Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More From the Archeparchy

In light of last Thursday's moves in the Ukraine, for which the Vatican cited the Synod and major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church as the competent authority for the transferrals of bishops, I've gotten some e.mails asking after the formulation of this morning's announcements of hierarchical changes for the UGCC in the United States.

As opposed to the innovative statements of publication released last week, this morning's provisions from the Holy See Press Office read precisely like those for most episcopal appointments, starting with "The Holy Father has named...." Despite coming from the same rite, the difference of form is owed to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, which stipulate that a patriarch (a distinction which, for purposes of law, includes major archbishops), after consultation with his synod, may exercise appointment power solely within the territory of the patriarchal church (Can. 181). And the appointment of new bishops, in whatever case, must be explicitly approved by the Pope. (Lefevbrites notwithstanding, of course.)

In the case of the UGCC such territory refers to the geographic boundaries of the Ukraine.

When vacancies arise outside the patriarchal church, like in the case of openings in the Americas and the exarchates in Europe, Australia, etc., the work of the process is divided between the particular synod and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Rome, currently headed by Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, himself a former patriarch of Antioch and head of the Syrian church.

A terna is prepared by the Synod and sent to the Congregation, which carries out an investigation in the manner of the Congregation for Bishops when the latter selects nominees in the Latin rite. The full Congregation meets, votes to recommend one name which goes to the Pope, who either concurs or remands the matter back to the Eastern Congregation, which is charged with producing another nominee.

A UGCC source informs that Bishop-elect John Bura, the newly-named auxiliary of its Philadelphia archeparchy, will most likely take up an administrative position at the Metropolitan Curia in Philadelphia, leaving his current post in Delaware around the time of his episcopal ordination.

A date for the ordination has not yet been set, but given the marked solemnity with which the Ukrainian church marks the "Great Fast" (the Eastern term for Lent), it will in all likelihood take place sometime in February, before the start of the penitential season.