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Goidych, Pavel/Gojdic, Pavel

Goidych, Pavel/Gojdic, Pavel (b. Petro Goidych, July 17, 1888, Ruske Pekl’any [Hungarian Kingdom], Slovakia; d. July 17, 1960, Leopoldov [Czechoslovakia], Slovakia) — priest, theologian, and church hierarch of Rusyn national orientation in the Presov Region. After completing his gymnasium studies in Presov (1907) Goidych received his theological formation at the Greek Catholic Seminary in Presov (1907-1908) and at the Central Theological Seminary in Budapest (1909-1911). Following his ordination as a Greek Catholic priest (1911) he served a short time in Rusyn parishes in the *Presov Region until he was appointed prefect (1912) of the Alumneum boarding school for boys in Presov and then secretary (1918-1922) of the episcopal office in Presov. In 1922 Goidych joined the *Basilian order at the *Mukachevo Monastery of St. Nicholas in Subcarpathian Rus’. He then served as vice-superior of the Basilian Monastery in Uzhhorod (1924-1926) until being summoned back to Presov to serve as apostolic administrator of the eparchy. Early in 1927 he was consecrated bishop of the *Greek Catholic Eparchy of Presov.

Goidych was particularly concerned with maintaining Rusyn as the language of instruction in Greek Catholic elementary schools throughout the Presov Region, a policy which often angered patriotic Slovak publicists and local officials. He gradually became convinced that the only way for local Rusyns to avoid slovakization was if the Presov Region were united with Subcarpathian Rus’, a position he emphasized during the critical months of 1938. Such attitudes, and his continuing defense of Rusyn national interests, did not endear him to the government of the World War II Slovak state. He even submitted his resignation; it was not, however, accepted by the pope, who instead raised him to the rank of eparch (ruling bishop) of the Eparchy of Presov (1940). It was also during those years that Goidych helped to save hundreds of *Jews living in the territory within his eparchy from deportation to death camps in 1944.

After the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in February 1948 Goidych refused to compromise his church’s relations with the new government. When, following the Soviet model, the Czechoslovak Communist authorities organized a Church Council/Sobor at Presov (April 28, 1950) to abolish Greek Catholicism, Goidych remained intransigent in defending the Eparchy of Presov. In 1951 he was arrested, accused of anti-state activity (including support for Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists), and sentenced in a trial broadcast on Czechoslovak radio to life imprisonment. He died a decade later in Slovakia’s political prison at Leopoldov. The canonization process urging the Vatican to declare Bishop Goidych a saint was begun by the *Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in the United States in 1986 and has continued in Slovakia in 1995. In 2001, Goidych was beatified by Pope John-Paul II.

Bibliography: K. Barriova and E. Blaskova, Pavel Gojdic, OSBM, greckokatolicky biskup, 1888-1960: personalna bibliografia (Kosice, 1998); J.E. Pavel Gojdic, CSVV, jepiskop Prjasevskij, 1927-1947 (Presov, 1947); Athanasius B. Pekar, Bishop Paul P. Gojdich, O.S.B.M.: Confessor of Our Times (Pittsburgh, Pa., 1980); Mar”ian Potash, Zhyttia, viddane Bohovi: zhyttiepys preosviashchennoho Pavla Hoidycha, 2 vols. (L’viv, 1994-95); Marian Potas, Dar lasky: spomienky na biskupa Pavla Gojdica, OSBM (Presov, 1999).

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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