TREVOSE, Pa. – The Rev. Dr. John Kovalchuk, a retired leader of Ukrainian Baptists in the United States, died on December 19, 2017, at the age of 78. He was born in Argentina on June 23, 1939, and completed studies at the Ukrainian Bible Institute in South America. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1974 and served for three years as assistant pastor of the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Then he was called to become pastor of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Crum Lynne, Pa.
With the recent passing on October 12 of Prof. Natalia Ishchuk Pazuniak, our American community lost one of the last experts in the field of the Ukrainian language and its history. She was also a pillar of the Ukrainian community in Philadelphia, and belonged to numerous organizations, continuing the tradition of her ancestors. Through her maternal line, she was a descendant of the Polubotok, Myloradovych, Skoropadsky and Shulhyn old Ukrainian lines; it was her great-great aunt Yelysaveta Myloradovych who provided the funds for the Shevchenko Scientific Society, when it was established in 1873. This tradition of cultural and community activism greatly influenced Prof. Pazuniak’s life and choices. She was born on February 24, 1922, in Kyiv, where the Shulhyns were among the leading families in the Ukrainian cultural and political life.
The following statement was released by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America on June 8. Ukrainians around the world are mourning the passing of His Eminent Beatitude, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, major archbishop emeritus of Kyiv and Halych. Known outside of our community for his tenure as head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church from 2001 to 2011, in the hearts of Ukrainian Americans, he remained one of our own since his immigration to the United States in 1949. Only six years after His Beatitude’s life began, he and his father and mother, Yaroslav and Rostyslava, somehow survived the combined onslaught of the Nazi and Soviet armies as they laid siege to their hometown of Lviv in September of 1939. After an additional four years of living under Nazi occupation, the Husars fled their homeland, just prior to the start of the Soviet occupation.
Vatican CITY – In a heartfelt personal letter, Pope Francis has expressed his desire to “be among those praying to the heavenly Father” for the “chosen soul of our Brother” Cardinal Lubomyr Husar. The holy father noted the “extraordinary influx of people” paying their respects to the former head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. This, he said, “is an eloquent sign of what he has been: one of the highest and most respected moral authorities of the Ukrainian people in recent decades.”
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop emeritus of Kyiv-Halych, died on May 31, 2017, at the age of 84. In his letter addressed to Major Archbishop Husar’s successor, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Pope Francis spoke of the late cardinal’s efforts to lead his people beyond “the legacy of the ‘catacombs’ into which it was forced by persecutions.” He did so not only by restoring ecclesiastical structures, but especially through “the joy of his own story, founded on faith” that endured “through and beyond suffering.”
Pope Francis spoke of Cardinal Husar as “a master of wisdom,” who spoke to his people in simple, yet profound words. “His was the wisdom of the Gospel, the bread of the Word of God broken for the simple, for the suffering, for all those seeking dignity.” After his ministry as “father and head” of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, the pope said, and with the onset of old age and illness, Cardinal Husar’s presence became “even more intense and rich.” He prayed for all, and when he spoke, “everyone felt that a Christian was speaking, a Ukrainian passionate about his identity, always full of hope, open to the future of God.”
Pope Francis praised him for “the warmth of his great humanity and exquisite kindness,” and especially for his ability to welcome and communicate with the young.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S. A. and Diaspora
The following message of condolences on the passing of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar was sent on May 31 by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. and Diaspora. It was addressed to His Beatitude Major Archbishop Sviatoslav and His Eminence Metropolitan Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
Beloved Brothers in the Lord: Christ is Among Us! On behalf of the Council of Bishops, the clergy and lay faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora, we are offering our profound condolences on the falling asleep in the Lord of the deeply beloved and respected Cardinal Lubomyr Husar. The passing of Cardinal Lubomyr is a deeply felt wound not only for the pious Ukrainian Greek-Catholic faithful, but also for all Ukrainian Christians who have admired his wise pastoral stewardship. His lifetime of exceptional leadership will live on in the hearts and minds of Christians of all religious backgrounds who were privileged to know his ministry.
OSTROH, Ukraine – Dr. Lubomyr R. Wynar, the prominent scholar, academic organizer, founder and editor for many years of the journal Ukrainian Historian, passed away on Easter Sunday, April 16, in Woodstock, Ga. He was 85. His death, following a brief illness, constitutes a huge loss for historical scholarship and for his family and colleagues. Lubomyr Roman Wynar was born in Lviv on December 16, 1931, (the official date of birth is January 2, 1932) to a family of educators. Despite difficult times, he obtained an excellent education (he began his secondary education at the Academic Gymnasium in Lviv and continued in gymnasiums in the displaced persons (DP) camps, initially in Karlsfeld and later in Berchtesgaden).
OAKVILLE, Ontario – Dr. Orest H. T. Rudzik, a university professor, lawyer and Ukrainian community activist, died on December 8 at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital of cranial injuries resulting from a fall. He was born in Toronto in 1936, the son of Ukrainian parents. He earned his Honors B.A. (University College) at the University of Toronto, his M.A. from the University of Chicago (where he was a William Rainey Harper Fellow) and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He taught in the Department of English at University College from 1961 to 1986, during which time he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Humanities Center of the Johns Hopkins University in 1968-1969. He created a Canadian Literature Program for Atkinson College at York University.
PHILADELPHIA – Sviatoslav Karavansky, a prominent Ukrainian anti-Soviet dissident, twice imprisoned in Soviet concentration camps for a total of 31 years, died at the age of 95 on December 17 at a hospital in Baltimore. He had been living in the U.S. since 1980, soon after being released with his wife, Dr. Nina Strokata, likewise an inmate of Soviet prisons, who was arrested for protesting her husband’s incarceration. Born December 24, 1920, in Odesa, Ukraine, Mr. Karavansky studied philology and literature at the local university at the same time as he participated in the activities of student groups linked to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) underground. Arrested by the Soviet security police in 1944, he refused to become a secret informer to report on fellow students and consequently was given a 25-year sentence. He served his prison term in various Siberian hard-labor camps.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Orysia Paszczak Tracz, a well-known writer and activist who specialized in Ukrainian culture and ethnology, died suddenly on November 10 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She had been hospitalized briefly after suffering a stroke. Ms. Tracz’s love and knowledge of Ukrainian traditions, ethnography and song were the essence of her spirit. A researcher, lecturer, translator and storyteller, her activities spanned the globe, from Australia, throughout Canada, the U.S. and Ukraine. An obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press noted that a local broadcaster had once called her “a walking, talking Ukrainian encyclopedia.”
She was born in 1945 in a displaced person’s camp in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, following World War II and her family’s escape to the West.
OTTAWA – The Ukrainian Canadian community is mourning the loss of a community leader who inspired others to follow in his footsteps, regardless of the odds, to serve the Ukrainian Canadian people. John B. Gregorovich, known to many as “JB,” lived a life of commitment, leadership and perseverance in the face of discrimination, injustice and deceit. His life was dedicated to serving and supporting Canada’s Ukrainian community. Mr. Gregorovich died on September 26 at the age of 89. “It is with deep sadness that I extend condolences to the family and friends of John B. Gregorovich,” said UCC National President Paul Grod.