Ortynsky, Soter

Image - Bishop Soter Ortynsky

Ortynsky, Soter [Ортинський, Сотер; Ortyns'kyj], b 26 January 1866 in Ortynychi, Sambir county, Galicia, d 24 March 1916 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ukrainian Catholic bishop and church leader. He entered the Basilian monastic order in 1884 and studied at various Basilian schools before completing his TH D in Cracow. He was ordained in 1891. On the recommendation of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, Pope Pius X appointed him bishop of all Greek Catholics in the United States in March 1907. He was officially consecrated and arrived in the United States in August 1907. He was the first Uniate bishop in the country, and his jurisdiction was initially limited: he was under the authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy until 1913, when the Vatican issued a decree (confirmed by the pope in 1914) naming him full exarch, responsible directly to the pope and with his see in Philadelphia. Ortynsky presided over the rapid growth of the Greek Catholic church in the United States. He founded an orphanage in Philadelphia in 1911, introduced the Basilian order of nuns, organized night schools for deacons, and set up and headed a branch of the Prosvita society. He also founded several church organs, including Eparkhiial’ni visty, Dushpastyr, Misionar (United States), and Ameryka (Philadelphia). Ortynsky’s attempts to extend his episcopal authority over almost all aspects of Ukrainian life in the United States often led to conflicts. His desire to assert church control over the Ukrainian National Association led to a split in the organization; when his efforts failed, he established the rival Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America, in 1912. Ortynsky was the only Greek Catholic bishop to include under his jurisdiction Ukrainian immigrants (Ruthenians) from Transcarpathia; later they became the faithful of Pittsburgh metropoly.

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[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]




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