Pro Oriente
The Eastern Catholic Churches / Slowakische Griechisch-katholische Kirche

Slowakische Griechisch-katholische Kirche

Number of faithfulapprox. 210,000
Title of First HierarchMetropolitan of Prešov
See of the First HierarchPrešov (Slovakia)
Current office holder

Bishop Peter Rusnák, Bishop of Bratislava and Apostolic Administrator of Prešov, born 1950, in office since 2022

Bishops and dioceses5 bishops; 4 dioceses

Liturgical language

Church Slavonic, Slovak
Presence in Austriaapprox. 100 faithful; 2 priests
Presence in Germanyapprox. 300 faithful; 3 parishes, 2 priests

The Slovak Greek-Catholic Church emerged from the Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Church, which had its majority of faithful in Czechoslovakia after 1918. In Czechoslovakia, there were two Byzantine Catholic dioceses, the Eparchy of Mukačevo and the Diocese of Prešov, which was separated from the eparchy in 1818. When most of the Transcarpathia region was annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II, the Ruthenian Church was split into a Ukrainian and a Slovak part according to the new state borders. The Greek Catholics remaining in Czechoslovakia were subordinate to the Diocese of Prešov. In 1950, however, they were integrated into the Orthodox Church under pressure from the communist rulers; the Uniate bishop and his auxiliary bishops were arrested. In 1968, during the "Prague Spring", Uniate congregations were admitted again, which made more than two-thirds of the formally Orthodox congregations used to return to communion with Rome. The readmission of the Greek Catholic Church was one of the few reforms of Alexander Dubček that was not reversed after the invasion of Soviet troops. After the Slovak and Czech Republics separated in 1993, the Greek Catholic Church in Slovakia regained most of its church property. In 1997, Pope John Paul II separated part of the Prešov diocese and established the Apostolic Exarchate of Košice for the Byzantine-rite Catholics. In 2008, Prešov was elevated to metropolitan status with the suffragan bishoprics of Bratislava and Kosice. There is also an Apostolic Exarchate for the Slovak diaspora in Canada.


  • Marincak, Simon: The Eastern Rite Catholic Church in Slovakia, in: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 67 (2015) 271-291.