“One of the signs of the Holy Spirit is the urge to action, and action gives life,” – Bishop Andriy Rabiy on his new appointment

On November 10, 2022, the Apostolic See announced that the Holy Father Francis, after blessing the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, appointed Bishop Andriy Rabiy as an auxiliary bishop of the Winnipeg Archeparchy. Prior to that, the bishop performed active pastoral ministry as an auxiliary bishop in the Philadelphia Archeparchy.

How the bishop himself received the news about the change of assignment, what will be his first steps and what he learned during 28 years of service in the United States of America – we talk about this with Bishop Andriy Rabiy, auxiliary bishop of the Winnipeg Archeparchy.

How and when did you receive the news that from now on you will serve as an auxiliary bishop in the Winnipeg Archeparchy?

I learned of the appointment to the Archeparchy of Winnipeg on Thursday morning, November 10, shortly after it was announced by the Holy See. After a short prayer, I realized that my time serving in the United States had come to an end and a new challenge was waiting for me. This is wonderful because with every assignment and challenge there is an opportunity to learn, to serve, to apply previous experiences and abilities, and to learn new things. One of the signs of the Holy Spirit is prompting to action, and action gives life.

Did this decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC come as a surprise to you?

This decision was not a complete surprise. One of the priority tasks of the Synod is the proper spiritual care of the faithful in different parts of the world, and a bishop and clergy coordinate and provide it at the local level. The effort to ensure this in full sometimes requires re-appointments among the bishops. Therefore, each member of the Synod is ready to change the place of his service, aiming at the good of the faithful and the Church. Just like the first holy apostles: no one chose where they wanted to serve, but always obeyed the will of the Church and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Have you been to Canada? What do you think about this country and our Church there?

Yes, I had the opportunity to visit the province of British Columbia in 2018, and the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario last spring. Each province is beautiful and unique in its own way.

The history of Ukrainian immigration to Canada is very interesting, in which the history of our Church in the settlements is closely intertwined. Also, the history of Ukrainians in Canada is closely connected with the history of the development of Canada as a country. For example, Ukrainians and Canadians of Ukrainian origin made up and make up about 9-10% of the total population in the province of Manitoba. In the province of Ontario, this share is even higher.

Our Church in Canada has an interesting history of formation. Its development mostly depended on the living conditions and circumstances of our faithful. Our parishes are often identified with large villages, towns and megacities. In Canadian reality, there are a large number of so-called “farm” parishes. These are remote small churches that were built by Ukrainian farmers on the edge of their fields, where a priest came to serve the Holy Liturgy once a week or a month. This is a really good example of the adaptation of our Church to these circumstances.

Nevertheless, many of our parishes there are really alive and actively involved in social service, especially for newcoming displaced people from Ukraine. Most of the priests are local, that is, they are from Canada, and a relatively small number of priests come from Ukraine and other countries. This diversity is a gift, because it makes it possible to direct priests to parishes where they can best develop and bestow their gifts and abilities on the faithful.

I really want to meet the clergy of the Winnipeg Archdiocese and get to know them better. Equally, I want to get to know the Ukrainian communities of the province of Manitoba.

Have you had a chance to talk with Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak and learn about your new duties and limits of responsibility?

There had not yet been an opportunity to discuss my duties and hopes in detail, as only a few days had passed. I think that Metropolitan Lawrence will gradually share his expectations and tell me about responsibilities. I would very much like to help him, taking into account also the fact that he is currently the interim administrator of the Eparchy of Saskatoon, where proper attention and care of the faithful must also be given. For now, I can say that I will work with temporarily resettled people from Ukraine and find ways to help them adapt to the conditions of a new country for them.

Wasn’t it difficult to say goodbye to the country and the people with whom you have served for 28 years?

One of the great personal difficulties is the very moment of saying “goodbye”. It seems to me that when we say “goodbye”, we cut off the connection and disengage from the past permanently. It is better to say “see you soon” or “goodbye”. Many of my friends, mentors, wonderful parishioners and acquaintances remain in the United States, with whom I will continue to keep in touch. Many of them were very involved in the process of my formation as a person, a seminarian, a priest, and later as a bishop. All of them are extremely dear to me and I will always remember them.

What do you feel most grateful for to Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, to our Church in the USA, and to the country in general? What did they teach you?

I am most grateful to the Lord God for bringing me to the United States after two years of seminary in Ivano-Frankivsk in order to continue my studies at St. Josaphat Seminary in Washington at the invitation of the then Metropolitan Stepan Sulyk. I was given the opportunity to receive an excellent education at the Catholic University of America and the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and later to receive a Licentiate in Canon Law. This opportunity was quite rare at that time.

I will always be grateful to the wonderful parishioners in the parishes in which I had the opportunity to serve and who helped me grow as a priest. I will remain extremely grateful to all my mentors, rectors, brother-priests, and archbishop-emeritus Stefan Soroka for their love, care and example of sincere service to God and the Church. I am very grateful to Metropolitan Boris for his example of serving the Church in different parts of the world, his knowledge of the history of the Church, depth of thought, constant search for an understanding of the role of God and the Church in the modern world, and concern for Ukraine during the war.

