Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh nominated Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Germany and Scandinavia

On Thursday, February 18, 2021, the Vatican announced that the Holy Father Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Petro Kryk from the government of the ruling bishop of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite in Germany and Scandinavia. At the same time, Pope Francis blessed the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC and nominated Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, the Bishop of the Curia of the Major Archbishop and Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, as the new Exarch.

Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, who a few days ago celebrated the 15th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, became the third Apostolic Exarch in Germany and Scandinavia for Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite.

Biographical Information

Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh was born on March 20, 1967 in the village of Hirske (Mykolaiv district, Lviv region). In 1990, he entered the Theological Seminary in Drohobych. He later studied theology at higher theological schools in Europe: in Warsaw, Strasbourg, Innsbruck, and Rome. He received a doctorate in theology.

On March 17, 1991, he was ordained a priest (the principal consecrator was Bishop Yulian Voronovsky, Eparch of Sambir-Drohobych).

On December 21, 2005, he was proclaimed Auxiliary Bishop of the Kyiv-Vyshhorod Archeparchy. The episcopal ordination took place on February 15, 2006 in the St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv (consecrator -His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar). In 2006, he was elected Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC.


The Apostolic Exarchate in Germany and Scandinavia has been caring for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Germany since the first half of the twentieth century. In 1984, the territory of the pastoral care of the exarchate was extended to Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Most of the faithful of the exarchate are descendants of Ukrainians who had to flee the territory of Ukraine in the interwar and war years, both because of the discriminatory national policy of the Republic of Poland and the Bolshevik system.

Blessed Petro Verhun was one of the first pastors for Ukrainians in Germany. His relics are kept in the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrew the First Called in Munich.

From November 20, 2000, Bishop Petro Kryk served as the ruling bishop of the Apostolic Exarchate in Germany and the Scandinavian countries.


The UGCC Department for Information

Pope at Ash Wednesday Mass: ‘Lent is a journey of return to God’

By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Ash Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, and urges Christians to experience Lent as a return journey toward the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As the Church begins the holy season of Lent, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for Ash Wednesday, with the blessing and imposition of ashes.

In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on Lent as a journey of return to God and as an opportunity to deepen our love of our brothers and sisters.

God, said the Pope, is appealing to our hearts and our entire being, inviting us to Him.

“It is a time to reconsider the path we are taking,” he said, “to find the route that leads us home and to rediscover our profound relationship with God, on whom everything depends.”

From slavery to freedom

He urged Christians to evaluate the direction our lives are headed and how steadfastly we walk along our path toward God.

“The journey of Lent is an exodus from slavery to freedom,” he said.

As we progress, we will feel tempted to return to our old habits and illusions. But, noted the Pope, we can rediscover our way by looking to the Word of God, no matter how many times we stumble.

To the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Pope Francis said the first step of Lent involves returning to the Father, by accepting God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession.

“It is the Father’s forgiveness that always set us back on our feet,” he said.

Next, he said, we need to return to Jesus. Like the leper who returned to thank Him, we too “need Jesus’ healing. We need to present our wounds to Him and say: ‘Jesus, I am in your presence, with my sin, with my sorrows. You are the physician. You can set me free. Heal my heart’.”

Then, said the Pope, we are invited to return to the Holy Spirit.

The ashes sprinkled on our heads, he pointed out, remind us that we are dust. “Yet upon this dust of ours, God blew His Spirit of life.”

In heartfelt reconciliation

The Holy Father went on to note that our return journey to God is only possible because He “first journeyed to us.”

Because Jesus embraced our sin and death, “our journey then is about letting Him take us by the hand.”

Our response to God’s invitation, said the Pope, involves heartfelt reconciliation, “with the deeds and practices that express it.”

A descent in love

Finally, Pope Francis reminded us that Lent is the proper time both to journey toward God and toward our brothers and sisters.

“Lent is a humble descent both inwards and towards others,” he said. “It is about realizing that salvation is not an ascent to glory, but a descent in love.”

