Your Excellency, Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and Deacons, and Sisters, My Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

Glory be to Our Lord Jesus Christ!

“I bless the Lord always, his praise is always on my lips.” (Ps.34.1) The words of the psalmist best describe the state of my soul today. The Lord out of His great love has chosen me as his instrument. Through me He can be served among God’s people. I thank God for the gift of life and at the same time I thank my parents who received the gift of giving life from God and passed it on to me. Even though they are far from me today in Ukraine, however they are joined to me in prayer. My heart is filled with gratitude to God for the gift of my vocation to religious, priestly and episcopal ministry.

Allow me, please, to express my deep gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for His trust in me and I commend myself to his prayers.

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I thank His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of our Church, and the members of the Bishop’s Synod of the UGCC. Throughout the last year they have been a great source of help to me in my first steps in the episcopal ministry. I hope that it will continue to be so because, now precisely, as a ruling bishop, I shall be in need of their wise counsel and heartfelt prayer.

Today, words of gratitude go to Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne. I thank you for your presence and that you presided over the ceremony of enthronement. Together we shall form an episcopal community to announce the Good News of Christ’s Redemption.

I express my gratitude to the Bishops of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. For me, as a new bishop, it is a great honour to be a member of this Conference. Your example of faith and immeasurable experience in episcopal ministry in this great land is of great benefit to me. With my faith in God I ask for your prayer, friendship and advice.

Today, I especially wish to thank my two predecessors, the late Bishop Ivan Prasko and Bishop Peter Stasiuk. Bishop Peter, you have for the last year been a good father- mentor, who taught, corrected and supported me in my first steps in the episcopal ministry. I have learnt from you how to be a good pastor for Our Eparchy.

I direct words of gratitude to all the priests, deacons, and sisters. I thank you for your generous ministry for your people. I hope that together we shall all achieve great deeds for the Lord. I entrust my ministry to your prayers and I assure you also of my prayers for each one of you.

Today I am very pleased to greet between us Fr. Mykhailo Solomko and his wife, Mrs. Kateryna, and especially for the fact that we together create one Christian family.

Thank you for the presence of the Ambassador of Ukraine Mykola Mykola Kulinych and I hope for close cooperation.

The Honorable Bruce Atkinson, Former Speaker of the Victorian Parliament and Member of the Legislative Council; The Honorable Vivienne Nguyen, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and other distinguished guests! Thank you for attending my Enthronement. I appreciate your presence as it shows that the broader Australian society acknowledges our diversity.

I direct my gratitude to all of you brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks to your great efforts and industrious work, you have succeeded in building churches, maintaining them and creating a living community. Today, I hold in my hands a cross which is very precious to me. It is a gift from Bishop Basil Losten which I received when I was nominated bishop for this Eparchy. This cross has a history dating back to the last century, the 1960s, when Bishop Ambrosij Senyshyn, Metropolitan of Philadelphia USA, visited Australia. The faithful of the cathedral donated this cross as an expression of gratitude for his visit. The cross is endorsed on both sides “To Bishop Ambrosij from the Ukrainians in Australia”. This cross returns to Australia with the third Eparch of Australia. A truly wonderful sign from the Lord. We are obliged to pass on this witness of faith to future generations.

This event would not have been so well organized but for the great work of the organizational committee that has been at work and of the many people involved. May God generously bless you all!

Our Eparchy is very large territorially and includes New Zealand and Oceania. I assure you all of my prayers and I pass on my greeting to all as well as my blessing! Notwithstanding the great distance between us, we are all united in Christ because “where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I am amongst you.” (Mt.18.20)

I conclude my word of thanks with a prayer to the Mother of God “Mother of Perpetual Help”:

“I stand today before you as a bishop. I beg you to envelop with your holy protection my episcopal ministry and entreat from your Son and our God, Jesus Christ the grace to be a good shepherd in Christ’s Vineyard. In a special way I offer to you the Eparchy of Ss. Peter and Paul, Melbourne in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania which has been entrusted to me. I pray that it grow in holiness through the growth of the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love!”

“Most Holy Mother and Theotokos, save us!”

Mykola Bychok, CSsR

Eparch for Melbourne Eparchy of Ss. Peter and Paul

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