Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America

Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America (Союз українців католиків Провидіння; Soiuz ukraintsiv katolykiv Provydinnia). A fraternal benefit and insurance association founded by Bishop Soter Ortynsky in 1912 for the purpose of providing moral support and material aid to Ukrainian immigrants in the United States of America. Ortynsky had earlier desired to create a Catholic fraternal institution and had attempted to do so by proposing a change to the constitution of the American Ruthenian National Council (later the Ukrainian Alliance of America) that would give it an explicitly (Catholic) confessional rather than secular character. Strong opposition to his initiative convinced the bishop to abandon this approach and to set up a separate body. The Providence Association’s founding conference took place in New York after a number of priests and some lay members resigned from the American Ruthenian National Council. The first Providence branches arose in New York, Newark, Jersey City, and Yonkers. By 1914, when its head office was moved to Philadelphia, the association had about 600 members. By 1971 Providence had 212 branches with a membership of 18,700 and assets of 6.8 million dollars, and by 1989 it had 213 branches with almost 18,000 members and assets of about 12 million dollars. Besides helping the families of its members, the association sponsored Ukrainian nurseries and schools in Galicia, Ukrainian eparchies in the United States and Argentina, Ukrainian theological seminaries and schools in the United States, and various cultural events. It was a founder and presidium member of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) until 1982, when it withdrew its participation in the UCCA in order to remain neutral in its dispute with the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council. Since 1912 it has published the paper Ameryka (Philadelphia), and since 1918 an annual calendar (kalendar). It has also published some valuable monographs, such as Hryhorii Luzhnytsky’s Ukraïns'ka Tserkva mizh Skhodom i Zakhodom (The Ukrainian Church between East and West, 1954) and Sviatoslav Hordynsky’s The Ukrainian Icon of the 12th to 18th Centuries (1973). The presidents of Providence have been Revs Ye. Barysh (1912), M. Pidhoretsky (1912–16), Petro Poniatyshyn (1916), V. Dovhovych (1916–18), M. Kuziv (1919–21), I. Ortynsky (1922–9), A. Lotovych (1930–41), V. Bilynsky (1942–57), Roman Lobodych (1958–9), R. Sukhy (1959–61), S. Tykhansky (1962–5), M. Kharyna (1966–78), Robert Moskal (1978–82), S. Chomko (1982–6), and M. Kanavan (1986–90). The association’s history is presented in jubilee books published in 1974 (60th anniversary) and 1987 (75th anniversary).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]




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