Byzantine Rite Christianity in Canada

Byzantine Rite Christianity in Canada refers to all Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic groups in Canada who use the Byzantine Rite.


Eastern Christians may have been in Canada for many years by the 1890s, and Russian Orthodox missionaries from Alaska have have entered Canada, but this has not been proven. In 1891, Ukrainian immigrants began to settle in Canada, and they were either Ukrainian Catholic or Ukrainian Orthodox. Very few priests accompanied the settlers, however, "out of deference to the juristictional claims of the Russian Orthodox Church" over North America, and because in 1894 the Catholic Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith issued an decree forbidding married priests in North America; consequently there are a shortage of Ukrainian priests in Canada. In 1896, a group of Russophile Ukrainians from Wostok, Alberta wrote to the Russian Bishop of Alaska asking for a priest. In 1897, the first recorded Orthodox service was held in Canada at Wostok. Subsequently, Russian Orthodox priests were active in the Ukrainian community, and attracted many converts. The Greek Catholic church's few priests often clashed with Latin hiearchs such as Bishop Legal.

The coming of the Great War dramatically affected the Eastern Church in Canada. The Russian Church lost the prestige of government support and in fact came under suspicion of being controlled by the Bolesheviks. Non-Russian ethnic groups set up their own churches in North America. And the Russian church split into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America, the Russian Orthodox Chruch in America, and some parishes who maintained links with Moscow.

In June 1918, a group of disgruntled Ukrainian Catholics met to create the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Brotherhood, which became the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada.

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