Metropolitan Archbishop Judson M. Procyk

Judson Michael Procyk was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on April 9, 1931. After graduation from high school, he answered the call to serve God as a priest in the Byzantine Catholic Church. His first two years pursuing this vocation were spent at St. Procopius College in Lisle, Illinois. With the opening of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh, he continued his studies at Duquesne University and was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953. On May 19, 1957, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Nicholas Elko.

After serving pastorates at several churches in the Pittsburgh Exarchate and Eparchy, Father Judson was named Assistant Chancellor of the Eparchy and secretary to Bishop Stephen Kocisko in 1968. One year later, he became rector of the Seminary. As rector, Father Judson directed the re-opening of the Seminary’s theology department and implemented the guidelines of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Priestly Formation. Father Judson later was named chaplain to His Holiness Pope Paul VI with the title of Monsignor, and in March 1975 was elevated to prelate of honor.

In July 1973, Monsignor Judson succeeded Bishop John M. Bilock as Rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, Pa., the assignment that would be his for the next 22 years. During this time, he undertook the task of relocating the Cathedral parish.  A new cathedral was constructed, modeled after the ancient Byzantine Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. It was solemnly dedicated on June 12, 1994 by Bishop Michael Dudick, the Acting Metropolitan, and Bishop John, the Archieparchial Administrator.

On November 14, 1994, Pope John Paul II announced the selection of Monsignor Judson as the third Archbishop of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church and the sixth ordinary of the Pittsburgh Byzantine Archeparchy, 17 months after the April 13, 1993 falling asleep in the Lord of Metropolitan Thomas V. Dolinay.

In the Cathedral that he constructed, Monsignor Judson was ordained a Bishop and enthroned as Metropolitan Archbishop on February 7, 1995. The ordaining bishops were the three hierarchs of the suffragan eparchies of the Metropolitan Church: Bishop Michael Dudick of Passaic, Bishop Andrew Pataki of Parma, and Bishop George Kuzma of Van Nuys.  He was enthroned by Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States. Presiding at the ceremonies was His Eminence Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In attendance were 29 Eastern and Latin Catholic bishops, including four bishops from the European eparchies from which American Byzantine Catholics trace their roots, as well as scores of priests, religious, representatives from various Protestant and Orthodox Churches, and hundreds of faithful, many of whom watched the proceedings on closed-circuit television in the lower level of the Cathedral.

Metropolitan Judson made significant progress in moving the Church to a more faithful adherence to Eastern traditions and practices. Within the framework of the new Eastern Code of Canon Law, he established norms for the administration of the Mysteries (sacraments) of initiation, instituted a diaconate program, reestablished the Cantors’ Institute to promote better congregational singing at services, and began an Archieparchial Choir. Additionally, to promote greater openness about the financial situation of the Archeparchy, he directed the preparation and publication of annual financial reports. As the representative of the American Byzantine Catholic Church to the Synod of Bishops on the status of the Church in the Americas, the Metropolitan used that forum to educate and inform bishops from throughout this Hemisphere of the presence and importance of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Sadly, as with his predecessor Archbishop Thomas, the angel of death came to Archbishop Judson in the spring, suddenly and unexpectedly, when he fell asleep in the Lord on April 24, 2001 at the age of 71.  For the last time he was taken to the cathedral that he built, where funeral services were prayed and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on April 30.  Two cardinals, four archbishops and 27 bishops of both the Latin and Eastern Churches participated along with the heads of the Orthodox Church and leaders of other Christian denominations. Many monastics and faithful also were in attendance. Metropolitan Judson reposes in the bishops’ section of Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown, Pa.  He was dearly loved by his people and held in great esteem by the leaders of the many other Churches and faiths with whom he worked.