On Sunday, 22nd September 2019, about 200 people gathered at the CYM camp, Karpaty, near Buxton, Victoria for the blessing of the new chapel. The chapel was 10 years in the planning before completion earlier this year. Its patron is St. Michael the Archangel.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk officially blessed the chapel with the assistance of Very Rev. Simon Ckuj of Sydney and Deacon Michael Kaminskyj of Geelong. Mr. Andrew Lech was the MC for the day.

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This is the third chapel in the Ukrainian Community in Australia. There is one at the Plast camp, Sokil, at Wensleydale near Geelong and one in Marian Valley about 100 km south of Brisbane near the Gold Coast. It was blessed during the last visit of out Patriarch in 2014.

Bishop Peter thanked all those who help build this chapel. He remarked that the chapel will always serve as a sign of the presence of God in our midst. “Whenever we feel the cross of Christ and the burdens of life, we will have someplace to go in order to be reminded of God’s Word, His Love and His peace. When we are happy and want to celebrate the joys of life, we will have someplace to go to thank and praise God”.

He added that “the chapel and all it represents has the potential to guarantee the future of CYM in Australia, if we focus on Christ in all that we do”.

He added that “the chapel and all it represents has the potential to guarantee the future of CYM in Australia, if we focus on Christ in all that we do”. The Bishop went on to remind those present that the world and the church is changing and that we have to change as well to be in touch with the times.

He praised the Ukrainian community in Australia for the social service initiatives to help the poor and the oppressed, the refuges and the victims of the war in Ukraine. In the last year about $125,000 was raised to help those who are suffering in Ukraine.

Social justice and social service are not only important, they are a mark of the fact that we are Christians, added Bishop Peter.

Our Patriarch recently reminded us that all of us, as a religious faith community, must recognize the plight of our fellow humans around the world. He used an example at the faithful in Australia cannot say to the people of Crimea – “we do not know you!” In Christ we are all united.

Bishop Peter, in stressing social service, introduced those present of a new crisis which has been recently identified by Caritas Ukraine. The so called “Italy Syndrome”. About 25 years ago, hundreds of thousands of women from Ukraine immigrated to Italy to work, leaving their families in Ukraine. This event has broken up families and is causing major psychological and social problems for these women and their families as the women are often now too old to keep working, have no legal documents, and are no longer accepted by their families in Ukraine.

He praised the Ukrainian community in Australia for the social service initiatives to help the poor and the oppressed, the refuges and the victims of the war in Ukraine.

The problems are severe – many are hospitalized, commit suicide and are in stress.

Bishop Peter challenged the members of CYM to get involved in new and creative ways to be of help. This so called “Syndrome” also has implications for all immigrants – not only those who went to Italy.

“That is why this chapel is important. That is why we must focus on it in our CYM formation. We are all part of its body of Christ” the Bishop added. To be current in today’s world, we must, with the help of God, speak to real needs of our society.

This post is also available in: Ukrainian