Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carpatho-Rusyn Saint Alexis of Khust

Holy Father & Confessor Alexis of Khust (Hust) – Our venerable and God-bearing Father Alexis Kabaliuk, Apostle of Carpatho-Russia (August 30, 1877 – December 2, 1947), was a leader of the Carpathian Orthodox in the early 20th century. His feast days are celebrated on October 21 and December 2. There is an akathist written for him.

Alexander Ivanovich Kabaliuk was born into a Greek Catholic (Uniate) family but converted to Orthodoxy as a young man. He became an archimandrite and played a major role in reviving Orthodoxy in Transcarpathia in the early 20th century, and his missionary activities were persecuted by the Austrian-Hungarian authorities, who suspected Orthodox believers of pro-Russian sympathies. On the eve of World War I, Kabalyuk was sentenced to jail, and following his release he was one of the leaders of the Carpathian Orthodox until his death in 1947. He is considered an Orthodox hero and was glorified in 2001 by the Church of Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate) as the first Subcarpathian Russian Orthodox saint.

His relics are at the St. Nicolas monastery in the village of Iza in the Ukraine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Synaxis of Carpatho-Rusyn Saints

On August 28, 2005, Metropolitan Nicholas of the American Carpatho- Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) proclaimed that starting in 2006 the Second Sunday after Pentecost will be commemorated as the Synaxis (Gathering) of the Carpatho-Rusyn Saints of the Holy Orthodox Faith.

On the Orthodox Church calendar, the first Sunday after Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints of the Orthodox Church. The Kondak for that Sunday tells us: "The universe offers Thee the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of great creation, O Lord and Creator. Through the Theotokos and their prayers establish Thy Church in peace."

The Second Sunday after Pentecost is designated in some calendars as the Sunday of the Regional Saints. So it is appropriate that the Carpatho- Rusyn saints are commemorated on this day.

The twelve Saints who are remembered are:

1. St. Maxim of Gorlich. He was martyred in 1914 for his priestly witness against Austro-Hungarian oppression.

2. St. Ludmilla. Martyred in 926. She was the grandmother of King Wenceslaus.

3. St. Procopius of Sazava. He built several monasteries in the 11th century which subsequently became centers of Orthodox Christianity when the Church came under severe governmental opposition.

4. St. Rostislav. As prince of Moravia in the 9th century, SS Cyril and Methodius were encouraged to begin their missionary work with the Slavic people.

5. and 6. St. Cyril and his brother St. Methodius who established the Orthodox faith and were the first Orthodox witnesses to the Slav nations. They lived around the year 863.

7. St. Wenceslaus. The king of the Czech and Moravian lands known for his charity and promoting of Christianity among his subjects. He was killed in 929. He was the subject of the well-known (Christmas song "Good King Wenceslaus." Sometimes identified as Vagislav in martyrologies.

8. St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. He was instrumental in evangelizing many in the early 20th century.

9. St. Moses the Hungarian. He was a slave for many years. He entered a monastery in the eleventh century. He endured much for his Christian faith while a slave.

10. St. Gorazd. He was the bishop of Moravia and Sleizska. During World War II, he harbored members of the resistance in the Orthodox cathedral in Prague. He was executed by the Nazi.

11. St. Alexis of Khust. He led many Carpathian people to the Orthodox faith about the same time as did St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. He was persecuted by the Nazi during World War II.

12. St. Ephrem of New Torzhok

Over the next few weeks I will be exloring more about all of the Carpatho-Rusyn Saints, their lives and their service to the Carpatho-Rusyn People and the Orthodox Church.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beautiful Carpatho-Rusyn Chapel in Pennsylvania

The Saint Nicholas Chapel mirrors the churches in the homeland of Greek Catholic Union’s founders who came to America from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, present day Eastern Slovakia and Western Ukraine.

The Chapel is a New World re-creation of GCU’s founders’ Old World faith. Their Eastern Christian heritage is reflected in the tranquil, prayerful interior of the Chapel.

Constructed of various hardwoods, the Chapel is a celebration of “God With Us,” a theme echoed in the liturgical services of the Eastern Christian Churches. Saint Nicholas, patron of the GCU and the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, lived in the fourth century in Asia Minor. He was a model of faith and an example of virtue. His most notable attribute was his charity to fellow humans. Featured at the Chapel are ten scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas. Each has a message and a teaching purpose, now recorded on the walls of the Chapel for future generations.

A Museum combining GCU, Greek Catholic, and Carpatho-Rusyn histories is located on the lower level of the Chapel. Many one-of-a-kind artifacts are included in the collection. The Saint Nicholas Chapel, adjacent to the GCU Home Office in Beaver, PA is open and free of charge to interested persons. Reservations are required and may be made by calling GCU at 1-800-722-4428.