Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka Biography
September 2, 2014
God’s Martyr, History’s Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishop of Canada is the first complete historical biography of Bishop Nykyta Budka. The author of the biography is Dr. Athanasius McVay.
In his commentary the author of the biography, Fr. McVay, noted that Nykyta Budka is an important figure in Ukrainian, Canadian and Catholic history. His appointment on 15 July 1912 was the first time the Apostolic See of Rome named an Eastern Catholic Bishop with full jurisdiction outside the old continents of Europe and Asia. From an early age he became an educator and supporter of the Ukrainian people and supported their political and cultural freedom. He became one of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants and encouraged Ukrainian immigration to Canada throughout his life; his mission being to sustain Canadian Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in their faith. Budka achieved government recognition for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada as a legal entity. Facing the reality of assimilation, he encouraged his flock to become good Canadians but dedicated himself to preserving Ukrainians’ religious and cultural identity. Bishop Budka’s story is one of endurance. For fifteen years he traveled unceasingly, visiting the Ukrainian settlements and church communities scattered across Canada, celebrating the sacraments, teaching, preaching and comforting the faithful. He invited many Ukrainian priests from Europe and ordained local recruits to serve as missionaries in Canada. He relied upon religious sisters, brothers, and priests to promote Catholic and bilingual education. He sponsored lay people in higher education so that they would become conscientious and self-sacrificing community leaders. He was a poor administrator but a fantastic missionary. He did not receive sufficient financial support from his flock and was forced to rely on grants from Roman Catholic bishops and organizations. He faced bankruptcy on several occasions. In a climate of intense proselytism he battled with many political and religious opponents who sought to draw his flock away from their Catholic Faith. His overwork, stress, and harsh conditions destroyed his delicate health. After requesting an assistant bishop, he was finally asked to resign. For the next seventeen years he provided moral support and ministered to Ukrainians under oppressive Polish, Nazi and Soviet regimes. Together with his fellow Ukrainian Catholic bishops, clergy, religious and laity, he was condemned by Soviet authorities. He died in a prison camp in far-away Kazakhstan. The Catholic Church numbers him among the heavenly martyrs and confessors of the Faith. His story can be described as a life of obedience, work and love of the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s pilgrim people.
God’s Martyr, History’s Witness has been published by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton and the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.
A private launch for contributors and benefactors took place on Augus 22, 2014.
The first public launch will take pace at Verkhovyna, St. Josaphat Cathedral Hall, Edmonton Friday, 24 October 2014.
For the time being, the book is available only through the Edmonton Eparchy Chancery office for $25. Later, it will be available for purchase in other eparchies.
Sources: RISU & www.edmontoneparchy.com