Local Ukrainians grateful for Australian support


The 200 families of Ukrainian descent in Canberra have been given warm words of support by Archbishop Christopher Prowse. 

He said the Ukrainian community in the ACT was assured of his “constant prayers”. 

The memorial church of St. Volodymyr in Canberra is the newest Ukrainian Church in Australia and was built in 1988 to mark the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine. On 16th December 1983, over one thousand people attended a special blessing of the new church of St. Volodymyr.

Many have families still in the country as it fights against the Russian invasion. 

Think of parishioner Maria Harbuz’s son, who has been trying to leave for years, frustrated recently by the block on travel during the pandemic. 

Now, the government in Kyiv has called on all Ukrainian men to stay and fight and so Maria’s son is trapped in the country. 

The parish priest at St. Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Catholic Church at Lyneham, Father Wally Kalinecki, described the mother’s fears. “She is deeply concerned,” he told Archbishop Prowse.  

“Maria’s son has said that one of the hardest things is the constant bombing at night. This makes the residents incredibly tense and dislocates the people from one another.” 

Father Wally expressed his community’s gratitude for the Archbishop’s prayers and kindness. 

“The current situation over in Ukraine is very stressful for them, yet they are very grateful for the friendship and warmth of Australians. We are praying that the war will end soon.” 

With the federal government approving more than 1,000 visas for Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, Father Wally said that the Ukrainian community in Canberra was preparing emergency accommodation for those fleeing their homeland. 

“There has already been a family who has arrived and is now staying in Turner. Our people are in the process of finding families who can take someone in, and I have room here in this presbytery,” he said.  

Archbishop Prowse has invited Father Wally and Russian Orthodox Archpriest Alexander Morozow to join him at the upcoming Chrism Mass, where the Holy Oils are used in the various Sacramental Rites of the Church are blessed and consecrated.  

During the Ash Wednesday ecumenical vigil, the Ukrainian and Russian priests sat together in the front pew of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Manuka. 

Archbishop Prowse said: “We continue to pray for peace and ask God’s blessing and intervention.” 

If you would like to offer accommodation, please contact Father Wally at st.volodymyr.parish@gmail.com 

Financial donations can be made via Caritas Australia website https://www.caritas.org.au/donate/emergency-appeals/ukraine/ 

Fr Wally shows Archbishop Prowse the many murals and icons painted on the walls and ceiling of the church by Canadian master artist Myron Levytsky


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