PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Pope Francis on October 24 appointed Bishop Dionysiy Lyakhovych, OSBM, as apostolic exarch for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy.
The announcement of the creation of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy had been made on July 11, 2019, by Pope Francis.
There are reported to be 70,000 Ukrainian Catholic believers in Italy, united in 145 communities and served by 60-plus priests. The Cathedral Church and residence of the Apostolic Exarchate are the Parish Church of Ss. Sergius and Bacchus in Rome.
An increase in the number of Ukrainian Catholics in Italy began at the end of the 20th century, and the spiritual needs of Ukrainian Catholics had been previously served as part of the Migrantes service of the Italian Episcopal Conference, through the appointment of a national coordinator and the spiritual mentors in the communities were appointed by local diocesan bishops.
Bishop Dionysiy was born on July 2, 1946, in Pombasi, Itaiopolis, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. He took his monastic vows on March 30, 1970, and was ordained to the priesthood on December 8, 1972.
A graduate of the Pontifical Institute of St. Anselm and the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Rev. Lyakhovych served the pastoral needs and was engaged in academic activities in Brazil, where he was rector of the seminary and Institute of Philosophy in Curitiba.
In 1991 he arrived in Ukraine, where he revived the philosophical and theological studios of the Basilian Order. From 1996 to 2004 he served as proto-archimandrite of the Basilian Order of St. Josaphat.
He was elected bishop of the Kyiv-Galician Supreme Archeparchy on December 21, 2005, and was consecrated as bishop in Prudentopolis, Brazil, on February 26, 2006.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Dionysiy on Janaury 7, 2009, to the office of the apostolic visitator for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Italy and Spain.