EXTRAORDINARY COUNCIL OF THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF CANADA
100Th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH 1918-2018
August 9-12, 2018 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Day Two – Friday, August 10, 2018. Commemoration of the Holy Apostles of the Seventy and Deacons: Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas.
The second day of the Council began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral presided by our Primate, Metropolitan Yurij (Kalistchuk). Responses were beautifully sung by the Lastiwka Ukrainian Orthodox Choir directed by Larry Klopoushak.
Metropolitan Yurij opened the Extraordinary Council in the Cathedral. The chief item on the agenda was the reading by our Primate, in Ukrainian and English, of the Celebratory Resolution as follows (English text):
On July 18-19, 1918, a most significant spiritual event in the life of the Ukrainian community in Canada took place in Saskatoon. Some 154 delegates from three prairie provinces called together by thirty prominent lay leaders led by Wasyl Swystun gathered there in a “confidential meeting”. They decided that the needs of the community would best be served by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church established on Canadian soil. They formed a Brotherhood and soon the first Sobor (General Council) was held in Saskatoon and so came about the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada. The Second Sobor, held in three cities approved as the first hierarch Metropolitan Germanos (Shehadi) of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He ordained three men: Frs. Samuel W. Sawchuk, Dmytro Stratychuk and Petro Sametz, who were prepared for the priesthood by Fr. Lazar German in Saskatoon. Archbishop Ioan Teodorovych, a Hierarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church which was formed in Ukraine in 1921, was sent to serve the Ukrainian Orthodox in the U.S.A. The Fourth Sobor of the fledgling Canadian Church accepted him to be its Hierarch as well. Difficulties were surmounted and the Theological School, St. Andrew’s College was opened in Winnipeg in 1946.
The end of the Second World War brought other Hierarchs and Clergy from Europe to fortify the Church. There was Archbishop Mstyslav (Skrypnyk) who eventually became the first Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Archbishop Polikarp (Sikorsky) lent his support. In 1951 the Metropolia was set up and the renowned scholar who translated the Bible into Ukrainian, Ilarion (Ivan Ohienko) agreed to and was accepted by the Church as its first Metropolitan. He was succeeded by Metropolitans Michael (Mykhayil Khoroshyy), Andrew (Hryhoriy Metiuk), Wasyly (Fedak), Ivan (Stinka) and Yurij (Kalistchuk). They were assisted by Archbishop Boris (Yakovkevych) and Archbishop Nicholas (Mykolay Debryn).
Our lay organizations the Ukrainian Self- Reliance League with its component organizations: the Ukrainian Women’s Association (CYK), the Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association (TYC) and the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association (CYMK) were vital to the growth of the church in Canada along with their affiliated Institutions, St. John’s in Edmonton, St. Peter Mohyla in Saskatoon, St. Vladimir’s in Toronto and the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. The way for them as well as for the founding of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada had been prepared by the Ukrayinskyy Holos (Ukrainian Voice) newspaper founded in Winnipeg in 1910. It was accompanied some years later by the current Church press organ Visnyk (The Herald – originally Pravoslavnyy Visnyk), founded by Fr. Vasyl Kudryk. The years 1951 to 1975 saw an enormous growth in the Church – a Golden Age.
Preparations for the celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine in 1988 culminated in the realization of the aspirations of the pioneers of the Church, canonical unity (eucharistic communion) with the Ecumenical Patriarchate – at the time led by His All-Holiness Patriarch Demetrius I followed by His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, which is comprised of His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij, His Grace Bishop Ilarion (Rudnyk) of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy, and His Grace Bishop Andriy (Peshko) of the Eastern Eparchy today lead the Clergy and the faithful in supporting the process which today fills us with such hopeful anticipation: the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine by its Mother Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, after centuries of subjugation by Kyiv’s daughter, the Church of Moscow. A delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada had visited all three Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine in 1993 as part of the ongoing effort to bring about the unity and canonical fulfillment which, by God’s grace and mercy, we hope to see in the very near future, after the triumphant achievement of Ukrainian sovereignty, accompanied by the tragic events of resistance to the imperialist actions of its northern neighbour.
Full of heartfelt gratitude for all that has been achieved in the past 100 years, and of joyful anticipation of future achievements in proclaiming and embodying the Gospel of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, in company with the multitude of Saints and Martyrs of the Church of Ukraine in the homeland and in the diaspora, especially in our wonderful country of Canada, we resolve to increase our endeavours to bring about the growth of the Kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in our land of Canada, our ancestral homeland Ukraine and throughout the world. All praise, glory and honour be to Him now and forever. Amen.
The celebratory resolution was seconded by Dr. Peter M. Kondra, President of the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League, and unanimously adopted.
Lunch followed in the Cathedral Auditorium. This, in turn, was followed by a Symposium organized by St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg Faculty of Theology. The presents were: Fr. Dr. Ihor Kutash (“The Fourth ‘S’ Priest and Ukrainian Orthodoxy in Quebec”), Fr. Dr. Jaroslaw Buciora (“The Living Church of the Prairies: The Theological Formation of the Ukrainian Canadian Pioneers”), Dr. Roman Yereniuk (“Ukrainian Canadian Orthodox Chaplaincy during World War II: Empowering the Canadian Forces Personnel Spiritually, Morally and ‘Culturally’ to Meet the Demands of Military Service”), Fr. Roman Bozyk – St. Andrew’s Dean of Theology and Principal (“The UOCC as the Light of Truth for Contemporary Orthodoxy”), and Fr. Taras Udod (“For the Love of God – Called to Service”).
This was followed by a bus tour of country Churches: beginning with the first official Church and Parish of the UOCC in St. Julien, across the bridge to where the Louis Riel battles occurred during the North-West Rebellion in 1885, to St. Michael’s Parish in Lepine, and passing by Ukrainian family farms, many of which are still owned by descendants of the original settlers.
At the same time there was a youth program at the Cathedral. The youngsters made candles with beeswax and there were catechetical sessions with Frs. Peter Haugen and Timothy Chrapko as well as a youth choir rehearsal.
Vespers at the Cathedral were followed by supper and a talk by Dr. Oleh Gerus (“The Contribution of Very Rev. Dr. S. W. Sawchuk and Metropolitan Ilarion to the Evolution of the UOCC). The concluding highlight of the day was a private group visit and reception at the marvelous Ukrainian Museum of Canada with its treasured artifacts.
Humbly submitted by
Fr. Ihor G. Kutash