Blessed Martyr Nykyta Budka 1877-1949
Nykyta Budka is an important figure in Ukrainian, Canadian, and Catholic history. His appointment, on 15 July 1912, was the first time the Apostolic See of Rome named an Eastern Catholic bishop with full jurisdiction outside of the old continents of Europe and Asia.
At an early age he became an educator of the Ukrainian people and supported their political and cultural freedom. He was one among hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants and he encouraged immigration to Canada throughout his life. His mission was to sustain Canadian Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in their faith.
Budka achieved government recognition of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada as a legal entity. Facing the reality of assimilation, he encouraged his flock to become good Canadians. He also dedicated himself to preserving Ukrainian religious and cultural identity.
Bishop Budka’s story is one of endurance. For 15 years he traveled unceasingly, visiting the Ukrainian settlements scattered across Canada, celebrating the Sacraments, teaching, preaching and comforting the faithful. He invited many Ukrainian priests from Europe and ordained local recruits to serve as missionaries in Canada.
He relied upon religious sisters, brothers, and priests to promote Catholic and bilingual education. He sponsored lay people in higher education so that they would become consdentious
and self-sacrificing community leaders.
He was a poor administrator but a fantastic missionary. He did not receive sufficient financial support from his flock and was forced to rely on grants from Roman Catholic organizations.
He faced bankruptcy on several occasions.
In a climate of intense proselytism he battled with many political and religious opponents, who sought to draw his flock away from their Catholic Faith. Overwork, stress, and harsh conditions
destroyed his delicate health. After requesting an assistant bishop several times, he was finally asked to resign.
For the next 17 years he provided moral support and spiritual ministry to Ukrainians under oppressive Polish, Nazi and Soviet regimes. Together with his fellow Ukrainian
Catholic bishops, clergy, religious, and laity, he was arrested, tried, and condemned by Soviet authorities.
He died in a prison camp in far-away Kazakhstan.The Catholic Church now numbers him among the heavenly martyrs and confessors of the Faith. His story can be described as a life of obedience, work, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s pilgrim people.
• Born in Dobromirka, Zbarazh district (Ternopil province, Ukraine)
• Worked as a tutor and teacher 1900. Austrian military service 1901
• Studied theology in Innsbruck, Austria 1902
• Ordained priest by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky 14 October 1905
• Seminary prefect and consultant on Ukrainian emigration
• Doctor of theology, Vienna 1909
• Ministered to Ukrainian migrant workers in Prussia and Bosnia, summers of 1911 and 1912
• Named Ordinary (Exarch) of Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Canada 15 July 1912
• Designated Bishop of the titular diocese of Patara ofLycea, August 1912
• Ordained bishop in St. George’s Archcathedral, Lviv, 14 October 1912
• Arrived in Canada 6 December, enthroned at St. Nicholas Church, Winnipeg 22 December 1912
• Secures legal recognition of the UGCC by Parliament, 6 June 1913
• Arrested on false accusations in Hafford, Saskatchewan, 8 July 1918
• Exonerated of accusations of treason against Britain-Canada 26 November 1919
• Became a British subject/Canadian citizen 23 November 1920
• Made ad limina visit to Rome 1922 . Visited western Ukraine 1923
• Underwent major surgery at Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, 1 July 1927
• Made second ad limina visit to Rome December 1927
• Granted a sick leave and promised an auxiliary bishop, 7 January 1928
• Asked to resign as bishop for Canada 9 November 1928
• Returned to Lviv July 1929 and appointed canon of the Lviv Arch-cathedral
• Appointed vicar-general of the Archeparchy of Lviv August 1930
• Administered and rebuilt the Marian shrine at Zarvanytsia 1930-1939
• Arrested by the Soviet Police 11 April 1945 and moved to a Kyiv prison
• Convicted of treason against the Communist Party and the Soviet State, 3 June 1946
• Imprisoned at Karadzhar prison camp near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, 5 July 1946
• Died 28 September 1949 and buried near the camp 2 October 1949
• Politically rehabilitated by authorities of independent Ukraine 19 September 1991
• Declared blessed martyr by Pope John Paul II 27 June 2001