Ukrainian National Women’s League of America supports seminarians from Volyn, Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, some who served in volunteer battalions and in the Armed Forces of Ukraine

15 April 2019, 20:33 | Monitoring | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Nadia Nynka

The Ukrainian Weekly, Apr 12, 2019

According to its value statement, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) is guided by principles of Christian ethics, religious tolerance, political non-partisanship and universal respect for human rights. It is in keeping with these very values that the UNWLA announces its newest program: UNWLA Supports the Spiritual Rebirth of Ukraine. As part of this program, the UNWLA will be providing financial support to two educational institutions: the Three Saints Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Volyn Theological Academy.

Since the war in eastern Ukraine began, the UNWLA has supported both the physically wounded through its War Victims’ Fund established in 2015 and the psychologically war-traumatized through the Prostir Nadii project. The latter is part of the Mental Health Institute of the Ukrainian Catholic University established in 2016. Тhe Spiritual Rebirth of Ukraine project is grounded in the premise and strong belief that spirituality plays a decisive role in healing the whole person.

In August of last year, while visiting the Stamford Eparchy, Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church enthusiastically shared the good news that today Ukraine is experiencing a spiritual rebirth, especially in eastern Ukraine. The challenge is that there are not enough priests to serve the people.

With the unification of Ukrainian Orthodox Churches into one Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), according to Father Volodymyr Vakin, rector of the Volyn Academy, many parishioners of the Moscow Patriarchate are moving to the newly united OCU. Here, too, there is a shortage of priests.

Through their missions both of these Churches are working to reaffirm Christian, moral and family values, especially at this time of war and unrest in Ukraine. According to UNWLA President Marianna Zajac, “This is an opportune time for the UNWLA to help both the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches through the education of seminarians and their message of peace and good will. We believe that enabling the two largest Churches in Ukraine to educate future priests and spiritual leaders who will focus on the geographically war-torn areas of Ukraine will, in turn, be a stepping stone to enabling the process of healing the nation.”

In September 2018, Ms. Zajac personally met with Father Petro Zhuk, rector of the Kyiv Three Saints Theological Seminary in Kyiv. She spoke with many seminarians and toured the classrooms and the church. Currently there are 78 seminarians studying here. There is a higher level of commitment in the current group of seminarians. Some are older and have clearly heard their calling. One is a physics graduate of the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy; another is an economics graduate of the National University of Ostroh Academy; still another, a husband and father of two from Kharkiv, left his current career to pursue religious studies. There are many other such examples.

The Three Saints Theological Seminary is the only Catholic seminary in Ukraine focused on the mission of preparing priests who will serve in the north-central, eastern and southern territories of the country. As Father Zhuk explained, “It will be these young boys who will help rebuild Ukraine, the Ukrainian Church and Ukrainian culture in the territories that are now temporarily occupied.” He further explained that the seminarians who come from the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions are from families who are unable to pay for their sons’ studies. He added that “the support from the UNWLA proves the hearts of Ukrainian mothers wherever they may be, even beyond the oceans, feel the pain and see the needs of Ukraine’s sons.”

Ms. Zajac also spoke at length with Father Vakin of the Volyn Orthodox Theological Academy in order to better understand the goals and functioning of the academy. Statistics show that the highest number of parishioners of the Moscow Patriarchate are joining the unified Church in Volyn. The academy is actively partnering with the Ukrainian Catholic University on academic projects. The UNWLA is excited to have established and further develop a relationship with this academy and its leadership.

As explained by Father Vakin, “The Volyn Orthodox Theological Academy is working to establish clear moral and family values, thus transforming post-Communist influence and public opinion.” At present, the academy is working tirelessly to strengthen spiritual growth within Ukraine’s eastern territories. Many of its seminarians come from the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, and a number of its students served in volunteer battalions and in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Father Vakin added that one of the graduates of the academy is now serving in a newly built church in Volnovakha, Donetsk Oblast, which has grown from several people to several hundred. Father Vakin was especially grateful for the UNWLA’s offer of support, since his academy has not received much attention or financial support from the diaspora.

The Spiritual Rebirth of Ukraine Fund will help defray the costs associated with seminarians’ studies. Financial support by the UNWLA will go toward student tuition as well as for classroom needs and equipment, such as projectors. All funds raised for this endeavor will be equally divided between the two academies. “We are very excited to announce this project during the holy season of Easter and we are confident that we will receive the financial support and commitment from our membership and the Ukrainian community” added Ms. Zajac.

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  • bopa | 15 October 2019, 22:45

    Тим більше, що відновлено стан Православної церкви в Україні, який вона мала у ХУІІ ст. Митрополію з перспективою на патріархію, що дає можливість користати здобуткам, досвідом інших братніх

  • Paraeklezyarh | 15 October 2019, 13:47

    Те що відбувається з ПЦУ після отримання Томосу про автокефалію назвати "розвитком" важко. Швидше то були намагання створити (а в кого протидіяти створенню) автокефального Київського

  • velovs@ukr.net | 12 October 2019, 18:30

    Ну що ж: та штучна ізоляція (невизнання) ПЦУ у світовому православ'ї, що її цинічно й зухвало інспірував, тиснув і нагнітав (відповідні страшилки-жахалки) МП, по суті, подолана. Принаймні, успішний

  • Paraeklezyarh | 12 October 2019, 15:08

    Слава Богу ! Це дійсно вияв мужності предстоятеля та єпископату Елладської церкви. Пам'ятаймо про це.

  • velovs@ukr.net | 11 October 2019, 17:03

    Водночас, як каже і акцентує Святе Письмо, це саме Господь "змінює часи і літа, СКИДАЄ ЦАРІВ і ПОСТАВЛЯЄ ЦАРІВ; дає мудрість мудрим і розуміння розумним" (Дан.2:21). ----- А ось щодо декого