And personally, I am very grateful for the opportunity to understand the true dignity of a person and the right to freedom. In the context of the conditions and time when I came to the United States – and this happened back in 1994 – it was a transition from thinking and perceiving reality in a “Soviet” way (homosovieticus) to understanding that you are unique, a person and an individual, completely able to have his own and unique opinion and worldview. It is something that is “very American”.

The first clear experience of this was during my studies at the Catholic University, when teachers treated students as individuals rather than a general number of young people.

Any experience is good, instructive and unique. The main thing is to always see God’s presence and what lesson He wants to teach us.

Translation by Bishop Andriy Rabiy.

Original text by о. Іван Вихор

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Andriy Rabiy to be the new auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg

On November 10, 2022, the Holy See announced that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed His Excellency Most Reverend Andriy Rabiy, auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, to be the new auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg.

Bishop Andriy has rendered generous service throughout the Archeparchy fulfilling many functions in various parishes and in the chancery. Most recently, Bishop Andriy served as vicar general, member of the College of Consultors, and given the shortage of priests has generously offered pastoral leadership at two parishes in the coal region – Transfiguration Parish in Shamokin, PA, and Immaculate Conception Parish in Marion Heights, PA.

Born in 1975 in Ukraine, where he started his seminary formation, Bishop Andriy spent almost all of his adult life in the United States.

He arrived in the US at the invitation of the late Metropolitan Stephen Sulyk to continue his studies at Saint Josaphat Seminary and the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he completed his degree in philosophy in 1999. That same year, he began theological studies at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and graduated in 2002 with a master’s degree in theology.

In 1999, he was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan Sulyk, and in 2001 a priest by Metropolitan Stefan Soroka. As a priest, he served with great dedication in different parishes. In 2002, he was appointed administrator of the parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Hillsborough, NJ, (2002-2005) and the parish of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in New Brunswick, NJ, (2002-2003; 2004-2005). For one year (2003-2004) he also served as administrator of the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Hillside, NJ.

The talented young priest was asked by Metropolitan Soroka to continue his studies. He earned a licentiate in canon law at the Catholic University of America in 2008, specializing in the Canon Law of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

For over 10 years, from February 2008 to June 2018, Father Rabiy was the administrator of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Reading, PA. From February 2013, he also was responsible for the mission parish of St. Andrew the Apostle in Lancaster, PA. In June 2008, he was appointed vice chancellor for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia and subsequently served in different administrative capacities in the chancery.  

In 2017, Father Andriy was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia. His episcopal ordination took place on September 3, 2017 in Saint George’s Cathedral in Lviv where in his youth he had served as an altar boy. His Beatitude Sviatoslav was the main consecrator with Metropolitan Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia and Bishop David Motiuk of Edmonton serving as co-consecrators. The ordination of Bishop Andriy occurred in the presence and with the prayers of the entire Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and his family that hails from Lviv.

Upon the retirement of Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, from April 16, 2018, to June 4, 2019, Bishop Andriy served as Apostolic Administrator of the Philadelphia Archeparchy. Subsequently, he served as vicar general of the Archeparchy. Because of the shortage of priest, during the pandemic, Bishop Andriy assumed responsibility for St. Michael Archangel Parish in Jenkintown, PA December 1, 2020, to July 31, 2022.

“Bishop Andriy is well-regarded as a pastor who is caring and deeply committed, hands-on, and modest . He has lived a life of simplicity, chastity, and complete dedication to the Church. As he once told me ‘The Church is my life, I have nothing but the Church’,” noted Metropolitan Borys Gudziak after the news about the appointment was announced. In the name of the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archeparchy, Metropolitan Borys expressed his gratitude to Bishop Andriy for the years of prayer, guidance, ministry, and pastoral care that he has offered thousands of faithful. “We wish Bishop Rabiy all the blessings of the Lord as the Holy Spirit guides him to new spiritual horizons and to new places of pastoral service. May the Lord grant the God-loving Bishop Andriy health, happiness, and the visitation of the Holy Spirit for many happy years!” said the Archbishop.

Comment by Archbishop Borys Gudziak

Having received the news about Pope Francis’s appointment of Bishop Andriy Rabiy as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, I would like to express the deepest gratitude of the bishops, all the clergy, religious and faithful of the Philadelphia Archeparchy and the United States Ukrainian Catholic Metropolia for his 28 years of service in America.

We all are most grateful to you, Bishop Andriy, for consecrating your life to the Lord and for all the good things that you have accomplished in the Philadelphia Archeparchy, for the years of prayer, ministry, preaching, and pastoral care that you have offered to thousands of our faithful.

Thank you, your Excellency, for the joy of the waters of Baptism that you poured over the heads of those beginning a new life in Christ. From your hands our people received the Bread of Life. Thank you for unburdening consciences through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May the Lord reward you for wiping the tears of those grieving at the loss of loved ones. We will remember the fellowship and solidarity that you created and shared at so many celebrations and festivals. Your good works are inscribed in the hearts of those you served.

As a young man in newly independent Ukraine, Andriy Rabiy answered Christ’s call to the priesthood and then responded to a second call to come to the US. He has given his entire adult life to our ecclesial community and left his mark on countless souls in many states.

Bishop Andriy is well-regarded as a pastor who is caring and deeply committed, hands-on, and modest. He has lived a life of simplicity, chastity, and complete dedication to the Church. As he once told me ‘The Church is my life, I have nothing but the Church.”

