Greek Catholics In The Spiš Region
Cyril And Methodius Heritage

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The history of the Spiš region especially of Greek catholics living here is little explored. Despite it is clear that Spiš was part of the Great Moravian Empire. Prince Rastislav, for fear of German supremacy and for the language barrier between Slavs and German missiomaries, delegated messengers to Constantinople to the emperor Michal III. to invite apostles who knew Slavic language. Cyril and Methodiusarrived to the Great Moraviain 863. They were native Greeks of the Byzantine rite. They translated Eastern liturgy and liturgical books into the Old Church Slavonic language. In the Methodius "Life" is written that Hungarians invaded the territory of Great Moravia, their leader wanted to meet Methodius and they really did. It is possible that St. Methodius crossed our territory, tought and appointed his disciples to continue preaching the Gospel. Later, when the disciples were banished from the Nitra territory, some of them could settle in Spiš. After Methodius´ death, the Pope John IX. sent his emissaries to the Great Moravian Empire who at the request of Prince Mojmir consecrated an archbishop and three bishops. It is a pity but where they had their residence is unknown.
The centre of religious life in Spiš was Spiš Kapitula. Spiš provostry founded in 1198 could be established on the basic of Eastern episcopacy from the Great Moravian period. The proof of this fact can be shown by broken cross that Spiš provosts had in theor coat of arms. According to Miškovič in the Spiš Kapitula jewel case the Eastern episcopal miter has been kept. Spiš provosts of that time clerically took care of thoroughly Eastern rite parishes in the villages such as Závadka, Poráč, Helcmanovce, Slovinky, Repaše, Olšavica. It was long ago the Florentine council was held. This fact shows that believes of Eastern rite who never broke connections with Rome and who lived in symbiosis with catholics of Eastern rite to such an extent that in the 13 century two bishops of Greek rite - Jacob from Farkašovce and Lucas are mentioned in the Spiš region. From the recent past it is necessary to see events in 1950 when on the 28 April so called "Prešov sobor - council" was administratively arranged, where Greek catholics were declared to be Russian Orthodox and Communist regime outlowed Greek catholic church and banned all its activities. The bishop Peter Pavol Gojdič was imprisoned and sentenced for life. He died as a martyr in the Leopoldov prison. According to his example Greek catholics priests preserved their fidelity to the Apostolic See and Greek catholic church despite they were deported to the Czech border area together with their families.
The church function was renewed in 1968, priests could return back to their parishes, but troubles did not come to an end. Realizing that to follow Jesus Christ is possible only by accepting his cross, at present time the church grows up spiritually and is based on its ancestors´ heritage.

On the 28 of February 1997 the Pope John Paul II established an Apostolic Exarchate for Grrek catholics living on the teritory corresponding with borders of Košice district. This territory was separated from the Prešov eparchy and a new diocese was formed headed by the bishop Mons. Milan Chautur and it comes within the Apostolic See jurisdiction directly. A very important and signaficant milestone for Greek catholics in our city was the 2 March 1997 when the bishop Mons. Milan Chautur celebrated Mass for the first time in a new church denominated OUR LORD´S TRANSFIGURATION CHURCH. Since that date religious life in our church has been working as in other churches. Liturgy and Eucharist are served every day. The bishop Mons. Milan Chautur elevated Greek catholic community in the city of Spišská Nová Ves to a parish and at the same time decreed here a deanery for parishes of Spišská Nová Ves and Gelnica districts.
On 4 November 2001 and 14 September 2003 Pope John Paul II canonizated our bishops-martyrs Peter Pavol Gojdic and Vasil Hopko.