"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The First Ukrainian Catholic Bishop in Canada

The history of Eastern Christianity in Canada, and even more widely the history of the socioeconomic development of the prairie provinces (and much of the rest of the country), is inseparable from the immigration to those parts of Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians from the tsarist empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the largest groups to come to Canada to take advantage of its promise of free land were those we today call Ukrainians, most of whom were in fact Galicians. (My favorite book about Galicia remains that edited by Christopher Hann and Paul Robert Magocsi, Galicia: A Multicultured Land.) The old Habsburg province of Galicia was the stronghold of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, and many who came to Canada were thus Eastern/Byzantine Catholics. In time their numbers would swell to such an extent that petitions were made to the primate, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, for a bishop, and in time that bishop, Nykyta Budka, would be sent. His would not be an uneventful life either in Canada or back in the Soviet Union, where he was eventually martyred.

A new book by the church historian and priest Athanasius McVay, whom I interviewed previously about his work on the Holodomor in Ukraine, tells Budka's story:

The author has more details about this forthcoming book on his blog, and you may read that here.

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