Ukrainian Cardinals Husar and Slipyj are heroes to Church community


Catholic Register, 22 June 2017

The death on May 31 of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, patriarch emeritus of Kyiv, former head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), resonated in Canada where, outside of Ukraine, the largest Ukrainian Catholic community is found.

Cardinal Husar led the resurrected UGCC; he became patriarch in 2001, 10 years after Ukraine threw off the shackles of Soviet slavery. During the 20th century, the UGCC was the largest underground Church in the world, its millions of members living under lethal Soviet persecution.

In 1939, the UGCC had some 3,000 priests in Ukraine. In 1989, after 50 years of war and persecution, the priesthood was reduced by 90 per cent, to just 300. At an average age of 70, the priesthood of the UGCC was just a generation away from extinction. Then came divine deliverance and the resurrection of a Church of martyrs. Nearly 30 years later, the UGCC has again 3,000 priests with an average age of 39. There are some 800 seminarians for five million Ukrainian Greek Catholics globally.

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