Monastic orders and religious congregations of the UGCC
Male Monastic Orders and Congregations
Basilians, Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat (OSBM)
The founder of the Basilian Order (OSBM) is St. Basil the Great (4th century).
His ascetic rules became an example for Saint Teodozii Pecherskyi, one of the
first monks on Ukrainian land who founded many monasteries in Ukraine. At the
beginning of the 17th century Metropolitan Veniamyn Rutskyi united the separate
monasteries. He set rules for the monks, which to this day remain the basis
of Basilian life. This reform led to the unprecedented growth of the OSBM. From
the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century the OSBM suffered great
losses for two reasons: (1) it was totally liquidated in those areas which,
as a result of the partition of Poland, had passed under the rule of the Russian
Empire and (2) monasteries within the Austrian Empire were suppressed.
Beginning in 1882, the Jesuit Fathers, at the order of Pope Leo XIII, reformed
the Basilian Order. Basilians trained during this reform became missionaries
to Brazil, Canada, the USA and Argentina. By 1949 the Communist authorities
had liquidated all the Basilian provinces in Europe (except in Poland and Yugoslavia).
Three hundred and fifty Basilians were sent to Siberia. Regardless of this great
loss, the OSBM was active during the underground period of the UGCC. There were
many new vocations. The order also continued to grow in Canada, the USA, Brazil
and Argentina, where there were 31 monasteries and about 250 religious. After
the fall of the Communist regime provinces of the OSBM were revived in Ukraine,
Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Today there are 30 monasteries and 37 residences
in these countries.
Mission of the OSBM: pastoral work-- they serve 62 parishes in Ukraine, about
650 other churches, 9 missions in eastern Ukraine; publishing activities-- the
publishing house Misioner ("Missionary") has its press in Zhovkva,
the publishing house Record of the Order of Saint Basil the Great is in Rome;
educational activities-- almost every province has a house for training young
religious, a house of philosophical studies, a minor seminary; Basilians are
rectors at the Papal College of St. Josaphat in Rome, they broadcast an educational
radio program from the Vatican.
The modern history of the Studite Monks begins at the start of the 20th century.
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky established the order to renew Eastern monasticism
in the Church. The first renewed monastery of the Studite Order was established
in 1904 in Sknyliv, near Lviv. In 1906 Metropolitan Andrey, as the archimandrite
(abbot) of the Studites, set a Typicon (rule book) for the order. Many monks
were repressed during the First World War. At the beginning of the Second World
War there were 196 Studite monks in Galicia (western Ukraine), the Lemkiv region
(in present-day Poland) and the Hutsul region (near the Carpathian Mountains).
The monasteries were liquidated with the coming of the Communist regime, most
of the monks were sent to Siberia. A small group of Studites managed to leave
for the West and to found Holy Dormition Monastery in Woodstock, Canada. After
the Greek Catholic Church was outlawed, the Studites continued to operate in
the underground. In 1963 Patriarch Josyf Slipyj became the order's patron. In
1973 Lubomyr Husar, now the head of the Church, became archimandrite (abbot)
of the Studites outside of Ukraine. Today there are 90 Studite monks in 8 monasteries
in Ukraine, Canada and Italy. There are two lavras (major monasteries).
Mission of the Studites: catechizing children and youth-- every year the Studite
retreat house in Yaremche (in the Carpathian Mountains) hosts 200 children from
the Chernobyl zone; educational activities-- the religious publishing house
Svichado operates from the monastery in Lviv as does a workshop of sacred art,
Rozvii ("Unfolding"); other work-- cultivating medicinal plants, bee
hives. The monastic day is composed of 8 hours of prayer, 8 hours of work and
8 hours of rest.
