Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bishop Soter Ortynsky

Unfortunately, Bishop Soter Ortynsky was a Ukrainian nationalist. Consequently, he was much opposed by the Rusyn clergy in the United States after he became the first Eastern Catholic bishop in the United States in 1907. 
Despite his Ukrainian nationalism, Ortynsky fought for the Church. He manfully ignored offensive and inappropriate aspects of Ea Semper, such as its prohibition of infant chrismation and married priesthood.[1] If the Rusyn clergy knew then what we now know about the conflicts and schisms that would result over the latter issue, then they may have lessened their ethnic and political opposition to Ortynsky. Had Ortynsky not died so young (at the age of 50), he may have been able to maintain important Eastern traditions and to work for Slavic Byzantine Catholic unity. As it happened, he was replaced by two bishops - one for the Ukrainians and another for the Rusyns. In my opinion, this division along ethnic lines has not, in the long run, served well either the Rusyn or the Ukrainian Churches .

[1] Ea Semper Articles 10, 12, 14. 


Nelson Chase said...

I think that it would do a great service to the Church if the Metropolitan Churches of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were one, united Byzantine Catholic Church. Ukrainian parishes could keep all that makes them Ukrainian (liturgical praxis and chanting, ect) and Rusyn ones can do the same. Sadly, I am not so sure that this will ever happen but one can pray. If the OCA can have Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Albanian Eparchys and parishes in one local Church, surly we can do the same with Ukrainians and Ruysns, right?

John R.P. Russell said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

Nationalism is good to a point.However it's my wish we Catholics unite in our faith.There is nothing wrong with defending your borders or protecting your countrymen.However,we should leave our ethnic identities outside before we enter the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Latin Rite sorry I don't know the Byzantine terminology.)

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