Question of the Week
Which cultural organization founded in 1912 aided Ukrainian immigrants in need?
Answer: Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America
The February ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has placed that nation of 46 million on the forefront of international diplomacy and attention. Unbeknownst to many, Philadelphia has a direct connection to the events unfolding 5,600 miles away.
Philadelphia hosts the second-largest Ukrainian-American population in the United States. Both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, Philadelphia has been a primary destination of Ukrainian immigrants. As such, the city is home to organizations dedicated to providing assistance to Ukrainian-Americans. The Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics is one such organization that is still active today.
The Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America was founded in 1912 by Bishop Soter Ortynsky, the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop in America. It remains offering life insurance and other aid to Ukrainian Catholics as well as supporting religious schools and grants scholarships to Ukrainian-American students.
The first meeting of the Providence Association took place at Ortynsky's behest in New York City. A number of priests and church representatives, as well as a group from the Ukrainian newspaper Ameryka (America), which was published out of Connecticut, attended. Ortynsky spoke of forming some type of organization that would benefit both Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Thus the Providence Association was born, with four objectives in mind: to assist members spirituality under the guidance from the church, to help members in times of illness and other hardships, to create publications that spread the word of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and to aid members wishing to attain U. S. citizenship by providing instruction in American history, culture, and government.
The Providence Association was first headquartered in New York City. A couple years after its establishment in 1912, its main office was moved to 817 North Franklin Street in Philadelphia, where it still resides today and supports Philadelphia's Ukrainian population. The publishing of Ameryka was also moved to Philadelphia, and the serial ran until May 2013.
HSP has two collections from different branches of the Providence Association. One is from SS. Peter and Paul Branch 65 (SC159), and the other is from St. Michael's Branch 140, Glen Lyon, PA (SC160). They contain various record books (membership, financial) from each branch.
About the Author
Look for these history stories every Sunday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories, called Memory Stream, are published in the Currents section of the newspaper.