(Zenit) - The Holy See has extended the jurisdiction of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio, to include the territory of Canada.
The action was publicized today in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
"Eparchy" is the term used in Eastern Rite churches for the equivalent of a diocese in the Roman rite.
The Romanian Eparchy in Canton currently includes the entire United States as its territory and serves 5,675 Catholics.
Bishop John Michael Botean, 57, a native of Canton, heads the eparchy, which includes 15 parishes. The eparchy has 21 active priests.
(Romanian Catholic-Canton) - Dear Fathers and Mothers,
[Christ is risen!] (Those on the old calendar can ignore the text in brackets.)
By now, most of you will have heard that the Romanian Eparchy of St. George now extends territorially to all of Canada. This announcement, made this morning by the Holy See, now settles the question we have had concerning the establishment of new missions in Canada.
As you know, some time ago the two missions currently in Canada (in Toronto and in Montréal) had already been put under the jurisdiction of our diocese. This was in response to a petition from our Synod and Major Archbishop, acting on behalf of a request initiated by those parishes themselves. Unfortunately, as a result there remained a question regarding whether or not this diocese could establish any other missions or provide other services (such as marriages) in Canada on its own, or would have to work through the Latin bishops, who still exercised jurisdiction over Romanian Greek-Catholics residing outside those parishes. Cardinal Lucian then forwarded another petition to the Holy See in order that this matter may be resolved, and today’s announcement is the result.
I am deeply grateful to the bishops of our Synod for considering this matter favorably, and to His Beatitude, Cardinal Lucian, for his pastoral solicitude in having the uncertainty resulting from the inclusion of Toronto and Montréal in our diocese removed. Above all, I am thankful to the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, and especially to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the loving concern for our Church that this action manifests.
While we have no current plans to establish a new mission, a possibility may exist in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area. I hope to look into that as soon as practicable. As you may know, other small Eastern dioceses based in the US also have jurisdiction in Canada, including the Armenian, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, and Syriac eparchies. Our eparchy has already been listed as existing in Canada on the website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. We are still developing the structure we will need for our Church in Canada, through the leadership and activity of Reverend Father Michael Moisin of Boston, who is Dean of the Canadian Deanery.
I hope to pay a courtesy call to His Excellency, Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, and to the bishops’ conference as soon as practicable.
May God bless and protect our Church and faithful in Canada and throughout the world, and make us all faithful witnesses of His mercy.
(Most Reverend) John Michael Biotin
Bishop, Romanian Catholic Diocese of Canton