Pastoral visit to New Zealand

February 19, 2024

From January 27 to February 16, Fr. Ihor Holovko, Synkellos for Clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy, was on a pastoral visit to New Zealand. As part of this visit, Fr. Ihor visited Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland.

Pastoral visit to New Zealand

Father Ihor started his missionary journey from the South Island, namely from the city of Christchurch, where on Saturday, January 27, he joined the annual festival organised by the Ukrainian community. The next day, on Sunday, Fr. Ihor served the Divine Liturgy in St. Peter’s Church in Christchurch and also performed the Rite of the Great Jordan Water Consecration. Later, not only the faithful from Christchurch but also the faithful from other cities visited by Father Ihor had the opportunity to take this holy water into their homes, so it became a kind of symbol of unity in Christ for everyone.

On Tuesday, January 30, the faithful gathered in Dunedin for a prayer for peace in Ukraine. Here, Ukrainians were hospitably welcomed for prayer by the Presbyterian Church.

Since February 3, Fr. Ihor has been on the North Island, where he has had the opportunity to gather our faithful twice for Divine Liturgies: on Sunday, February 4, in the church of St. Joseph in Wellington, and on Sunday, February 11, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Auckland.

Fr. Ihor was accompanied on the trip by his parents, Ms. Khrystyna and Mr. Volodymyr Holovko. Mr. Volodymyr is the conductor of the Cathedral Choir in Melbourne, so all services were accompanied by wonderful church singing in duet performances. During the Divine Liturgy in Auckland, the guests were also helped to sing by the Head of the Ukrainian Community, Mr. Yuriy Gladun, who lives in Hamilton.

In all cities, after the prayer, the faithful had the opportunity to gather together in parish halls, where they had time to communicate with the priest at a common table as well as to sing Ukrainian patriotic songs together with Fr. Ihor and his father, Mr. Volodymyr.

During his stay in New Zealand, Fr. Ihor tried to fully respond to the needs of our faithful, so in addition to prayer services, he met with people in various cities of the South Island (Invercagill, Orepuki, Papatotara, and Queenstown) and the North Island (Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Taupo, Karapiro, Cambridge, and Hamilton), visited the homes of our faithful with Jordanian water, etc. During this pastoral visit, our church community was enriched by two new little Christians, Sofiyka and Lukyan. Fr. Ihor performed the rites of baptism while in Christchurch and Wellington.

As Fr. Ihor shared his impressions of the visit: “It was a blessed time, for which we sincerely thank the Almighty God, as well as the Ukrainians living on the South and North islands of this beautiful and green country, New Zealand.”

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