Suspensions are lifted on three local priests

The Catholic Register — June 8 — 1985

By Cheryl Agoeton

TORONTO — Suspensions have been lifted on three priests accused by the Vatican of having been ordained illegally.

Father Andrew Kormanik, Terry Lozynsky and John Girhiny have received letters from the Sacred Oriental Congregation ending all censure end allowing them to continue with their duties.

The three, married priests of the Eastern rite, were suspended following their 1975 ordinations by then auxiliary bishop Michael Rusnak.

The ordinations came at a time when North American dioceses were under strict Vatican orders not to ordain married priests of the Eastern rite. A 1984 letter from the Sacred Congregation of the Eastern Churches said the three were ordained “illicite et in fraudem legis.”

But ordinations at that time were still being granted in special cases by the Vatican, and sources say Bishop Rusnak, who is now Eparch of Canadian Slovaks and based in Unionville, Ont., believed he had special verbal permission to ordain the men.

All three continued with their duties despite the suspension, and were reminded of that suspension in a terse letter from the Sacred Congregation last September.

Father Lozynsky, pastor of St. Demetrius church in Weston, says he is glad the matter has been resolved.

“It’s like a wound that’s been festering,” says the priest, who was married in 1969 to wife Verna. They have two children, Suzie, 12 and Eric, 10.

“After 10 years in the ministry it’s a joy to see that my jurisdiction and faculties have been confirmed,” he says.

Bishop Isidore Borecky of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Toronto, says he is very joyful about the end of the suspensions, but he doesn’t know what prompted the Sacred Oriental Congregation to end them.

In a letter to Father Lozynsky, he says “… we are sure that you rejoice with us that this matter has at last received a final resolution in our favor; this comes as a welcome Paschal grace from the Risen Christ.”

In its letter to the priests, the Sacred Oriental Congregation lays it is lifting the suspensions so the priests may perform their pastoral ministry. It says it is moved by the desire to give peace to souls and by the favorable word of Bishop Borecky. The priests, it writes, are absolved of censure so that they can continue with their pastoral ministry according to the rite.

Eastern rite priests have traditionally been allowed to marry, provided they do so prior to their ordination.

But in 1929 the Vatican proclaimed no more married men could be ordained for North America, following pressure from Irish Catholic Bishops in the United States.

Bishop Rusnak ordained the three in 1975 because of a shortage of local Eastern rite priests.

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