The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (UOC-USA) serves as an extension of Ecumenical Patriarchate in America and currently boasts approximately 85 active parishes and missions.
Consistory offices and headquarters of this church can be found in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. Their official organ, Ukrainian Orthodox Word (with both Ukrainian and English versions available monthly), is published.
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Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skrypnyk)
Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skrypnyk), has led the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America for over 25 years, and his cathedral church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is Saint Vladimir the Great Church.
The Metropolitan serves as head of the Church governing body, which comprises various bishops and over one hundred clergymen. He also acts as President of the Consistory for Metropolia.
His spiritual leadership spans across Western Europe and England as well as Australia and New Zealand, where the Church has parishes. For over 20 years he has led UOC in North America as it seeks to expand.
In 1923, a group of Ukrainian priests from the United States petitioned the Ecumenical Patriarchate for recognition of their Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), an unrecognized jurisdiction formed after Ukraine achieved independence from Russia in 1918.
After World War II, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America began gaining more recognition in America; however, disputes regarding property ownership and clerical celibacy still persisted. A meeting involving 15 clergy and 24 laity was convened in Allentown Pennsylvania that led to the establishment of its diocese: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America.
During World War II, several bishops from Poland and Eastern Europe were sent to North America to lead Ukrainian churches. Some were affiliated with UAOC while others belonged to either Belarussian Autocephalous Orthodox Church or unrecognized groups.
In the 1940s, Nazi authorities forced many Ukrainian churches to close or establish new ones due to persecution from Russia. Others were either destroyed or rebuilt using “Orthodox” architecture and materials from Russia.
Churches built with Nazi German supervision included Church of St. Andrew in Kiev designed and constructed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
Mstyslav Skrypnyk was appointed Patriarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) in Kyiv in 1990, later becoming a candidate for Moscow Patriarchate. However, during his campaign he faced much opposition from within Ukraine’s official Orthodox Church that included Moscow Patriarch Ignatiy II as well as many Ukrainian bishops seeking unity with Russia Empire.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the US is led by a Metropolitan (Primate), three Bishops, and over one hundred clergymen. Its governing body, known as a Consistory, meets twice each year in Philadelphia and is led by His Eminence Most Reverend Mstyslav (Skrypnyk), who has served as its President for 25 years – serving both as spiritual head and principal chaplain at St. Vladimir the Great Church in Philadelphia.
He was joined by his brother, Bishop Daniel Zhoba (Zhobsky). Bishop Daniel serves as Vicar of Kyiv Diocese and Assistant to President of Consistory; additionally he edits English edition of Ukrainian Orthodox Word magazine.
In the 1930s, an American group of Ukrainian immigrants met regularly in New York City, electing Fr. Joseph Zuk as its leader before receiving recognition from Constantinople’s Patriarchate in 1937.
However, many attempts were made to break away and establish the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of the United States (UAOC), but most failed despite some remarkable work done by Bp. Bogdan from Russia who enjoyed support from Greeks.
One of the first things he did was establish missions throughout the United States, including those in Pittsburgh, PA and Detroit, MI.
These missions expanded quickly, especially in the western part of the country, along with parishes and communities within these dioceses that also experienced rapid expansion. Furthermore, their Catholic presence spread further throughout America.
At last, in the late 1990s, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA became the first Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox church outside Ukraine to become part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, being officially accepted into full membership on March 12, 1995. At that time, its Diocese made an invaluable contribution to Ecumenical Patriarchate life.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is an autonomous religion; therefore it does not appoint a Pope like the Roman Catholic Church does, instead having a Patriarch located in Istanbul – Turkey’s capital city.
Eastern Orthodoxy comprises about fourteen or fifteen autocephalous (self-governing) churches that are led by their own Patriarch, with the Russian Orthodox Church being one of them and accounting for around one third of all Orthodox Christians worldwide.
United States of America The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate governed by two bishops and 85 parishes active. Metropolitan Antony currently leads this branch which maintains its office and Consistory in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
Archbishop Antony has long been a supporter of Ukraine’s Orthodox Christian community, which has experienced severe religious repression since gaining independence from Russia in 1991. He frequently visits Ukraine and provides aid directly to faithful there; additionally he promotes religious educational programs by opening soup kitchens and religious schools across Ukraine.
Even though Ukraine was historically home to many churches and parishes of various denominations, some have been closed or taken over by both sides in the conflict, destroyed, vandalized, or used by armed troops from Russia as bases for combat operations against religious activities in certain regions.
Despite repression, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues to flourish with over one million members spread out among 900 churches throughout Ukraine and a handful of international congregations located abroad.
However, UOC leadership has been slow in sending an appropriate message to its priests and laity that the Church is independent from Russia; this has caused strains between Moscow and UOC that result in clergy openly cooperating with Russia either on political or professional grounds.
Recent recommendations by the Synod have suggested that UOC clergy in Ukraine be allowed to serve as military chaplains for those signing up with either the Ukrainian National Guard or Russian Army, which may not sit well with most other Orthodox clergy in Ukraine. Furthermore, many of those involved have longstanding family ties with Russia that increase tension within the church and make communicating a message of separation more challenging for leadership.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA is one of two jurisdictions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, led by two bishops and hosting approximately 85 active parishes across its jurisdiction. It has its head offices and Consistory located in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
In 1929, when Ukrainian Greek Catholics became dissatisfied with Vatican rules regarding clergy celibacy and ownership of parish property, 15 clergy and 24 laymen met at St Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Allentown Pennsylvania to form the Ukrainian Orthodox Catholics of America diocese.
At that time, its bishops were appointed by Patriarch Mstyslav who, from exile in Constantinople (Turkey), was determined to unite Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in North America who had previously been marginalized within Ukraine itself. His mission was to unify Ukrainians living outside their native land – such as those residing in North America or Canada who had long been considered second class citizens by Ukrainian society.
In the United States, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church maintains its central offices and Consistory in South Bound Brook, New Jersey as well as numerous parishes across the state. Their official organ is Ukrainian Orthodox Word which publishes both in Ukrainian and English editions.
Missionary efforts comprise an essential element of church activity, encouraging members to follow God as His representatives on Earth. Their efforts provide hope, peace, and sustenance for thousands around the globe.
Archbishop Antony has dedicated much of his time as Archbishop to unifying Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in America. As president of the Council of Bishops for UOC of USA and an active figure within Ukrainian American communities.
His efforts have resulted in the establishment of the Museum of Ukrainian Heritage, housing priceless artifacts of Ukrainian culture. Additionally, he helped reorganize church youth programs.
He is deeply passionate about supporting vocations to priesthood and diaconate, which led him to found the Vocations and Clergy Support Commission which administers the Metropolitan John (Theodorovich) Scholarship Fund.