The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
In 1918 a group of Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Canada, fearing that their Ukrainian identity could not be preserved as Catholics, decided to become Orthodox. Initially without a bishop, in 1919 they accepted the leadership of Metropolitan Germanos of the Patriarchate of Antioch. He served until 1924 when Archbishop John Theodorovich, a non-canonical bishop from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church arrived in the United States. In that year the Canadian Ukrainian Orthodox invited Theodorovich to serve as their bishop as well. During the following years he headed both churches, visiting Canada during the summer, but the Canadian church remained administratively independent. It was not considered canonical by the rest of the Orthodox churches because of this connection to the non-canonical church in Ukraine.
In 1946 Archbishop Theodorovich was forced to resign as head of the church in Canada because of the questionable nature of his episcopal consecration. In 1947 he was replaced by Ukrainian Autocephalous Archbishop Mstyslav Skrypnyk who had recently arrived from Europe. He resigned in 1950 and transferred to the church in the United States. In 1951 the Canadian church was organized into a metropolitanate with three dioceses headed by bishops who had been ordained by the Orthodox Church of Poland. By this time the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada had almost 300 congregations, 70 priests and some 110,000 members.
New efforts to regularize the church’s canonical status began in the late 1980s and culminated in the official reception of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on April 1, 1990. According to the agreement with Constantinople, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada retained its distinctive internal structure and organization. The Primate as well as other candidates for the episcopate must be approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate before consecration, and the church receives its Holy Myrrh from Constantinople. The church is on record as supporting the formation of a single canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Although there have been some attempts to use English in the liturgy, the church consistory has repeatedly confirmed Ukrainian as the official liturgical language. Clergy are trained at St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg. It was founded in 1932 and since 1962 has been affiliated with the University of Manitoba. Today the church as some 275 places of worship in Canada. According to the church’s website, it had about 128,000 members in 1989, between 20 and 25 percent of the country’s Ukrainian population. In the 2001 Canadian census, however, 32,720 people self-identified as Ukrainian Orthodox. The church’s headquarters are located at 9 St. John’s Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2W 1G8.
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2011
Head: Metropolitan Yurij (born 1951, elected 2010)
Title: Archbishop of Winnipeg and Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Residence: Winnipeg, Manitoba