Having been appointed as bishop and transferred by the Church from country to country more than once, I know that it is not easy to leave the people you have come to love and who love you, those with whom you have decades of bonds. I pray and trust that the Holy Spirit will give Bishop Andriy the inspiration needed to pick up roots and plant them in a land new to him so as to flourish and give fruit as he did in the US. He is eagerly awaited in the Winnipeg Archeparchy by Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak who presently has also the Saskatoon Eparchy in his charge.

We wish Bishop Rabiy all the blessings of the Lord as the Holy Spirit guides him to new spiritual horizons and to new places of pastoral service. May the Lord grant the God-loving Bishop Andriy health, happiness, and the visitation of the Holy Spirit for many happy years! Mnohaya lita!

Statement of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of the US In Response to the Attempted Russian Annexation of Four Regions of Ukraine

Before the eyes of the world, after a farcical series of pseudo referendums, Russian President Putin, violating all principles of international law, announced the annexation of four regions of Ukraine. Each of these regions is approximately the size of Massachusetts, and together they form 15% of Ukrainian territory that, before 2014, was home to 8.5 million Ukrainians.

We wholeheartedly and unconditionally condemn this escalation and codification of brutal Russian aggression and ask all people of good will to confirm and amplify their active spiritual and material solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Russian imperialistic colonialism, accompanied by gruesome war crimes, the killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the massive destruction of villages, towns, and cities, enslaves not only the general population but also its Churches and religious communities. The future of the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes, Eastern and Roman Catholic Churches, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim, and other communities of faith that stand up, as they have in unison, for truth and justice will be under a death sentence if these occupied territories of the Ukrainian state are not liberated.

Ukrainians who suffered repeated genocidal waves in the twentieth century with 15 million deaths caused by world wars and totalitarian regimes – both Soviet and Nazi – have no illusions about the consequence of Russian occupation. Every time in the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, or twenty-first centuries when a Russian regime – imperialist, Soviet, or Putinist – annexes Ukrainian territory, the life of Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox is suffocated. It can take time, or it can be rapid. The result is always the same. All faiths suffer along with the general population. The discovery of Russian atrocities in Bucha, Irpin, and most recently Izyum lay bare Russian genocidal intentions. It is incumbent on the free world to help the valiant Ukrainians who show inspiring courage to reject and reverse these heinous acts of state terrorism and neo-colonial gluttony.

Russia encompasses 11 time zones. In its imperial embrace it envelopes some 120 ethnic groups and nations. How much more can Russia consume? How much more human suffering will this colonialism cause? Russia is 28 times as big as Ukraine. With your help it will not get a 29th portion. African Americans will never be slaves again. Americans and Canadians will not be the colonial subjects of Great Britain. Algeria and Ivory Coast will never again be a colony of France. The Democratic Republic of the Congo will never be a satellite of Belgium, Mexico and Argentina of Spain, and Brazil of Portugal. 31 years ago, with an overwhelming 90% vote, Ukrainians decided that they will not be colonial slaves of Russia. Now they are defending their God-given freedom and dignity with their very lives.

It is time to renew and reinforce our prayer, advocacy, and aid in supporting the defense of democracy and Biblical truth in Ukraine and the world. We stand with David against the pretensions of Goliath. We stand with Christ the Crucified who always was close to the poor and marginalized. Who became a victim to save the victims of sin. We trust that the victims will not be abandoned by the powerful of the world and that God’s truth will prevail.

Ukraine, which in 1994 was the first country that unilaterally gave up its nuclear arsenal, is today threatened with nuclear weapons by the country that, through the Budapest Memorandum, guaranteed Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. America was a signatory of this guarantee. The sacrifice of Ukrainians, their prophetic option for peace commands our solidarity.

Ukraine’s stance for and witness to peace is undeniable. Today it needs the world’s help to resist an unprovoked invasion. We encourage all people of goodwill to do their part.

Pray to the merciful Lord, advocate for the defense of the innocent, and help generously the millions of victims. 

In God we trust!

+ Borys Gudziak

Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians

Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States

+ Paul Chomnycky, OSBM

Eparch of Stamford

+ Вenedict Aleksiychuk

Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago

+ Bohdan J. Danylo

Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma

+ Andriy Rabiy

Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia

Metropolitan Gudziak at the Mass for Migrants and Refugees in Washington: Ukrainians will defend their God-given dignity

On September 25, Archbishop Borys Gudziak joined Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Chairman of the Committee on Migration for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, in a celebration of the gifts of migrants and refugees at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C. 

This event marked the conclusion of National Migration Week celebrated worldwide. Archbishop Borys was invited to address the gathering in St. Matthew’s Cathedral at the end of Mass.

“I grew up as a son of refugees. They came from Ukraine, a country where during WWII seven million people were killed, including two million Jews. Our human race, so gifted, so talented, that is capable of building such beautiful churches, capable of beautiful singing is at the same time capable of hatred and violence,” said the Archbishop after thanking Bishop Dorsonville for the invitation. He mentioned the present aggression against Ukraine which forced 14 million Ukrainians to flee their homes and thanked American Catholics for their prayer, advocacy efforts, and aid. The Archbishop also shared his personal experience of his visits to Ukraine and Europe recently. “I am inspired when I speak with the people in Ukraine as I tremble before the tragedy.” emphasized Metropolitan Borys. “Whether it was the refugees in Romania, Poland, Italy, France, Belgium, Canada, United States, or whether it was mothers and grandmothers, students, even children, not to speak of the fathers and the young men, I heard not a single person saying: “We have to give up”; “We must compromise”; “We have to make concessions”. In the 20th century, 15 million people were killed on Ukrainian land. And if anybody forgot that, in Ukraine, they have seen Bucha, they have seen Izyum and there are over two thousand villages and towns that are held under occupation. Ukrainians will defend their God-given dignity. They will defend Poland and Romania, Europe, and the rest of the free world”.

