This period was greatly influenced by a number of important factors which contributed to the continued growth of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. These included:
1. After World War II, many of the Ukrainian Canadians who served in the Canadian Armed Forces returned home and many settled in urban centers. This contributed to the urbanization of the Ukrainian Canadian community and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Many new church buildings, including cathedrals in Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton and Saskatoon were rebuilt or established in major urban centers across Canada. In addition a number of priests of the UGOCC volunteered as chaplains in the Canadian Armed Forces and some were sent overseas. Of these one of the most active was Fr. Semen Sawchuk, who played an important role in England with the forces and later was a strong advocate for the resettlement in Canada of many Ukrainian refugees that were in Western Europe.
2. Another important feature was that a significant number of displaced Ukrainian people in Western European refugee camps were successful in immigrating to Canada. Among them were significant numbers of Ukrainian Orthodox, many of whom once in Canada joined the UGOCC parishes or assisted in founding new ones, especially in Eastern Canada and the urban centers of western Canada. These “third wave” Ukrainian immigrants added significantly to the two previous waves and their offspring.
3. Among the immigrants were several canonical Ukrainian Orthodox bishops who had left Ukraine and Poland with their flocks. Many of these bishops wanted to relocate to the west, including Canada and the USA. The UGOCC leadership decided to sponsor some of these bishops because there was now an opportunity to have permanent instead of itinerant bishops for the UGOCC. Fr. Semen Sawchuk was asked to research this issue and traveled to Western Europe for this purpose in 1947. He initially thought of seeking out Metropolitan Ilarion Ohienko (whom he had consulted in the early 1920’s while still a professor) in Switzerland, but Metropolitan Ilarion was not prepared to join the UGOCC. Subsequently the UGOCC received word that Archbishop loan Teodorovych had resigned from his archpastoral duties in Canada and thus the UGOCC was left without a bishop. Fr. Semen Sawchuk approached Metropolitan Polikarp Sikorski in Europe and came to a general understanding to have Archbishop Mstyslav (Skrypnyk) come to Canada. At the Extraordinary Sobor of November 1947, Skrypnyk’s candidacy was voted on and he was accepted as the hierarch of the UGOCC. To complicate matters, two months earlier, Metropolitan Ilarion (Ohienko) had arrived in Canada at the invitation of the dissident St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Winnipeg. There were now two Ukrainian Orthodox bishops in Canada, both in Winnipeg, each promoting a different orientation for Ukrainian Orthodoxy. This provoked feuding and polemical debate between the two camps, the much larger of which was still the UGOCC.
With Archbishop Mstyslav in place, a new internal leadership crisis arose in the UGOCC. The established clergy-laity leadership of the UGOCC, led by Fr. S. Sawchuk, locked horns with the new bishop and his hierarchical vision of the Church. The major issue between the two was that of leadership responsibility and the views on the division of labour between the Consistory and the hierarch. Sawchuk desired to continue the already three decade tradition of collective leadership with the offices of the bishop, Consistory and chair of the Presidium while Archbishop Mystyslav wanted major episcopal control with a strong hierarchical leadership and to de-emphasize the work of the Consistory (some even called this “monarchical episcopal control”). To a certain extent this was a “new world – Canada” vs an “old world – Ukraine/Poland” view of Orthodox ecclesiastical leadership. Soon another issue arose between them, that of inter-Ukrainian Orthodox and Orthodox relations, especially with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. Sawchuk and the Consistory saw a limited need for it and wished primarily to consolidate and strengthen the UGOCC. Meanwhile Archbishop Mystyslav wished to develop and lead a strong diasporal Ukrainian Orthodox Church and initiated several projects for its success (he even began to play a role in the UOC of the USA without the approval of the Consistory, which infuriated the Canadian leadership). He especially saw the need for this leadership due to the destruction of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in Ukraine after WW II and in order to counter Soviet propaganda.
This crisis reached a peak by 1950 and Archbishop Mystyslav, recognizing his precarious position, decided to resign from his position as the hierarch of the UGOCC but left the final decision for the X Sobor in June of 1950 in Saskatoon. Here the issue was intensely debated and argued by followers and leaders of both sides (the early leaders of the UGOCC on the side of Sawchuk and the new third wave immigrant members on the side of Archishop Mystyslav). At the end Fr. S. Sawchuk and his followers narrowly won the debate and accepted the resignation of Archbishop Mystyslav. Likewise the Sobor decided to continue its independent policy in church matters and to protect itself in the future, introduced the governance model of a Metropolia which was to consist of a metropolitan and two other hierarchs in three geographic dioceses.
Again the UGOCC was left without a bishop and still another search for bishops began in Western Europe. This time the Consistory decided to request Archbishop Mykhail (Khoroshiy) to become the Metropolitan and Bishop Platon (Artemiuk) to be the bishop (both were in Germany at this time). For the third bishop, they proposed the senior clergyman and stalwart leader, Rev. Wasyl Kudryk – the editor of “Visnyk” and formerly the early editor of “Ukrayinskyj Holos”. However at this same time, there also was in Winnipeg the learned Metropolitan Ilarion (Ohienko) who was in another much smaller jurisdiction that was quite hostile to the UGOCC. Notwithstanding this, some considered him as a potential candidate.
