Resolutions of the Soborchyk of clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy
June 20, 2023
From June 12 to 16, 2023, the clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy gathered for a Soborchyk, where those present discussed current issues and adopted resolutions regarding the directions of further pastoral work in the Eparchy.
Resolutions of the Soborchyk of clergy of the Melbourne Eparchy
12–16 June 2023
The Soborchyk of the Clergy of the Eparchy of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul of Melbourne, under the guidance of the Most Reverend Mykola Bychok, CSsR, Eparch, was held on the 12–16 June 2023 at the Retreat House of St. Clement Hofbauer, Galong, New South Wales, Australia.
Based on the pastoral plan 2030 “The Hope to which the Lord calls us” as determined by the Synod of UGCC, the clergy worked out the topics which concern the personal, family, parish and Eparchial levels:
І. The paths to curing wounds and healing trauma.
ІІ. Closeness and practical attention to the poor and marginalised.
ІІІ. The Christian family — a Domestic Church.
Having regard to the current situation in our Eparchy, we acknowledge the wounded state of each person due to the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the secularisation of society as well as other personal issues. We are all in need of God’s mercy which we can experience through the Holy Mysteries, and in particular Confession, Holy Communion and Anointing of the Sick.
We understand the realities of our parishes, which over a long history in Australia have created Ukrainian-speaking and English-speaking groups as well as the needs and gifts different waves of migration to Australia. We note that each of these groups gives its unique experience and God’s gifts to its community and the whole Church, creating unity and versatility.
Considering the Holy Scriptures, the Teachings of the Holy Fathers, and the Supreme Magisterium of the Church the assembled clergy acknowledge that we have a responsibility and obligation to teach and support the traditional Teaching of the Church on the Mystery of Marriage, the role of the Family and the moral life of each person. We call on all the faithful to turn to inform and conform their conscience and live according to the moral teaching of Christ and the Holy Church.
1. To oblige priests to remind and emphasise to the faithful that human life begins from the moment of natural conception and ends with a natural death. Human life is a gift from God, and no one has the right to determine its worth or duration.
2. To oblige the priests to remind and emphasise to the faithful that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1, 27), and also “a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2, 24); therefore, “the matrimonial covenant, established by the Creator and ordered by His laws, by which a man and a woman by irrevocable personal consent establish between themselves a partnership of the whole life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the generation and education of the offspring” (CCEC 776, § 1).
3. Emphasise to the clergy and the faithful that the Church does not condemn people who find it difficult to accept the moral teachings of the Church, but we condemn sin and invite those who choose to live outside of the Church’s teaching to the path of healing and repentance through the Holy Mysteries, prayer and a life of chastity and purity.
4. To encourage priests to preach the Word of God and celebrate the Holy Liturgy, Holy Mysteries and Prayers of the Church in a language understandable to the faithful.
5. To encourage a parish priest and parish councils to appoint one or more persons in each parish to assist the priest in pastoral work.
6. To remind all the faithful, and especially families, of the obligation to notify the parish priest in case of illness, hospitalisation and other needs of their family members or acquaintances who need spiritual and pastoral help.
7. To remind the clergy and the faithful about the Resolutions of the Soborchyk of 2022, paragraphs 48–49 regard the Mystery of Anointing of sick and again emphasise the importance of this Holy Mystery.
8. To oblige the priests to serve Moleben for the healing of soul and body in the parish at least once a month.
9. To remind the clergy and the faithful of the Eparchy about the Resolution of the Soborchyk of 2022, paragraph 21 and to encourage them to perform the Rite of “Soboruvannia” (Anointing for healing) in parish churches, at least once a year.
10. To remind the clergy and the faithful of the Eparchy about the Resolutions of the Soborchyk of 2022, paragraphs 38–42, regarding the Mystery of Confession and encourage everyone to approach the Holy Mystery of Repentance at least once a month.
11. To encourage each parish to use social networks more effectively for evangelisation and catechesis, to provide up-to-date information about life and events in the parish and to establish various methods for better communication with parishioners and those who may be new to the parish.
12. To encourage priests and parish councils to revitalise the social and prayer life of the parish.
13. To encourage priests and parish councils to work together with local Catholic Dioceses and other Churches.
14. To encourage priests and parish councils to organise access to resources in the parish to enrich the spiritual life of the faithful.
15. To encourage priests and parish councils to form a database of contacts of services and organizations who can provide support for persons in various needs.
16. Using catechesis and advertisements in parish bulletins, short announcements, social networks, remind and emphasise to our families the responsibility for passing on faith and moral values “from generation to generation.”
17. To emphasise to our families the importance of a prayer — icon corner in homes, as well as the importance of common prayer (before meals, evening prayers, etc.). The reading of Holy Scriptures and spiritual literature in the home.
18. To remind and emphasise to our families the need for vibrant family communication and spending time together.
19. To encourage priests and parish councils to pay attention to separated and incomplete families when developing a parish pastoral plan to provide adequate care.
20. Instruct priests and parish councils to organise spiritual gatherings for families.
21. To oblige priests to properly take care of preparation and catechesis before the Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist) and the Mystery of Marriage.
22. To instruct the Liturgical Commission to prepare bilingual texts of the Moleben for the healing of soul and body and other prayers mentioned in the resolutions.
Taking into account the resolutions of the Soborchyk of the Clergy of the Eparchy of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul for Ukrainian Catholics in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania,
I, +Mykola, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul in Melbourne, hereby decide to give effect to all resolutions of the Soborchyk within one month of their publication and oblige the clergy and the faithful of the Eparchy to abide by them.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
+ MYKOLA BYCHOK, CSsR
Eparch of Melbourne
Given in Melbourne,
at our Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
on the 20th day of June, in the Year of Our Lord 2023,
the Holy Hieromartyr Theodotus, Bishop of Ancyra.