Metropolitan Borys Gudziak completed his visit to Romania

Archbishop Metropolitan Borys Gudziak completed a tour of Romania, representing the United States Conference of the Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as a member of the subcommittee of Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Archbishop was accompanied by Jennifer Healy, director of the subcommittee, Andrew Kirkpatrick, grant specialist of the subcommittee, and Sofia Zacharczuk, chief of staff of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

The tour started in Bucharest with visiting the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest where the delegation met with His Excellency Aurel Perca, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bucharest.

Next, the delegation visited the Romanian Greek Catholic Archeparchy in Blaj where they were hosted by His Eminence Christian Dumitru Crișan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Alba Iulia and Făgăraș. The visit included several services in different parishes in Blaj, including the Cathedral, visiting the seminary, walking the Field of Freedom where Pope Francis visited in 2019, the future museum of the Archeparchy, and met with refugees staying at the mother house. The delegation also traveled to Târgu Mureș where they saw a new church that is being constructed, and Archbishop Borys took part in a conference on the current situation in Ukraine and met with Ukrainian refugees who have been taken in by one of the parish priests.

Following Blaj, the delegation traveled to Cluj where they were hosted by Bishop Claudiu-Lucian Pop, Eparchy of Cluj-Gherla. During their time in Cluj, the Archbishop greeted students on their first day of school and met with the principal of the school to discuss aspirations to expand and grow the school. The delegation visited the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (BBU) where they met with the Rector of the University, Dr Daniel David, and met with the Dean of the School of Greek Catholic Theology, and with members of the University’s patristic center. The delegation also visited the new cathedral which is still being constructed.

Prior to leaving Romania, Archbishop Borys visited the sisters in Sighet who took in over 1,500 Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war, and currently still house several families. Archbishop Borys thanked the Romanians for their warm welcome and hospitality not only to the delegation but to all the Ukrainian refugees.

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt!” (Mt. 14:31)

As Jesus went up to the mountain by himself to pray, His disciples already were on the boat preceding the Lord to the next location. As the disciples were sailing, the boat began to be tossed about by some strong winds. It was already dark. It was nighttime. Suddenly, the disciples had seen something happening at sea. They become terrified.

Jesus speaks to the disciples: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (14:27) Peter, along with the other disciples on the boat, was not certain what they were seeing. Peter hears and recognizes Jesus’ voice and says: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” (v. 28)

The Lord commands Peter to come and so he does. Peter in fact begins to walk on water and goes toward Jesus. How amazing for us to read that not only Jesus walked on water, but so did Peter at first. However, Peter notices how strong the wind was and became frightened and had begun to sink. Peter then cries out: “O Lord, save me!” (v. 30)

Immediately Jesus extends His hand across the sea and rescues Peter. The Lord caught him and prevented Peter from drowning. The Lord is ever ready to help and quickly saves Peter and is ready and able to recue each and every one of us from any and all impending dangers or disasters. The Lord shall hear our plea and provide us with divine aid. The Lord only questioned Peter as to why did he doubt.

Both Jesus and Peter get on the boat. The winds then die down. All those on the boat acknowledge Jesus as the Lord and pay Him homage, saying: “Truly, You are the Son of God.” (v. 33)

Just as the disciples of Our Lord experienced a storm at sea and the strong winds and the turbulence of waves, so can we. And when we do, we should turn to the Lord for divine help. We can become weak physically and/or spiritually. Whatever the need, the Lord God can provide. He is the Omnipotent One, the Almighty.

Whether it be an illness or misunderstanding, dispute or conflict with another, the Lord can provide us with a positive and lasting resolution. Through prayer and our hope and trust in His ability to save and rescue us from evil and all its terrible consequences, we can stand firm in the faith. Let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ and not to be distracted by the turbulence, the trials and tribulation we may experience here on earth. We stand not alone, but with Christ. As the People of God, we acknowledge the need for discernment, to recognize and acknowledge evil for what it truly is.

Throughout our earthly life, whether at work, at school or at home difficulties may appear as we seek to do good and to have compassion on others in need. Be assured that at all times, we have at least One true and loyal friend, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us make Jesus the center of our daily lives. Let us not doubt His ability and readiness to save and rescue.

May we all never question our importance in the eyes of the Lord. Without exception, the Lord truly cares about each of us. He does not ever forget about any one of us. In the words of the holy prophet Isaiah, the Lord God tells us: “I will not forget you. Look! I have written you on the palms of My hand.” (49::15-16)

The Lord God Who knows and sees all shall one day bring us ultimate victory over evil and all the terrible consequences of sin. We confidently await the Day of the Lord, when all wrongs will be made right. Truth and justice shall prevail. And to those who remain faithful to Christ until then shall receive the reward of eternal happiness and joy with Him in Heaven

Rev. D. George Worschak.

