Ruthenian Catholic Diocese of Mukacheve
Eparchy of Mukacheve
|(as of 2010)
|Denomination||Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic)|
|Established||September 19, 1771|
|Cathedral||Holy Cross Cathedral|
|Patron saint||Blessed Theodore Romzha|
|Auxiliary Bishops||Nil Lushchak, OFM|
The Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Mukacheve is an eparchy (diocese) of the Ruthenian Catholic Church, not part of the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Ruthenian Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh but immediately subject to him as chief of the Ruthenian Catholic Church, with territory located in the west of Ukraine, roughly equivalent with Zakarpatska Oblast.
The eparchy, like the entire Ruthenian Catholic Church, is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Its parishes observe the Byzantine Rite which is also celebrated by the majority of Orthodox Christians, and as provided for in the original terms of the Union of Uzhhorod.
Some historians believe that the origins of the eparchy are to be found in the missionary work of Saints Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century. The 14th century saw the founding of the famous Saint Nicholas Monastery on "Chernecha Hora" or "Hill of Monks" located in the city of Mukacheve. Many believe that from that point, the Eparchy of Mukacheve evolved into the entity as we know it today. The bishops resided at the Monastery and administered ecclesiastical affairs from there until 1766. After the union with Rome and until 1946, the Monastery of St Nicholas was also the principal religious house of the monks of the Order of Saint Basil the Great (OSBM), also called Basilian monks.
The bishops, clergy and faithful of this eparchy were originally Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1646, following the example of their compatriots across the Carpathian Mountains in Galicia (current day Western Ukraine), who in 1596 established the Union of Brest, the people of the Mukacheve eparchy united with the papal Holy See (recognizing the primacy of Catholic Rome, not Byzantine, Orthodox 'second Rome' Constantinopel) under what is known as the Union of Uzhhorod. In the political and spiritual climate of the day, union with Rome was considered by many to be a productive solution to promoting both the welfare of the people and the church. Following a model similar to that proposed at the Council of Florence, the people were allowed to maintain their Byzantine Rite spiritual, liturgical and canonical traditions, while recognizing the Roman Pontiff as the head of the universal church.
On September 19, 1771, after decades of efforts on the part of the bishops of Mukacheve for recognition as a fully self-governing ecclesiastical entity, free from the control of the Latin Catholic bishops of Eger in Hungary, the Habsburg Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree, subsequently approved by Rome, that created a jurisdictionally independent Mukacheve Eparchy no longer subordinate to the Latin Rite ordinary. It was also at this time that the faithful of the eparchy formally became known as Greek Catholics. During the episcopate of Bishop Andrii Bachynskyij (1772-1809), the eparchy retained its historic name but its seat was moved to Uzhhorod (1780), where it remains to this day. The Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Uzhhorod is the seat of the eparchy.
Following the Second World War and the occupation of Carpatho-Ukraine by the Soviet regime, the Greek Catholic Church was liquidated in 1949. All properties were allocated to the Russian Orthodox Church and the clergy and many faithful exiled to concentration camps. The bishop of Mukacheve during this time was Theodore Romzha. In 1947, Bishop Romzha was poisoned by NKVD (predecessor of the KGB) authorities. During the Soviet years, the Greek Catholic Church in Galicia, Transcarpathia and Slovakia continued to operate secretly in the underground.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many priests and faithful of the Eparchy of Mukacheve came out of the catacombs. The eparchy was allowed to officially renew its activities in 1989. Bishop Ivan Semedi, who had been secretly consecrated during the persecution years, was the first bishop to freely perform his ministry in over 40 years.
- after the Union of Uzhhorod the Eparchy of Mukacheve united with Rome
- Basil Taraszovics, 1634-1648
- Petro Parfenii, 1649-1665
- Yosyp Volosinovszky, 1670-1673
- Porphyr Kulcsinszky, 1681-1686
- Yosyp de Kamelis (Joseph de Camillis), 1690-1706
- Yosyp Hodermarskyi, 1706-1716
- Gennadius Bizanczy, 1716-1733
- Simeon Olsavszky, 1733-1737
- Havryil Blazhovskyi, 1738-1742
- Manuil Mykhailo Olsavszky, 1743-1767
- Ivan Bradach, 1767-1771
- In 1771 the Eparchy of Mukacheve got his independence from the Latin bishop of Eger
- Ivan Bradach, 1771-1772
- Andrii Bachynskyi, 1773- 1809
- Olekcii Povchii, 1816-1831
- Basil Popovics, 1837-1864
- Stepan Pankovych, 1866-1874
- Ioann Pastelii, 1876-1891
- Yulii Firtsak, 1891-1912
- Antal Papp, 1912-1924
- Petro Hebei, 1924-1931
- Oleksandr Stoika, 1932-1943
- Bl. Teodor Romzha, 1944-1947
- In 1949 the Communist Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic abolished the Greek Catholic Church; all its properties were allocated to the Russian Orthodox Church.
- Ioann Semedii, 1983-2002
- Milan Šašik, since 2010
- auxiliary bishop Nil Lushchak, since 2012
In 2014 the eparchy had 320,000 faithful, 2 bishops, 429 parishes, 280 diocesan priests, 30 religious priests, 44 men religious, 45 women religious, 0 deacons and 98 seminarians.
Sources & External Links
- Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. p. 1088.
- "Eparchy of Mukachevo (Munkács) (Ruthenian)". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- Ronald Roberson (source: Annuario Pontificio 2014) (January 10, 2015). "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2014" (PDF). Catholic Near East Welfare Association.