St. Volodymyr's Parish

Ukrainian Catholic Church

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Friday, 18.8.2017, 9:02 AM
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St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Church, Canberra

 

The memorial church of St. Volodymyr in Canberra is the newest Ukrainian Church in Australia and was built in 1988 to mark the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine.

Prior to the Church’s opening, Ukrainian Catholic parishioners attended services conducted by the local parish priest in a chapel within a house, which also served as the presbytery. The house had been purchased through local parishioner donation in 1972. Shortly afterwards, the Church Brotherhood was established with Ivan Pojdynec as the first president.

St. Volodymyr's churchIn 1973, Patriarch Cardinal Joseph Slipyj visited Australia to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne. He also visited Ukrainian Catholic parishes throughout Australia. During his visit to the Canberra-Queanbeyan parish, Cardinal Slipyj decided that the capital city of Australia should have a Ukrainian Catholic Church and centre to represent the Ukrainian people. He immediately established a church building fund with a substantial personal contribution.

The Bishop of Australia and New Zealand, Ivan Prasko appointed Father Ivan Shewciw of the Sydney parish as project manager. Local parishioners successfully applied to the ACT Government for a grant of a suitable parcel of land for the new centre and over the following years, Ukrainians from all parishes in Australia and New Zealand donated to the building fund. An Australian building company was subsequently engaged to commence construction.

A blessing ceremony was held on the land on 14th June 1982 and on 25th December of the same year, the foundation stone was laid. Just on a year later, on 16th December 1983, over one thousand people attended a special blessing of the new church of St. Volodymyr.

Following the special blessing, further work was required. Local parishioners slowly completed ground works while Canadian master artist Myron Levytsky painted murals and icons on the walls and ceiling of the church. By 1986, when His Eminence the Patriarch Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivskyj visited the centre, all major work had been completed.

The Church was a fitting venue to mark the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine in 1988 as it was named after St. Volodymyr the Great, Prince of Kyiv and baptiser of Ukraine in 988. Ceremonies were conducted in St. Volodymyr’s and were attended by the faithful from all over Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and other locations where Ukrainians have settled. Shortly afterwards, the parish choir was formed under the direction of Irene Pellegrino. Before the formal existence of a church choir, the entire church sang the Mass. This was first led by Mr. V. Baran and it continues today under the leadership of Mr. R. and Mrs. V. Iwashkiw.

Following the blessing of the church in 1983, almost ten years elapsed before it was consecrated.

It was as if through God’s Will that the important Church was consecrated by the Confessor of the Faith, Bishop Pawlo Wasylyk. This was significant since both Bishop Pawlo and Patriarch Cardinal Joseph Slipyj, the founder of St. Volodymyr’s, had together endured imprisonment and persecution by the occupying Soviets in the gulags of Siberia. The consecration of the church occurred on Sunday, 28th July 1991 and this date, which is also the feast day of St. Volodymyr, has become an important day in the Church’s calendar.

From 1993, since the retirement of Bishop Prasko, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania has been led by Bishop Peter Stasiuk.

And so with God’s help and much effort from the Ukrainian faithful, the memorial church of St. Volodymyr stands on a prominent hill in the Canberra suburb of Lyneham in praise of God and all his people. It also serves as a fitting tribute to the 1000 years of Ukrainian Christianity and pays homage to Ukraine, which fought so hard to retain its culture, traditions and especially its rites of worship.

Through time various people held positions in the Brotherhood and the Parish Council. These people include: I. Pojdynec, W. Kowalczuk, R. Mykytowycz, I. Malecky, M. Olijnyk, P. Lutak, R. Mondzeyovsky, A. Liszczynsky, Irena Schorsch, Irene Forostenko, Irene Pellegrino and now it's Peter Lutak

From beginning to the present, the following priests performed pastoral duties in the St.Volodymyr Church:

I. Szewciw, D. Seniw, W. Wolochy, Z. Kolomyjec, Z. Racki, O. Stefanychyn and now it 's Andriy Mykytyuk.