Monsignor Doctor Alexander Baran was born on March 28, 1928, in a suburb of Uzhorod (Koncove) in Transcarpathian Ukraine. His mother came from a priest's family and his father was secretary to the last three prime ministers in pre-war Czechoslovakia.
Baran completed his primary and secondary education in Uzhorod. He went on to study at universities in Prague and Rome. In Rome he completed two doctorate degrees, one in Theology from Urbanianum and the other in History from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome, on March 25, 1954, by Archbishop Ivan Buchko. Following his ordination, he exercised his priestly ministry among the Ukrainian immigrants in England and Belgium.
In August 1961, Father Baran arrived in Canada and settled in Winnipeg, where he worked in various parishes, namely Holy Eucharist, Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Josaphat, Christ the King, and Sts. Peter and Paul. and others. Baran served as a member of the Consistory of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg and worked as a vicar of the marriage court. He has conducted many retreats and missions across Canada.
Baran completed a master’s degree in Philology from the University of Ottawa. In 1964, he became the chaplain of Obnova, the Ukrainian Catholic Students' Organization at the University of Manitoba. In 1966, he became a full-time professor of history at the same university, where he taught until 1991. In addition to history, Baran taught courses in religion and Byzantine art.
Doctor Baran is the author of many scholarly works on the history of the Ukrainian Church. His articles have appeared in theological and historical periodicals, such as Analecta OSBM. He also assisted Josyf Cardinal Slipyj in editing scholarly publications of St. Clement's Ukrainian Catholic University.
For ten years, Baran served as the president of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences (UVAN) in Canada. He has been a full member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh) and served as vice-president of the Ukrainian Historical Society.
On February 3, 2004, the clergy of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg celebrated Father Baran's 50th and Mitrat Jaroslaw Holowaty's 60th Jubilees. And, in April of 2004, Pope John Paul II bestowed upon Father Baran the dignity of 'Chaplain of His Holiness' (Monsignor).
Monsignor Alexander Baran died on Tuesday, October 12, 2004, in Winnipeg. Priestly Parastas was celebrated at Sts. Volodymyr & Olga Cathedral, Friday, October 15 at 7:30 pm; Funeral Divine Liturgy on Saturday, October 16 at 9:00 am. Interment followed at All Saints Cemetery.
As a special friend and long-time collaborator of the Basilians, the Order expresses their condolences to Monsignor's family and friends and pays for his eternal repose. Vichnaja pam'jat!