risu.org.ua - On Sunday, October 30 at 3 p.m. a special moleben prayer and panakhyda service in memory of the late Bishop Soter Ortynsky will be led by Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka at the golden domed Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 830 North Franklin Street, Philadelphia, Pa. Archbishop Soroka will be joined in the prayer service by brother bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic, Byzantine Catholic and Latin Catholic Churches, together with the priests and deacons of the Philadelphia Archeparchy.
This year, 2016, the Ukrainian Catholic Church observes the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1866 and the centennial anniversary of his death in 1916.
Father Kaszczak recently authored a book "Bishop Soter Stephen Ortynsky: Genesis of the Eastern Catholic Churches in America", which recounts the struggles Bishop Ortynsky experienced as the first hierarch for Eastern Catholics in the United States in the early twentieth century, before the canonical establishment of separate jurisdictions for Ukrainian Catholic and Byzantine Catholic Churches in the United States.
Bishop Soter Stephen Ortynsky (1866-1916) was the first Bishop of all Eastern Catholics in the United States.
He was born in Ortynychi, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine on January 29, 1866. He made his vows with the Order of Saint Basil the Great on January 1, 1889 and on July 18, 1891 he was ordained a priest by Metropolitan of Lviv, Sylvester Sembratovych and celebrated his Liturgy of Thanksgiving at the Monastery Church in Dobromyl.
Pope Pius X appointed him bishop for the Eastern Catholics in America and named him titular Bishop of Daulia on March 26, 1907
He was consecrated bishop on May 12, 1907 by Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky, Bishop Constantine Chechovych and Bishop Gregory Chomyshyn in St. George's Cathedral, Lviv.
On May 28, 1913, the Apostolic See named Bishop Ortynsky as exarch, granting him full ordinary jurisdiction, making him independent of the jurisdiction of every Latin diocese in the United States.
Bishop Ortynsky contracted pneumonia and died in Philadelphia on March 24, 1916. An estimated 10-15 thousand people attended his funeral. The celebrant was the Vicar General of the Philadelphia Eparchy, Very Rev. Aleksander Dzubay.
His body is buried in the crypt of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia, Pa.