Ukranian archeparchy in Philadelphia gets a new auxiliary bishop

Byzantine Church. Credit: Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com.
Byzantine Church. Credit: Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com.

.- On Tuesday it was announced that Pope Francis has named Fr. Andriy Rabiy, who has a background in child protection, as an auxiliary bishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

Announced in an Aug. 8 communique from the Vatican, Rabiy's appointment means he will join fellow auxiliary Bishop John Bura in serving the Archepharchy's Metropolitan Archbishop, Stefan Soroka.

Until now he has served as “protosyncellus,” defined on the archeparchy's website as someone – typically an auxiliary bishop or “a priest of distinguished standing” -- who is given special authority to help the archbishop govern the eparchy.

Born in Lviv, Ukraine, in 1975, Rabiy eventually moved to the United States, where he adapted well to his new culture.

After completing his basic education, the bishop-elect entered the Ukrainian Seminary of St. Jehoshaphat in Washington. In 1999 he received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America.

He was ordained a deacon in 1998, and was ordained a priest three years later Dec. 19, 2001.

Rabiy's duties in the archeparchy have included his role as protosyncellus, being a member of the Archeparchial Council of Consultors, the Administrative Council of Pennsylvania's Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Presbyterous Archepichal District Council, as well as Director of their Center for Prevention and Infant and Youth Protection.

The date of his episcopal ordination has not yet been set, but is expected to be announced soon.

Currently the Archeparchy of Philadephia is made up of roughly 67,250 faithful and 74 parishes under it's canonical jurisdiction.

According to the archeparchy's website, the community was initially established as the result of an influx of Catholic immigrants in the 1870s from the Austro-Hungarian empire who practiced the Byzantine tradition, and were known as Ruthenians.

In 1884 a priest from the tradition came and blessed what would become their first church building in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania the same year.

The community was placed under the jurisdiction of the Latin ordinaries in their places of residence by Pope Leo XIII in 1895, and in 1907 Bishop  Soter Stephen Ortynsky was named their first ecclesial superior. However, he was required to obtain actual jurisdiction from each Latin ordinary in every community where his faithful had settled.

Six years later, in 1913, Bishop Ortynsky was given full jurisdiction and “sui iuri” status, meaning independent status, from Latin ordinaries by Pope St. Pius X.

In 1924 the ordinary was elevated to an exarchate, referred to as the Apostolic Exharchate of the United States of America, Faithful of the Oriental rite.

Pope Pius XII in 1956 established the Apostolic Exarchy of Stamford, Conn., assigning to it parishes located in the State of New York and the whole of New England. Then two years later, in 1958, he created the the Ecclesiastical Province of Philadelphia which included the  Archeparchy of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians, and the Eparchy of Stamford.

The sitting archbishop in the Philadelphia Archeparchy oversees all Ukrainian eparchies in the United States, located in Stamford, Chicago and Parma.

Each bishop of the Philadelphia province holds jurisdiction over all faithful living in the territory of their Eparchies, meaning bishops in the Latin rite hold no authority over them. Although located in the U.S., the archeharchy answers to the See of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, which is headed by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

Tags: Catholic News, Pope Francis, Byzantine Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church

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