"Upbringing and education are absolute priority for pastoral service in the UGCC," the Head of the UGCC greeted the community of the Speptytskych Gymnasium

Saturday, 28 January 2017, 18:13
From the very beginning Kyivan Church has been mother and teacher for its people. Kyivan Church has never served "the mighty ones of this world" but always took care of the souls of its people and served the Word of God - the Gospel. Therefore education and upbringing from the very beginning of Christianity in Ukraine have been priorities for the pastoral service of the Church.

With such words the Head and Father of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav greeted the participants of the International research and practice conference "Democratization of Educational Sphere in Ukraine: Catholic School", on January, 27, at the UCU. This event took place as part of the celebrations of the 25th jubilee of establishing the first Greek Catholic school in Ukraine -  the Gymnasium of the Sheptytskykh in Lviv. In the conference also participated: Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Ihor, Metropolitan of Lviv of the UGCC, Khrystyna Mann, President of СЕЕС (European Committee for Catholic Education), Yurij Reshetnikov, deputy head of the Civil Council for Cooperation with Churches and Religious Organizations at the Ministry of Science and Education, Fr. Karol Manik, the Provincial of the Salesians in Ukraine, s. Khrystophora Bushtyn, the head of the UGCC Committee on education and upbringing, and others.

"Today we recall and thank God and the historic figures  for 25 years of the UGCC and Greek Catholic school in Lviv," carried on the Head of the Church.  The speaker suggested looking at the Ukrainian historical past, when the Gymnasium was established: "This lyceum was founded in September 1991, at the turn of the century, when our Supreme Council proclaimed Declaration of Independence but the people were still awaiting the referendum on this. Our lyceum was born between the two centuries when our Church was just coming out from underground and was facing challenges because we didn't have where to pray, didn't have church structures, priests, but felt that God,  who resurrected us, is with us. Under those circumstances our  righteous men, in particular Bishop Volodymyr Sternyuk, outlined the further priorities for development. Absolute priority for the resurrecting church became upbringing and education."

According to the hierarch, in those times it wasn't easy to find enthusiasts who could perform the task.  Among its priorities already then,  the UGCC, upon blessing of Bishop Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky, invested everything it had into the establishment of Catholic lyceum. "Obviously there were not many people who could do this but priests, especially the Studite monks, received the task not only to support but also watch over this lyceum.  Both hierarchs mentioned above sent their best men to support and develop the school,"  added His Beatitude Sviatoslav. He mentioned the first spiritual leaders of the Lyceum - Fr. Joseph Milyan who is now Bishop auxiliary of Kyiv Archbishopric of UGCC and Fr.  Stepan Men'ko who is now UGCC Exarch in Donetsk.  "So all the best that our church had, it presented to this lyceum. Our Bishops were looking into the future and invested in education and upbringing," he added.

Among the people who were the first to answer this call of the church and began working there, was the first principal of  the lyceum Mrs. Maria Kobyletska and a group of educators who joined her. "I would like to thank monastics, monks and nuns who sent their best members of community to the lyceum. Each class then had its supervisor from monastics," said the speaker.

The Gymnasium moved buildings several times. However, as underlined the Primate of the Church, the important period in the history of the school was 1996. It was when the Constitution of Ukraine was approved and the laws; then the school had to be registered again. "His Beatitude Lubomyr became the father of the lyceum because he personally supported it and watched that Catholic education in Ukraine could evolve into a chain:  Catholic kindergarten - Catholic school - Catholic University," said the father of the UGCC.

A good friend of the lyceum became cardinal Kristof Shenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, an Ordinary for the faithful of Byzantine rite in Austria. "I thank him for his support of this unique school, which became an example for other  inceptions in our Church. I am grateful to Bishop Ihor that he picked up the baton of wardship over the lyceum," expressed his gratitude the Head of the UGCC.

The historic moment for the school was also 2006, when Bishop Ihor entrusted it to the care of fathers Salesians. Then Fr. Petro Maiba, Salesian, began actively working for this cause. "Also I am greeting with the jubilee Fr. Oleh Ladnyuk, who has been appointed the principal since 2015. Upbringing and education are absolute priority for the pastoral service of the UGCC. Caring about education - is building the future. The experience of this lyceum is a treasure for the whole system of education and upbringing in Ukraine,"  summed up His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The UGCC Department of Information 

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