This morning, Benedict XVI has given the go-ahead to the first round of changes in the Ukrainians' American diaspora. The Pope accepted the resignation for reasons of age of the church's best-known hierarch in the United States, Bishop Basil Losten of Stamford, CT. Bishop Losten turned 75 last May.
To succeed Losten in the Eparchy of Stamford, which covers the whole of New England, the Pope "named" (although the choice was nominated and approved by last month meeting of the permanent Synod of the UGCC in Kiev) Bishop Paul Patrick Chomnycky, who until now has served as the church's exarch (vicar) for Byzantine Catholics living in Great Britain. The Vancouver-born Chomnycky, 51, was elevated to the episcopacy and named to the UK post in 2002.
For the archeparchy of Philadelphia, which comprises about 60,000 faithful spread across Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, Benedict named Msgr. John Bura, one of its own priests currently serving as a pastor in Wilmington, Delaware, as its new auxiliary bishop. The 61 year-old bishop-elect was born in Germany, and notably served a decade as rector of St. Josaphat, the Ukrainian major seminary in Washington.
The Philadelphia archeparchy has lacked an auxiliary bishop since late 2000, when Bishop Walter Paska's resignation (due to age) was accepted at the same time Archbishop Stefan Soroka was named to head the metropolitan church.