Kingston’s Ukrainian community will remember City’s first Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy

Icon design: Herman Poulin. Photo: Nadia Luciuk

Lubomyr Luciuk.

On Wednesday, 18 March 2020, at 4:30 pm (ET), Kingston’s Ukrainian community will unveil a Christ Pantocrator icon and historical marker at St. John the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, recalling the city’s first Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy. It was celebrated 75 years ago by the Honorary Captain Reverend Michael Pelech, the Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic padre of Military District 10.

According to an article published in the 19 March 1945 issue of The Kingston Whig-Standard, “Ukrainians Are Lauded For Services,” a large Ukrainian audience participated in a worship service and a reception that followed, organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Committee. They were addressed by Mayor Cecil L. Boyd, himself a veteran, and Monseigneur L. J. Byrne. The latter told these Ukrainians in uniform they would always be welcome at St. John’s. In his remarks Captain Pelech observed: “Your sacrifices are just as great as anyone else’s in Canada… Ukrainians have been persecuted in their own country and that is why we appreciate the freedom of this country.”

Exactly 75 years later the Ukrainian Canadian Club of Kingston and Kingston Branch of the League of Ukrainian Canadians will mark this historic occasion with an ecumenical prayer and the unveiling of this icon along with a trilingual (English, Ukrainian, French) plaque citing Captain Pelech’s remarks.

The public is welcome.

Commenting on this initiative, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, the Club’s president, said: “During the Second World War Ukrainians from across the country demonstrated their loyalty by volunteering in large numbers for overseas service. In fact, Ukrainians were over-represented in terms of the size of our community in Canada at that time. Some trained right here in Kingston. We will be honouring the sacrifices of all the Ukrainian men and women who fought in defence of our freedom by serving in Canada’s armed forces and merchant navy. And, at the same time, we will recall the kindness extended to them by Msgr. Byrne and the parishioners of St. John the Apostle parish. The blessed icon we unveil shall long remind the faithful and our friends of the many contributions made by Ukrainians to the City of Kingston and Canada, our home and native land.”

For more information please contact

Dr. L. Luciuk,
lluciuk@cogeco.ca

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