UGCC Head urged Australian Ukrainians not to be afraid to come to Ukraine

Monday, 22 September 2014, 08:21
“Today Ukraine is in a desert. Our people wanted so much to be free, they wanted to answer the call of our God to cross over from servitude to freedom, that they followed Him to where He led them...” This was what today on September 18th, the Father and Head of the Ukrainain Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said during the Pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. John the Baptist in the city of Perth (Western Australia), where he is staying during his patsoral visit.

UGCC Prelate desctibed to Ukrainian-Australians in Perth the reality of events in Ukraine and the spirit of freedom, which Ukrainians, regardless of everything, are step by step obtaining.  He also described how the war has united all Ukrainians in the struggle for  Ukraine's independence.

“Half a million of refugees, three thousand killed...  But I have an answer to the question about what is it that our people need,”  noted the Major Archbishop.  “According to him, the answer to this question was  suggested to him by one of the eldest faithful of St. John the Baptist Parish, Mr. Volodymyr Kaniya.  'He said to me:  'We have nothing left, except our land and our native Church.'  Why did he say this?  Because the hope and salvation of Ukrainian people today can only come from God the Lord,”  noted the preacher.

Co-celebrants with UGCC Head were Bishop Petro (Stasiuk), Eparch for Ukrainian-Catholics in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.  Praying together with His Beatitude were seminarians and lecturers of the Perth Spiritual Roman Catholic Seminary.

“You, also as I, have waited a long time for the arrival of the Patriarch,” addressed the parishioners in Perth,   Bishop Peter,  – but he did come. He will talk with us, he will teach us.  And I invite you to hear him.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the Ukrainain community in Perth  for preserving Ukrainian traditions, Christ's faith, and for their fathfulness and love towards their Church.

UGCC Head appealed to Ukrainian-Australians not to fear the current events in Ukraine and to come to Ukraine, because our country needs support.  “Come to Ukraine.  Do not be afraid.  We need you.  Be with us,” urged the Church Prelate the faithful in Perth.

It is noteworthy that the church in Perth is mostly visited by the people of the first wave of migration – those who came here right after World War II (1948,1949, 1950), their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  There are not many people here who have come in the last 20-30 years.    The services are held in both Ukrainian and English.  The English langauge offers the possibility of involving new people in the Church – Australians who are enamored by the Eastern Rite. This is how  to the Church of St. John the Baptist came Deacon Richard Charlwood, who earlier belonged to the Order of Francisan Monks of the Roman Catholic Church.  Deacon Richard is trying very hard to learn Ukrainian.  “Even if the Liturgy is in English, still the parishioners  prefer to hear  'Lord, have mercy' in Ukrainian,” states Rev. Volodymyr Kalynetskyi, the prior of St. John the Baptist Church in Perth.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav acknowledged the many years of service by Father Volodymyr.  Ukrainians started building the church in 1959 and finished it in 1969.  In the mid-1990s, the parish began regressing.  As people say, Rev. Volodymyr Kalynetskyi, in fact, saved it.  He served in Perth for 18 years.

The Ukrainian community in Perth spent a lot of months preparing for the arrival of “Our Patriarch” .

Ms. Luba Valeha, 60 years old, born in Ausralia, a member of the Board of Parish Council of

St. John the Baptist Parish,  states that  the arrival of the Patriarch will give their congregation “a new breathing” and it will raise 'their spirit'.”

At the conclusion of the pastoral  visit to Perth, Ukrainian-Australians gave  UGCC Head an aboriginian icon.  In turn, His Beatitude Sviatoslav presented them with antymins  and a disk of a hundred questions posed to him and answered by him.


Photo: Bohdan Varkhomiya


UGCC Department of Information






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