No matter how often we stumble, concluded the Pope, we can always turn to the Cross of Christ and contemplate in His wounds our own shortcomings and emptiness.

“By kissing those wounds, we will come to realize that there, in life’s most painful wounds, God awaits us with His infinite mercy.”

Vatican News

Vaccination is a personal matter for everyone, it must be voluntary, the Head of the UGCC in a comment for Ukrayinska Pravda

His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, expressed his position on vaccination. In a comment for Ukrayinska Pravda, the Head of the Church stressed that vaccination is a personal matter for everyone, it should be voluntary. However, the Primate noted that when the coronavirus vaccine is available to him, he will “accept such an offer.” Below we publish the entire commentary of His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The notion that the Church is against vaccination is wrong. There are some kinds of circles that are influenced by different pseudo-scientific ideas about vaccination. But the Church primarily builds its attitude to vaccination on the basis of scientific evidence.

Today we do not know the world without vaccination. The world in which we live became as a result of certain precautions of mankind against the spread of particularly dangerous diseases. Believing in world conspiracies is a private matter, but it has nothing to do with the teachings of the Church, which Christianity adheres to.

The fear of vaccination against coronavirus is quite natural because the vaccine is something new and unexplored. It was invented in record time, and people have reason to doubt its effectiveness, to have some concerns.

Vaccination is a personal matter for everyone, it must be voluntary. Even with official confirmation that the vaccine is safe and affordable, the state must leave the person a choice of personal freedom.

Our priests urge to listen to doctors in the matter of vaccination – in this matter we are the absolute partners of our doctors. If there are no medical indications to avoid vaccination, then you need to be vaccinated. This applies not only to the coronavirus, but also to other diseases that can be dangerous to health today.

The church wants clergy to be among the first to have access to the vaccine. We talked about this during the meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches with the Prime Minister of Ukraine – we mentioned that the clergy, as well as other social workers in the country, work with people. We really want our temples to be a safe space for citizens.

If priests are included in the vaccination plan, we will advise them to take advantage of this. But we cannot force anyone into it.

Personally, I have all the vaccinations that are done in childhood. The last thing I did a few years ago – was a flu shot. It is perfectly normal for a modern person to use this opportunity to protect themselves from disease.

When the coronavirus vaccine becomes available to me as a clergyman or a person of a certain age, I will obviously accept such an offer.

It is very important for us that vaccination includes the most vulnerable segments of the population and that the vaccination plan is fair. It is important that there is no speculation about this case. Pope Francis notes that the most marginalized and poor should have the right to be vaccinated, like all other citizens.

By the way, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have already been vaccinated. This is a very good example for all bishops, clergy, and citizens of Ukraine.

I would advise Ukrainians who are hesitant to get vaccinated to listen to their doctors. If the state of health does not cause contraindications to vaccination, it is worth protecting yourself from this disease, because we know that there are no other drugs today.

Take care of your health. If you need to be vaccinated, do it.


His Beatitude Sviatoslav for the Ukrayinska Pravda 


Pope: Patience is a hallmark of consecrated men and women

Pope: Patience is a hallmark of consecrated men and women

Pope Francis celebrates a Vigil Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which is observed as the World Day of Consecrated Life. In his homily, the Pope invites religious men and women to be patient and courageous in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

By Vatican News staff writer

At the Mass for the Presentation of the Lord, Pope Francis focused on the words of Simeon when he “looked forward to the consolation of Israel” (Lk 2:25).

He introduced his homily describing Simeon who recognized in the Child Jesus “the light that came to shine on the Gentiles:” He was an elderly man, the Pope explained, who had patiently awaited the fulfilment of the Lord’s promises.

The patience of Simeon

“Let us take a closer look at Simeon’s patience,” the Pope said, “For his entire life, he had been waiting, exercising the patience of the heart.”

He noted that “Simeon had learned that God does not come in extraordinary events, but works amid the apparent monotony of our daily life, in the frequently dull rhythm of our activities, in the little things that, working with tenacity and humility, we achieve in our efforts to do his will.”

