LVIV – During a national pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, Ukraine, on July 18, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) presented Mykola Kmit, senator emeritus and benefactor of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), the Church’s highest honor, the Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.
An entrepreneur and president of IDS Group, Mykola Kmit was given the award for his active civic and social position as senator of the UCU; for his dedicated service as a member of the Commission for Honoring the Memory of Blessed Priest and Martyr Omelyan Kowcz, which popularizes the person of the new martyr of the 20th century; for encouraging the acknowledgement in society of worthy laureates of awards in his honor; for active support of the Kyivan Christianity project, and for many projects of the UGCC, in particular the construction of a church in the Lutsk Exarchate; the development of sports; and for being an example of good Christian life and active lay service, which is based on Christian values and the social teaching of the righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.
In the words of His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the award is presented to those who continue the work of Metropolitan Andrey, look on the world with his eyes and strive to achieve the heights of his thought.
“I have today the special honor and privilege to award this order to Mykola Kmit. He is truly inspired by the gifts of Andrey Sheptytsky and generously supports key initiatives of our Church,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav said during the award ceremony on July 18.
“Today we recalled how many myths exist regarding Kyivan Christianity, our background and roots, because someone always wants to appropriate our history, ecclesiastical and national. And so, Mr. Kmit supports projects of scholarly studies researching the sources of Kyivan Christianity … So today, before the face of God, the faces of our bishops and laity, I gladly sing ‘Axios’ to you,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav said during the award ceremony in Zarvanytsia.
Mr. Kmit said that he did not expect to receive such a distinguished award. Before the pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, he received a telephone call from the UGCC Synod of Bishops asking if he could be present at the liturgy. And even then, Mr. Kmit said that he had no idea that he would receive an award.
“When on the stage His Beatitude started to list all my accomplishments over the years, I was surprised that he knew all of that. It was very moving. My dad watched the recording of this part three times,” Mr. Kmit said. “Really, this award is also in great part thanks to my parents, for they raised me with a desire to help others. So, on behalf of the whole Kmit family, I want to thank His Beatitude Sviatoslav and the UGCC Synod of Bishops for their support and trust, which was shown to me through this award.”
Mr. Kmit said that the award he received was a recognition of the work he has done together with other benefactors of the Church.
“A few years ago, His Beatitude Sviatoslav gathered us for a joint breakfast, where he managed to encourage support of UGCC projects,” Mr. Kmit said. “When we first saw the results of our donations, we saw how small this contribution was in comparison to what had been done. This was also in great part thanks to the late UCU Prof. Ihor Skochylias, who together with his historian colleagues tirelessly worked to study the sources of Kyivan Christianity. In a short time, they managed to publish a whole series of 20 volumes. It was easy for me to coordinate these processes, maybe because people gladly gathered around the idea, because each understood his or her role.”