Metropolitan Archbishop Basil M. Schott OFM

Myron Schott was born in Freeland, Pennsylvania on July 21, 1939, the youngest of the five children of Michael and Mary Schott. His early education was at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic School in Freeland and at St. Gabriel High School in Hazleton, Pa.

He entered the Byzantine Franciscans at Holy Dormition Monastery in Sybertsville, Pa. on August 3, 1958, and he made the profession of his religious vows there a year later, taking the name Basil. He attended Immaculate Conception College in Troy, New York and St. Mary Seminary in Norwalk, Connecticut, earning bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and theology, and a master’s degree in theology and pastoral counseling.

On August 29, 1965 he was ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop (later Archbishop) Stephen Kocisko at the Franciscan Monastery in New Canaan, Conn.  Within his Franciscan Community, Father Basil held the offices of superior, councilor, treasurer, and director of formation on every level.  He was the Spiritual Assistant for the Secular Franciscans and he also was the chaplain to the Byzantine Nuns of St. Clare in North Royalton, Ohio and to the Byzantine Carmelite Nuns in Sugarloaf, Pa.  His experience in giving retreats, workshops and renewal programs for clergy, religious, seminarians, and laity was extensive, and he worked in parishes throughout the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church and in the Ukrainian and Melkite Eparchies as well. He taught in the religious education departments of Byzantine Catholic High School in Parma, Ohio and of Bishop Hafey High School in Hazleton, Pa.

Father Basil was ordained a bishop and enthroned as the third bishop of Parma on July 11, 1996.  On May 3, 2002, one year following the falling asleep in the Lord of Metropolitan Judson M. Procyk, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Basil Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh; he was enthroned at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Munhall on July 9 of the same year.

Archbishop Basil chose as his episcopal motto “In the name of the Lord,” and in that Name he cited evangelization, ecumenism and renewal of the Gospel life as the hope and focus for his ministry of leadership.

One of his first undertakings was to name the personnel and to create and organize the policies and procedures necessary for the Archeparchy to be in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth as mandated that year by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Archbishop Basil established offices which provided programs for children, teens and young adults.  A Pastoral Handbook was published under his direction, and monthly days of prayer for the clergy were instituted.   

During his tenure, Archbishop Basil was appointed to the Congregation for the Eastern Churches in Rome; as head of a sui iuris Church, he was its representative to the Synod of Bishops, convening with hierarchs from all over the world.

As president of the Eastern Catholic Bishops Association, Archbishop Basil was instrumental in the creation of a new region of the USCCB. Formerly, the Eastern bishops belonged with the Latin bishops in the regions which are determined by geographic location.  With the addition of the new Region XV, the Eastern Bishops of every judicatory were now a part of their own specific region.

During the Year for Priests as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI (June 29, 2009 – June 29, 2010), Archbishop Basil had a great desire to recognize and honor the priests of the greater Metropolitan Church at a special event which would bring them together for a grand celebration. He headed the committee, which was comprised of a priest representative from each eparchy, to plan this event.  In the midst of the planning in November 2009, Archbishop Basil was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph system. Despite undergoing aggressive and onerous treatment, he continued the duties of his office until late May 2010, when his illness incapacitated him.  As priests from all over the country gathered in Pittsburgh on June 8-9 for the celebration which he so desired and planned, he was hospitalized. 

Archbishop Basil fell asleep in the Lord on June 10, 2010. At his largely attended funeral at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, Pa., Metropolitan Nicholas Smisko of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church of Johnstown, Pa. spoke of the deep friendship and esteem that he shared with the Archbishop. He mentioned their ecumenical endeavors, the meetings of their seminarians, and their times together both in prayer and socially. (Metropolitan Nicholas also was afflicted with cancer, and fell asleep in the Lord on March 13, 2011.)

The priests who were ordained by Archbishop Basil during his eight year episcopacy served as his pallbearers at the Cathedral.  His Franciscan brothers carried him to his final resting place in the bishops’ section of Mount St. Macrina Cemetery in Uniontown, Pa.

Blessed with a warm and outgoing personality, Metropolitan Archbishop Basil was beloved for his compassion and concern for everyone.  His affable sense of humor endeared him to friends and strangers alike.