Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada

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The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Jurisdiction Constantinople
Diocese type Archdiocese
Founded 1918
Current bishop Metropolitan Yurij (Kalistchuk) of Winnipeg
See(s) Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton
Headquarters Winnipeg, Manitoba
Territory Canada
Liturgical language(s) Ukrainian, Church Slavonic, English, French
Musical tradition Kievan Chant, Galician Chant
Calendar Julian
Population estimate 10,000
Official website UOCC

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) is a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Canada. The UOCC is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and has the metropolitan Cathedral (Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Winnipeg, Manitioba)) , seminary (St. Andrew's College), and central administrative office based in that city. Also the Church has cathedrals in the cities of Saskatoon, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal.

Currently the Church's membership is about 10,000, and the current primate is Metropolitan Yurij (Kalistchuk).


Most of the ethnic Ukrainians moving to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were from Western Ukraine (predominantly from two provinces: Halychyna (aka Galicia) & Bukovyna). The settlers from Halychyna were predominately Greek Catholics, and were tended early on by the local Roman Catholic hierarchy due to the fact that the Vatican wanted to assimilate the Greek Catholics into the mainstream. As the Halychany were coming to Canada, a smaller group of settlers were arriving from Bukovyna who were predominately Orthodox. These Orthodox were initially served by the Russian Orthodox Mission (who were part of the Church of Russia). The Russian Orthodox Mission was by then established in the northwest of North America through Alaska, and it served all the needs of the Orthodox in that area. It is also noteworthy that many native Ukrainian priests served in the Mission.

Both groups of Ukrainians desired to have a church that was truly "Ukrainian Orthodox," and a church that met their spiritual and cultural needs. This led to the creation of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada (UGOCC) in July 1918, in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This convention established not only the church, but a brotherhood to protect the church. The brotherhood (which had former Greek Catholics) condemned the Union of Brest-Litovsk, which had created the Greek Catholics in Ukraine.

As soon as the Church was created, the lay leaders knew that they had to find a bishop to guide the new Church. Thus, the brotherhood approached Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) from the Russian Orthodox Mission in North America. Abp. Alexander was the bishop of Winnipeg at the time. He had agreed at first to become the temporary bishop of the UGOCC, but later refused due to the fact that he claimed he did not want to lead a Ukrainian Church.

Abp. Alexander was to preside over the UGOCC's first Sobor (Church council; this is a clergy-laity conference, where the bishops, priests, and laity participate), but the Sobor still continued without a bishop, and was held on December 28, 1918 (which is interesting to note that it is still recorded as SOBOR I). The Sobor led to the establishment of the Church's first theological seminary in Saskatoon. Sobor II took place on November 27, 1919, with the presence of an Antiochian Metropolitan, Germanos (Shehadi) of Zahle.

Formation of the Metropolitanate

The UOCC had strong ties to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church after 1921, when that body was established in Ukraine. In 1951, St. Mary the Protectress Cathedral (which was not in the UOCC at that time) had invited Metropolitan Ilarion (Ohienko) to Canada to become their church's bishop, while the Consistory of the UOCC had already invited Archbishop Michael (Khoroshy) and Bishop Platon (who reposed shortly after arriving in Canada) to come to Canada to be the Church's Metropolitan and Bishop respectively. Once the Consistory had learned of Metropolitan Ilarion's coming to Canada, they sought him out, and invited him to become Metropolitan of the UOCC. He accepted only if St. Mary the Protectress was to be accepted back into the UOCC. The Consistory agreed, and the Central and Eastern Dioceses were created with Abp. Michael heading the Eastern Diocese with its headquarters in Toronto, and Metr. Ilarion heading the Central Diocese in Winnipeg as Metropolitan.

The UOCC today

In 1990, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada became a canonical church by being accepted into the Church of Constantinople. A few years later its sister church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA joined her.

On January 10, 2005, at the age of 95, Metropolitan Wasyly (Fedak) reposed, three days after the Church had celebrated the Nativity. His Beatitude has served in the capacity of Metropolitan and Primate for nearly twenty years. The funeral services took place on January 21 and 22 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, and many Orthodox Christians of many nationalities paid their last respects to the former Metropolitan. Eight hierarchs gathered for the funeral including His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, who represented Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

In July 2005, at the 21st Sobor of the UOCC, Archbishop John (Stinka) was elected Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Canada. In late 2005 the Holy Synod of the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church elected Archbishop John as the official successor to Metropolitan Wasyly (Fedak) of blessed memory. His Eminence thus became the first Canadian-born leader of the Church in her 87-year history.

On July 23, 2006, Metropolitan John was enthroned in Holy Trinity Cathedral by His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, the Exarch of Canada of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Also present were their Eminences Archbishops Yurij of Toronto and Antony of New York of the UOCUSA and His Grace Bishop Georgije of Hamilton of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Also present was the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America's Canadian Archdiocese, the Metropolitan and Metropolitan-Emeritus of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada (Lawrence and Michael, respectively), and representatives of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Churches of Canada.

During a Church Council in August 2008, members came from all across the country came together to elect two new bishops, vote on a change of bylaws, and celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Church. Bishop Ilarion (Rudnyk), vicar bishop in Portugal (under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate), was elected to the Edmonton cathedra, and Bishop Andrij (Peshko), of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, was elected to be the auxiliary of the Central Eparchy [1] . With the election of these two young bishops, the UOCC again restored its Local Synod and a full slate of bishops for the Church. The Council was also attended by Bishop Christophoros (Rakintzakis) of Andida (auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto), who represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and by Archbishop Antony of New York and Bishop Daniel of Chicago, both of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.

In October of that year, his Grace Ilarion's election was ratified by the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople and he was enthroned in St. John the Baptist's Cathedral in Edmonton, Alberta, on Sunday, October 26, 2008 by his Eminence Metropolitan John [[2]].

On July 18, 2010 a sobor of the UOCC nominated Archbishop Yurij of Toronto to be the sixth Metropolitan of Winnipeg and Canada due to the ongoing health issues of Metropolitan John. In August the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople elected Archbishop Yurij to the vacant Winnipeg cathedra, following which he was enthroned on November 21, 2010 by a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Hierarchy and structure

According to the custom of the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) has the rank of metropolitan, with his brother hierarchs holding the rank of bishop or archbishop depending on their years of service in the Church.

In the UOCC the primate is styled the Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Canada and serves as the ruling hierarch of the Eparchy of Central Canada, whilst his brother hierarchs with care of the Eparchies of Eastern and Western Canada are styled Bishop of Edmonton and Western Canada (or Archbishop of Edmonton and Western Canada) and Bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada (or Archbishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada) respectively. Auxiliary bishops of the Eparchy of Central Canada are titled Bishop of Saskatoon, whilst auxiliary bishops of the Eastern and Western Canadian Eparchies are titled Bishop of Montreal and Bishop of Vancouver respectively.

The Eparchy of Western Canada is comprised of the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Eparchy of Central Canada consists of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba together with Nunavut Territory. The Eparchy of Eastern Canada is comprised of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

Past Hierarchs of the UOCC

A list of hierarchs who have served in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada in the past:


Primates of the UOCC:

  • Metropolitan Ilarion (Ohienko) - (1951-1972)
  • Metropolitan Michael (Khoroshy) - (1972-1975)
  • Metropolitan Andrew (Metiuk) - (1975-1985)
  • Metropolitan Wasyly (Fedak) - (1985-2005)
  • Metropolitan John (Stinka) - (2005-2010)
  • Metropolitan Yurij (Kalistchuk) - (2010-present)

Current Hierarchs

Listed here are the current hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada:

See also

External links