Monday, October 13, 1980

Our Eparchy

Dreams of the Slovaks of Byzantine Rite in Canada became a reality on October 13th 1980, when the Holy Father John Paul II (now of blessed memory), erected the Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius for the Slovaks of Byzantine Rite in Canada.
First waves of Slovaks coming to Canada began in the 1880s, however the first Slovak Greek Catholic parish was founded much later in 1921 in Lethbridge, Alberta. This parish is now under the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Another parish was founded in Montreal in 1930. After WWII more priests (Rusnak, Mina, Krafcik, Chanath, Fuga, Fetsco, Zouzal and others) joined our faithful and started to minister in Canada. This led to more parishes established in Toronto, Oshawa, Hamilton, Welland and Windsor. In 1957, all Slovak parishes belonging to the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and all Eastern Canada were formed into newly- established Slovak deanery, with then Very Rev. Michael Rusnak, CSsR as the first dean. In 1964 Holy See made a further announcement: Fr. Rusnak was appointed an auxiliary bishop to Bishop Borecky of Toronto with rights to be the Apostolic Visitator for all Slovaks of Byzantine Rite in Canada. This remained until October 13th 1980, when the Holy See completed the canonical development of the church structures for Slovaks in Canada by creating an independent Eparchy (eastern equivalent to a diocese). This Eparchy is subject directly under the Holy See. Bishop Rusnak was named the first Eparch. Everyone was filled with joy and gladness that we were recognized before God as another flock of His chosen people. Creation of the Eparchy in those days was also like building a lighthouse for all Greek (Byzantine) Catholics in Slovakia, who were suffering for their faith.
The Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius has jurisdiction over all Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in all of Canada, thus being one of the largest church eparchies in the world.

O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in Him!

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