THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA DURING THE INTERWAR PERIOD
Keywords:Ukrainian Orthodox Church, diaspora, priest, Ioan Teodorovych
The article deals with the development of the Ukrainian Orthodox movement on the North American continent during the interwar period. It began with the mass conversion of Greek Catholics to Orthodoxy and led to the establishing of two separate church communities in Canada and the United States. The first UOC-USA parishes were founded in 1919, mostly by former Ukrainian Catholics from Galicia or Orthodox from Transcarpathia and Bukovyna. In 1924 Archbishop Ioan Teodorovych of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church, formed in Kyiv, was dispatched to serve as a hierarch for the new churches in the United States and Canada. The UOC-USA grew quickly, and by 1932 it included 32 parishes and 25 priests.
Large numbers of Ukrainians who had formerly belonged to the Russian Orthodox church and the Ukrainian Catholic church joined the newly formed Ukrainian Orthodox church in Canada. After 1924 the UOCC insisted on retaining its administrative independence under Rev Semen Sawchuk as church administrator and president of the consistory. By the end of 1928 the church had approximately 64,000 followers, organized in 152 parishes served by 21 priests.
The church, priests, and faithful refused to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA because they questioned the canonicity of Archbishop Ioan Teodorovych's episcopal consecration. Rev Yosyf Zhuk (a Catholic priest from Galicia) was selected as the church's bishop in 1931 and he was succeeded by Bishop Bohdan Shpylka (consecrated in 1937) under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople.
Some priests and faithful, however, questioned the canonicity of Ioan Teodorovych’s episcopal ordination and formed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. The Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese was founded in 1938 when a group of 37 Ruthenian Eastern Catholic parishes, under the leadership of Fr. Orestes Chornock, were received into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.