On September 12, in the Cathedral of the Supreme Apostles Peter and Paul in Melbourne, Bishop Emeritus Peter Stasiuk celebrated his farewell Hierarch’s Holy Liturgy before his departure for Canada.
Unfortunately, the faithful of the Eparchy of Sts Peter of Paul of Melbourne were able to join the prayer only through an online broadcast, due to quarantine restrictions. Only 5 people could be present in the church, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, Fr. Brian Kelty and Deacon Michael Zylan.
At 3pm in the afternoon, there was an official farewell to Bishop Peter on the Zoom platform. It was truly an extraordinary event, which was joined by many people and various organizations: priests, deacons, nuns, faithful from different parishes from all over Australia, representatives of CYM, Plast, the Union of Ukrainian Organizations of Australia and others. Among the various speeches addressed to the bishop, there was one thing that united all those present. It was the sincere words of gratitude for the zealous service to God and the faithful of our church in Australia for 28 years.
Bishop Peter! May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Perpetual Help, envelop you with motherly love, and may the Lord guide you in the Episcopal ministry and grant you many happy years!
Brief recollections of the episcopal ministry of Bishop Peter Stasiuk:
“Your episcopal service is marked by great zeal in the care of our faithful, which fate threw to the distant land of Australia. There, you became a spiritual father who cares about everyone, proclaiming to them the Good News and feeding them with the Blessed Eucharist. With all of your strength you endeavoured to preserve and multiply our great cultural heritage, which our faithful brought with them from their homeland and to transmit them to their descendants. You have always embraced the cares of the mother’s church in your life. Thanks to you, we enjoy the numerous achievements in the field of catechetical ministry. We cannot but mention your active participation in the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC and obvious authority among the Bishops, which contributed to the adoption of many important decisions for the good of our Church and in particular when you performed the duties as Head of the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission. I ask that you continue to be for our people and people from your surroundings, the clear lamp of God’s truth and an example of a perfect disciple of Christ- Lord. We pray for abundant God’s blessing for you!”
Father and Head of the UGCC
“I had the opportunity to see Bishop Peter’s zeal, devotion and tirelessness as a pastor and community leader when I spent several weeks in Australia in the summer of 2010 at the bishop’s invitation. The program of my stay was well planned and very busy. In 18 days I had 40 speeches: sermons, reports, public talks and speeches. In different cities – from Sydney to Perth; in the cathedral and churches, in universities and in parliament; in front of the Australian English-speaking and Ukrainian audiences. I do not remember any other period of such intense activity in my whole life. Bishop Peter’s warmth and hospitality allowed me to cope with the fatigue. However, one more thing struck me: the bishop was a participant in almost every meeting and was ready to listen to me so many times.”
Metropolitan of Philadelphia
“Being a bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a great privilege and at the same time a duty to take care of the entrusted flock. You, Bishop, are a clear witness to the “Martyr Church”, for which we are sincerely grateful to our Blessed Ones and Confessors of the Faith, who have proven their fidelity to the Church of Christ by the example of their lives. On the other hand, being a bishop today and even on a distant continent in Australia is a great responsibility, where among the various modern challenges, we need to give a proper answer and pastoral care to our faithful. You have become a mentor whose advice has been listened to not only by young people but also by countless people of the older generations – because you have had the wisdom of life. Continue to share the experience of your life, which is an inexhaustible treasure for each of us. Remember, even if you are now flying to your homeland in Canada for a well-deserved retirement, you will remain forever a Good Shepherd for us.”
Bishop of Melbourne Eparchy for Ukrainian Catholics
“Bishop Peter is a zealous Shepherd. I had the opportunity to see this during my first visit to Australia in 2008. The bishop knows his sheep, we can say, all by name, and they know him. He rejoices in the respect and love of the faithful and the priests and endows them all with mutual care and parental love. It is adorned with simplicity and accessibility, because priests could turn to it not only in pastoral matters, but in ordinary daily affairs, including how to cook good fish or something like that. Thank you very much for the example of piety, diligence, zeal in pastoral ministry and sincere patriotism! I entrust you to the maternal care of the Mother of God of Perpetual Help, and I wish you many and good years from myself and from the clergy and the faithful of the Exarchate!”
Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainians
Byzantine rite in Germany and Scandinavia
“If we were to summarize all the work of these years, we can say, with confidence, that a lot of work has been done. The completion of the UGCC Catechism “Christ is our Pascha” and its numerous presentations in different countries gave us the opportunity to experience the unity of the church and its need for catechesis, but also to gain great valuable experience and the opportunity to learn about the Church’s spiritual and cultural heritage in different countries, different continents. Then there was the work on the Catechism for the youth which was recently proclaimed by the Father and Head of our Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav. Thank God and you, Bishop, that all these years of sincere, generous and very fruitful cooperation you have been for us a Shepherd, a Father, a sincere friend, a skilful counselor and a dreamer.”
Chief Advisor and Postulator of the Sister Servants
“During your ministry, the life challenges of the distant 90s of the last century and the events of the 21st century and the events of today – the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic – were important. The beginning of a new ministry in Australia coincided with the events in Ukraine, when the UGCC came out of the underground and you helped Ukraine. You, Bishop, have always been an active participant in the activities of the Union of Ukrainian Organizations of Australia, were interested in the life of the Ukrainian community and organizations, have always taken an active part in the activities of CYM and Plast youth organizations- camped with them in the summer breaks”.
Stefan Romaniw, Kateryna Argyrou, Iryna Andreeva
Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations
“The Bishop had a valuable talent, the ability to unite people and work to lead everything without hesitation and without delay. His determination brought useful results, spiritual fruits and perfect success. His approach to people is unique, he trusted his employees and had great faith in human abilities, never condemned, rarely criticized, but on the contrary encouraged and supported everything. With his specific humor, supported by humorous comments, he was able to convey the truth of the situation without offending anyone, but in principle emphasize the importance of the case. He was uncompromising where the situation demanded it, respected other opinions, listened to everyone but in the end had His Mind and made his decisions boldly without hesitation and without changing his mind.”
Member of Eparchial Financial Council of Melbourne Eparchy
“Bishop Petro is a person who speaks not only Ukrainian and English fluently. He is fluent in the language of children, youth and seniors. He knows how to communicate with those who have recently left Ukraine and those who grew up in Australia. I met the Bishop when I recently came to Australia and he invited me to join the Church and Life newspaper. From the very first moment until now, I am struck by his calmness and incredible kindness in his eyes. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw him was that it was St. Nicholas, as I imagined as a child. Bishop Peter is a man from communication with whom comes peace of mind, self-confidence and in his future. For me, he is an example of life according to the phrase “Everything is in the hands of the Lord!” – live, believe and move on.”
Editor of the Eparchial newspaper “Church and Life”