Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London

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Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London
Eparchia Sanctae Familiae Londiniensis
London ukrainian greek catholic cathedral.jpg
Country Great Britain
Territory England and Wales & Scotland
Area 229,848 km2 (88,745 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2009)
10,000 (0.017%)
Parishes 12
Denomination Ukrainian Greek Catholic
Established 10 June 1957
Cathedral Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile
Patron saint Holy Family in Exile
Secular priests 12
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk
Bishop Hlib Lonchyna
Vicar General Fr. Andrew Choma

The Eparchy of Holy Family of London (Ukrainian: Єпархія Пресвятої Родини у Лондоні; Latin: Eparchia Sanctae Familiae Londiniensis) is an eparchy for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Great Britain. The eparchy was erected on 10 June 1957 as apostolic exarchate for the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in England and Wales and was extended to the whole of Great Britain on 12 May 1968. It is the only Eastern Rite Catholic diocese in Britain.

On 18 January 2013, the Exarchate was elevated in the rank of the Eparchy by Pope Benedict XVI.

Unlike many other nations outside Ukraine to which the Ukrainian diaspora have emigrated, such as Canada and Australia, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Britain did not have eparchial status (equivalent to diocesan status in the Latin Church) until the 18 January 2013. In addition, vis-a-vis other Latin Rite dioceses in Britain, due to the comparatively small number of faithful in the eparchy, there are fewer services, such as schools and care centres, that are provided.


A Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish church in Wolverhampton, England

Since the late 19th century, many Ukrainians have been migrating to England, most noticeably to London and the Red Bank area of Manchester.[1] These immigrants have been known as 'old immigrants', or stari emihiranty.

After the Second World War, more and more immigrants were flocking to the British Isles[citation needed] from Eastern Europe, amongst them included numerous Ukrainian Catholics, as most of the Ukrainian immigrants were from Western Ukraine. Initially, many of the Eastern European Catholics worshipped in industrial hostels, as these were common locations where immigrants found cheaper accommodation. Some also worshipped in local Latin Rite parish churches, but not in their Byzantine liturgy.

However, eventually, Ukrainian Catholics were able to organize worship in their own Byzantine liturgy, often in the local Latin Rite parish church. In Coventry, by 1948, the Church of Christ the King in Coundon started having Ukrainian Catholic services. These were soon transferred to St Elizabeth Church in Foleshill.[2] In 1957, the Apostolic Exarchate was established for Ukrainian Catholics in England and Wales.

By 1959, over 700 Ukrainian Catholics had registered themselves in Coventry. In the Midlands, there was a Ukrainian Catholic priest celebrating Ukrainian-rite services for the Ukrainian faithful in Coventry, as well as in Rugby, Gloucester, Bristol, Birmingham and Cheltenham.

With the help of Cardinal John Heenan, Bishop Hornyak was able to secure the King's Weigh House, a former Congregational chapel,[3] to serve as the Apostolic Exarchate's cathedral church - the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile in London.

In the 1990s, after Ukraine declared its independence, a period of economic difficulties followed, and many Ukrainians emigrated to Western Europe. This caused an increase in the number of Ukrainian Catholic faithful in Great Britain.[4]

Recently, the Ukrainian Catholic church in Wolverhampton was included as part of a video series by English Heritage on faith buildings in England.[5]


The number of faithful in the Apostolic Exarchate numbers 10,000. There are 12 parishes regularly served, 12 diocesan priests, 5 religious priests, 5 male religious and 1 female religious.[6]

Charitable status[edit]

The Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain is a registered charity with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, under charity number 240088. The Apostolic Exarchate was first registered as a charity on 9 July 1965. The stated aim of the Apostolic Exarchate is 'the advancement of religion at discretion of the bishop and his successors in title or the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain'.[7]

Division over views of a Kievan Patriarchate[edit]

There has, for a long time, been different views among Ukrainian Catholics on the idea of a Kievan Patriarchate, replacing the Major Archdiocese.[8]

Augustine Hornyak, the first apostolic exarch, was known to have sided with those who did not believe that it would be appropriate for the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church - who was then Cardinal Josyf Slipyj - to be commemorated as Patriarch until the Pope would agree to elevate the Major Archdiocese to a Patriarchate.[9]

Since most of the faithful in the Apostolic Exarchate were patriotic and nationalist veterans of the Ukrainian Army, which was created in resistance to the German occupational forces, most supported the idea of a Patriarchate. They were therefore disappointed by the Bishop Hornyak's decision. Many showed their opposition through withholding their donations to the Church. A few Ukrainian Catholic priests came from Rome and began to celebrate Divine Liturgy privately in the faithful's homes commemorating the Major Archbishop as Patriarch - an act which angered Bishop Hornyak.

