Soter Ortynsky

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Stephen Soter Ortynsky
Greek Catholic Church in the United States
Bishop Ortynsky.jpg
ChurchGreek Catholic Church
AppointedMarch 26, 1907
Term endedMarch 24, 1916
SuccessorConstantine Bohachevsky, Basil Takach
Orders
OrdinationJuly 18, 1891 (Priest)
ConsecrationMay 12, 1907 (Bishop)
by Andrey Sheptytsky
Personal details
BornJanuary 29, 1866
Ortynychi, (Galicia)
DiedMarch 24, 1916
Philadelphia
 
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Stephen Soter Ortynsky
Greek Catholic Church in the United States
Bishop Ortynsky.jpg
ChurchGreek Catholic Church
AppointedMarch 26, 1907
Term endedMarch 24, 1916
SuccessorConstantine Bohachevsky, Basil Takach
Orders
OrdinationJuly 18, 1891 (Priest)
ConsecrationMay 12, 1907 (Bishop)
by Andrey Sheptytsky
Personal details
BornJanuary 29, 1866
Ortynychi, (Galicia)
DiedMarch 24, 1916
Philadelphia

Stephen Soter Ortynsky (1866-1916) was the first Bishop of all Greek Catholics in the United States.

Life[edit source | edit]

Soter Stephen Ortynsky de Labetz was born in Ortynychi, Zakarpatska Oblast, Ukraine on January 29, 1866, then part of (Galicia), (Ruthenia).

January 1, 1889 he made his vows with the Basilian Order.

July 18, 1891 he was ordained a priest by Metropolitan of Lviv Sylvester Sembratovych and celebrated his first Liturgy at the Monastery Church in Dobromyl.

March 26, 1907 Pope Pius X appointed him bishop for the Greek Catholics in America and named him titular Bishop of Daulia.

May 12, 1907 consecrated Bishop by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, Bishop Constantine Chechovych and Bishop Gregory Chomyshyn in St. George's Cathedral, Lviv.

May 28, 1913, the Apostolic See granted Bishop Ortynsky full ordinary jurisdiction making him independent of every Latin diocese. On August 17, 1914, the Congregation de propaganda fide put out a decree about the governance of the Greek Catholic Church for the next ten years called: “Cum Episcopo”. It had four main points: 1) The bishop is subject only to the apostolic see and his seat is to be New York while the vicar general and rector of seminary should be in Philadelphia; 2) That they establish a seminary; 3) That the faithful should belong to their own church; and 4) Deals with mixed marriages and states that youth should be baptized in the rite of the father.

Bishop Ortynsky contracted pneumonia and died in Philadelphia, PA on March 24, 1916. An estimated 10-15 thousand people attended the funeral. The celebrant was the Vicar General of the Eparchy, Very Rev. Aleksander Dzubay.

Mission[edit source | edit]

Coat of Arms of Bishop Ortynsky

His short tenure as Bishop was noted by his work setting up orphanages and a cathedral in Philadelphia but unfortunately also for schism with the priests and parishes under his authority. The exact reasons for the disagreements with the bishop are unclear. Initially they might have arisen from Bishop Ortynsky being under the authority of the Archbishop of Philadelphia as per the order of Pope Pius X. Also, that Bishop Ortynsky was Ruthenian and Ruthenians were subject people of the Hungarians within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that Hungarian priests may have thought that they should not be under a Ruthenian. Bishop Ortynsky himself also noted that members of Russian Orthodox Church were fomenting trouble.

“Bishop Ortynski complains, however, that his work is interfered with by members of the schimastic Russian Church, whose representatives at times attend the religious services of the Ruthenians and create disturbances. The motives of the schismatics, the Bishop says are not religious, but political. They owe, first of all, allegiance to the Czar, and hence try to increase Russian influence by winning over the various Slav nationalities to the State Church.”[1]

November 27, 1944 the Liberty Ship SS. Soter Ortynsky was launched. Hull number 2331, and was scrapped in 1960.

Notes[edit source | edit]

External links[edit source | edit]

Preceded by
Incumbent
Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
1907—1916
Succeeded by
Constantine Bohachevsky