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Paris-based Ukrainian Catholic bishop to head U.S. archeparchy

On July 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Michel Hrynchyshyn, head of the eparchy serving Ukrainian Catholics in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland, and appointed Bishop Gudziak his successor. He was ordained a bishop Aug. 26, 2012, and installed in a Divine Liturgy Dec. 2, 2012.

On Jan. 18, 2013, Pope Benedict raised the Paris-based church jurisdiction to the level of eparchy and named it after its cathedral, St. Volodymyr the Great.

Archbishop Gudziak is the author of over 50 studies on the history of the church, theological training and on different topics of cultural relevance. In May 2018, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree during the 164th commencement of Syracuse University.

He will remain president of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, which in effect amounts to continuing to serve as chair of the board of trustees.

He also will continue to be a member of the permanent synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which meets four times a year, usually in Kiev.

The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and parts of eastern Pennsylvania. It has a total Catholic population of about 15,000.

“At the beginning I seek to listen and learn, to become brother, father, and pastor for the clergy and faithful,” Archbishop Gudziak said about his appointment. “It is important to pray and think things through, to develop a future vision for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia and to work closely with the other eparchies of the metropolia, as well the Eastern Catholic, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bishops and their clergy and faithful.

“I hope that we can make a step forward in seeking ecumenical cooperation with our Protestant neighbors, and interreligious, inter-ethnic and interracial harmony,” he continued. “The poor and marginalized should be in our heart.”

For example, he said, “the mentally handicapped became central to our pedagogy and mission” at the Ukrainian Catholic University, and “the poor can help us see God, because Jesus is poor in this world.”

“I believe that we need to listen to each other and speak heart to heart,” the archbishop said. “I hope to lead by listening to the Lord and my brothers and sisters. For now, it’s essential for me to hear well and not prematurely to formulate agendas, which might be merely of my own making.”

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Editor’s Note: The full text of Q-and-A with Archbishop Gudziak can be found on the Facebook page of the Philadelphia Archeparchy, https://bit.ly/2V3swld. Also, the archbishop has a greeting to the archeparchy posted on YouTube: https://bit.ly/2SNhMLg.





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