Metropolitan Borys Gudziak participated in the 27th General Assembly of the International Federation of Catholic Universities

The Assembly of the International Federation of Catholic Universities convened on the campus of Boston College from July 30th to August 3rd with more than 200 participants from all over the world. Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, president of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, participated in the Assembly together with a delegation from UCU.
Comprising of more than 226 Catholic universities and higher education institutions throughout the world, the IFCU holds its general assembly every three years. The 2022 assembly’s theme was entitled “Legacy and Transformation in a World of Change: Catholic Higher Education and the Future.”
Metropolitan Borys offered a sermon during the mass for the participant of the Assembly on Tuesday, August 2nd. “At the end of a full day of fellowship and sharing of pain, sorrows, and great hopes we have an opportunity to say ‘eucharisto’ (thank you in Greek). In Eucharist, we bring thanks to the Lord, and we bring all our questions and challenges,” noted the Archbishop in his sermon. He thanked the representatives of the Catholic universities in different countries for their heroic witness, intellectual leadership, prophetic hope, and guidance they offer society.
During the gala dinner of the 27th General Assembly, the president of the Federation, Isabel Capeloa Gil, presented the Sciat Vt Serviat award to the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). Metropolitan Borys accepted the award on behalf of the UCU delegation and academic community. With this symbolic gesture, the Federation wanted to renew all its support and solidarity with the UCU and the Ukrainian people suffering from the unjust war led by Russia.
Receiving the award, Metropolitan Borys thanked the International Federation of Catholic Universities. “I want to thank you on behalf of those people in Ukraine that daily are enduring bomb alerts, that see cruise missiles flying over their heads and crashing neighboring buildings. I thank you on behalf of those who have given their lives”, he said mentioning that already eight members of the UCU community were killed.
“It is a war about Europe and about democracy in the world. I thank the International Federation of Catholic Universities for standing with Ukrainians who stand for freedom in the world. It is a battle of life or death. It is a war in and against Ukraine, but it is not only about Ukraine. The Russian invaders have demonstrated genocidal intent, and I want you to know that Ukrainians are not going to give up and they really appreciate your support,” added the Archbishop.
He asked the participants to pray for Ukraine, to stay informed, and to offer help and support.


Our Ukrainian Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord on August 6th on the Gregorian calendar and on August 19th on the Julian calendar. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read: “Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light.” (17:1) Sacred Tradition of the early Church, already in the 4th century, identifies the “high mountain” as Mount Tabor. The early Church Fathers had referred to the transfiguration of Our Lord as “His second epiphany” or manifestation of His divinity.

In Eastern Catholic and Orthodox thought, the Transfiguration shows forth humanity in the splendor of its original form.  The Transfiguration reveals the possibility of humanity’s theosis.  Another word for theosis is deification, which is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God.

The tropar for the Prefeast of the Transfiguration tells us that “The Master goes up Mount Tabor to reveal the splendorous beauty of His divinity.” The Kondak for the Prefeast tells us: “Today the whole human race begins to reflect the divine splendor of the transfiguration and with joy cries out: Christ is transfigured, bringing salvation to all.”

The tropar for the Feast tells us that Christ was transfigured on the Mount and showed to His disciples as much of His glory as they could possibly bear.” The kondak for the Feast tells us that “when they look upon Your being crucified, they will understand that You suffer freely … (and) that You are indeed the radiant reflection of the Father.”

It is a tradition in our Church to bless fruit on this Holy Feast. The prayer for the blessing of fruit is done towards the end of the Divine Liturgy. The priest asks the Lord God to be “pleased to accept the offerings of us, Your servants. Place them among Your everlasting treasures. Grant us an abundance of earthly things along with all that is beneficial for our well-being. Bless these fruits. Grant health of soul and body to all who partake of them. For glorified is Your Kingdom and blessed is Your Name, of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever.”

Then with the sprinkling of holy water on the fruits, the priest prays: “These fruits are blessed and sanctified by the sprinkling of this holy water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rev. D. George Worschak

88th Ukrainian Seminary Day in the South Anthracite Deanery focuses on the war in Ukraine

