UWC President Eugene Czolij concludes visit to Romania
On 22-25 June 2018, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij, on the invitation of UWC member organization Union of Ukrainians in Romania (UUR), fulfilled a working visit to Bucharest and Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania. In the framework of this visit, the UWC President, together with UWC First Vice President and President of the European Congress of Ukrainians Jaroszlava Hartyanyi, participated in the Extraordinary Convention of the UUR, “Congress of Unity”, and presented current Ukrainian issues to the Assistant Вishop to the Romanian Patriarch and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Romanian governing authorities and the Ukrainian community.
On 22 June 2018 in Bucharest, Eugene Czolij met with members of the UUR leadership during which he informed about the work and future plans of the UWC.
On 23 June 2018 in Sighetu Marmatiei, the UWC President participated in the Extraordinary Convention of the UUR attended by over 300 participants. This event was opened with a prayer by Vicar Fr. Ivan Pitsura of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Romania, followed by an address by UUR President Mykola Miroslav Petrecky who underscored the importance of this Extraordinary Convention, an address by the UWC President and greetings from the President of the European Congress of Ukrainians, and reports by the Presidents of all 12 UUR branches.
In his address, Eugene Czolij noted the importance of unity within the Ukrainian community for its future development and to withstand the attempts to weaken it, and urged to further within one’s country important Ukrainian issues, including support for Ukraine in combating Russian hybrid aggression. In addition, the UWC President focused on the present situation in Ukraine, drew attention to the primary activities of the UWC in Ukraine’s defence and called upon the UUR leadership and membership to continue effectively cooperating with the UWC.
Following this event, Eugene Czolij and Jaroszlava Hartyanyi joined a wreath laying ceremony at the monument to Taras Shevchenko and attended a concert that included performances by children from Ukraine, participants of the I Festival of Ukrainian Culture “Nasha pisnia, nasha dolia” under the direction of Maryan Hadenko, and the joint choir “Ronianski holosy” and “Sokoliata” from Romania under the direction of Jeta Petreckyi.
On 24 June 2018, the UWC President attended Divine Liturgy at the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Ukrainian Orthodox Church, following which he met with parish priest Fr. Mykola Lavruk and addressed the parishioners. In his address, he noted that the Ukrainian diaspora is the best ally of the people of Ukraine in the defence of its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and called upon Ukrainians in Romania to unite around common values and to remain Ukrainian.
On 25 June 2018, Eugene Czolij met with the Assistant Вishop to the Romanian Patriarch and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Patriarchal Bishop Varlaam Ploieșteanu, during which, on behalf of the over 20 million strong Ukrainian diaspora headed by the UWC, including in Romania, he highlighted the importance of the issuance of a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as the granting of a parcel of land for the construction of a church in Bucharest for the Ukrainian Orthodox community.
On this day, the UWC President held meetings with Romanian governing authorities during which he thanked Romania for its support of Ukraine and called to continue combatting the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation that poses a threat of international proportion. In conjunction with this, Eugene Czolij called on Romania to support conditions that will lead to the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to the Donbas and an OSCE monitoring mission to Crimea, and initiatives of the international community to secure the release by the Russian Federation of Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages. The UWC President also highlighted the need to strengthen actions to counter the Russian disinformation campaign that attempts to present Ukraine as a failed state, and informed about the latest significant reforms in Ukraine, including the adoption of a law on the establishment of a High Anti-Corruption Court. Eugene Czolij called to strengthen Romanian-Ukrainian relations, including economic and trade cooperation. The UWC President urged Romania to recognize the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. He also discussed the Law of Ukraine “On Education” with the goal of addressing Romania’s concerns about article 7 of that law.
While in Romania, Eugene Czolij was accompanied by UUR President and Member of Parliament in Romania Mykola Miroslav Petrecky, Counselor of the Ministry of Education of Romania for the Ukrainian national minority Elvira Codra and UUR Secretary Tereza Sendroiu.
“The meetings in Romania offered an opportunity to constructively discuss issues of importance to the Ukrainian World Congress member organization, the Union of Ukrainians in Romania, to the continued joint support of Ukraine and to the issuance of a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.
List of individuals with whom the UWC President met:
Biro Rozalia, Chairwoman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Parliament of Romania
Kovacs Irina Elisabeta, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education of Romania
Niculăescu Dănuț, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, Co-Chairman of the Ukrainian-Romanian Intergovernmental Commission on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities
Patriarchal Bishop Varlaam Ploieșteanu, Assistant Вishop to the Romanian Patriarch and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Pop Georgian, Secretary of the Permanent Bureau of the House of Deputies, Parliament of Romania
In the photo from left: Fr. V. Fatu, Е. Codrea, E. Czolij, Patriarchal Bishop V. Ploieșteanu, Т. Sendroiu and M. M. Petrecky