January 21-24, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, paid a pastoral visit to Tasmania. On the first day, Bishop Mykola held an official meeting with His Grace Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart, during which he expressed his gratitude for many years of co-operation for the benefit of the people of Tasmania.

On the second day of the visit, Bishop Mykola visited the local shrines of Hobart and also met with Mrs. Katryna Bilyk, a senator from Tasmania. During the meeting, the issue of possible Russian invasion of Ukraine was touched upon. Bishop Mykola spoke more about the situation after the occupation of Crimea and about the hybrid war in the eastern part of Ukraine, which has been going on for 8 years in a row. The senator assured us that she would do everything possible in the political field of Australia for peace in Ukraine.

On Saturday evening, the hierarch led the vespers in the local chapel of the Greek Catholic Community. The next day, on Sunday, January 23, Bishop Mykola celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the assistance of Fr. Justin McDonnell, chaplain for our community in Hobart, and Deacon Michael Zylan, Chancellor of the Eparchy. The solemn service was attended by several faithful as well as  sister Maria Moravsky from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Servants, who has been visiting this community for a many years on mission trips with our priests.

Preaching to the faithful, the Bishop noted that “our Savior has fully entered into our sin-distorted world of despair and pain to correct it. He was baptized in the Jordan to clothe the naked Adam and restore to us the dignity of those who wear the light of His beloved sons and daughters. That is why in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism we sing: “All who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” For us as believers, this means renouncing the sinful world on a daily basis and giving ourselves completely into the arms of our Heavenly Father. ”

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Mykola thanked Fr. Justin for the spiritual care of the faithful, the Ukrainian Community of Tasmania and the faithful who came to this celebration. Later, all the faithful gathered for a joint dinner, during which there was a great opportunity to talk with their hierarch.

It is worth noting that this was the first official pastoral visit of Bishop Mykola outside the state of Victoria after his enthronement and after several months of lockdown. Despite the fact that there were fewer people present than usual at the divine services, Christ teaches: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”