Head of UGCC: Personality of Omelian Kovch shows what the military chaplain of the Ukrainian army should be

Friday, 29 March 2019, 21:56
In the National Opera of Ukraine, military chaplains were presented with awards of the Blessed Hieromartyr Omelyan Kovch.
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The award is given the eighth time. This year the winners were: Father Ivan Isayovych (Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy), Father Yuriy Kazmirenko (Orthodox Church of Ukraine), Father Pavlo Honcharuk (Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine) and Pastor Vasyl Khimich (All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists).

At the solemn ceremony of rewarding took part: His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC; Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC; Ivan Vasyunyk, chairman of the Committee for honoring the memory of the blessed martyr Omelyan Kovch; members of the committee.

After the awarding ceremony, well-known Ukrainian musicians, sisters Halyna and Lesya Telniuk presented an art project "God's Lamb" devoted to the memory of Father Omelyan Kovch. "This is a respect and gratitude to hundreds of Ukrainian priests, who are alongside with our warriors," said the Telniuk sisters.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted that on March 25, exactly 75 years have passed since the day of death of the faithful son of the Ukrainian people, the heroic priest of the UGCC Father Omelyan Kovch.

According to him, Father Omelian Kovch is a famous treasure of all Ukrainian people, the voice of conscience of Ukrainian society. This is the figure that embodies the idea of ​​interethnic and interreligious dialogue and reconciliation.

Being married to a Greek Catholic priest, a parent and a pastor in the town of Peremyshlyany, he entered the history by saving sons and daughters of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. For this he was arrested and killed by the Nazis in the Maydanek concentration camp on the territory of modern Poland.

"We want to draw attention to one more facet of the figure of Father Omeljan Kovch - as a military chaplain. This year marks the centenary since his chaplaincy in the then Ukrainian Galician Army. So Father Omelian was a participant in the national liberation struggle. It is in our Church that the tradition of military chaplaincy has been preserved in the armed formations of the Ukrainian people, which today is a special subject of pride and gratitude to the Lord God." "This cohort of laureates really tells us that the spirit of Father Omelian, his spiritual dedication lives in our people, lives in our churches and lives in the Ukrainian army," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

In the opinion of His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the figure of Father Omelian may deeply answer the question of who the military chaplain is, which task the priest has in the army. "And he gives us a unique answer. In particular, Father Omelian at the last moments of his life showed that he was a person capable of seeing God among the hell on earth, and of making Him visible to those who look into the eyes of death. I think this is the task of the military chaplain," he said.

"The second task of the military chaplain is to help Ukrainian soldiers to remain human in inhuman circumstances. And this is possible only when a person sees God in himself" considers the Primate.

The Primate also noted that this year, ten years will pass, as the blessed memory His Beatitude Lubomyr proclaimed Omelyan Kovch as the patron saint of the UGCC pastors. "We did not have to look for a better example that destroys the various myths about our Church, the national liberation struggles of the Ukrainian people, than the figure of Omelyan Kovch," emphasized the Head of the Church.


The UGCC Department for Information


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