Basil Kovpak (Ukrainian: Василь Ковпак, Vasyl' Kovpak), a priest formerly of the Archeparchy of Lviv of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is the founder and current head of the putatively Traditionalist Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat, which rejects some of the decisions of the Second Vatican Council and some of the current forms of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue practised by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Holy See.

The Society also opposes the substitution of the traditional Church Slavonic language by the vernacular Ukrainian language in the liturgy, and the liturgical de-latinisation (removal of Latin Rite practices), such as Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, that had been adopted within this Eastern Catholic Church.

The Society is a dependent of the Society of Saint Pius X, which provides much of its funding from SSPX chapels in the Western world.

Dispute with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church authorities

On 10 February 2004, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the bishop on whom Kovpak depended, declared that Kovpak, through his close links to the SSPX, had incurred excommunication by "recogniz(ing) the uncanonical foreign Bishop Bernard Fellay, who does not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome and is not united with the Catholic Church."[1] Kovpak denied that he recognized Bishop Fellay as his own canonical bishop, and declared his intention to appeal to the Vatican.[2] The Holy See accepted his appeal and declared the excommunication null for lack of canonical form.[3]


Kovpak was definitively excommunicated in November 2007[4] after having the Latin-Rite SSPX bishop Richard Williamson ordain two priests and seven deacons for his society in spite of the prohibition in canons 1015 §1 and 1017 of the Code of Canon Law.

Kovpak's response

To justify his actions and respond to the accusations leveled against him by the leaders of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Kovpak wrote a book entitled Persecuted Tradition. In it, he charged that bishops have harassed traditional Greek Catholic priests and refused Ukrainian laity Holy Communion because of the laity insisting on kneeling for it.

He also accused the UGCC leaders of having publicly posed for photographs and conducted interreligious payer meetings with Buddhists and Hare Krishnas. He further cited virulently Anti-Catholic remarks by the Orthodox prelates with whom Cardinal Husar is pursuing ecumenism and "is seeking a false unity".[5] The SSPX is preparing an English translation of the book, the original of which is in Ukrainian.[6]

Lifting of the Écône excommunications

While the excommunication of the four bishops whom Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated in spite of the prohibition of Canon 1013 was, at their request, lifted in January 2009, Kovpak has not sought to have his own excommunication in connection with two other canons of the Code of Canon Law lifted by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church or by the Holy See.

Parish church

Kovpak holds possession of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish church in the village of Ivano-Frankove (Yaniv), with the result that the parishioners who are faithful to the Archbishop of Lviv have to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Latin Rite church.[7]


  1. Lefebvrite Priest Excommunicated from Greek Catholic Church
  2. Excommunicated Greek Catholic Priest Denies Accusations, Disagrees with Decision
  3. An Interview with the SSPX Prior of Warsaw
  4. Ukrainian priest excommunicated]
  5. Book prelude. Kovpak, B. Persecuted Tradition.
  6. Page containing "Tradition Persecuted in Western Ukraine", a review of Kovpak's book
  7. Ukrainian Greek Catholics Process For Church Unity
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Basil Kovpak. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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