Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church History

The Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church arose out of the missionary activity of two brothers; Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius from Thessalonika (present-day Greece) who came to evangelize the Slavs of Great Moravia (present-day Slovakia and Moravia (in the Czech Republic) in 863 at the request of Prince Rastislav. During their missionary activity, they created the Glagolitic alphabet as it was best suited to capture the specifics of the language spoken by the Slavs at that time. With it they were able to translate portions of the Bible into the language of the people (Old Slavonic), the Divine Liturgy and also write the first Slavic civil code. They brought with them the spiritual heritage of the Byzantine Catholic Church and thus the heritage of the Christian East.

As Byzantine Catholics of the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Canada, we are grateful to Sts. Cyril and Methodius, co-patrons of Europe, who brought Christianity to our forefathers in Slovakia in 863. Through Sts. Cyril and Methodius, we can trace our spiritual heritage to the Church based in Constantinople which grew and matured in the Christian East during the Byzantine Empire.

In Slovakia, the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church has been rebuilding after many years under communist rule. In January 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, elevated the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Eparchy in Presov to Archeparchy (to the status of a Metropolitan Church, sui iuris) and appointed Bishop (Eparch) Jan Babjak, S.J. as Archbishop. The status of the Apostolic Exarchate of Kosice was elevated to that of an Eparchy with Bishop (Eparch) Milan Chautur, C.Ss.R. at the helm. And a new Byzantine Catholic Eparchy was erected in Bratislava covering most of Western and Central Slovakia. Father Peter Rusnak was appointed the new bishop (Eparch). He was ordained Bishop (Eparch) on February 16, 2008. On April 19, 2013, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Milan Lach, S.J. Auxiliary Bishop for the Archeparchy of Presov. He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop on June 1, 2013. On June 24, 2017, Bishop Milan Lach was appointed Apostolic Administrator of sede vacante Eparchy of Parma for Byzantine Catholics in the US by Pope Francis. He was installed on July 21, 2017.

In Canada, the Slovak Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius for all of Canada was established on October 13, 1980.