Bohdan Hladio

Spotlight on Members of the Trinity Community: Fr. Bohdan Hladio

Posted September 22, 2023

Bohdan Hladio stands in the Trinity ChapelFr. Bohdan Hladio is the quintessential lifelong learner. An Orthodox priest for three decades and former Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, Fr. Hladio’s quest for knowledge brought him to the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College for post-graduate studies.

At both the master’s and PhD levels, Fr. Hladio’s research focuses on autocephaly – the independent system of church governance – in the Orthodox Church.

“Autocephaly is a paradigm for church organization and is one of the most vexing questions within Eastern Orthodoxy at the present time,” Fr. Hladio said.

In 2020, Fr. Hladio completed a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree and his thesis focused on autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America. The following year, he started his doctoral studies: “My PhD thesis is examining the ecclesiastical reality of the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada, which was formed in 1918 as a result of the spiritual aspirations of Ukrainian immigrants without allegiance to any foreign ecclesiastical body.”

His research focuses on independence movements and identity politics, both ecclesiastical and cultural, using comparative and historical theological methodologies. Analyzing the beliefs, values and ideas shared by the community, he hopes to determine whether the concept of church independence helps or hinders the question of church unity, and how autocephaly can inform contemporary questions of Orthodox Church governance in a globalized world.

“The results of this scholarship will shed new historical light upon an important aspect of the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada and suggest ways in which lessons gleaned from the historical path of the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada might contribute to greater mutual understanding and rapprochement on an international level,” Fr. Hladio said.

“My experience at Trinity has been wonderful. The professors are exposing me to other perspectives and approaches to methodology,” Fr. Hladio added. “I thought my research would be more cerebral; but it has been holistic. My experience here has made me a much better priest – both preaching and teaching. It has improved me pastorally and it has given me a greater understanding about relationships with people.”

A recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship two years in a row, the award allows him to focus his time on his doctoral research, although he substitutes for other priests from time-to-time and continues to write and lecture. Outside of his studies, he is involved with the wider theology community as the Faculty of Divinity student representative to the Toronto School of Theology (TST) and the secretary of the TST Graduate Students’ Association, as well as helping out with the Orthodox chaplaincy at Trinity and U of T. And when Fr. Hladio completes his degree, he said he will return to preaching, teaching, research and academic writing – and of course, critically engaging with theology in life and ministry.

Photo (above) caption: Like many, the Trinity College Chapel is Fr. Bohdan Hladio’s favourite place on the Trinity College campus.


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