection - with the Christian community.
The most exhaustive bibliography on the history of the Ukrainian Church can be found in the work of Isydor Patrylo, Sources and Bibliography on the History of the Ukrainian Church, 3 volumes, Rome, 1975, 1988, 1995 (= Analecta OSBM series 2, sec. 1, 33, 46).