Redemptorists, Order of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSsR)
St. Alphonsus Liguori founded the Order in 1732. In 1906 the Belgian Redemptorist
Achille Delaere, working among Ukrainians in Canada, began the Eastern rite
branch of the Redemptorists. In 1913 with the encouragement of Metropolitan
Andrey Sheptytsky the Order was founded in Ukraine. At first the Order had its
province in Univ, later in Zboischi in the Lviv region. Eventually the Order
was established in Ternopil, Stanislaviv and Volyn. The Order spread devotion
to the Mother of Perpetual Help and Stanislaviv became the center of societies
for this devotion in the Eastern rite. In 1938 there were about 200 such societies
with about 100,000 members. At the beginning of the Second World War the Redemptorists
had 8 houses and about 70 religious. Many Redemptorists Fathers were later involved
in teaching in the underground seminary.
The Order developed in the diaspora. The Ukrainian Redemptorists in Canada
today have 6 houses, in the USA they have one. Thirty-five religious live in
these buildings, and there are 5 Redemptorist bishops. With the legalization
of the UGCC the Redemptorist Fathers resumed legal pastoral activities. Lviv
became their biggest center (the monastery in Holosko). The Redemptorists also
opened houses in Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Novoiavorivsk
and a mission in Prokopiev (Kemerovsk region, Russia). Today there are 97 Redemptorists
in Ukraine. Students of the Order study in the Warsaw province.
The Lviv province has four confessors of the faith, Bishop Nicholas
Charnetsky and Bishop Basil Velychkovsky, blessed Zenovii Kovalyk and
Mission of the Redemptorists: evangelization of the most needy; spiritual training
of priests of the order, nuns and laypeople, youth ministry; search for new
ways of dialoguing with modern youth.
Redemptorist summer program: Young people work in missions, soup kitchens; they
spend time with the poorest of the poor.
St. Alphonsus Mission (Canada): a Ukrainian Catholic community where secular
young people live and perform missionary work together with Redemptorist Fathers.
Salesians, Congregation of the Salesian Fathers of St. Don Bosco
The founder of the Salesians was the Italian priest St. Don Bosco (1815-1880).
Fr. Kyrylo Seletskyi was the first Ukrainian Salesian. Western Ukraine learned
about the Salesians through Fr. Seletskyi's book Fr. Don Bosco, his life and
work (1900). In the early 1930s Josaphat Kotsylovskyi, bishop of Przemysl, sent
30 of his seminarians to the Congregation's general house in Italy. In 1945
Fr. S. Chmil was the first to be ordained of those who had been sent. After
the war the Salesians extended their work among the Ukrainian diaspora in Western
Europe. A minor seminary was created, first in France and then in Rome (1951-1996).
The Ukrainian Salesians were especially active in Argentina. The Salesian Andrei
Sapelyak became the first bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in Argentina.
With the revival of the UGCC in Ukraine the Salesians renewed their work at
the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Lviv; before the war it
had belonged to the Polish Salesians. Today it is one of the biggest parishes
in Lviv, with about 20,000 faithful. The only canonical Salesian house in Ukraine,
with 27 religious, serves this parish.
Mission of the Salesians: The Salesian Congregation is composed of priests
and lay people. They live together in community. Special attention is given
to youth ministry, especially with youth who have been rejected by society.
There is a youth center, called an oratory, where young people and children
gather for common prayer and leisure. During summer vacation the Salesians organize
daily walks for children and youth to historical places or in parks and scenic
areas. About 400 people take part in these activities yearly.
Miles Jesu (M.J.)
In 1990 at the invitation of the UGCC Miles Jesu ("Soldier of Jesus")
members Tom Creen and Steven Ryan came to Ukraine from America. In 1992 the
first MJ community was established in the village of Bortnyky and in 1993 another
in Lviv. Today 14 members live in the two communities. In addition to consecrated
celibates there are also full members of the community who are married laypeople.
Mission of M.J.: The order arose because of the new understanding of the vocation
of laity in the Church, as explained in the Vatican II constitution Lumen Gentium.
A priority for Miles Jesu is work with the laity: retreats, generally conducted
in the apartments of the faithful, and "Challenge," a special 10-day
retreat. During a Challenge retreat the members of the community live together
with the retreatants, they take part in charitable activities, they invite orphans
and homeless to the community.