Simeon, the Pope continued, did not grow weary although in his long life there had surely been hurtful and difficult times, but he did not lose hope: “the flame still burned brightly in his heart.”

By trusting in the Lord’s promise, Pope Francis explained, he did not let himself be consumed by regret or by the sense of despondency that can come as we approach the twilight of our lives.

“His hope and expectation found expression in the daily patience of a man who, despite everything, remained watchful, until at last ‘his eyes saw the salvation’ that had been promised,” he said.

A mirror of God’s own patience

The Pope went on to observe that Simeon’s patience was a mirror of God’s own patience. In fact, from prayer and the history of his people, Simeon had learnt to see in the Lord “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and fidelity.”

He reflected on the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans in which the apostle says that patience “leads us to repentance,” and quoting from the German priest, author and academic, Romano Guardini, who once observed that patience is God’s way of responding to our weakness and giving us the time we need to change, the Pope said that “More than anyone else, the Messiah, Jesus, whom Simeon held in his arms, shows us the patience of God, the merciful Father who keeps calling us, even to our final hour.”

God, Pope Francis reiterated, does not demand perfection, but always opens up new possibilities when all seems lost, in the wish to open a breach in our hardened hearts.

God never tires of waiting for us

“This is the reason for our hope: that God never tires of waiting for us,” the Pope said, adding that “when we turn away, he comes looking for us; when we fall, he lifts us to our feet; when we return to him after losing our way, he waits for us with open arms.  His love is not weighed in the balance of our human calculations, but unstintingly gives us the courage to start anew.”

Our patience

Pope Francis then invited consecrated men and women to look to the patience of God and the patience of Simeon as they consider their own lives of consecration.

Patience, he said, is not simply about tolerating difficulties or showing grim determination in the face of hardship, “it’s not a sign of weakness, but the strength of spirit that enables us to ‘carry the burden’ of personal and community problems, to accept others as different from ourselves, to persevere in goodness when all seems lost, and to keep advancing even when overcome by fatigue and listlessness.”

He pointed to what he called three “settings” in which patience can become concrete:

Personal life

Our personal life, in which the way we have responded to the Lord’s call has not always been constant because of disappointments, frustrations and feelings of powerlessness.

“In our lives as consecrated men and women, it can happen that hope slowly fades as a result of unmet expectations.  We have to be patient with ourselves and await in hope God’s own times and places, for he remains ever faithful to his promises.  Remembering this can help us retrace our steps and revive our dreams, rather than yielding to interior sadness and discouragement,” he said.

“Brothers and sisters,” the Pope exhorted, “inner sadness in us consecrated persons is like a worm: a worm, eating us from within. Flee from inner sadness!”

Community life

A second setting in which patience can become concrete, the Pope continued, is community life.

He said that human relationships are not always serene, especially when they involve sharing a project of life or apostolic activity: There are times when conflicts arise and no immediate solution can be expected, nor should hasty judgements be made.

Time, the Pope said, is required to step back, to preserve peace and to wait for a better time to resolve situations in charity and in truth, and he urged men and women who live in communities to cultivate this kind of reciprocal patience: “the ability to support, that is, to bear on our own shoulders, the life of one of our brothers or sisters, including his or her weaknesses and failings.”

“Let us keep in mind that the Lord does not call us to be soloists,” and there are many of those in the Church he said, He calls us “to be part of a choir that can sometimes miss a note or two, but must always try to sing in unison.”

Our relationship with the world

The third setting described by Pope Francis concerns our relationship with the world.

Recalling how Simeon and Anna cherished the hope proclaimed by the prophets, “even though it is slow to be fulfilled and grows silently amid the infidelities and ruins of our world.”

He said “they did not complain about how wrong things are, but patiently looked for the light shining in the darkness of history,” and stressed that “we too need that kind of patience, so as not to fall into the trap of lamenting that ‘the world no longer listens to us’, or ‘we have no more vocations’, ‘these are not easy times’… “

“It can happen that even as God patiently tills the soil of history and our own hearts, we show ourselves impatient and want to judge everything immediately.  In this way, we lose hope,” he said.

