UWC president E. Czolij Visits Bosnia and Herzegovina
December 9, 2010
UWC PRESIDENT E. CZOLIJ VISITS BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Eugene Czolij travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 16 and 17, 2010, where he visited Ukrainian communities in Republika Srpska. During the two-day visit he experienced local Ukrainian religious and civic life, visited Ukrainian historical places and held official meetings with government officials.
The UWC President’s visit was organized by the “Ukrajinska matića” Associationand the Taras Shevchenko Cultural and Education Union of Ukrainians of Banja Luka. Eugene Czolij was accompanied by the President of the “Prosvita” Serbian Association for Ukrainian language, literature and culture Miroslav Hočak, President of the Ukrainian National Minority Coordination Body in the Republic of Croatia Viktor Filima and his deputy Mihajlo Semenjuk, President of the Union of National Minorities in Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina Stevan Havreljuk and the President of the “Ukrajinska matića” Association from Banja Luka Dr. Eugen Pavlešen.
On November 16 the UWC President was in Prnjavor where he visited the oldest Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and the “Vasyljanum” Spiritual and Cultural Centre. He met with Parish priest Fr. Petar Sitnek, the President of the “Svit Kultury” Association of Creative Intelligentsia Gregor Ovad and the President of the “Ukrajina” Youth Cultural Association Željko Muzeka. They discussed Ukrainian religious and civic life and the importance of renewing the “Vasyljanum” centre for the needs of the Ukrainian community, in particular for holding youth camps.
LISNJA, DABRAK and DEVJATINA VILLAGES
The UWC President next travelled to the village of Lisnja where he met with Fr. Ivan Liskij of the Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and visited the Monument to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the “Prosvita” Association Library. Eugene Czolij proceeded to visit the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Churches Protection of Our Most Holy Mother of Godin Dabrak and Dormition of Our Most Holy Mother of Godin Devjatina.
On November the UWC President was in Banja Luka where he met with the Greek Catholic Vicar for Bosnia Fr. Mihajlo Stahnek and Fr. Miroslav Krnješin of Christ the King UGCC Church. The men discussed the historical role played by the UGCC in Bosnia, its current activities and securing financial assistance from the governmental Secretariat for Religious Communities. Eugene Czolij visited Christ the King Church that is in the final stages of construction.
That day the UWC President met with the Deputy Head of Republika Srpska’s Government, Minister of Education and Culture Anton Kasipović and the Mayor of Banja Luka Dragoljub Davidović. Eugene Czolij thanked the government officials for their support of the Ukrainian national minority. He thanked the deputy head of government for supporting the construction of Christ the King Church in Banja Luka. Eugene Czolij raised the issues of financial assistance for the UGCC from the Secretariat for Religious Communities and recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Mayor of Banja Luka and the UWC President discussed financial assistance for the Ukrainian community, the allocation of premises for community purposes and the agreement on cooperation signed between the cities of Banja Luka and Lviv.
Next the UWC President visited the Union of National Minorities in Republika Srpska where he met with representatives of the “Kozak” Ukrainian association from Trnopolje-Prijedor, the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Cultural and Education Association from Prjnjavor, the Taras Shevchenko Cultural and Education Union of Ukrainians and the “Ukrajinska matića” association from Banja Luka. During the meeting Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC activities and learned about local community life. They discussed the inclusion of Ukrainian as a nationality in the upcoming census, opportunities provided by state-funded programs for young people to study the Ukrainian language and the Coordinating Council of Ukrainian Associations and Unions’ participation in international Ukrainian initiatives.
While visiting with the Taras Shevchenko Cultural and Education Union of Ukrainians, Eugene Czolij delivered a speech to the local Ukrainian community in which he spoke about UWC’s activities. After a concert he discussed current issues facing Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora with the local community.
An interview with the UWC President and reports about his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina available on the following sites:
Ukrainian World Congress
145 Evans Ave., #207
M8Z 5X8 Canada
Tel. (416) 323-3020
Fax (416) 323-3250