Female religious communities
Basilians, Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great (OSBM)
The history of the female branch of the Basilians reaches back to the 4th century.
In 1037 Yaroslav the Wise built the first convent in which nuns lived according
to the rule of St. Basil in Ukraine. With the reforms of Metropolitan Rutskyi
(1617) the convents became independent of each other. After the partition of
Poland monastic life was harshly oppressed. Out of 25 convents in 1772, not
one was left in the territory of Russia and only two in the territory of Austria.
The reform of the Basilian Fathers, and eventually the renewal of the chapter
of the Basilian Sisters thanks to Metropolitan Sheptytsky, led to the development
of convents. Houses of the Basilian Sisters were founded in the USA, Yugoslavia,
Hungary, Argentina, and Slovakia.
In 1951 the Holy See led the centralization of the Order and gave it papal
approval. During the underground period of the UGCC the Order continued. Already
in 1959 new novices appeared in the underground monasteries. Sisters helped
the underground priests in their pastoral work.
Today the Sisters are organized into 7 provinces, 3 delegatures, 3 missions
and 4 contemplative monasteries. In Ukraine, Africa, America, Asia, Europe and
Oceania there are 644 Basilian Sisters, 155 of whom are in Ukraine.
Mission of the Basilian Sisters: the Sisters catechize children, youth and adults
in parishes and schools; they work in charitable institutions: orphanages, hospitals;
they are involved in educational activities, they work as editors in the religious
press, publishing houses.
Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI)
The SSMI were founded in Galicia (western Ukraine) in 1892 as the first active
apostolic congregation of nuns in the Eastern rite. The motivation was to address
the problem of the particular spiritual poverty of the Ukrainian village. The
first house was formed in the village of Zhuzhil at the initiative of Fr. Yeremia
Lomnytskyi, OSBM, Fr. Kyrylo Seletskyi, the local pastor, and Sister Mykhailina
Hordashevska, the first superior of the convent (her religious name is Josaphata).
Sr. Josaphata will be beatified by the Pope during his visit to Ukraine.
In the villages where the SSMI worked, pre-schools were opened, the sick found
care, young and adult women gathered into religious organizations. The people
loved the joyful and tireless sisters of this congregation. Ten years after
the founding about 100 sisters lived in 20 convents. In 1930 the SSMI received
papal approval. With the liquidation of the UGCC they continued activities in
the underground. The SSMI spread to Canada, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia,
Italy, Poland, France, Argentina and Australia. Today in Ukraine (Galicia, eastern
Ukraine and Transcarpathia) there are 25 active communities of the SSMI with
Mission of the SSMI: catechizing children, youth and adults; healing the sick
with natural methods; work in humanitarian institutions, helping people with
Sisters of St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Virgin Mary
The Josephites were founded in 1898 by Fr. Kyrylo Seletskyi. The young ladies
who formed the first house in the village of Tsebliv intended to enter the community
of the Sisters Servants in Zhuzhil, but they were not received into the order.
Fr. K. Seletskyi took them under his care. The ladies gathered for prayer and
together they looked after the sick. In 1906 Fr. Seletskyi acquired some land
and a building for the sisters and for orphan children. At that time the official
name of the congregation was the Society of St. Joseph the Spouse. The Sisters
conducted bookbinding work, wove rugs, sewed and embroidered.
Beginning in 1921 the Redemptorist Fathers, under the spiritual direction of
the bishop of Przemysl, Josaphat Kotsylovskyi, looked after the sisters. In
connection with the internal politics of pre-WWII Poland, the Society ceased
its activities in 1937, but its members created a monastic community. At this
time in the eparchy of Przemysl there were 30 monasteries with 180 sisters.
