Bishop Andrew Pataki, J.C.L., D.D.
His Excellency, Most Reverend Andrew Pataki, J.C.L., D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, passed away on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, NJ from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Bishop Andrew Pataki was born in Palmerton, PA on August 30, 1927 of the late Ignatius and Sophie (Dejak) Pataki. Following his early education in the Palmerton Public Schools, and Central Catholic High School in Allentown, PA, he enrolled in Saint Vincent's College, Latrobe, PA. In 1944, he began his studies for the priesthood. He graduated from Saint Procopius College-Seminary in Lisle, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy in 1948. He completed his theological studies at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, PA. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Byzantine Seminary Chapel by the Bishop Daniel Evancho, Exarch of Pittsburgh, on February 24th, 1952. Among his early assignments as a priest were at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Braddock, PA; Saint Pius X Church, Pittsburgh, PA; Saints Peter and Paul Church in Endicott, NY; and at Saint Nicholas Church in Lorain, OH. During his eight years as pastor there, he constructed a parochial school and convent. He was later appointed Pastor of Saint John Chrysostom Church in Pittsburgh, PA. He was sent to Rome, Italy to pursue graduate studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical Institute for Oriental Studies where he received Bachelor and Licentiate Degrees in Canon Law. After returning home, he was appointed Rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, where he taught courses in Pastoral Theology, Canon Law, Byzantine Chant and the Ruthenian Language. In 1974, Pope Paul VI designated him a Monsignor, with the rank of Prelate of Honor and appointed him a consultor on the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Eastern Code of Canon Law. In 1979, he was appointed the Pastor of Saint Mary's Church, Weirton, W. VA. His assignments in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh included: Defender of the Bond on the Matrimonial Tribunal, Director of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Chairman of the Liturgical Commission, Vice Chancellor, Chancellor and Consultor. On June 14th, 1983, Monsignor Andrew Pataki was named the Auxiliary Bishop to the Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, Bishop Michael J. Dudick. He was consecrated a Bishop on August 23, 1983 at Saint Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Scranton, PA. The following year, he was appointed the second Bishop of the Eparchy of Parma, OH. During his 11-year tenure there, he established three regional syncellates (Episcopal Vicariates) and appointed a Syncellus (Episcopal Vicar) for each. He also promulgated a standardized form of the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and of the Presanctified Liturgy. He initiated a five-year process for an Eparchial Assembly, promulgated the statutes proposed by that Assembly, established a Presbyteral Council, a Protopresbyteral Council, a Pastoral Council, a Finance Council and a Cantor's Institute. He established the Eparchy on a firm financial foundation and by 1991 was thus able to make a substantial gift of $235,952.00 to the newly reestablished Eparchy of Mukachevo in present-day Ukraine. On November 21, 1995, the Vatican announced that Bishop Andrew Pataki was appointed the Bishop of the Eparchy of Passaic, NJ. Hundreds of well wishers crowded the Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel in Passaic, NJ on Thursday afternoon, February 8, 1996 to join in the enthronement Hierarchical Divine Liturgy making Bishop Andrew the third Bishop of Passaic. His Excellency, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, read the Bulla of Pope John Paul II appointing Bishop Andrew to head the Passaic Eparchy. The Bulla stated: "Since you, venerable brother; endowed as you are with outstanding qualities of mind and heart and very experienced in ecclesiastical matters and those of Canon Law seemed suitable to govern it we release you from the bond of the already-mentioned eparchial see (ie, Parma), and we appoint you Bishop of the Eparchy of Passaic of the Ruthenians with all rights granted and obligations imposed which belong to this office." As the Bishop of the Eparchy of Passaic, Bishop Andrew established a new governing structure for the Eparchy by dividing it into six Syncellates and appointing a Syncellus for each. Each Syncellus was given wide canonical powers for granting dispensations and permissions. He promulgated a standardized form of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the Presanctified Liturgy and the Sacraments of Initiation. In this last, he restored the ancient practice of giving the Holy Eucharist to everyone, including babies, at the time of Baptism. He reorganized most of the Eparchial Commissions and Programs. He established a Diaconate Formation Program. He reestablished the ancient tradition of the Byzantine Clergy wearing pectoral crosses and conferred a beautiful Greek-styled cross on each priest in September of 2000. He established a separate Marriage Jubilee celebration in each of the six Syncellates. Bishop Andrew was named by his fellow Bishops of the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh to be the Episcopal Chair for the Inter-Eparchial Canon Law Commission. This Commission helped to formulate the Particular Law for our Metropolitan Church - the first of its kind among the Eastern Catholic Churches of the world. It became effective on October 1, 1999. Upon the death of Metropolitan Judson Procyk in April of 2001, Bishop Andrew; because he was the senior Bishop according to Episcopal ordination, automatically became the Acting Metropolitan of the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh sui iuris until a new Metropolitan Archbishop was installed. At the age of 80, in 2007, his request for retirement was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI. After retirement, Bishop Andrew remained active in ministry. He served at St. George Byzantine Catholic Church in Linden and was the Administrator of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, Perth Amboy, until his death.
Bishop Andrew was preceded in death by his parents, Ignatius and Sophie, also by a brother, Ignatius Pataki, Jr., Sisters Mary Kern, Sophia Iliades, Ann Roberts and Julianna Gamble. He is survived by brothers Deacon Michael Pataki and wife Annetta, Mountaintop, PA; Charles Pataki and wife Betty, Cincinnati, OH; sisters Helen Hahn, Ellicott City, MD; and Peggy Rendesh, Hope Mills, NC and in addition numerous nieces and nephews.
The reception of the Bishop's body will be Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 5 PM at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, 96 First St., Passaic. The bishop will lie in state from 5:30-7 PM with services at 7 PM. Wednesday the Bishop will lie in state at the Cathedral, 10 AM-1 PM, and 6-7 PM with services at 7 PM. Funeral services will be Thursday December 15, 2011 10 AM with Hierarchical Funeral Divine Liturgy for a Bishop and pouring of oil with Panachida. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Uniontown, PA on Friday at 1 PM. Arrangements under the direction of the Shook Funeral Home, 639 Van Houten Ave., Clifton. www.shookfh.com