In loving memory of Marika Bryniawska Czolij

#UWC news
December 18,2023 793
In loving memory of Marika Bryniawska Czolij

Marika Bryniawska-Czolij was known for her devout Christian faith, ardent advocacy for Ukrainian culture and heritage, and unwavering patriotism. Her extraordinarily generous and compassionate character had a profound influence on the upbringing of her sons, former UWC President Eugene Czolij and Fr. Bohdan Choly, and their families, and the wider Ukrainian communities in Montreal and Canada.

God granted her many virtues, including wisdom, kindness, intelligence, and a range of musical talents. For more than three decades, Mrs. Czolij led the Ukrainian Catholic Church choir in Montreal; she was the conductor of two organizational choirs (SUM and Prosvita), directed a student choir, and mentored a children’s choir. Her commitment to nurturing these groups mirrored her dedication as an educator, a role she fulfilled for an impressive 42 years at the Andriy Sheptytsky Ukrainian School in Montreal.

Marika Bryniawska-Czolij devoted more than forty years to working in the Ukrainian Youth Association SUM. She belonged to the Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and composed several music pieces for the Divine Liturgy, Wedding and Memorial services, and leaves behind an extensive oeuvre of songs, from solos to mixed, women’s, and children’s choirs, and scripts for Ukrainian school plays and assemblies.

Marika Bryniawska-Czolij was also highly regarded by Canada’s arts community outside the Ukrainian one. She showcased her exceptional talent as a mezzo-soprano by performing in renowned Italian and German operas at the Marie-Thérèse Paquin Opera Company and the McGill Opera Workshop. Her solo performances graced various Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish, and Canadian events, both on stage and on television, captivating audiences in Canada and the United States. In 1972, during His Beatitude Josyf Slipyj’s Jubilee celebrations in Rome, Italy, she performed a stirring rendition of her own composition of “Blessed is the man.”

The depth of our sorrow at the loss of Marika Bryniawska Czolij is beyond words. Though it is challenging to articulate the pain, we take solace in the belief that she has transcended to the realm of boundless love in the embrace of God, to a place where there is no sadness, nor sorrow: only eternal peace. Marika’s departure leaves an indelible mark, her legacy woven by her countless acts of kindness; her radiant legacy will forever outshine the grip of death, a testament to a life lived beautifully.

UWC’s leadership shares the Czolij family’s deepest sorrow, and we pray for the repose of the soul of Marika Bryniawska-Czolij.

May she rest in peace!

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