Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America [Українська Православна Церква в Америці, or УПЦА; Ukrainska Pravoslavna Tserkva v Amerytsi, or UOCA]. A church founded in 1928 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that is under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Its predecessor was the American Greek Catholic church, founded in 1926 under the administration of Rev Y. Pelekhovych. The church attracted former Ukrainian Catholics who resented the Latinization of their church and the authority of Roman Catholic hierarchs in the United States (later it attracted some parishes in Canada formed by immigrants from Bukovyna). The church, priests, and faithful refused to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA because they questioned the canonicity of Archbishop Ioan Teodorovych's episcopal consecration. Rev Yosyf Zhuk (a Catholic priest from Galicia) was selected as the church's bishop in 1931 and consecrated in 1932 by the patriarch of Constantinople. He was succeeded by Bishop Bohdan Shpylka (consecrated in 1937), who later was named metropolitan. In the late 1940s some of the UOCA's parishes joined the church headed by Archbishop Teodorovych, and an attempt at uniting the churches was made in 1948, but Bishop Shpylka and some of the parishes refused to join the other group.

In 1959 the UOCA had 37 parishes, 52 priests, and 40,000 faithful. Bishop Andrii Kushchak headed the church from 1967 to 1986. In 1980 the church had 1 bishop and 26 parishes (including several organized in a Canadian administration). In 1983 it was elevated to the status of a metropoly. The UOCA was administered as a part of the Greek Orthodox exarchate in the Americas. It published the quarterly newsletter Ukrainian Orthodox Herald/Ukraïns’kyi pravoslavnyi visnyk (est 1928). In 1987 Bishop Vsevolod Maidansky became head of the church and in 1996 he united the UOCA with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA.

[This article was updated in 2013.]

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