1. History of the Eparchy of Peremyshl

All who study the history of religion in Ukraine agree that Christianity was accepted first in Transkarpathia, then Galicia, and then in other territories of Ukraine. They also agree that after Mukachiv, Peremyshl was the second religious Center, and eparchy, in Ukraine. The Ukrainians in Galicia acquired Christianity through the efforts of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
In those early centuries, the Christian missionaries had difficulty in converting the eastern Slavs to Christianity because of the language barrier. The missionaries from the west used Latin which was totally foreign, while those from the east used Greek which was not understood either. The task of conversion was simplified by St. Cyril who composed the Glagolithic/Cyrillic script. St. Cyril and his brother, Methodius, were missionaries and bishops in Syrmium and Pannonia, today Yugoslavia, and their authority extended into the Great Moravian State. By means of the Cyrillic script and the old Slavonic language, Sts. Cyril and Methodius managed to transcribe religious books and instruct newly ordained priests in the religious calendar and in church services.
During the time of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the Byzantine Church extended west and included Krakiv. The churches in the famous Krakiv castle of Vavel were, in fact, tserkvy at one time. Similarly, churches in Novy Sanch were tserkvy at the time of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Archeological excavations in 1958-60 proved that the ancient foundations within the Peremyshl fortification walls are those of Byzantine Churches built about the year 900.
The spread of the Byzantine Church was halted after the death of St. Methodius in 885. The Great Moravian prince, Svyatopolk, banished the disciples of St. Methodius at the instigation of Latin clergy, who maintained that Christianity must be preached only in one of the three languages used on Jesus Christ's Cross. These were Latin, Greek and Hebrew. They deplored that the spread of Christianity with the aid of the Cyrillic script and old Slavonic language was heresy.
The banished missionaries left for other countries, including Ukraine and Poland. Scholars believe that the Peremyshl Eparchy had its beginnings in 899, and that the first tserkva was built about 909. By the time the Kievan prince, Volodymyr, conquered and united the territories of the White Croats with Kievan Rus in 981, the inhabitants were already Christians, and Peremyshl already had a bishop.
Religious life in Peremyshl and its territories prospered after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion in 988. The first cathedral, that of St. John the Baptist, was built within the Peremyshl fortification in 1119 by Prince Volodar. Later, in about 1150, the eparchy of Halych was established, and the first bishop there was transferred from Peremyshl. There are very few notations covering this period, and, as a result, the names of and information about the early bishops of Peremyshl are not known. The first bishop about whom we know a great deal was Antonio Dobrynya Jadreykovych (1218-1225). He and other bishops are listed following this section.
When Galicia was conquered by Poland in 1349, the ownership of most lands was transferred to the Polish king, who was also responsible for the physical and spiritual well-being of the country. Where the king donated lands to one of his vassals, all activities on those lands were under the vassal's control. A good portion of the lands that are covered by this publication became the property of the Roman Catholic bishop is Krakiv, who was, therefore, the one who determined the economic and religious development of most of Lemkoland.
The installation of a Roman Catholic bishop in Peremyshl (1375) brought friction between the Eastern and Western Churches. One of the first points of conflict concerned the confiscation of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in 1412. Subsequently, in 1460, this cathedral was dismantled, and its materials used to build the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Peter, outside the castle fortifications. Before the cut stones were used, they were hauled to the river to be "cleansed from the Eastern schism". This cathedral, which burned down in 1495, was under reconstruction until 1571 and is still standing. It should also be pointed out that St. Peter's stands on the site of another ancient tserkva, that of St. Nicholas. The foundations of St. Nicholas can be seen in the cellar of St. Peter's Cathedral.
Another conflict involved the printing of religious texts and materials. As is well known, the first printing of a Bible in Latin was completed by John Gutenberg in 1456. It was only 35 years later that a Lemko by the name of Svatoslav Fiol (Viol) published five religious books in Cyrillic in Krakiv in 1491. Until recently, Fiol was thought to be a German, but in fact he was a resident of Krakiw, a Ukrainian Lemko, and a descendant of the White Croats. He learned the printer's art in Germany, was financed by Ukrainian magnates and the Byzantine church, opened a printing shop in Krakiv in 1483 and by 1491 was printing:

