Anthony was born on May 27, 1928, to Andrew Skurla and Mary (née
Uchal) in Syracuse, New York. He had only one sibling, his brother John
who was two years older. Anthony was baptized on June 24, 1928, at St.
John the Baptist Church, Syracuse, New York. He attended Lincoln GradeSchool and Chisholm Jr. & Sr. High School, St. Louis County, Minnesota.
Anthony’s parish, Ss. Peter & Paul in Chisholm, Minnesota, was a small
Byzantine church under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Eparch (bishop) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, because of the lack of clergy, and because the parish was very rural, they were unable to keep a resident priest. On Sundays, when an Eastern-rite priest was unavailable for liturgy, the people attended services at St. Joseph Church, the Roman-rite parish. While growing up, Anthony was exposed to both the Roman and Eastern Catholic churches.
Anthony, speaking with clergy from both rites about his vocation, followed their promptings and
encouragement and was accepted at St. Basil College, Stamford, Connecticut. He was one of
nine in his high school graduation class of 160 to enter church ministry. Eight were Catholic.
While in his first year of college, Anthony gave considerable thought to the diocesan priesthood.
By the end of the year, however, he was more drawn to religious life. During this year of study,
Anthony met two friars from the Holy Name Province who came from New York City to teach at
St. Mary Seminary, Norwalk, Connecticut. They were commissioned to establish a community
of friars to serve the Byzantine church at Fr. Matthias Faust’s request, delegate general of the
Order of Friars Minor for North and South America during World War II.
The property was purchased in Stamford, CT, and a friary of the Byzantine Rite was
Anthony met two friars whose example drew him to join the Franciscan Order. They were the
first contact Anthony had with Religious Priests and the Religious Order, and it seemed to
satisfy his vocational call.
Anthony was one of the first Byzantine vocations to enter the Holy Name Province’s novitiate in
Paterson, New Jersey, professing first vows on August 12, 1948. After novitiate, Anthony
returned to the New Caanan Friary, where he professed Solemn Vows on September 7, 1952.
On June 14, 1954, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Philadelphia, PA, Anthony
was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. Constantine Bohachevsky.
After ordination, Anthony was approached to consider vocation work and eventually trained to
assume the director of novices’ responsibilities at Holy Protection Monastery, New Caanan, CT.
It was 1954. Two years later, in 1956, Anthony was assigned to Holy Dormition Friary,
Sybertsville, Pennsylvania, as Master of Novices as well as the guardian of the friar community.
In 1966, the Sybertsville Byzantine community became a Custody, a governmental unit of
administration in the Order, whose status was just below that of a province. Anthony was
elected Provincial Custos and moved back to Holy Protection Friary, New Caanan, CT.
This was a tumultuous time for this fledgling community. The Custody experienced
an internal disagreement that caused the loss of most of their student clerics. It was
not an easy time for Anthony as Custos. He spent years trying to repair the damage
from this departure.
During this time and since the beginning in 1947, the Custody’s headquarters was
located in New Caanan. In 1969, because of its high operational costs, the
administrative center was transferred to Sybertsville. The New Caanan property and
buildings were downsized and eventually sold in 1996.
During the Chapter of 1996, Anthony received word from the Curia in Rome voicing
its concern about the Custody’s future. Its numbers were critically low, and its
resources too inadequate to assure long-term financial security. Both factors made it
difficult for its leadership to envision and create a viable plan for the future. Rome
directed the Custody to begin the process of integration with another province.
It was the community’s responsibility to begin a dialogue with other provinces until
integration with one result. “We weren’t told where to go. We were told we had to go.”
Fr. Romano Almagro, general visitator to the Custody from the Immaculate Conception
Province, instructed the Custody’s leadership to initiate conversations with the seven U.S.
Provinces. Eventually, the Custody settled on the Assumption BVM Province. The act of
integration was effected by decree on June 13, 1998.
For Anthony, it wasn’t as big a jump as it was for some others because he was raised in two
church realities, the Roman Church and the Greek Church, as it is called. Anthony was elected
to the Provincial Definitory of the Assumption BVM Province in 1999-2002.
He was a bridge builder, helping the friars from both realities to come to see the gift in each
In 2011, Anthony found yet another ministry. The Holy Annunciation Monastery of Byzantine
Carmelite Nuns was looking for a chaplain to serve their community. Since their Monastery was
“just down the road,” Anthony applied and was permitted to accept this position. He served the
sisters as chaplain until 2017.
With failing health, Anthony realized that he needed more help. The decision was made for him
to move to Mount Macrina Nursing Facility, Uniontown, PA. This facility was operated by a
Byzantine Community of Sisters and located close enough for Anthony’s nephew, Metropolitan
(Archbishop) William Skurla, to make regular visits.
The pandemic of 2020 and the spread of the coronavirus was especially lethal in nursing
homes. And so it happened, the virus-infected several residents of Mount Macrina Nursing
Facility, including Anthony. His body was unable to fight any longer. Sister Death claimed
Anthony on December 28, 2020.
Anthony died in the 92nd year of his life, the 68th year of his profession, and the 66th year of