Pilgrimage of Bishops to the Relics of Saint Nicholas in Bari, Italy
August 31, 2023
Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari, Italy, took place on August 29th. This pilgrimage was attended by Bishop Mykhailo Koltun, Eparch of Sokal-Zhovkva, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, and Bishop Petro Loza, Auxiliary Bishop of the Sokal-Zhovkva Eparchy.
Guiding the pilgrimage was Father Giovanni Distante, the rector of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, and a member of the Dominican Order. It’s worth noting that the Dominicans have served in the city of Bari since 1501. The bishops had the opportunity to touch the relics of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker and to beseech the Almighty God through his intercession.
Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, shared his thoughts: ‘I prayed for blessings upon the Church in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania, as well as for peace in Ukraine. Bishop Petro Loza prayed for God’s blessings for the successful Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which will occur from September 3 rd to 13th in Rome. Bishop Mykhailo Koltun thanked God with gratitude for 30 years of his hierarchal service.’
Father Giovanni Distante personally led the Bishop to the crypt, where the relics of Saint Nicholas are kept. He opened the door to this holy place for them, where they could kiss the holy relics and offer their prayers. The basilica’s rector also assured the Bishops and our Church of his fervent prayers for a just peace in Ukraine.
The Bishops received a special gift — myrrh that flows from the holy relics of Saint Nicholas. They will bring this myrrh to their Eparchies for use in worship services and blessings for the faithful.