Patience helps us to be merciful

Pope Francis concluded his homily explaining that “patience helps us to be merciful in the way we view ourselves, our communities and our world.”

He invited consecrated men and women and all the faithful never to stop welcoming the patience of the Holy Spirit, never to stop bearing with one another and radiating the joy of fraternal life, never to stop patiently offering our service:

“These are real challenges for our consecrated life: we cannot remain stuck in nostalgia for the past or simply keep repeating the same old things.  We need patience and courage in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

Never gossip and don’t lose your sense of humour!

At the end of the Mass Pope Francis thanked Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life for having welcomed those present.

He noted that in this time of pandemic patience is sorely needed to move forward “offering the Lord our lives.”

And referring again to his just pronounced homily dedicated to “patience” he reflected on how life within a religious community is rife with the danger of gossip.

“Please remove yourselves from gossip”, he said, “it kills community life!”

The Pope acknowledged that sometimes this is not easy but invited consecrated men and women to “bite their tongues” before gossiping about others: “Bite your tongue, so it will swell up and occupy your mouth and you won’t be able to speak badly!”

The other bit of advice he had in store for his brothers and sisters religious is never to lose their sense of humour: “It helps us so much. It’s the anti-gossip, knowing how to laugh at yourself, at situations, even at others – with a good heart!”

“Thank you,” the Pope concluded, “for what you do, thank you for your testimony. Thank you, thank you very much for your difficulties, for the way you carry them and for the way you bear the pain in the face of a lack of vocations: have courage, the Lord is great, the Lord loves us. Let us follow the Lord!”

The World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life was instituted in 1997 by Pope Saint John Paul II. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to the following Sunday in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church.


When the quarantine restrictions are lifted, the dispensation that exempted us from going to church will be revoked, the Head of the UGCC


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Even during quarantine, we understand that participating in the Liturgy online is a temporary solution. We may spend some time praying online, but it is wrong to completely refuse to go to church. This position of the Church was expressed by His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in a commentary for the UGCC Information Department.


“I hope that the state authorities will one day declare victory over the coronavirus and lift all quarantine restrictions.  Then it will be the time to resume the public celebration of Divine Liturgy,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav added.

The Head of the Church explained that God’s commandment to celebrate the holy day exists even during lockdown and no one can cancel it.  For us, Christians, observing a holy day means attending the Liturgy, and neither  secular nor church authorities can remove this by their order. But since there are now objective, insurmountable obstacles to visiting worship services, the Church, as a good mother, meets her children and gives certain dispensations (exemptions) so we may celebrate the holy day not in the temple but at home.

“The gift of the Eucharist gives rise to a church commandment that obliges us to participate in the Sunday Divine Liturgy. Since there is an exemption from this obligation during the quarantine, we do not need to confess missing Sunday service,” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

At the same time, the Archbishop emphasized that a person who participates in prayer online should not be like an outsider watching this broadcast as a spectacle, but an active participant, as if he were in church.

“When the quarantine restrictions are lifted, the dispensation from the obligation to participate in the Liturgy will be revoked,” the Head of the Church said.

The UGCC Department for Information

APPEAL OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV to the faithful of the UGCC and people of good will in Ukraine and throughout the world In response to the flooding in Western Ukraine

APPEAL OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV To the faithful of the UGCC and people of good will in Ukraine and throughout the world In response to the flooding in Western Ukraine

Friday, 26 June 2020

Your Graces and Excellencies, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Venerable Brothers and Sisters in monastic and religious life Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


One of the elements which gives us and all that surrounds us life, and provides comfort in our homes, in these past days in areas of Western Ukraine has been transformed into a veritable disaster that is being characterized as the worst flood over the past century. Over 300 inhabited towns and villages are under water. Key transportation arteries have been ruined, railways and bridges have been damaged, thousands of buildings are without power. But the greatest disaster – human casualties. And so, at the opening of this appeal I express my sincere condolences and assurances of my prayers for those who lost their loved ones.

