Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos (Andrij) Krochak receives priestly ordination

ISTANBUL – Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos (Andrij) Krochak, who is a native Ukrainian Canadian, was ordained to the priesthood by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on February 24 at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George at the Phanar. Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos was also awarded the offikion (title) of Grand Syncellus of the Great Church of Christ. The prestigious awarding of Grand Syncellus of the Great Church of Christ recognizes Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos as a close and valued advisor to Patriarch Bartholomew.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew interview counters Moscow Patriarchate’s narrative

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave an interview to the Greek newspaper “To Vima tis Kyriakis.” The translation of the full text was posted on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America ( on January 13. Below is an abridged version of the interview, focusing on Ukraine, the Tomos of Autocephaly that was presented to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in 2019 and relations with the Moscow Patriarchate.

Synod of Cyprus votes to recognize OCU

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the top decision-making body of the Church of Cyprus, backed the move by Archbishop Chrysostomos, the primate of the church, to officially recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), overturning a previous position of neutrality on the issue. The move, made on November 23 at the Holy Synod’s meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, had 10 out of 17 bishops vote not to contest the archbishop’s decision to recognize the OCU during liturgical commemorations that included Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the OCU.

Pope Francis appoints Bishop Dionysiy as exarch for Ukrainian Catholics in Italy

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Pope Francis on October 24 appointed Bishop Dionysiy Lyakhovych, OSBM, as apostolic exarch for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy.

The announcement of the creation of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy had been made on July 11, 2019, by Pope Francis.

There are reported to be 70,000 Ukrainian Catholic believers in Italy, united in 145 communities and served by 60-plus priests. The Cathedral Church and residence of the Apostolic Exarchate are the Parish Church of Ss. Sergius and Bacchus in Rome.

Orthodox archbishop of Cyprus recognizes OCU, irking Moscow and its allies

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – During a divine liturgy on October 24 at the Chrysoroyatissa (Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate) Monastery in Pathos, Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The move officially recognizes the autocephaly of the OCU. The Orthodox Church of Cyprus thus joins the Orthodox Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its official recognition of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Belarus broadens assault against RFE/RL

WASHINGTON – As protesters remain unyielding in the weeks since the August 9 election they say was rigged handed Bela­rus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka a sixth term, authorities are escalating their attacks against Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and other independent media.

“Authorities are treating the media in an increasingly arbitrary manner. Not only are they refusing to accredit journalists, but they are using a variety of pretexts to detain fully credentialed journalists to prevent them from reporting what they see,” RFE/RL Acting President Daisy Sindelar said on August 28. “We are also alarmed that authorities have threatened to bring arbitrary charges against journalists who refuse police orders to surrender photos and other information. This is blatant retaliation, and an outrageous breach of norms and laws.”

Ukraine says it is ready to negotiate liberalization of visa regime with Australia

ESSENDON, Australia – The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations (AFUO) welcomes Ukraine’s decision to consider the liberalization of its visa regime for tourists from Australia, New Zealand, China and the United Emirates.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on June 6 instructed Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to examine the options based on reciprocity.

The AFUO has for some time been working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President, calling on Ukraine to liberalize its visa regime for Australians.

 The AFUO sees Ukraine as an exceptional tourist destination from the point of historical sites, culture, entertainment, cuisine and cost. In today’s climate, bilateral business opportunities are also becoming more of a reality.

Australia’s Ukrainian community raises $67,000 for bushfire relief

MELBOURNE, Australia – In reaction to the bushfires that have ravaged Australia, the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations (AFUO) put out a call during the Julian calendar Christmas for the Kolyada for Australia Bushfire campaign, whose target was $50,000.
The Ukrainian Australian community demonstrated its unity of purpose and focus, and succeeded in raising $67,000 during the relatively brief Christmas period.
On Saturday, January 18, in Hobart, where the smallest Ukrainian Australian community was celebrating its 70th anniversary of settlement in Tasmania, the AFUO held a national meeting with the community and presented a check for the funds raised (at that point, the amount was over $63,000) to the Australian Red Cross.

Ukrainian World Congress convenes annual general meeting in Berlin

BERLIN – On September 6-8 at Berlin City Hall in Germany, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) held its annual general meeting (AGM), reviewing the organization’s work since November 2018 and developing an action plan for the year ahead. Participants of the AGM from over 20 countries gathered in Berlin to support the more than 100,000 strong Ukrainian community in Germany, and to focus the attention of German high-ranking officials and civil society on current Ukrainian issues, including the importance of consolidating action in the war with Russian hybrid aggression and the recent release of Ukrainian political prisoners, whose return to Ukraine on September 7 was welcomed by the delegates and guests of the AGM. During the official opening of the meeting, the UWC recognized German politician and former Member of European Parliament Rebecca Harms for her support of Ukraine. She was awarded the UWC’s highest honor, the St. Volodymyr the Great Medal.