St.Casimir’s Church (2), Collyhurst

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St.Casimir’s Church was on Oldham Road on the corner of Reather Street. The Priest’s (Rev.Foltin’s) house was at no.1 Reather Street, behind the church.

In 1901 this building was a Methodist Free Chapel and is built in that style.

It was bought in 1925 for £8000 by the Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians (Rusny). It had the only gold incense burner in England at the time. There was also a school for the children. Various Lithuanian priests were invited from time to time: Fr. Ilgys, Prel. Ladyga, Fr. Gečys, Fr. Slavinas and Fr. Staškūnas.

In 1931, the St.Casimir Society was founded. It had about 40 members and was led by V.Valinskas. Fr. Ladyga took care of Lithuanian religious matters.

It is not clear when the Ukrainians seperated from this community. In 1931, Bishop Andrey Sheptytsky and Fr. Josyf Slipyj, both of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, made a pastoral visit to Manchester. A Ukrainian Catholic congregation was established at St. Chad’s RC Church in the 1930s, which continued until the Ukrainian Catholic parish became established at its present location on Bury Old Road at the Dormition of Our Lady Church.

Due to various political tensions in Europe, the relationship between the local Poles and the Lithuanians broke down, there was not enough money to pay the loan and so the Bishop of Salford passed the church to the Poles in 1934.

In 1961, when the photograph was taken, it was a garment factory. Locals mentioned you could see the ladies working on the sewing machines making raincoats in the basement.

These days, Reather Street has disappeared and the site of the church is covered by grass.

St Casimir's church Oldham Road and Reather St

This used to be St.Casimir’s Church, photo taken in 1961.

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5 Responses to St.Casimir’s Church (2), Collyhurst

  1. St Casimir’s Church was purchased in 1904 under Bishop Casartelli, who was more sympathetic to ethnic parishes. Thirty years later, many of immigrants’ children could only speak English and preferred t frequent nearby St Chad’s. Bishop Henshaw closed St Casimir’s and sold the property in 1931, mainly due to a conflict between the Lithuanians and Ukrainians with the Polish priest, Father Aloysius Foltin. Lithuanian and Ukrainian communities leaders appealed to the Pope via the Lithuanian Ambassador to the Holy See. Bishop Pranciškus Petras Būčys made an inspection in 1931, after which Henshaw was persuaded to give the use of St William’s oratory chapel to Lithuanians and Ukrainians, in 1933. After this chapel closed, the faithful returned to St Chad’s or to other churches closer to where they had moved.
    There are some errors in your dates: Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s visit occurred in the summer of 1921. Bishop Charnetsky in the summer of 1932 and again in 1937. Father (future Cardinal) Slipyj visited in 1935.
    Ukrainians Greek-Catholics were able to celebrate in their own Byzantine Rite only a few times a year. Beginning in 1932, a missionary priest starting coming from Belgium and, from 1938, from Paris. After the Second World War, Greek-Catholic chaplains in the Canadian and Polish Army celebrated. From 1947, the community, based at St Chad’s, enjoyed regular Sunday Divine Liturgies in the Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite. In 1954, Father Volodymyr Dzioba initiated a fundraising campaign to purchase the church on Cheetham Hill.


    does anyone know of

  3. Peter Neill says:

    My Grandfather and Grandmother were married by Father Foltin at St Casimir’s Chapel on 6 February 1910. Their names were Simon Vaitkunas and Constantia Neszukaicziute. Simon had a brother, Joseph who lived with his young family in Abbott Street Collyhurst in 1901 and in Livesey Street in 1911. Constantia was living at 3 Nelson Place, Rochdale Road at the time of her marriage. I would be very grateful if anyone knows anything about the Vaitkunas (Waitkunas) or the Nszukaiczas families and can help with my research into their history.

    Many Thanks

    Peter Neill

    • Admin says:

      A story in Manchester Evening News, 2021 August 6th, is from the Coroner’s Court in Bolton about Vikki Lea Whitecunas. This sounds the same as Vaitkūnas (or Polish version: Waitkunas).

  4. My mum got baptized there at the church and my gran & grandad Predergast got married there. Most of my aunts & uncles worked at the raincoat factory that took over the church when it closed down, called Libets. I went into the buildng many times after school etc.

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