However, some people chose even more extreme methods of expressing their disagreement with Bishop Hornyak. For example, on 18 December 1977, when Bishop Hornyak went to Gloucester to open the new Ukrainian Catholic church, he was met by around 500 demonstrators who ignored the police cordon line and attacked him, bruising his face and crushing his glasses. This forced him to retreat back into his car.[10][11]

Stephen Sulyk, Archbishop Metropolitan Emeritus for Ukrainian Catholics in Philadelphia, wrote in his autobiography, I Am With You Always, that Bishop Hornyak was eventually forced into retirement due to pressure from the Patriarchal Organization - which advocated a Kievan Patriarchate - and the Major Archbishop of Lviv, Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky (Sulyk's predecessor) unfairly due to his backing of Vatican policies. However, many supporting the creation of a Kievan Patriarchate viewed Bishop Hornyak's retirement as a good sign.[9]

List of former Hierarches[edit]

Former apostolic exarch Paul Patrick Chomnycky celebrating Divine Liturgy at Farm Street Catholic Church, London to the regular cathedral congregation, on 26 August 2007, after the roof of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile collapsed.

When the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians in England and Wales was first established in 1957, it was administered by the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal William Godfrey. Bishop Augustine Hornyak was ordained as auxiliary bishop in 1961. Upon the death of Cardinal Godfrey in 1963, Augustine Hornyak was elevated to Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainians in England and Wales. In 1968, with the enlargement of the Apostolic Exarchate to include Scotland as well, Bishop Hornyak became the first Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainians in Great Britain. He has been succeeded by two other bishops.

On June 2, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, M.S.U., who had been an auxiliary to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar in Kyiv-Halych, as an Apostolic Exarch and named him Apostolic Administrator and Apostolic Visitor to Great Britain and Ireland, as well as some other European lands, which for all intents and purposes makes him the new ordinary. After the elevation of the Exarchate to the status of an Eparchy, Lonchyna became her first eparchial bishop.

Apostolic Exarchs for Ukrainians in Great Britain
From Until Incumbent Notes
1957 1963 William Godfrey (Apostolic administrator) Archbishop of Westminster (1956–1963)
1963 1987 Augustine Hornyak, O.S.B.M. Formerly auxiliary bishop of the Exarchate (1961–1963)
1987 1989 Michael Hrynchyshyn, C.S.S.R. (Apostolic administrator) Apostolic Exarch of France, Benelux and Switzerland (1982–2012)
1989 2002 Michael Kuchmiak, C.S.S.R. Formerly auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia (1988–1989)
2002 2006 Paul Patrick Chomnycky, O.S.B.M. Subsequently Eparch of Stamford (2006–present)
2009 2013 Hlib Lonchyna, M.S.U. Formerly auxiliary bishop of Kyiv-Halyč (2004–09) and of Lviv (2002–04). Became the first eparchial Bishop of the Eparchy of Holy Family of London.
Eparchial bishops of the Eparchy of Holy Family of London
From Until Incumbent Notes
2013 present Hlib Lonchyna, M.S.U. Served previously as Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainians in Great Britain

Cathedral church[edit]

Named for the Holy Family, the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile - seat of the Eparchial Bishop - is situated in Mayfair, London, and has a regular congregation of around 1000 parishioners. Currently, the clergy at the cathedral consist of the eparchial priests and priest from the Order of St Basil the Great.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish churches in Great Britain[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Multi-Cultural Manchester : Polish". Manchester City Council. p. 19. 
  2. ^ The City of Coventry - Roman Catholicism | British History Online
  3. ^ Kaye, Elaine: The King's Weigh House Church (London, George Allen and Unwin, 1968)
  4. ^ The Ukrainian Greek Catholics: A Historical Survey
  5. ^ Wolverhampton's Ukrainian church
  6. ^ Statistics from Catholic Hierarchy
  7. ^ Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales [1]
  8. ^ Sulyk 2004, p.402.
  9. ^ a b Sulyk 2004, p.403.
  10. ^ Ukrainian Catholics Reportedly Clash With Bishop Hornyak in England
  11. ^ Hebblethwaite 1986, p.133.


  • Sulyk, Stephen (2004). "I Am Always With You", Pleasant Word.
  • Hebblethwaite, Peter (1986). "Inside the Vatican", Sidgwick and Jackson Limited.

External links[edit]