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Patriarch heads to Niagara for rare visit
24 February 2017, 13:05 | Ukrainians outside of Ukraine | 0 | | Code for Blog | |
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will take part in services at various Niagara parishes this weekend.
Sviatoslav Shevchuk, whose election as major archbishop (patriarch) of the Church was confirmed by then Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, is scheduled to be in the region as part of bishop working sessions.
“They will be celebrating in different churches throughout the Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara area,” said Rev. Bohdan Choly, pastor at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Catharines.
“Then they will get to work on Monday and Tuesday for their working sessions in Niagara Falls.”
Shevchuk is scheduled to be at St. John the Baptist Hungarian Greek Catholic Church on Second Street in Welland at 9 a.m. Saturday for a service.
He is then scheduled to be at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Main Street in Niagara Falls at 6 p.m. for a vespers service (evening prayer).
A banquet is to follow at the church hall around 7 p.m.
Shevchuk is scheduled to celebrate a pontifical divine liturgy at Sts. Cyril & Methodius on Rolls Avenue in St. Catharines at 10 a.m. Sunday.
A banquet to welcome Shevchuk and a number of bishops to Niagara is scheduled for 2 p.m. at St. John the Theologian Ukrainian Catholic Church on Lakeshore Road.
“This is the first visit of Patriarch Sviatoslav to Niagara region. It’s a great honour,” said Choly.
“Next to the pope, he would be the highest priest, or the highest clergy, that we could have in our church. Only a few times in our history as a parish, or even as Niagara region, has the patriarch come to our area, so it’s very unique and very special. Our church will be packed.”
St. Mary’s Rev. Victor Nazartchyk said he expects a “full house” when Shevchuk comes.
“It’s a historical moment for us because it’s the first time the patriarch, that the head of our Church, is going to be here in Niagara Falls,” he said.
“It’s going to be a very emotional moment for our parishioners.”
Nazartchyk said Shevchuk, who is 46 years old, is popular because of the way he approaches his position.
He said the patriarch not only wants to appeal to large parishes, but also to the smaller ones.
“He wants to touch everybody — to let people know that he prays for us, he’s thinking about us. He wants to see us.”
Nazartchyk said he has met Shevchuk before and describes him as “very talented” and a “hard worker.”
“Young people love him because he’s very friendly, he talks to people like he’s on the same level. Young people and kids, they love to talk to him.”
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