Bidding Farewell to Archbishop and Metropolitan-Emeritus Stephen Sulyk (1924-2020)

image_print

Bidding Farewell to Archbishop and Metropolitan-Emeritus

Stephen Sulyk (1924-2020)

 

With natural sadness but also with Paschal hope the Philadelphia Archeparchy bids farewell to Metropolitan-Emeritus Stephen Sulyk. As a priest and bishop,he was a dedicated minister of the Lord in the Archeparchy for 65 years since his priestly ordination in 1955. We thank God for his life and raise prayers of gratitude for his service. The coronavirus pandemic, to which evidently the Archbishop succumbed at the age of 95, does not allow us to come together for the funeral. Thus, we are called to unite in prayer and spirit from our homes. When the danger for our clergy and faithful passes we will celebrate a requiem in which all can participate.

 

In the name of our deceased Metropolitan, I thank all the bishops, clergy, religious, and faithful that worked with him over the many decades of his service in America. He is grateful to all of you, as he himself expressed during the joyful, warm celebration of his 95th birthday in October held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He appreciated the collegiality shown by Roman Catholic bishops, clergy and communities, as well as the fellowship shared with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. He valued the decades of cooperation with various community organizations.

 

We are most grateful for the services and kindnesses rendered to the Metropolitan by Ukrainian and Roman Catholic chaplains, religious, and laypersons during the two decades of his retirement. Especially I would like to thank Carol and Michael Nunno for the genuine friendship and singular service that you offered to Archbishop Stephen. Your solicitude was outstanding. Father James King, chaplain at St. Mary’s Villa,ministered daily to the Metropolitan for many years. Archbishop Stephen was comforted and comfortable at St. Mary’s Villa. We thank all the staff and co-residents for their care and kindness. May the Lord reward all of you a hundredfold and fill your loss with His Resurrected presence. We express condolences to Frank Stec, Lidia Devonshire, Theresa Nord, Donna Sauchuk, Steve Boyduy, Stephen Stec, Kristin Magar, Lauren Stec, Jordan Stec, and to all members of the Metropolitan’s extended family. We thank God you could be with him in October. Our expressions of sympathy are ever more heartfelt given that you cannot participate in the funeral on Easter Monday.

 

 

I did not have the benefit of knowing Archbishop Stephen as a pastor directly, having myself spent most of the last four decades in Europe. I met His Grace for the first time during his episcopal consecration in 1981 at the Cathedral of St. Sophia, in Rome. It was my first year in the seminary. Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, had recently moved to live at the Ukrainian Catholic University, next to St. Sophia, and we seminarians were engaged in the preparations of the liturgical services and reception. I viewed everything with the big eyes of a novice. Metropolitan Stephen’s was the first episcopal ordination that I witnessed. I remember him standing in a white klobuk before the beautiful, large icon of the Mother of God that our own Christina Dochwat had painted for Patriarch Joseph. Over the subsequent years, in Rome and in Ukraine, I got to meet the Metropolitan numerous times. During trips to the United States I visited him in his apartment during the years of his retirement. He was always most hospitable. In the last ten months, during our encounters here in the archeparchy Archbishop Stephen shared with me crucial information, guiding the first steps of my service as a successor of his.

 

In these days, priests and laypeople from different states and different countries have shared with me their testimonials to Metropolitan Stephen’s piety, dedication, sense of responsibility, and pastoral diligence. Bishops have written letters of condolences from many lands recounting beautiful moments shared with the Archbishop and listing various generous gestures made by him. I trust that these reminiscences will be published and will contribute to the lasting legacy of a man who overcame the challenges faced by a village boy whose youth was scarred by a devastating war. Not a stone is left standing in Metropolitan’s home village, today found in southwestern Poland. His beloved village is gone. But the legacy of its son will remain among us.

 

May the Lord receive the soul of our dearly departed Metropolitan Stephen Sulyk and grant him

 

ETERNAL MEMORY!

 

 

Great Friday of Holy Week

April 10, 2020

+Borys Gudziak

Archbishop of Philadelphia and

Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics

of the United States

image_print

You may also like...