Osmohlasnyk - 357 pages (Book of Eight Tones)
Chasoslovets - 789 pages. (Book of Liturgical verse)
Triod Pisna - 616 pages (Lenter Triodion)
Triod Tsvitna - 712 pages (Bright Triodion)
Psalter - paging unknown
In 1492, he was brought before an inquisitional court held by Cardinal Fredrick Jadyla. His shop was closed down, his presses destroyed, and his publications were burned as being heretical. He had to assure the court that he would never again print in Cyrillic. The destruction was so complete that there are only a few copies of the first four publications, and none of the fifth publication, available today.
Incidents of friction were also caused by the Polish landowners who pressured inhabitants to switch from the Byzantine to the Roman Catholic Church. As a prime example, one can cite Kateryna Vapovska who, on January 23, 1593, issued an edict in which she instructed her subordinates to promote the changing of tserkvy into kostely, and the Roman Catholic clergy to encourage the baptism of and attendance in kostels by the Ukrainian population. Such actions resulted in the transfer of whole communities from the Byzantine to the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th century.
In 1595, the Ukrainian bishops accepted the union with Rome which was announced in 1555. This Union, called the Union of Berestya, recognized the Pope in Rome as the visible head of Christ's Church, and accepted his supremacy in religious matters. This union also accepted the separate organization of the Ukrainian church, its customs, its liturgy, and its laws.
Although the bishop of Peremyshl, Most Rev. Mykhail Kopystynskyj, signed the original acts of union, he withdrew his agreement before they were made public in 1596. He, together with the bishop in Lviv, the Most Rev. Hedeon Balaban, remained outside the union.
It should be pointed out that the Lemkos accepted Christianity from Sts. Cyril and Methodius while the Kievan Rus accepted Christianity from Byzantium. At that time, Byzantium was in agreement with Rome, and Sts. Cyril and Methodius were agents of Rome. The Christianity accepted by both parties was therefore Catholic. The Great Schism between Rome and Byzantium that began in 1054, did not affect the church in Ukraine until the 13th Century. The Union of Berestia was intended to solve the east-west problems for Ukrainians.
When Mykhail Kopystynskyj refused the union, the Lemko deaneries, that is, deaneries comprising the western portion of the eparchy, united under the leadership of Rev. Harasym Dubytskyj, separated from the eparchy and accepted union. This situation persisted for 150 years. There were two bishops in Peremyshl, one was united with Rome, the other was not. The Lemkos were always a part of the united eparchy. In 1692, Bishop Innokantyj Wynnytskyj accepted union on behalf of the whole eparchy, and, since that time, all the bishops in Peremyshl have been united with Rome.
After the partitioning of Poland, the territory of the Peremyshl eparchy was included in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Here, the church was treated relatively well until 1934, and church activities were broadened to include schools, reading houses, cooperatives, credit unions, and clubs promoting sobriety.

On February 10, 1934, Rome, under pressure from the Polish government and church authorities, separated the Lemko deaneries from the eparchy of Peremyshl, and appointed an Apostolic Administrator for them. The Polish plan for these deaneries was their quick assimilation and inclusion into the Roman Catholic Church. It must be said that Lemkos showed themselves to be strongly attached to other Ukrainians, both spiritually and ethnically. Eleven years under apostolic administration did not bring about the hoped-for assimilation by the Poles. As a result, most of the Lemkos, together with other Ukrainians were expelled in 1945 to the URSR. The remnants were transplanted to the northern and western borders of Poland.
Such is the situation today, more than forty years later, a period of suffering and of constant endeavor to retain religious and national traditions and identity and to pass these traditions on to future generations.