If the coronavirus pandemic restricted us to our own residences, this flooding has deprived thousands of people of that protection. Inclement weather has devastated harvests, destroyed planted fields and private gardens. People have lost their means for existence. Tens of thousands of hectares of land are covered with water and mud. People are being evacuated from their residences in large numbers in an effort to safeguard their lives. Hospitals have been inundated including facilities providing treatment to those infected by the coronavirus.

The effects of this flood in the present economic crisis, compounded by the pandemic, carry the threat of real social trouble on a national scale. If quick and decisive action is not taken, then before the winter we may find ourselves facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

In this pastoral appeal I reach out to all who have suffered from the flood, who experienced fear for their lives, pain and a sense of helplessness, especially to those who even now find themselves in the midst of this turbulent event, with the words of Jesus Christ: “Fear not!” Your Church, which constantly prays to the merciful God, is with you in this difficult time, and seeks to embrace you with her warmth, concern, and care. I wish to assure you, that she is and will be your voice and protector before the mighty of this world, and will carry the truth about your distress and despair to the global public and to the world Christian community.

Every calamity that people experience in their lives is an opportunity to show Christian solidarity and social service, so that those who are suffering might receive assistance as soon as possible. Therefore, I call upon our church institutions: eparchies, religious communities, and especially our network of the charitable foundation “Caritas,” to organize rescue for those who cry for help. I appeal to all communities of our Church in Ukraine and throughout the world, in the spirit of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel, to support those who are now deprived of their home and have come face-to-face with misfortune.

I direct my request to the world community and to international humanitarian organizations: be open to respond to the needs of those who have become victims of the disaster that has afflicted regions in Western Ukraine.

As we look at the consequences of this catastrophe, we must at the same time reflect on what brought it about. Pope Francis says: “God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.” The cause of this disaster that we are experiencing is this predatory attitude of humans towards the environment. Climate change on a global scale and uncontrolled destruction of Carpathian forests forced nature to raise its menacing voice, before which we cannot remain silent.

In this period of Peter’s fast, taking into account the present dramatic situation, I call on you to rethink your attitude towards your surrounding environment, a rethinking which should include being conscious of the danger of ecological sin, and repentance before the fact of God the Creator, in order that we may learn to care responsibly for our common God-given home and increase nature’s inheritance.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Those who have suffered from this calamity need our prayers and sympathy. I sincerely ask that this Sunday at Divine Liturgy we pray for all the victims of the flood and for those rescue workers who are dealing with its consequences.

May our Lord, who is with us always, in the joys and hardships of our life, help us overcome this trial with the dignity of God’s children. May the protection of the His Most Pure Mother, glorified in so many churches of our hospitable Carpathians, cover all who have become hostage to this aquatic calamity. Appealing to the Lord to send generous gifts upon those, who will help the victims, I pray that He might be merciful to all of us.






Given in Kyiv,

at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,

on the leaving day of Feast of the Holy Eucharist,

June 25, 2020 A.D.


The parish clergy is instructed to read this appeal to the faithful at the conclusion of each Divine Liturgy on Sunday, June 28, 2020 A.D

Axios! His Beatitude Sviatoslav ordained Mykola Bychok a new bishop

The Head of the UGCC ordained Mykola Bychok a new bishop for Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania on the Feast of Pentecost

June 7,  2020

On Pentecost (June 7, Julian Calendar) , Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav performed the ordination of the ruling bishop for the Eparchy of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Melbourne (Australia) Mykola Bychok for Ukrainians in Australia, New Zealand, and other countries of Oceania.

During the sermon to the faithful, the Primate noted the importance of the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  “Today the Church of Christ,” said the preacher, “celebrates one of our greatest holidays.  In fact, the Church is celebrating its birth today.”

Our Savior Jesus Christ taught His apostles about this day. There is no spiritual life, the Archbishop emphasized, without the presence of the power and action of the Holy Spirit.

