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Fr. Jon Offline OP
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Saint Michael the Archangel, Shenandoah, PA

Here's where it all started, folks!

This is Saint Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - heralded the first Eastern Catholic congregation in the United States/Western Hemisphere.

This is the 3rd Church, built around 1983 after a disastrous fire. I believe that then-Fr. (now Bishop) John Bura was the supervising pastor.

Let's hear from the Forum's historians - tell us the stories!
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After the 1983 fire, the parish returned to its original home - the first church, which had served as a hall for decades. It really should be made a museum in honor of Father John Voliansky and all the founders of the parish - and the parishes founded from Saint Michael's.

If I were to tell the history, I fear that the "moderators" would ban it!

Fr. Serge

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Deacon Jon,

Beautiful. As St Michael's has no website, it's almost certain that 2 of the above will adorn the parish entry in the directory.

Many years,

Neil

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
If I were to tell the history, I fear that the "moderators" would ban it!


Bless, Father,

You can certainly relate the history of the parish. I trust implicitly in you rendering it - controversial aspects and all - in a factual way that won't encourage folks to take up verbal cudgels, as I trust implicitly in the community to read, understand, and respond with an eye to the ecclesial politics and emotions of the times in which it happened - and not take up those same cudgels. smile

Many years,

Neil

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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
If I were to tell the history, I fear that the "moderators" would ban it!


Bless, Father,

You can certainly relate the history of the parish. I trust implicitly in you rendering it - controversial aspects and all - in a factual way that won't encourage folks to take up verbal cudgels, as I trust implicitly in the community to read, understand, and respond with an eye to the ecclesial politics and emotions of the times in which it happened - and not take up those same cudgels. smile

Many years,

Neil


I am glad that someone is open to letting history be history. Nothing is more frustrating that not being able to read a complete history of a parish. When the 1999 "directory" for the Ruthenian dioceses was put out, it was clearly spelled out that no mention of splits or divisions were to be mentioned. If done in a Christian and non-polemical way, why not? I'm sure that someone read each parish bio before it was put into the book. If so, why not allow the entire history of a parish and edit the story if it went in a way that was out of line? When my former parish turned 100 and we put together a commemorative book, we mentioned our split, without any rancor or ill will. In fact, the parish that split from us gave us a donation and sent representatives to the centennial D/L and banquet.

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St. Michael's was from he very beginning a very successful partnership between Galicians and Carpatho-Rusyns. For years, it was referred to simply as "St. Michael's Greek Catholic Church" and it did not become a part of the new Ukrainian Diocese under Bishop Bohachevsky until the mid-1920s. When the parish celebrated its centennial in 1984, Bishop Michael Dudick of the Diocese of Passaic was included in the ceremonies in recognition of the strong "Uhorsky" presence in the parish. The interior of the old church which burned down was, I thought, unremarkable, but the exterior with its gold domes was spectacular!

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Well, here's hoping ...

Saint Michael's in Shenandoah was founded by the faithful themselves, who wrote a moving letter to Metropolitan Sylvester (Sembratovich) in L'viv petitioning for a priest. Metropolitan Sylvester sent them Father John Voliansky, who organized the parish and the first church building.

Father John also requested a meeting with the Latin Archbishop of Philadelphia - who refused to meet him. Instead, the Chancellor of the Latin Archdiocese met Father John, and told him bluntly that the Archbishop could not and did not recognize him as a Catholic priest, and that they had written to Rome demanding that Father John should be removed. [I've been asking for decades just how the Latin bishops could refuse to recognize our clergy as Catholics, and still expect Rome to be able to remove them. If they thought that Rome had any practical authority over these clergy, it follows that the clergy were Catholics - Rome cannot remove Anglican clergy, Lutheran clergy, Unitarian clergy, rabbis, et al.]

Father John continued to function on the strength of his assignment by Metropolitan (later Cardinal) Sylvester, sent for more priests, whom the Metropolitan sent, and with Shenandoah for a base Father John and the other priests proceeded to organize more Greek-Catholic parishes. Father John actually founded Saint Mary's in Minneapolis, where Father Alexis Toth, after an acrimonious encounter with Archbishop John Ireland, eventually led many parishes, clergy, and faithful into the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Latin bishops made strenuous efforts to keep the Greek-Catholics from having priests or parishes in America. In this endeavor the Latin bishops failed, but at a terrible price to the Greek-Catholics.

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Was the Archbishop of Philadelphia, at the time, also an "Americanist" a la John Ireland?

Dn. Robert

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Would have to check a history of the Americanist movement - and given our geographic locations, you are better placed to do that than I am!

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Would have to check a history of the Americanist movement - and given our geographic locations, you are better placed to do that than I am!

Fr. Serge


Pleading guilty to laziness. I am fairly certain that the Abp. of Philadelphia at the time was part of John Ireland's circle. I will double check this when time allows.

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The Archbishop of Philadelphia at the time (newly appointed) was Patrick Ryan. He was a few years older than Archbishop Ireland, but they were contemporaries (received episcopal ordination in the same year, as I recollect).

I'm not conscious of Archbishop Ryan being specifically linked to the Americanist movement or heresy, but the story of his interaction (or that of his chancellor) with Father Ivan is well-known. One of the (Ukrainian, if memory serves) parishes has a detailed description of it on its site - essentially identical in facts to those related by Father Serge.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Does anyone know the history of St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ford City, PA? It was established in 1905, I believe.
Msgr. Posposhil was Pastor when I lived there. It went through a period when it was Orthodox.

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Father Serge:

Father bless!!

Some years ago I had a copy of a history of the Orthodox Church in America that covered the years from 1794 to 1994. In it were detailed accounts of the parishes that were Greek Catholic and later became part of the OCA, including their many problems with the Latin bishops in this country. I don't know if copies are still available since I gave mine to an OCA priest who had not been able to obtain one originally. I don't remember the titel, but it is a large-sized red-bound book complete with plenty of parish pictures and histories.

Asking for your blessing and continued holy prayers,

BOB

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Dear Bob,

I'm not Fr. Serge but I do know the book you ask about.It is called "Orthodox America 1874-1976".It is put out by the OCA department of history and archives.I beleive they have reprinted and added to it.You can get a copy at St. Tikhon's Monastery bookstore.
Hope this helps.
In Christ,

Nino

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Originally Posted by Nino
Originally Posted by theophan
Some years ago I had a copy of a history of the Orthodox Church in America that covered the years from 1794 to 1994. In it were detailed accounts of the parishes that were Greek Catholic and later became part of the OCA, including their many problems with the Latin bishops in this country. I don't know if copies are still available since I gave mine to an OCA priest who had not been able to obtain one originally. I don't remember the titel, but it is a large-sized red-bound book complete with plenty of parish pictures and histories.

I'm not Fr. Serge but I do know the book you ask about.It is called "Orthodox America 1874-1976".It is put out by the OCA department of history and archives.I beleive they have reprinted and added to it.You can get a copy at St. Tikhon's Monastery bookstore.


Actually, Bob's recollection of the title is absolutely correct. I happened to come across a reference to the book a few days ago and recollected this post. The book itself is out of print. (The book to which Nino refers is a more recent text, although I wasn't able to find it at St Tikhon's site.)

Orthodox America 1794 -1976: Development of the Orthodox Church in America, Syosset, New York: Department of History and Archives, Orthodox Church in America, 1975. Constance J. Tarasar & John H. Erickson, eds.

A recent copy on the web was going for $300.

Many years,

Neil

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