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“Cardinal Husar was the kobzar-sage of the new millennium for all Ukrainians:” memoirs of the Head of the UGCC on His Beatitude Lubomyr

On February 26, 2019, the UGCC honors the 86th anniversary of the birth of blessed memory His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar. His Beatitude Lubomyr was the Primate of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church from 2001 to 2011.

In a book-interview “The Dialogue Heals Wounds,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav tells the editor of the Polish Catholic News Agency Krzysztof Tomashik a story of his life, reflects on the opportunities that arise through dialogue, and also shares memories about his predecessor.

Below we present the memoirs of the Head of the UGCC on His Beatitude Lubomyr in quotations:

  • I was lucky to be his personal secretary. In 2003-2005, he began to form a patriarchal curia to govern the whole Church so that the Head of the Church had the appropriate apparatus that would enable them to serve for the benefit of the whole community.
  • I met with Cardinal Husar in the 90’s of the XX century, when he was a seminarian; he was then the clergyman of our seminary. Later I met with him in Rome: I studied at the university, and he was already a bishop.
  • After Father Kanavan (head of the Patriarchal Curia) left, he needed someone who would become the administrator of the curia and his secretary. I was then vice-rector of the seminary, professor of the university, head of the theology department, vice-dean of the philosophical and theological faculty, and here again, Cardinal Husar invites me and says that he needed my help in the Curia and the secretariat. Certainly, I could not refuse.
  • Fortunately, I had the opportunity to leave the post of vice rector in the seminary. It was also the time of the Orange Revolution. Then I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Cardinal and better understand him as a spiritual person.
  • I remember, for example, the moment when he lost his sight and began to change – he was filled more and more with the Holy Spirit. I do not know whether in Poland – just like in Ukraine – people have a special respect to the blind. In Ukraine, people perceive them as the prophets who see with the eyes of the soul.
  • In his turn, Cardinal Husar was a sage of the new millennium not only for the Greek Catholics but also for all Ukrainians. He initiated a new stage in our history, which I am not afraid to call “the civilization of Lubomyr.”
  • His name comes from two words – “love” and “peace”. The civilization and the national epic that the Cardinal left for us contains three most important words: love, independence and peace.
  • In June 2001, when Ivan Pavlo II arrived in Ukraine … my predecessor, Cardinal Husar, during the Divine Liturgy, said: “In Your Presence, the Holy Father and on behalf of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, I want to ask God, the Creator and the Father of all of us, to forgive the sons and daughters of this Church, if we have offended anyone in some way. So that we do not grapple with the terrible past and do not poison our lives, we gladly forgive those who in some way offended us. We are convinced that, in the spirit of mutual forgiveness, we can calmly embark upon the partaking in the Eucharist with you, with the realization that in this way we enter into a new and better millennium with true and strong hope. ” It was an important and touching moment. Because the formula of forgiveness laid the foundations for a culture of reconciliation from the Ukrainian side. In the presence of the Holy Father and a million faithful, Cardinal Husar began the Polish-Ukrainian dialogue when he asked to forgive the sins of our people and forgave the injustices caused to the Ukrainians.
  • Cardinal Husar was guided by the rule: “We do not accept money from the state or politicians.” One can say that the symbol of such a position is our cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv. I remember that both me and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar were often asked: “How is it that many elections to the Verkhovna Rada have already passed in Ukraine, and you still can not finish the construction of your temple?” For it is not a mystery, that politicians come to each church before the elections and try to donate money to them, but then they expect that they will support them during the election campaign. Thanks God, our Church did not go for it.
  • Cardinal Husar, first of all, strengthened the synodality of the UGCC, because it is the most characteristic feature of our Church.
  • Cardinal Husar initiated the activities of the Permanent Synod and began to establish inter-eparchial structures at the Church level throughout the world. The Patriarchal Curia is also an instrument of building the inner unity of our Church. All these tools have appeared over the past forty years.

Ruslan Tkachenko, Department of Information of the UGCC