The Josephites were persecuted with the liquidation of the UGCC, but they did
not cease their activities. Today the main house of the order is in Krakow,
Poland. In Ukraine there are 64 sisters in 11 houses; in Poland there are 16
sisters in 5 houses, in Canada 14 sisters in 2 houses, in Brazil 20 sisters
in 4 houses.
Mission of the Josephites: organizing and caring for orphans, they do civil
work, in hospitals and other places where the weak and the needy are gathered,
they operate an old people's home (Saskatoon, Canada).
Sisters Catechists of Saint Anne
The Sisters of Saint Anne were founded in Brazil by Fr. Omelian Josaphat Ananevych
in 1932. They were at first called Sisters Catechists, Third Order Franciscans.
Their goal was the Christian education of Ukrainians living in Brazil. Since
1962 the Basilian Fathers have been responsible for their spiritual direction.
They have been in Ukraine since 1991.
In Brazil, the USA, Italy and Ukraine there are 18 houses in which 103 sisters
live (Of these there are 18 sisters in 2 houses in Ukraine).
Mission of the Sisters of Saint Anne: catechizing children, youth and adults
in parishes, schools, hospitals, special camps: organization of the Apostleship
of Prayer, Marian Society, Eucharistic Society; work in hospitals, orphanages,
old people's homes; keeping order in churches and taking care of liturgical
Sisters of the Holy Family
The Co-founders of the Sisters of the Holy Family were Father O. Dykyi and
Teklia Yuzefiv from the village of Novyi Martyniv (Ivano-Frankivsk region).
A young girl had been with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the village of Tsebliv.
But because she became sick, she had to leave the convent. Fr. Dykyi founded
a congregation in Zhovkva with an easier rule. In 1912 the convent was moved
to the village of Hoshiv (also in the Ivano-Frankivsk region). When the UGCC
was liquidated in 1946, there were 78 sisters in 20 houses in the Lviv, Stanislaviv
and Przemysl eparchies. In the underground the Sisters prepared children for
first holy communion. They actively worked in the period of the legalization
of the UGCC.
Today in the Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil eparchies there are 103 sisters.
There are also sisters in Italy and Canada.
Mission of the Sisters of the Holy Family: catechizing children and youth;
they work in shelters and orphanages connected with schools. The sisters are
active in missions in eastern Ukraine (Chernobyl, Sumy, Kherson), in Transcarpathia
and among the Ukrainian diaspora in areas of the former Soviet Union (Estonia,
Studite Sisters, Holy Protection Convent
The Studite Order for Women began in Ukraine in 1924 at the initiative of Metropolitan
Andrey Sheptytsky. The first monastery was in the village of Yaktoriv. The Sisters
worked the fields, kept bees, wove baskets, worked in orphanages, kindergartens
and schools. The published the magazine Yasna Put ("The Clear Path").
The foundation of the life of the Studites is ceaseless prayer. In 1950 all
the monasteries of the women Studites were liquidated (except in Przemysl, Poland).
During the time of the underground UGCC 17 nuns entered the monastery.
Today the community has 63 nuns.
The mission of the Studite Sisters: work in hospitals, orphanages, embroidering
liturgical vestments, catechizing, education.Schedule of life in the convent:
8 hours of prayers according to the full ecclesiastical order, 8 hours of work,
8 hours of rest.
The Sisters of the Priest and Martyr St. Josaphat Kuntsevych (Josaphat Sisters)
The Josaphat Sisters were founded in the second half of the 18th century in
the village of Bilii, in the Pidliashshia area where the relics of St. Josaphat
Kuntsevych were located. The founders of the order were Fr. Timotei and Palaheia-Kateryna
Bril. The task of the order was to protect the mortal remains of the priest
and martyr St. Josaphat. The community was considered the Basilian Third Order.
In 1873 Russia liquidated the congregation in Pidliashshia and the Kholm area.
