The delegation of Australian Bishops and laypeople visited Ukraine
August 12, 2023
During August 8–11, Australian Catholic Bishops visited Lviv and Kyiv to express their support and condolences to the Ukrainian people during the war with Russian occupiers.
On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, and Ms. Annie Carrett, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Bishop Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart, Tasmania, Bishop Karol Kulczycki, Bishop of the Port Pirie Diocese, and Very Reverend Father Simon Ckuj, Vicar General of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul in Melbourne, arrived in Ukraine to demonstrate the solidarity of the Australian Catholic Church and all Australians with the Ukrainian people in their struggle against the Russian aggressor. This was reported by the Press Service of the Secretariat of the Synod of the UGCC.
Initially, in Lviv, the Australian delegation visited a military hospital and the “Unconquered” rehabilitation center, where they met wounded soldiers. According to Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli of Melbourne and other members of the delegation, these personal meetings helped them better understand and empathize with the suffering and courage of Ukrainian defenders.
The clergy also participated in funeral services and meetings with the families of fallen soldiers, expressing their condolences and support. During the visit to the cities of Irpin and Bucha, the Australian delegates visited places affected by the war and participated in prayers for the deceased and those who continue the fight.
One of the significant points of the visit was a meeting between the delegation and Kyiv bishops — Bishop Yosyf Milan, Proto-Syncellus of the Kyiv Archeparchy, and Bishop Andriy Khimyak, Syncellus for Clergy Affairs. The bishops exchanged impressions and experiences, discussing the state and ministry of the Church during the war.
In the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv, the Australian delegation met with believers and honored the memory of the deceased. They also visited the crypt where Blessed Lubomyr Husar rests, who made a significant contribution to supporting the Ukrainian people during the Revolution of Dignity and the war.
During their visit to Ukraine, the Australian Bishops expressed deep support and condolences to the Ukrainian people, urging their fellow believers to be witnesses of the truth about the war in Ukraine, to continue praying for victory and a just peace, and to support the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in its service and social outreach to those in need.
The visit of the Australian Bishops and laypeople became an important symbol of solidarity and empathy with the Ukrainian people during this challenging historical struggle.
It’s worth noting that the Australian Episcopal Conference, together with the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul in Melbourne, consistently support charitable projects and initiatives of the Patriarchal Foundation “Wise Deed.” This primarily concerns food and hygiene kits, through which the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church seeks to alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe, supporting the most needy and those affected by the war, including individuals who have lost their property due to the explosion of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station dam and internally displaced persons. By the beginning of June 2023, through their contributions, they provided the production of 17,750 food kits, which allowed the foundation to support around 35,500 people in difficult circumstances.
Based on materials from the Press Service of the Secretariat of the Synod of the UGCC.
Photographer: Annie Carett