Held Sunday, July 31, at St. Nicholas Hall in Primrose, PA, the 88th Ukrainian Seminary Day brought together several hundred people.
Starting from the early 1930s, parishes of the South Anthracite Deanery, which is comprised of 12 Ukrainian Catholic parishes, mark this day as a special occasion to celebrate their faith and culture and to support Saint Josaphat Seminary in Washington, DC.
Although Ukrainian Catholics who live in the region are the the fourth-fifth generation born in the US, they cherish Ukrainian culture. The Russian war against Ukraine was in the focus of this year’s gathering.
“Today, resistance of Ukrainians against violence, aggression, propaganda, torture, and wanton destruction is changing the world. There are 20 wars in the world but this war, this resistance continues to be before the eyes of the world. It is because the people of Ukraine are giving their lives for the truth,” noted in his homily Archbishop Borys Gudziak who recently came back from Ukraine. He shared a story of Artemiy Dymyd, the son of his friend, who was killed by a mortar fire on the frontline in eastern Ukraine two months ago.
“We are living in a time when people stop believing in eternal life and do not know how to deal with death. Ukrainians, the members of our Church in Ukraine, are showing that they believe,” continued the Metropolitan.
Reflecting upon the Gospel of the day (the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes), the Archbishop stressed the importance of trust in God’s love, bounty, and presence, and the healing which our faith brings. “If we trust in what we hear in the Gospel — that Jesus heals, makes whole, and feeds — we live differently. Fear, anxiety, and all the other negative passions do not possess us and we have peace and joy in our hearts”.
The Divine Liturgy concluded with bidding farewell to Most Rev Mykola Ivanov, pastor of Shamokin and Marion Heights, who has received a new assignment, and the introduction of the Rev. Mark Fesniak, pastor of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Minersville, as the new dean of the South Anthracite Deanery.
In his brief word Fr. Mykola thanked parishioners of South Anthracite Deanery. “Because of you, your hard work, and your prayers our Church exists,” he emphasized.
Archbishop Borys express his gratitude to Fr. Mykola and Fr. Mark for their service and readiness to take on new responsibilities. He also shared the news that starting August 1st, auxiliary bishop Andriy Rabiy will be a pastor of Shamokin and Marion Heights. “We are bringing to you the best we have. Bishop Andriy completed his service in Saint Michael’s parish in Jenkintown and is coming to the South Anthracite Deanery. And I am asking him to do something that we have not done since metropolitan Stephen Sulyk’s time – canonical visits to our parishes”.
Addressing the people after the liturgy, the Archbishop shared with them the experience of his recent visit to Ukraine, especially to Bucha and Irpin where Russian forces committed brutal war crimes. He thanked the gathered for their prayer, for being informed, and for their generous help and noted that according to his estimate, American Catholics have donated more than 100 million dollars to help Ukraine.
He assured them that Ukrainians are grateful for the help. “Take that home and tell any doubter, Ukrainians will not give up. They will continue to give their lives for the truth, for God-given dignity, and for their independence”
More photos on our Facebook Page 

Pastoral Letter of the 2022 Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to the Clergy, Monastics and Laity of the UGCC and to All People of Good Will

Beloved in Christ!

For the fifth month, a large-scale, brutal war has been taking place on Ukrainian soil. It came uninvited and perfidious already in 2014, and from February 24, the enemy took off all his previous masks and openly destroys Ukraine.

The russian army kills the innocent and rapes the defenseless, kidnaps children and deports the occupied, tortures prisoners and starves the besieged, steals the grain we grow and loots our homes, annexes lands and destroys seized enterprises, fires at peaceful cities and terrorizes residents. The russian leadership seeks to destroy Ukrainian statehood and deprive us of our name. “You have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence” (Jer. 22:17). Again, as in the 20th century, the territory of our Fatherland has turned into “bloody lands.”

We strongly condemn this war! Because “the way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 15:9). The world has a moral obligation to turn back this aggression against Ukraine!

The aggressor’s intentions are plainly genocidal: from the first days, the war tactics show that he is not fighting the army, but the people. Russia is trying to satisfy its imperial appetites: its leadership considers Ukraine a colony, a not-a-state that is not worthy of a place on the political map of the world. To be great, an empire needs colonies—enslaved, conquered lands, resources, slaves. Colonial genocidal logic dictates scorched earth tactics that spare no one and nothing. It holds nothing sacred—neither the elderly person, nor the pregnant woman, neither the baby in a maternity hospital, nor children hiding in a theatre. It sees no value in a historical monument or industrial city, a residential building with hundreds of residents or hectares of ripe grain. Everyone and everything can be destroyed “for the sake of operational tasks.” Every day, as if in a daze, the whole world contemplates the barbarism, moral decay, and vileness of the attackers. Ukraine, on the other hand, defends itself, because its people, once and for all, have refused to become slaves, they simply strive to live their God-given life and God-given dignity in freedom. No one dares to take this away from him – thus says the Lord.

Ukraine does not want to conquer or humiliate russia. It wants the aggressor neighbour—having a territory 28 times larger, stretching across 11 time zones, and a population almost four times larger—to stop its centuries-old attempts to enslave and destroy Ukraine, to free itself from the pathology of imperialism and become a law-based state that respects the rights of others. The thief must leave our house! The Russian Orthodox Church must stop ideologically promoting the heresy of the “Russian world”! At a time when various Christian Churches are rethinking with repentance their historical role in the policy of colonialism and the practice of slavery, the Russian Orthodox Church is leading its faithful into the moral darkness of violence, aggression, and war crimes. The salt has lost its taste, and the light has stopped shining (cf. Mt. 5:13-16).

The war of the invader has caused a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe, an economic and demographic crisis in our country. In five months, up to nine million residents have left Ukraine, in particular, two million adults and children have been forcibly deported by the occupier to russia, and an estimated seven million have been forced to become internally displaced persons, 15.6 million are in need of humanitarian support. Thousands of families are separated by kilometres and borders. The number of widows and orphans is increasing daily. The aggressor is doing everything to turn our Fatherland into an uninhabitable territory, cities and regions remain deserted. The scale of this massive demographic shift is beyond our comprehension, but we will feel its effects for decades.