St. Hilary taught that the Holy Spirit is the spark of life, it gives new life, optimism, new energy to each and every one who opens his heart to that strange guest of the human soul. Man cannot be himself without the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is the light that enables us to understand and see the beauty of the world in which we live.  A person has no taste of life if the Holy Spirit does not rest in him,” observed the Head of the Church.

This Pentecost is special to our Church.  According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, today, with the Descent of the Holy Spirit and the power of grace, the beauty of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is manifested in a special way.

“We have been looking for a new bishop for Ukrainians in Australia for a long time.  We are grateful that, by the power and action of the Holy Spirit, the Lord anointed him today, on Pentecost. And, like on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles spoke in different languages, today our Church speaks in different languages, preaching the great works of God, proclaiming the same Gospel of Christ. In Australia – in English, in Brazil – in Portuguese, in Argentina – in Spanish…  I think the manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our Church will multiply.  I have been recently told that in Singapore they pray for the Father and Head of our Church in their language,” added His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The Head of the Church thanked the new bishop for coming into full contact with God, opening his heart and allowing himself to be led by the Holy Spirit.

He wished the new bishop the ability to enter the culture of Australia, to learn the way the people think there and at the same time to fill their lives with God’s Word.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav said that today the whole Church rejoices and thanks God for the gift of a new bishop.  But the community of the UGCC is especially happy, to which, God willing, the bishop will be able to go in due time.

“The Holy Spirit wants to tell us today, do not be afraid, the pandemic will end sooner or later.  Death, grief, disease never have the last word.  We are sure that the borders will reopen and the new apostle of Christ will go to his episcopal see.  And the Lord God addresses all of us today: live a spiritual life, a real spiritual life, do not look for it elsewhere, because nothing spiritual and holy without the Holy Spirit will be given to man,” the Primate emphasized.

The UGCC Department for Information



1 May 2020

This is stated in the Decree of the Head of the UGCC. The date of the Sobor will be determined after hearing the opinions of the members of the Synod of Bishops. The UGCC Department for Information report.


“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking into account the proposals of the Secretariat, having heard the opinions of the members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, and especially considering the good of the delegates, the 7th Session of the Patriarchal (All-Church) Sobor of the UGCC has been transferred to the second half of 2021,” it says in the Decree.

“The Patriarchal Sobor is the advisory assembly of the entire Church headed by the Patriarch. It assists the Patriarch and Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church in addressing important issues.  With our Decree of December 13, 2018, we convened the seventh session of the Patriarchal (All-Church) Council (Sobor) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on the topic ‘Emigration, Settlement and Global Unity of the UGCC,’ which was to take place on August 26-29, 2020 in Lviv,” explains the text of the Decree.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, date of episcopal ordination of Fr. Mykola Bychok is changed

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, date of episcopal ordination of Fr. Mykola Bychok is changed

Thursday, 09 April 2020, 13:04

The episcopal ordination of Father Mykola Bychok to the ruling bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul in Melbourne (Australia) is to take place on June 7, 2020 at St. Yura Cathedral in Lviv. The nominee bishop reported this in a comment for the UGCC Information Department. “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, His Beatitude Sviatoslav proposed to move the Hierotonia from April 26 to June 7, 2020, so as not to endanger people. I fully support such a decision, which I consider to be wise and prudent today. I hope that by this time the quarantine will be completed and there will be no obstacle for the faithful to take part in the episcopal ordination,” said Fr. Mykola.


As planned, the Holy Liturgy will be led by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the main consecrator. The co-consecrators will be Bishop Ihor Vozniak, Metropolitan of Lviv, and Bishop Petro Loza, Assistant Bishop of the Eparchy of Sokal-Zhovkva.


As we informed, on January 15, 2020, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis appointed as bishop of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne of the Ukrainians the Reverend Mykola Bychok, C.S.R . At the same time, it was reported that the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne of the Ukrainians, Australia, presented by Archbishop Petro Stasiuk, C.Ss.R.


The UGCC Department for Information






Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops,

Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,

Venerable Brothers and Sisters in Monastic and Religious Life,

 Dearly Beloved Laity in Christ of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church


Christ is Risen!


