10 July 2022, the Melbourne Eparchy of the first Apostles St. Peter and Paul celebrates two feasts.
The first is a commemoration of how the Eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was founded 40 years ago (June 24, 1982) with its seat in the city of Melbourne. The territory of the Eparchy covers all of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. The second is the cathedral feast of the first Apostles St. Peter and Paul, the cathedral church being in the city of Melbourne. The Cathedral of St. Apostles Peter and Paul, was built on the 14 April 1963 (next year marks the 60th anniversary of the construction of this unique project of a cathedral for Ukrainians in Australia) The celebration began with the Divine Liturgy, at 9:30 a.m., which was presided over by Very Rev. Father Peter Struk, who has been serving at the Cathedral of the the first Apostles St. Peter and Paul for 22 years. Fr. Ruslan Babii, who recently arrived from Ukraine to serve Ukrainians in Australia, concelebrated the Holy Liturgy together with Archdeacon Edward Kostraby and Deacon Mykhailo Zylan, Chancellor of the Eparchy of Melbourne. The faithful gathered in large numbers in the Cathedral, because due to strict quarantine restrictions, the celebration of the feast took place online for two years.
Fr. Ruslan Babii reflected on a passage from Matthew 16, 13-19, about Jesus Christ’s question to his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”. He recalled the answer given by the apostle Peter, “You are Jesus Christ, the Son of God”, to which Jesus replied to Peter: “You are a happy man, because the Heavenly Father wanted to reveal this to you.” We are all happy here because the Lord chose us. He chose to give us eternal life. Therefore, Christ created the Church to lead people to salvation” Fr. Ruslan also emphasized that the Lord called us to a certain mission. The mission that each of those present must fulfill with responsibility. Just as this church was built with faith by our parents, grandparents, fulfilling a certain mission. The church was not meant to be a museum. Their children and great-grandchildren would be able to pray in their church and in their own rite. Our duty, taught by the Lord, is to pass on our faith to our children and grandchildren.
Afterwards, Fr. Petro Struk shared his thoughts. The holy apostles Peter and Paul had different forms of preaching, different characters and different talents. However, they had one common feature – an open heart to fulfill the will of the Heavenly Father. And preaching the word of God for the salvation of all people. After the end of the Divine Liturgy, according to tradition, everyone gathered as one Christian family for a shared meal where they could sing together, congratulate each other and have a good time. The meal began with a prayer led by Fr. Peter Struk. The celebration was conducted by Tekla Javorska. The cathedral choir of St. Peter and Paul sang the Our Father under the direction of Mr. Volodymyr Holovko. Fr. Andriy Mykytyuk, syncel for laity of the Melbourne Eparchy, greeted all present.Greetings were also given by: Mr. David Hassett, on behalf of the Dnister Cooperative in Essendon, Mr. Stephan Romaniv, the head of the Ukrainian Community of Australia, Mr. Evhen Hawryzko, on behalf of the head of the Ukrainian association of Victoria. Tekla Javorska thanked the Youth committee for preparing the hall and delicious meals.