And so in July 1950, initial contacts were made between the Consistory and Metropolitan Ilarion. These were successfully concluded in 1951 and at the Extra-Ordinary Sobor of August 1951, Metropolitan Ilarion accepted the terms presented and was elected “Metropolitan of Winnipeg and all Canada”. Archbishop Mykhail, the original first choice for metropolitan, humbly accepted the position of Archbishop of Toronto and the Eastern Eparchy. The third candidate for bishop, Bishop Platon Artemiuk, unfortunately reposed in the Lord, and Fr. Wasyl Kudryk refused to accept monastic vows, thereby disqualifying himself from episcopal election. Thus the UGOCC had its first two bishops after a half decade of upheaval.
The Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada was officially formed with the election of a third bishop for the Church in 1959. The Rt. Rev. Hryhoriy Metiuk accepted the decision of the Consistory and was elected at an Extra-Ordinary Sobor in Edmonton. He was installed as Bishop Andrew of Edmonton and Bishop of the Western Diocese. In 1963 at another Extra-Ordinary Sobor in Winnipeg, The Rt. Rev. Boris Yakowkevych was elected as a fourth bishop with the title Bishop of Saskatoon and vicar of the Central Diocese taking the name of Bishop Boris. In 1975 he was elevated to head the Western Diocese in Edmonton (1975-1984).
Meanwhile the UGOCC chose another bishop for the Eastern diocese in the person of the Rt. Rev. Mykola Debryn, who was elected bishop at the XV Sobor in 1975. With the repose of Metropolitan Mikhail in 1977 Bishop Nikolai became Bishop of Toronto and of the diocese of Eastern Canada (1977-1981). The Rt. Rev. Wasyl Fedak was chosen as a bishop in 1978 at an extraordinary Sobor and given the title Bishop of Sakatoon and Vicar of the Central diocese. In 1981 he was chosen Bishop of Toronto and the Eastern Diocese (1981-1985).
Two more bishops were elected by the Church in the 1980’s. The Rt. Rev. John Stinka was elected Bishop of Saskatoon and Vicar of the Central Diocese at an Extra-Ordinary Sobor in 1983 in Winnipeg. In 1984, he was given the title of Bishop of Edmonton and the Western Diocese (1984- 2005). Bishop John, later archbishop and since 2005 Metropolitan of the UOCC was the first Canadian born and educated bishop in the Church.
Meanwhile the Rt. Rev. Yurij Kalistchuk was elected bishop in 1989 at an extraordinary Sobor in Winnipeg and became the bishop of Saskatoon and vicar of the Central Diocese. In 1991 he became the Acting Bishop of Toronto and at the XIX Sobor of the UOCC in 1995 was confirmed as the Bishop of Toronto and the Eastern Diocese.
The UOCC also at this time was maturing as a major ecclesial presence in Canada and needed a theological College for the training of new clergy for the Church. After several decades of itinerant training in Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg was incorporated by a charter of the province of Manitoba in 1946 and was established in north-end Winnipeg. In its early life besides being a theological school, it also ran a residential high school and provided a summer Ukrainian religious, cultural and leadership program over a six week period for teenagers. The theological College was able to procure learned professors from the refugee camps who initiated a strong theological-academic tradition in Canada. These included Professor Petro Doroshenko, Metropolitan Ilarion (Prof. Ivan Ohienko), Prof. Dmytro Martynovsky, Prof. Leonid Biletsky and others.
By 1962, St. Andrew’s College and the UGOCC leadership decided to re-establish the College at the University of Manitoba. In 1964, the new St. Andrew’s College opened its doors as a theological faculty (with four degree programs), college residence and a centre for summer high school courses in religion, culture and leadership. Within the theological faculty, courses were also offered in Ukrainian studies. Beginning in 1972, St. Andrew’s College became an accredited teaching center of the university and offered liberal arts courses for credit. Within a decade some 17 courses in Ukrainian Studies were approved and accredited by the University. As such in 1981, St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba agreed to create a Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies with a concentration in Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies.
The Faculty of Theology of St. Andrew’s College with its four diploma and degree programs has produced over 205 graduates with 135 ordinations (mostly but not exclusively for the UOCC) in the past 62 years (1946-2008), including seven bishops. Among the Rectors, Deans of Theology and professors of St. Andrew’s College over its 60 year period have been:
- Rt. Rev. Dr. S.W. Sawchuk,
- Metropolitan Ilarion,
- Metropolitan Andrew,
- Dr. Yuriy Mulyk-Lucyk,
- Rt. Rev. Dr. Serhiy Gerus,
- Dr. Pavlo Macenko,
- Rt. Rev. Dr. Oleg Krawchenko,
- Rt. Rev. Michael Yurkiwsky,
- Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephan Jarmus,
- Rt. Rev. Timofiy Minenko,
- Dr. Roman Yereniuk
- and Very Rev. Roman Bozyk.
