During 20-23 January, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, made a pastoral visit to Tasmania.
On 21 January, the bishop visited the faithful in the city of Launceston, which is located in the northern part of Tasmania, where he celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for all those who gave their lives during the war in Ukraine. Fr. Justin McDonnell, responsible for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community in Tasmania co-celebrated the bishop. The liturgy was attended by newly arrived Ukrainians and 98-year-old Mrs. Stefania Fedyk, who is a pioneer.
- Sermon by Fr. Yuriy Tychenok for the feast of Theophany
- Bishop Mykola’s homily on the Sunday before Epiphany
- Sermon by Fr. Ihor Holovko on the Sunday before Theophany
In his homily to the faithful bishop reflected on the words from the Holy Scriptures: “No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). The bishop noted: “During the current war in Ukraine, death very often stares into the eyes of not only soldiers but also civilians. However, despite this, many of our people have extraordinary virtues: they give their lives for their neighbors and often do impossible things for Ukraine to be independent and free. We offer this Divine Liturgy for all our defenders who gave and are giving their lives for the freedom of our country, and we consecrate them into the hands of the merciful Lord. Amen!”
It is worth noting that, according to the bishop, the last time the clergy made a pastoral visit to the faithful in Launceston was about 10 years ago. Therefore, we hope for the renewal of pastoral care in these areas.
Later, in the evening of the same day, Bishop Mykola presided over the Great Vespers in the chapel of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the city of Hobart, which is located in the southern part of Tasmania. On Sunday, 22 January, the bishop preceded the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Fr. Justin McDonnell, deacon Mykhailo Zylan and the faithful.
Preaching to the people of God, the bishop noted: “The Theophany is a truly bright feast. In general, the Christmas feasts are marked by the fact that Christ, who comes into this world, brings us light.”
Continuing, the Eparch of Melbourne in his sermon reflected on the difference between light and darkness. The bishop said: “Those people who do good, help each other, are on the path of holiness – we call them “bright “. Instead, in our lexicon we also have the expression “dark people”, which we use to describe those who do evil, harm their neighbors. Sometimes we can say that such people are, as it were, the hands of the evil one in this world.” Concluding his reflections, the Eparch of Melbourne added: “Despite everything, the Feast of the Theophany shows us that Christ always brings light, moreover, He is the Light we need so that the darkness of sin and death does not permeate us, and today’s Gospel from Matthew vividly proves this to us.”
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Mykola thanked Fr. Justin for the spiritual guardianship of the faithful, the entire Ukrainian Community in Tasmania, as well as the faithful who came to this celebration. After that, the Great Blessing of the Waters and sprinkling of the faithful took place. After the spiritual part, everyone gathered for a joint lunch, during which there was a great opportunity to talk with the bishop.