The tragedy of the war has profoundly wounded our Church directly. Some of our parishes are occupied and plundered. After all, over the past centuries, every time the boot of the russian occupier—be it tsarist, Soviet, or putinian—stepped on our land, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was persecuted and destroyed. However, each time, bearing witness to her faith and showing endurance in persecution, by the Lord’s will she was restored with a new strength. We believe and know that it will be so this time as well. We express solidarity and support to our bishops, priests, consecrated persons, lay faithful, who are on the front lines and in the occupied territories, or have been forced to leave their homes and parishes. We believe that you will return to your homes, and our parishes will revive and develop. We express words of brotherhood and solidarity to the Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims of Ukraine, who are under mortal threat no less than we. We stand together!

The courage and unity of our people in defending their independence has been unexpected even for many Ukrainians, not to mention for other countries. Heroic military resistance, dedication and sacrifice of volunteers, unity, and unanimity of religious communities, which have turned into important centres of mutual aid and love for one’s neighbour, provide proof that such a people cannot be enslaved.

They wanted to bury us, but they did not know that we are seeds. This saying has become a slogan of the indomitability, resilience, and strength of resistance to difficulties that Ukrainians are demonstrating. It echoes the saying of the Christian writer Tertullian: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” We bow our heads to all those who have sacrificed and are sacrificing themselves to protect the innocent, to defend the truth, to stand up for our sacred God-given human dignity.

Tremendous painful sacrifice, because it is authentic and paschal, bears abundant, life-giving fruit. In the midst of death, which the enemy sows everywhere using his full arsenal of malice and hatred, emerge sprouts of immeasurable strength and nobility. God has ignited the souls of Ukrainians with faith in the victory of God’s truth. In an era of relativistic dictatorship, Ukrainians clearly call things by their name: there is truth, goodness, principles, and values by which one should live and for which one can even die, and there are lies and insidious evil. Ukraine has united Europe, healing its cracks, and inspired people of goodwill all over the world. The Sacred Scriptures come alive before the eyes of humanity, and the Lord of history manifests a miracle: David confronts Goliath. Ukrainian soldiers who protect from the onslaught their hometowns, the lives of relatives and loved ones, the freedom and dignity of the people, together with David say: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts… whom you have defied” (1 Sam. 17:45). We express our sincere recognition to all those who selflessly stand for truth and justice.

We thank the priests-chaplains who, risking their lives, stand alongside our defenders, pray with them, carry Christ to them and provide humanitarian support.

Through her suffering and desperate struggle for existence, Ukraine has become the epicentre of global changes. Many people and nations are losing their blinders: it becomes clear that cheap resources are not worth the cost of enabling dictators; that the world security system is weakened and peace is threatened if, for the sake of prosperity, attention is not paid to divine principles and the behaviour of violators is ignored; that no man or country is a distant island, but that all humanity is interconnected at different levels, and if injustice is done to one country, others cannot be indifferent. “Never again” is transformed from a historical slogan into a moral imperative.

By God’s will, the truth has become clear, and the lie has faded away, because “no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21). The very fact of russia’s unprovoked aggression, reinforced by the war crimes of the russian occupiers, has caused a huge wave of support for Ukrainians in the world. The unprecedented level of humanitarian assistance to refugees and temporarily displaced persons is an authentic testimony to Christian love: “I was a refugee, and you received Me; I was in trouble, and you came to Me” (cf. Mt. 25:35-36). For this hospitality and generosity of various peoples, Churches, bishops, priests, monks and nuns, lay faithful and people of good will in various countries on various continents we express our deep gratitude. We also express our sincere thanks to the monasteries, religious orders, and congregations in Ukraine and abroad, that have accepted thousands of forcibly displaced persons and share with them everything they have. As in the times of the first Christian communities, the abundance in some overcame the need in others (cf. 2 Cor. 8:14).

These days, we ask ourselves: What gives us the strength to fight and resist an enemy who outnumbers us tenfold in military might? If we revise the question to “Who” gives us the strength, then the answer becomes obvious. God gives us strength because He is the Lord of powers. Why? Because we love! The power of Ukrainians is the power of love. Our soldiers are guided by the principle, not of hating others, but of love for their own— children, loved ones, parents, friends, land, native streets, morning dawns, fogs… Love is manifested in the tireless work of volunteers, in the generous donations of millions, in sincere silent prayer. And through this love we have already won.

This moral high ground must be preserved. We will ultimately win only if we continue to love, if we do not deviate one iota from the biblical formula for this victory: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14). Love gives birth to heroes, and hate—criminals. The cruelty of war dehumanizes, and so we, as a nation defending itself and as a Church uniting the people in Christ’s family, must make every effort to preserve our dignity and humanity, without ever stooping down to the inhumanity and atrocities of the aggressor. Let us protect the hearts of our soldiers from evil, so that they remain warriors of light and goodness! Let us safeguard our own hearts! Let us turn our anger and resentment into courage, indomitability, true wisdom, and the victory of God’s truth. St. Paul urges us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

How to be Church?

The principles which we adopted in the Pastoral Letter of 2021, “The Hope to Which the Lord Calls Us,” reflecting on our future and establishing the pastoral priorities of our Church for the next decade, are brought to the fore and acquire particular meaning against the backdrop of the war. Drawing on the experience of the pandemic, which deeply affected social bonds and structures, we emphasized the need for pastoral conversion, for building networks of communion, for healing wounds and for closeness and practical attention to the poor and marginalized. Based on the experience of our communities, we sought to describe a methodology, and the war created a context in which each of us can reflect more deeply on what this methodology and these principles mean and to what practical conclusions and actions they lead.