When those bound by chains in the realm of Hades

Saw Your boundless mercy,

They hastened to the light with joy, O Christ,

Praising the eternal Pascha.

Ode 5, Paschal Canon


Beloved in Christ!


This year we are celebrating Christ’s Pascha in particular circumstances. Many of us spent the season of Great Lent at home, isolated from others, physically distant from our churches and parish communities. Yet even in such challenging conditions, no one has the power to prevent the joyful movement of people everywhere towards the Light, in order that, with faith in Christ’s resurrection, with hope in God’s victory and with the love of the community of God’s children, we might greet one another with a jubilant and resounding “Christ is risen!”

Over three thousand years ago the Lord heard and received the cry and lament of the sons and daughters of Israel, languishing in captivity in Egypt. On the night of Passover, by the blood of the Paschal lamb, the Lord protected his people from the angel of death and led them from the house of slavery. Subsequently, the escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses brought another danger at the shore of the sea—deep waters ahead, the pharaoh with horses and chariots behind. And the sea parted before them! Thus, for the people of God, thePassover came to be associated with salvation from death. Every Israelite, having lived through the liberation from Egypt, experienced his God as a Deliverer: I escaped death! All those who were saved came to see themselves as one people: we were together in slavery, together we survived death, we share one and the same God—a Saviour and Liberator. We are the People of God!

In the risen Christ the passage from death to life transcends all boundaries of human history. The Pascha-Passover of the Old Testament was limited to the salvation of a limited circle of people from a danger that was limited in time. Our Pascha, the Pascha of our Lord, the Eternal Pascha, as we sing in our Paschal Matins, is not only salvation from the temporary danger of a physical illness and mere bodily death. Today Christ grants salvation from the very cause of death—to all people, of all times and nations. We aren’t speaking here merely of salvation from an emerging sickness or protection from the sword, even an angelic one, as it was in the case of the Israelites in Egypt. Having gone from suffering and death to the resurrection, Christ, in the words of the Apostle Paul, destroyed deadly sin and crucified it on the cross along with its hellish power to enslave.

The Eternal Pascha is a victory and a mockery over the very sting of death, as the Apostle proclaims today: “Death is swallowed up in victory.O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:54-57). In his resurrection, Christ removed our enslavingchains of fear before death, and transformed that fear, by granting us paschal entrance into a new life. With the resurrection,we have opened before us a door that leads us from that which passes away to that which lasts forever. The Pascha of our Lord opens for us the door to joyful eternity. We were together in the chains of death—today,as the united People of God of the New Testament, we share in the common experience of joy in the resurrection.


When those bound by chains in the realm of Hades saw Your boundless mercy

In the face of the global pandemic, we suddenly recognized that as humans we are weak and mortal. The coronavirus brought a deadly danger to the rich and poor, to all people, with no regard for place of residence around the globe, for race or religious persuasion. Possibly, for the first time, we came to understand that we are all equally vulnerable and in need, but we have also come to see ourselves as one human family: that, which affected people in one corner of the planet—carried over to and impacted people on the other side of the world—it personally affected each one of us.

The entire world has found itself as if bound together by the chains of Hades. The fear of becoming ill and dying, the pain of losing family members, friends and acquaintances, the darkness of loneliness and despair in circumstances of enforced isolation, the ruin of new methods of communication and the collapse of world economic systems have become our common universalchains. As shackles restrict a slave, so have the strict rules of quarantine—the only possible way to fight this deadly disease—suddenly restricted all humanity: airports have ceased to operate, trains have stopped running, borders between nations, having almost receded from our consciousness, once again have been reasserted as impenetrable iron gates.