The College has published some 23 books and 26 scripts for courses and has issued fourteen volumes of the journal “Vira I Kultura” (Faith and Culture). In 1981, St. Andrew’s College and the UOCC republished a facsimile copy of the “Ostrih Bible” on its 400th anniversary. This was the first complete Bible published in the Slavic world, prepared and printed in Ostrih, a city in the Ukrainian province of Volyn’ which was a major center of learning.
The strong leadership of the UOCC in this period was under three prominent primates that included Metropolitans Ilarion (Ohienko) (1951- 72), Mykhail (Khoroshiy) (1972-75) and Andrew (Metiuk) (1975-85).
Metropolitan Ilarion Ohienko (1882-1972) was a well known and highly respected scholar and nation builder in Ukraine and Poland and brought this tradition to Canada in 1947. He was consecrated the bishop of Kholm in wartime Poland in 1940. In Canada for over 25 years, he published many volumes on Church history, theology, major figures of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, liturgies and continued his dedication to the field of Ukrainian linguistics. Among his major achievements, besides the creation of the
Metropolia with its three dioceses, was the translation of the Bible into Ukrainian which he had begun in the 1930’s and completed in the 1960’s in Winnipeg, the editing of liturgical books, especially the two volume “Trebnyk” (Book of Needs), editing of church journals and the numerous major pastoral visitations to nearly all of the major parishes and centers of his Church. For two decades he was the Dean and professor of the Theology Faculty of St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg. During his metropolitanate the UOCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in Saskatoon in 1968, but due to his health problems and advanced age he could not attend. Fie fell asleep in the Lord in 1972.
Metropolitan Mykhail Khoroshiy (1888-1977) was a bishop in Ukraine, ordained in 1942, hierarch in the refugee camps of Bavaria after WWII and later archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of the UOCC (1951-1972), with his cathedral in Toronto. He was a close collaborator of Metropolitan llarion, whom he succeeded as acting primate in 1970 and metropolitan from 1972 to 1975. He was most dedicated to the Eastern Canadian diocese and witnessed much of the growth of the diocese in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. He is credited with the founding of 19 new churches in his diocese. His short metropolitanate was dedicated to continuing the work of Metropolitan llarion. In addition Metropolitan Mykhail wrote several theological and psychological volumes as well as articles, translated a number of liturgical books and composed liturgical music. He was known as a confessor of Orthodoxy, a zealous archpastor, a bishop of great humility and man of fervent prayer. He passed away in 1977.
Metropolitan Andrew Metiuk (1898-1985), had come to Canada with Metropolitan llarion as a prominent priest and was a longtime bishop of the western Canadian diocese of the UOCC (1959-1975). He was the first bishop consecrated in Canada and diligently concerned himself with the growth of his diocese for a decade and a half. As a hierarch, he had a tremendous love for the youth of the church and on several occasions had the UOCC declare a year as the Youth Year, where all emphasis was placed on the upbringing of youth and giving them greater responsibility in the Church. At the Faculty of Theology at St. Andrew’s College, he taught sessional courses in the field of Patrology and Patristics. Metropolitan Andrew was a very pastoral bishop and metropolitan who visited and cared for each parish, each priest and every parish executive. He reposed in the Lord in 1985.
6. The Administrators and Chairs of the Presidium of the Consistory included:
- Rt. Rev. Dr. Semen Sawchuk (1922-1951 and 1955-63),
- Rt. Rev. Yeronym Hrytsyna (1951-55),
- Very Rev. Thomas Kowalishin (1963- 1966),
- Rt. Rev. Frank Kernisky (1966-1970),
- Rt. Rev. Dmytro Luchak (1970-1980)
- and Rt. Rev. Dr. Hryhoriy Udod (1980-85).
Each of the Chairs imparted their unique leadership qualities into this important office of the Church. Fr. Sawchuk, in addition to his many other contributions, saw the need for and initiated Consistory Church Goods Supply, Fr. Dmyrtro Luchak prepared the way for the new office building of the Consistory and the Consistory Church Goods which was officially blessed and opened in 1974 and Fr. Hryhoriy Udod was most passionate in preparing the Church for the celebration of the Millenium of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
7. In 1980 at the XVI Sobor in Winnipeg, the Consistory proposed changing the name of the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada (UGOCC) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC). This proposal was accepted by the faithful of the Church, and was ratified by the Parliament of Canada, along with other changes to the Charter of the UOCC, in 1990.
In general, the post WWII period was an era of great growth, development and creativity in the life of the UOCC. The work accomplished in these 40 years prepared an excellent foundation for the future of the Church. In addition this period witnessed the repose of many of the early leaders of the church. Their labour, accomplishments and love for the Church are still felt today.