Our pastoral conversion will mean being close to our faithful—in suffering, grief, trials, death. “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12:26). The expression “smell like the sheep” returns to its original, radical Christian meaning—to give one’s life for the entrusted sheepfold. The war prompts us to continue building bonds of solidarity between people, parishes, and countries with new fervour and resilience; new, hitherto unheard-of, wounds will require persistent prayer and generous labour from everyone, so that with the oil of divine mercy and human compassion they might be healed and transformed into sources of hope; while helping the poor and marginalized will require from us new approaches and creativity in love.

In October 2021, at the opening of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis emphasized that we are called to unity, communion, brotherhood, which appear precisely when we realize that we are all equally embraced by God’s love. In other words, our unity or solidarity is not a social construct, but our identity in response to God’s love. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).

War radically teaches us, through the pain, sacrifices, and grief it brings each day, to be the Church of Christ: to believe unshakably in the power of good and to live with active love. “For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20).

We are called to be a Church that is close

In Ukraine and abroad, our parishes create networks of prayer and support. Along with prayers for peace, rescue, the wounded and fallen, appeals resound to collect donations, find volunteers, pack and unpack material resources. The difficult, meticulous work continues. Through the witness of the Church and our faithful in different countries of the world, the truth is being spread and the awareness of what people in Ukraine are experiencing grows. A church that is close to suffering, to human grief, is alive and will not become a museum.

We are called to be a Church that listens

Chaplains and priests, representatives of monasticism or lay faithful, who worked with those who survived occupation, shelling, mutilation, or loss of relatives, note that the most important words of consolation are “I am with you!” Contact, attention, humaneness, prayer—these are the main tools for pastoral care in time of war. To listen to the other, to hear his or her story, to accept his or her pain—in our circumstances this is what it means to be Church.

We are called to be a Church that heals wounds

During his earthly mission, Christ healed the blind, crippled, possessed, in order to ultimately heal humanity and every human being from the disease of death and sin. Christ handed over to the Church his ministry of healing wounds, of making others whole. In time of war the healing of spiritual wounds, of dealing with trauma and stress is one of the primary tasks of the Church and its ministers. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). The wounds and traumas of the people we are called to serve are mostly visible and obvious, but sometimes they are hidden or wrapped up in bandages of anger, fear, feigned detachment.

The Church, being herself wounded by the suffering and pain of the disaster of war, is called to bring to every destitute and wounded person the medicinal grace of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) and in spiritual accompaniment, the medicine of consolation and merciful love. In human wounds we recognize the wounds of our Saviour, and, in touching human suffering, we rediscover contact with the risen Christ, whose wounds became a sign of God’s ultimate victory over the dark and destructive forces of sin.

Thus, in his Son, crucified for the sins of all people and raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, God the Father Himself comes to meet His suffering children and turns human patience into a source of hope and eternal life. The word of God through the mouth of the holy apostle Paul assures us of this: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.” (Rom. 6:8-10).

We are called to be a Church that prays for peace and seeks justice

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). Peace is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in the midst of the pain of daily distressing news, the Church ceaselessly beseeches the Lord for peace for a long-suffering Ukraine and works together with others for the restoration of peace and justice in our land.

We are called to be a Church that gives hope

We, Christians, are people of hope not because we “hope for something better,” but because we believe in God and in the eternal life to which the Lord invites us. Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Paradoxically, it is precisely this faith that allows us fully and deeply to experience earthly events, this war in particular. From the perspective of eternity, everyday reality is not blurred, but, on the contrary, it acquires clear contours, the sacred value of each person is brought to the fore.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Because of the pandemic, we, the bishops of the UGCC, have not seen each other in person in three years. However, the joy of our brotherly meeting has been overshadowed by the horrors of war. It was the war, the suffering it inflicts on our people, and the latest challenges caused by russian military aggression against our Fatherland, that were at the centre of our prayers, conversations, and synodal meetings. In addition, during this year’s session of the Synod, we reflected on the topic “Synodality and sobornist: the experience of the UGCC.” In the context of the present circumstances, this is not an abstract topic. On the contrary, the calamity that our state and our people are experiencing called on us to rediscover the power of unity and the need for daily and enduring solidarity for the sake of victory. “In unity is the strength of the people. God, give us unity!” We felt even more keenly that we were called to strengthen unity within the country, and to support our faithful and all people of good will outside its borders.

May the power and action of the Holy Spirit give us unshakable unity and faith in the victory of God’s truth!

May the Lord strengthen and bless our defenders, volunteers, doctors, employees of the State Emergency Service, the lawful government of Ukraine and all those who protect and liberate Ukraine from the aggressor!

May He embrace the families of those who have died, the orphans and widows, the prisoners and the missing in action!

May He grant eternal reward and fullness of life to the fallen!

May the oil of merciful love heal the physical, mental, and spiritual wounds of the victims!

Through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos and all the saints of the land of Ukraine, may He bestow his peace and blessings on the whole world!


The blessing of the Lord be upon you!



On behalf of the Synod of Bishops of the

Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church






Given in Przemyśl,

at the Cathedral of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist,

on the Day of the Placing of the Precious Robe of

Our Most Holy Lady and Theotokos in Blachernae,

on July 15, 2022 A.D.