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Our Byzantine History

This event prompted one Greek Catholic priest, Father Alexis Toth, to take his small flock out of union with Rome and seek union with the Russian Orthodox Church, creating the nucleous of what would become known as the Orthodox Church of America. To this day, the OCA venerates Father Toth as the father of Orthodoxy in America.

But despite such idealogical struggles, the Greek Catholic Church in America continued to grow, and there was seen a growing need for hierarchial leadership. In 1905, Father Andrew Hodobay was sent by Rome as Apostolic Visitor to care for the immigrant church; but, being a Hungarian, he was not the proper leader for a predominantly Slavic church. Rome, then, in turn, sent two men to care for what would become two separate administrations for the American Greek Catholics: Father Peter Poniatishyn for the Ukrainians, and Father Gabriel Martyak for the Carpatho-Rusyns (Ruthenians).

By this time parishes were springing up all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and the Northeast. In 1924 Rome raised the status of the American Greek Catholic Ruthenian community to that of an Exarchate (Apostolic Vicariate) with Bishop Basil Takach as its first exarch, establishing Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Pittsburgh's Homestead/Munhall neighborhood as its seat. Meanwhile, Greek Catholic immigration continued from Carpathia as well as Hungary and Croatia. Not only were parishes and priests being established and assigned, but the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great received a call from Bishop Takach to minister to the immigrant church, and they eventually settled in Uniontown, PA, after a number of temporary locations.



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