The beginnings of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral Parish are very tied to the settlement of the first Ukrainian immigrants in Toronto. The first Fr. Zaklynsky, who came up to Toronto from the United States, served the first Divine Liturgy in 1908. In February of 1911 a priest from Ukraine arrived in Toronto and began organizing the parish and just a year later, in February 1912, the parish began building a church under the direction of a new, young, energetic priest: Fr. Joseph Boyarchuk.
In May 1913, the parish purchased a plot of land along with a house on Franklin Avenue and later in July, Blessed Heiromartyr Nykyta Budka, then Exarch of Canada, blessed the cornerstone of the new church and on palm Sunday in 1914, the church was consecrated and the first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was served.
Numerous church groups and organizations were formed soon after: a parish choir, an apostolic sisterhood of prayer, a parish school, a number of brotherhoods and numerous groups that focused on culture and arts. Parishioners were very generous and donated what they could which led to the installation of banners, pews, bells, two chandeliers, confessionals, icons and a pulpit. While the parish had quite some debt, each pastor worked hard to lower this debt annually.
In 1921, the Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky visited the parish.
In 1941, the interior of the church was completed and blessed that same year by Bishop Basil Ladyka O.S.B.M.
In 1948, with the division of the Canadian Exarchate into three Ukrainian Catholic Exarchates, St. Josaphat’s became the Cathedral for the first Exarch of Eastern Canada, Bishop Isidore Borecky.
St. Josaphat’s was also the first Ukrainian Catholic Parish to have an elementary school attached to it. St. Josaphat’s Catholic Elementary School began in 1960 under the leadership of the Fr. Basil Filevich.
In 1964, the original St. Josaphat’s Cathedral burned down and a year and a half later, in December of 1965, the rebuilt Cathedral of St. Josaphat was opened and it was subsequently blessed in 1967 with a new, baroque-style iconostas. From 1967-1968, iconographer Ivan Belskyj wrote the interior iconography of the cathedral.
Patriarch Josyf Slipyj visited the Cathedral three times: in 1968, 1973 & 1976. Patriarch Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky visited 1986 with Metropolitan Volodymyr Sterniuk.
Three former pastors of St. Josaphat’s became Bishops in the Ukrainian Catholic Church: Bishop Andrew Roborecki, Bishop Basil Filevich and Bishop Roman Danylak.
Currently, the parish has over 250 registered families with an elementary school attached and numerous church organizations: UCWLC, the Brotherhood, a prayer group called “Mothers in Prayer” and a parish choir.
In the Fall of 2014, St. Josaphat’s cathedral will celebrate its 100th anniversary and preparations are well underway.
143 Franklin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M6P 3Y9
Saturday Evening Vespers, 5:00 pm – Ukrainian
Sunday Divine Liturgy, 8:30 am & 10:30 am – Both in Ukrainian