A modern proverb says that “history is written by the victors.” Before history became a critical science (discipline), it was meant to be a lesson in morality and patriotism, a story told through the genres of myth and epic. Even modern Ukrainian historians recounted their people’s saga from the perspective of an overall ideal, complete with clear-cut heroes and villains. Those who did not share that ideal were quietly airbrushed out of history.
Sylvester Sembratovych (1836–1898) is someone who appears to have suffered such a fate. His name does not appear in the index of most Ukrainian histories and his figure receives only marginal reference in the history of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Yet, Sylvester was a figure of enormous importance during his lifetime. Not only became leader of the Greek-Catholic Church, he was also one of only six Ruthenian-Ukrainians to have been raised to the cardinatial dignity. And without his pastoral outreach, it is questionable whether that Church would have, already at the dawn of the twentieth century, become a global reality.