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Kabaliuk, Aleksei

Kabaliuk, Aleksei (b. Aleksander Kabaliuk, August 30, 1877, Iasynia [Hungarian Kingdom], Ukraine; d. December 2, 1947, Iza [Soviet Union], Ukraine) — leading activist in the rebirth of the Orthodox movement in Subcarpathian Rus’. Raised within a family of Greek Catholic peasants, Kabaliuk revealed a strong commitment to religious faith as a child. He frequently visited with his family Orthodox monasteries in neighboring Bukovina. In 1905 he set out for the Russian Empire to visit Orthodox monasteries in Pochaiv and in Kiev; three years later he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the St. Panteleimon Russian Orthodox Monastery on Mount Athos. It was at Athos that he converted to Orthodoxy (July 1909). Returning from Mount Athos Kabaliuk went again to the Russian Empire. In early 1910 he entered the *Iablochyn Monastery of St. Onufrius (at Jableczna in present-day Poland), where he was tonsured a monasteric noviate under the name Aleksei and undertook formal theological studies. By 1911, he had met with the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople and the Serbian patriarch of Karlovci, who at the time had jurisdiction over Orthodox communities in the Hungarian Kingdom.

Kabaliuk was assigned by the Serbian church to serve the recently established Orthodox communities in *Subcarpathian Rus’ at Iza and Velyki Luchky, but when he returned there in early 1912 he was closely followed by the Hungarian authorities, who suspected him of pro-Russian and pan-Slavist agitation. During these few months in Iza Kabaliuk met with the grandsons of Adol’f *Dobrians’kyi, Aleksei *Gerovskii, and Roman Gerovskii, who helped him maintain contacts with secular Orthodox and *neo-Slavist activists in the Russian Empire, among them Count Vladimir Bobrinskii of the Galician-Russian Benevolent Society in St. Petersburg. Facing imminent arrest, Kabaliuk fled in mid-1912 to Russia, first to the Iablochyn Monastery, then in the spring of 1913 to Moscow, where the visiting Bishop Platon convinced him to go to the United States to serve in a Rusyn Orthodox parish in Pittsburgh. At the end of the year, however, Kabaliuk returned home to join the accused at the *Maramorosh Sighet Trial initiated by the Hungarian government against Rusyn converts to Orthodoxy. At the close of the trial in early 1914, Kabaliuk was fined and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

With the fall of Austria-Hungary in late 1918, Kabaliuk was released from prison. After Subcarpathian Rus’ was united with Czechoslovakia, he began his most active phase promoting Orthodoxy among Rusyns. He became the priest at the Orthodox parish in Khust, and in 1921 hegumen (superior) of the St. Nicholas Monastery in nearby Iza; the following year he was raised to the rank of archimandrite. During the period of the “Savvatii schism” among the Orthodox in Czechoslovakia, Kabaliuk remained allied to Bishop Gorazd, who was under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate. In the absence of a resident bishop in Subcarpathian Rus’, Kabaliuk effectively headed the Orthodox church in the region as administrator (1922) of the Temporary Spiritual Consistory of the Orthodox Eparchy of Mukachevo-Presov.

After the Soviet Army arrived in Subcarpathian Rus’ and agitation began on behalf of uniting Transcarpathian Ukraine with Soviet Ukraine, Kabaliuk co-signed a letter (November 18, 1944) on behalf of the Orthodox community and addressed to the Soviet leader Iosif Stalin, which requested that all of *Carpathian Rus’ “from Iasynia to Poprad and from the Uzhok pass to Debrecin” be united in the form of a distinct Carpatho-Russian Soviet Republic/Karpatorusskaia Sovetskaia Respublika with the Soviet Union. In early December Kabaliuk was part of an Orthodox delegation which went to Moscow to request the transfer of what was by then called the *Orthodox Eparchy of Mukachevo-Uzhhorod from the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the Moscow Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. In recognition of his role in promoting the Orthodox faith, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) decreed in 2001 the “glorification,” that is, canonization of Kabaliuk as the first Subcarpathian Rusyn Orthodox saint.

Bibliography: Petro Khalus, “O. Oleksii Kabaliuk—nepokhytnyi zakhysnyk zakarpats’koho pravoslav”ia,” Khrystyians’ka rodyna, IV, 6-7 [61-62] (Uzhhorod, 1999), pp. 3, 13, and 4-7; Havryil Kryzyna, “Zhytie skhyarkhimandryta Aleksiia (Kabaliuka),” Khrystyians’ka rodyna, IV, 14 [69] (Uzhhorod, 1999), pp. 4-8; Roman Dubec, “Schiarchmandryta Aleksy Kabaliuk—‘Apostol Zakarpacia’,” Cerkiewny Wiestnik, No. 1 (Warsaw, 2000), pp. 53-70.

Paul Robert Magocsi

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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