Franciszek Hodur

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Bishop Franciszek Hodur

Bishop Franciszek Hodur (1 April 1866 – 16 February 1953) was the founder and the first, and longtime, Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church.

Hodur was born on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1866, to Jan and Maria Hodur in the village of Żarki, 35 miles from Kraków, Poland. He enrolled as a seminarian in Kraków and studied at Jagiellonian University. He left Europe in December 1892 for the United States of America, where he hoped to serve Polish immigrants. Hodur made his way to the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was sent to the seminary at St. Vincent's Benedictine Archabbey in Latrobe. On August 19, 1893, he was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church by Bishop William O'Hara.[1]

Break with Rome[edit]

When issues of contention arose between Polish Catholic immigrants in Scranton, Nanticoke, Wilkes-Barre, Plymouth, Duryea, and Dickson City, and their Irish-American bishop Michael Hoban, Hodur traveled to Rome in January 1898 to seek redress from the Holy See but was unsuccessful, being excommunicated by Pope Leo XIII. Returning to the United States, he met with the parishioners that he had represented and made known his decision not to remain under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church.[2]


Hodur was consecrated a bishop on September 29, 1907, by Gerardus Gul, the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht, the Netherlands, assisted by Bishop Jan Van Thiel of Haarlem and Bishop Peter Spitz of Deventer. He then served as the first Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church and consecrated other bishops, ensuring the maintenance of apostolic succession.

He died in Scranton.[1] His funeral was attended by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Charles L. Street, suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, and Bishop Frederick J. Warnecke of the Diocese of Bethlehem, along with other prominent Episcopal Church leaders. He was succeeded as Prime Bishop by Leon Grochowski.


  1. ^ a b Kuliczkowski, Czeslaw, Father Franciszek Hodur, The Bishop Hodur History and Archives Commission, Central Diocese, Polish National Catholic Church, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 2002.
  2. ^ Fox, Paul, The Polish National Catholic Church, School of Christian Living, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 24-26.