Philly's Ukrainian Archbishop Points To Health Concerns For Planned Departure

Mark Abrams
April 18, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Photo provided by: Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy, Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The metropolitan archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, based in Philadelphia, has resigned his post.

Stefan Soroka has served for 17 years as the archbishop of the Ukrainian Archeparchy that encompasses eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.

Soroka, who is 66, tendered his resignation in a letter to Pope Francis, who accepted it this week. Soroka says he decided to step aside because of health considerations.

The pope appointed a temporary administrator, the recently ordained, auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy.

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Soroka says he is leaving the archeparchy in good hands.

"There are very capable people who are able to take on the responsibilities here," Soroka said. "I will pray for them and help them in any way that I can to take on the leadership, which I feel now with my health limitations I won't be as vital and responsive."

Soroka says he intends to reconnect with his twin brother and family in Winnipeg, Canada, and hopes to engage in pastoral ministry, counseling, publishing, and offering retreats.

He adds the synod of bishops meeting in September in Ukraine will pick three candidates for the Philadelphia post, submit them to the pope, and let him select the new archbishop.