In 1912 the congregation revived its activities at the initiative of Maria Zavaliy
and her sister Anna. That same year in the village of Kizlov in the Busk district
the first novitiate of the congregation opened. The Sisters received land and
lodging in the town of Busk. Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was especially concerned
about the Josaphat Sisters. During the underground UGCC the congregation catechized
children, helped underground priests in their pastoral activities. The Josaphat
Sisters were especially active during the time of the legalization of the UGCC.
Today there are 36 Josaphat Sisters with 8 houses in Ukraine.
Mission of the order: to work to strengthen the Catholic spirit among the Ukrainian
people; teaching girls and women the Catholic faith, propagating the Catholic
press. The Sisters also work in schools and parishes, travel on mission, especially
to eastern Ukraine; they prepare youth for Christian married life.
Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent de Paul (Vincentians)
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky founded the Vincentians in Ukraine in 1926 after
visiting their congregation in Belgium. The first sisters lived in Stanislaviv
(present-day Ivano-Frankivsk), taking care of orphans. In the 1930s the Sisters
took care of the sick in a clinic in Lviv which was founded by Metropolitan
Andrey. In 1939 one hundred and twenty four children from a Vincentian orphanage
were sent to Siberia. The convents were liquidated. Metropolitan Andrey gave
the Sisters refuge in the palace of the metropolitanate. The Sisters took care
of Metropolitan Andrey until his death in 1944. In the underground period the
Sisters continued to work in hospitals, conducting pastoral work there.
Today there are 65 Vincentian Sisters with houses in Lviv and Ternopil. The
Redemptorist Fathers provide spiritual direction for the sisters.
Mission of the order: to help the unfortunate, the most needy, both physically
and spiritually. The Sisters work in the Sheptytsky Clinic in Lviv, in orphanages
in Lviv and Ternopil, they work together with emergency medical workers in Viareggio,
Italy, they care for orphaned children in the Chernobyl zone.
Salesian Sisters, Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians
The Salesian Sisters were founded in 1872 by St. Don Bosco and St. Maria Madzarello
in northern Italy. In Ukraine they began in August, 1992. Their general mission
is to work at the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Lviv.
Mission of the Salesian Sisters: joyful Christian service, ecumenical cooperation,
catechizing children and youth in kindergartens, schools, special camps, hospitals,
rehabilitation centers and with foreign language lessons.
Sisters of the Most Holy Eucharist
Bishop Nicholas Charnetsky founded the Sisters of the Most Holy Eucharist in
1957 after returning from imprisonment. The Sisters worked in the Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk
and Transcarpathia regions. The congregation began with 40 sisters. They worked
in civil jobs, on collective farms, and they also prepared children for first
holy communion, they prepared adults for the sacrament of baptism. They gathered
people for the liturgy. After the Church came out from the underground, His
Beatitude Myroslav-Ivan blessed the development of the congregation. Today there
are 35 Sisters of the Most Holy Eucharist in Ukraine.
Mission of the Sisters: the Sisters work in the consistory, they catechize
children, teach Christian Ethics and foreign languages.
Myrrh-bearing Sisters under the Protection of St. Mary Magdalene
The Myrrh-bearing Sisters were founded in 1910 in Krystynopol (Lviv region)
by Fr. Yulian Datsii, OSBM. The congregation was founded to gather the funds
to build a home for orphans and the poor. The first members of the congregation
vowed to build two buildings: one for the people, one for the congregation.
In 1913 the first convent arose; 15 sisters lived there. In 1938 Hryhorii Khomyshyn,
bishop of Stanislav, invited the congregation to his eparchy.
In 1939 the congregation was dispersed. In the underground the majority of
Sisters began to work in medical institutions. With the money they earned they
sent parcels to priests in Siberia. Not one sister in the underground left the
community; they even grew. After the UGCC came out from the underground the
congregation actively helped in reviving the Church.
There are 42 Myrrh-bearing Sisters, with houses in Ivano-Frankivsk, Bohorodychani
Mission: care of the sick and needy, orphan children, educating children in
the Christian spirit, care of church buildings, adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist.
The congregation is both missionary and contemplative.