Bishops of the Eparchy of Peremyshl
1. Antonij Jadrenkowyc 1218-1225
2. Unknown bishop
3. Ilarion 1254
4. Awraam (Abraham) 1271
5. Jeremija (Jaremia) 1282
6. Serhij 1282-1288
7. Memnon 1288
8. Ilarion 1292-1302
9. Heorhij (George) 1315
10. Marko (Mark) 1330-1341
11. Kyrylo Woloshyn 1353
12. Ilarion 1366-1385
13. Wasylij (Basil) 1385-1391
14 Atanazij 1391-1407
15. Gelazij 1415
16. Ilija (II) 1422-1440
17. Atanazij Drohojeweky 1440-1443
18. Atanasij Bireckyj 1446-1467
19. Joan Bireckyj 1442-1476
20. Joannikij 1491-1498
21. Antonij Onyka (Antony) 1498-1521
22. Joakym 1522-1529
23. Lawrentij Tarleckyj 1528-1549
24. Antonij Radylowskyj 1549-1581
25. Arsenij Brylynskyj 1581-1591
26. Mychajlo Kopystynskyj 1591-1610
27. Atanazij Krupeckyj 1610-1652 (U)
27a. Joan Chlopeckyj 1611-1620 (N)
28. Prokopij Chmilowskyj 1652-1664 (U)
28a. Isaakij Kepynskyj 1620-1633 (N)
29. Antin Terleckyj 1664-1669 (U)
29a. Joan Popel 1633
29b. Sylvester Hulewyc 1634-1645 (N)
30. Iwan Malachowskyj 1669-1691 (U)
30a. Astonij Wynnyckyj 1650-1679 (N)
31.Inokentij Wynnyckyj 1679-1700 (U)
32. Heorhij Wynnyckyj 1700-1713
33. Jeronim Ustryckyj 1715-1746
34. Onufrij Shumlanskyj 1746-1762
35. Atenazij Sheptyckyj 1762-1779
36. Maksymillian Ryllo 1776-1793
37. Antonij Anhelowyc 1796-1808
38. Mychailo Lewyckyj 1813-1818
39. Iwan Snihyrskyj 1818-1847
40. Hryhorij Jachymowyc 1848-1860
41. Toma Polanskyj 1860-1869
42. Iwan Stupnyckyj1871-1890
43. Julian Pelesh1891-1896
44. Konstantyn Cechowyc1897-1915
45. Josafat Kocylowskyj1917-1946

U - indicates united with Rome
N - indicates not united with Rome


On the territory of the Eparchy of Peremyshl, within the boundaries of today's Poland, lived 940,000 Ukrainians of the Byzantine Catholic faith. They worshipped in 689 tserkvy, and were organized into 363 parishes. The following data can be deduced from the above numbers:

* the average number of faithful per parish was 1,500;
* the average parish consisted of two tserkvy, the mother tserkva and a filial one;
* the average number of souls per tserkva was 600;

Today's count indicates that out of the 689 tserkvy that existed in 1939;

* 346 tserkvy (50.2%)no longer exist, or are in an irreparable condition;
* 245 tserkvy (35.6%) have been acquired by the Polish Roman Catholic Church and converted into kostely;
* 61 tserkvy (6.9%) remain in reasonably good condition, but are closed or used for other than sacral needs;
* 28 tserkvy (4.0%) were acquired and are used by the Orthodox Church;
* 9 tserkvy (1.3%) are retained as museums. Some remain standing on their original locations, while others have been moved onto museum property.
The majority of the deaneries of the eparchy of Peremyshl were within the ethnographic boundaries of Ukrainian settlement. The overall composition of the population on these territories was:

* Ukrainians 65%
* Poles 20%
* Jews 9%
* other 2%.

However, it should be pointed out that the majority of Poles and Jews resided in towns, while the Ukrainians lived in villages. With the population divided in this manner, we have the following compositions:


* Ukrainians 75%
* Poles 20%
* Jews 3%
* other 2%

* Ukrainians 16%
* Poles 50%
* Jews 33%
* other 1%

In the deaneries outside the ethnographic boundaries of Ukrainian settlement, the Ukrainians were in the minority, approximately 10% according to the 1939 figures. It should be pointed out that the territory of these deaneries has been inhabited by Ukrainians dating back to the Kievan Rus' period. During the Polish occupation of this territory (1349-1764), the majority of the population was assimilated (polonized) and became Roman Catholic. Here evolved a population that considered itself to be Ukrainian, yet were Roman Catholic. Other existed here who considered themselves to be Polish, yet were Byzantine Catholic.
Of interest to some readers may be the patron saints of the tserkvy covered by this publication. Examining the patrons, we find that the Ukrainians were devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and a total of 240 (34.5%) tserkvy were devoted to her. Out of these there were:

Patronage of the B.V.M.72
Nativity of the B.V.M.70
Dormition of the B.V.M.48
Others of the B.V.M.50

Listed below in descending order of importance, are other patrons of tserkvy,

Archangel Michael 86 (12.3%)
Jesus Christ 71 (10.2%)
St. Nicholas 59 (8.5%)
St. Peraskewia 55 ( 7.9%)
St. Demetrius 53 ( 7.6%)
Sts. Kosmas and Damian 25 (3.6%)
St. John the Baptist 15 ( 2.2%)
St. George 13 (1 .9%)
St. John Theologian 10 (1.4%)
St. Peter and Paul 8 (1.1%)
Holy Trinity 8 (1.1%)
Other 46 (6,7%)