In the midst of this darkness of fear and captivity for contemporary humankind, we have a unique opportunity to grasp anew what it means to be a Christian. As Christians, we are those, who in the Mystery of Baptism, have already died to this world and have risen together with our Saviour! We are the heirs of the apostles, who saw the Risen One with their own eyes and with their own hands touched his glorified Body, the Body that went from death on the cross to eternal life. In these circumstances, which temporarily deprived us of the possibility of fully participating in the liturgical life of our churches and communities, we rediscovered the importance of spiritual life in our Christian families, traditionally called domestic churches. Unintentionally, many of ushave found ourselves thinking of the time when we celebrated Easter in the underground, how we, not having the possibility of coming together in church, were joined with the Eucharistic Christ at Divine Liturgy being broadcasted on the Vatican, and we held our Easter baskets before our radio receivers to be blessed. No one and nothing can deprive Christians of the joy of Christ’s Resurrection! Families, in which Christians consciously and maturely confront today’s challenges, in a special way, demonstrate their character as domestic churches, becoming for its members homes of profoundly intense prayer, blessing, sacrifice and spiritual growth, places of encounter with the living Christ. At the same time, we are discovering new methods of spiritual unity, over which no restrictive measures have any power, for that which unites us is the one spiritual body of the Church, that is, one hope that belongs to our call—”one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (see Eph. 4:4-5). It is, indeed, in this spirit of hope that today we celebrate Pascha and pray for its fulfilment in the restoration and renewal of ecclesial and spiritual life.

In response to the darkness of separation and the fear one has of the other, as a possible carrier of the virus of death, on this night we encounter the living risen Christ, who passes through all closed quarantine doors, in order to encounter us, his disciples: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 20:19). Fear before all that might be touched by a person’s hand in a time of epidemic, gives way to the hand of the living God—the risen Christ, which carrying the wounds of the nails reaches out to us and reveals to us God’s limitless mercy! All of our sins and illnesses, pandemics and fears are conquered by God’s love. The physical chains of the present time have no power before the spiritual freedom of faith and spirit, before eternal life, given to us in Christ Jesus. In good time He will break down the doors of quarantine, take away the fear that lies ready to pounce on us behind these doors, and He will call on us to proclaim to the world, as once did the apostles, “Christ is risen!”


They hastened to the light with joy, O Christ, praising the eternal Pascha.

In celebrating Pascha, we believe and already see that the present pandemic will surely end, and humanity will emerge the better for it, with a sense of solidarity and unity among us, with a deeper understanding of the meaning and calling of human life. On this feast, Christ gives us the Light of hope, open to all people without exception. No quarantine, no social distancing, can block our path to him. On the contrary, all of us together, those alive today, and those who have departed into eternity, as one People of God, celebrate the joy of victory over death. In our affliction and pain, we receive hope andcomfort. We have been given eternal liberation from our spiritual chains. Therefore, let us praise the eternal Pascha!


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! On this bright, joyful day I hasten to each of your homes, in order to share with you the joy of deliverance given us in the Resurrection. To all of you, in Ukraine and throughout the world, I send you mysincere prayers and heartfelt greeting. I bless you all: the well and the sick, the strong and the weak, the young and the old, parents and children.

I hasten also to all hospitals and care centres, in order to share with you the joyful and life-giving news and to encourage you to carry your suffering in faith, with a spirit of self-sacrifice. I especially greet and bless our doctors and medical staff—all who heroically care for the sick and those needing assistance in these extraordinary circumstances. I unite myself spiritually to all the soldiers at the front lines andtheir families, to the wounded, to all refugees and to those who remain in the occupied territories, to all captives and prisoners for the sake of their conscience.All of you who are alone or far from your lovedones, I embrace you with fatherly love.

May the risen Christ transform this moment of weeping and pain, universally experienced by all humankind, into the paschal joy of victory over illness and death, just as this morning he transformed the weeping of the Myrrh-bearing women into joy! May he grant us in every moment the gift of victory over sin, and a rebirth of love and hope through an increase in our lives of the divine gift of eternal life, which we all received in Baptism! I sincerely wish each of you a blessed Easter feast, a tasty sharing of our traditional blessed egg, and a Paschal joy that is full of light.


The grace of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Christ is risen! – Truly, He is risen!







Given in Kyiv

at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,

on the day of Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem,

March 31 (18), 2020 A.D.