Global Ukrainian community bids farewell to Stefan Romaniw

June 28,2024 793
Global Ukrainian community bids farewell to Stefan Romaniw

The tragic news of the untimely passing of prominent Ukrainian figure Stefan Romaniw arrived on the morning of June 26. Since then, thousands of messages have appeared across social media, the press, official letters from Ukrainians, friends of Ukraine, international organizations, and communities. These are memories of a distinguished leader, words of sympathy, sorrow, and most of all, gratitude. Inexpressible gratitude fills thousands of people who knew Stefan Romaniw not just as a public figure, but as a symbol of Ukraine’s national identity and unwavering pursuit of freedom and justice. The Ukrainian World Congress is publishing excerpts from a few of these texts.

“Stefan was a true leader – inspiring others. People followed him not out of duty, but because they believed in him. His charisma, intellect, global perspective, compassion, diligence, vision, and an exceptional sense of humor inspired those around him. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t fascinated and didn’t love Stefan.

His network of friends spanned the globe. On the world stage, Stefan was a powerful force, tirelessly working to build a better Ukraine and defend it from Russian aggression. The trust he built with politicians, influential figures, civil society leaders, and journalists worldwide was used solely to further the mission of the Ukrainian World Congress in creating a flourishing, independent Ukrainian nation alongside strong Ukrainian communities worldwide. … We have lost one of the most outstanding individuals,” wrote UWC President Paul Grod.

My [AFUO’s] co-chair, my friend, our beloved community leader… Stefan Romaniw unexpectedly passed away today. The feeling of shock, disbelief and pain is hard to explain. Stefan was meant to only go on a short trip to Europe and be back in time for our Future Ukraine Board meeting tonight. I’m still expecting him to call, to tell me all about his trip, to make me laugh like he always did… We had such big plans! Stefan was an inspirational leader, a kind friend and a fierce advocate for Ukraine. He was one of a kind,” wrote Kateryna Argyrou, a member of the UWC Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO).

“Incalculable loss! A great patriot of Ukraine! A vast expanse of patriotism! Stefan Romaniw! This is more than just grief! Eternal memory!” wrote Nataliya Poshyvaylo-Towler, UWC Vice President for Oceania and Asia.

“Sadness! Hard to believe! I no longer understand the meaning of life! Why do the best leave us? Twenty years together in the Ukrainian World Congress with Stefan Romaniw, a person deeply devoted to Ukraine! He didn’t just work, he served his people! Born in the diaspora, he dedicated his entire life to the Ukrainian cause, sacrificing even his family, whom he loved dearly with all his heart! Stefan is irreplaceable because he embodied our Ukrainian essence: dedication, sincerity, selflessness, and a wonderful sense of humor! My heartfelt condolences to his wife Anastasia and the entire family! May the Lord God grant Stefan the Kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Memory! Rest in peace with God, dear friend!” wrote Jaroszlava Hartyányi, the Chair of WFUWO, Second Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress.

“A bright individual, a legendary figure who made a significant contribution to the international recognition of the Holodomor in Ukraine in 1932-1933, has left us. He exerted tremendous efforts, especially in aiding our Mother Ukraine in its unprovoked, unjustified genocidal war against Ukraine. Mr. Stefan’s selfless efforts in uniting Ukrainians worldwide will forever serve as an example to follow,” wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

“This is undoubtedly a profound loss not only for the Ukrainian community in Australia but for the entire global Ukrainian community. Mr. Stefan’s life is an epitome of fervent love for Ukraine and its people, of steadfast and incorruptible Faith in the Victory of our State,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba.

“Stefan Romaniw was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, a close friend to Ukrainians worldwide. Together with his wife Anastasia, they raised their son Petro and daughter Teresa, as well as five grandchildren. For his services to Ukraine, Stefan Romaniw was honored with orders and medals of three levels from the President of Ukraine, and for his contribution to international relations, he received distinctions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. … The Olympic family of Ukraine extends heartfelt condolences to the relatives and loved ones of Stefan Romaniw, who actively supported the development of sports within the Ukrainian community worldwide. Eternal memory and may he rest in peace,” wrote the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

“This is a great loss for all of us, as such people come once in a century. Although born in Australia, his love and loyalty to Ukraine, its cultural heritage, and history serve as an example to all Ukrainians today. He was a deeply devout person, loved his Church, and through his life and service, he did much to promote and develop it not only on the Australian continent. Mr. Stefan, according to the testimony of many grateful people who had met him even once, was an extraordinarily luminous personality. He had an incredible gift for sensing people, especially in their time of need, to help them. Throughout his life, Mr. Stefan carried boundless love for Ukraine, its cultural and historical heritage,” wrote His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. 

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