UWC President E. Czolij Visits Italy
October 6, 2010
UWC PRESIDENT EUGENE CZOLIJ VISITS ITALY
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress Eugene Czolij visited the Ukrainian Diaspora in Italy from September 15 to 19, 2010. While in Rome he met with the Apostolic Visitor to Ukrainians of Italy and Spain, Most Reverend Bishop Dionysius (Lachowicz), local Ukrainian communities, leaders of Ukrainian civic organizations in Italy and the Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy Heorhiy Chernyavskyi. The UWC president also visited the St. Sophia Sobor, the Parish of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus and the Church of Christ the King at the Monastery of Basilian Fathers.
The UWC president’s visit to Italy was organized by the Christian Fellowship of Ukrainians in Italy headed by Oles Horodetsky.
On September 15, Eugene Czolij, his wife Anna and the President of the Christian Fellowship of Ukrainians in Italy Oles Horodetsky met with the Apostolic Visitor to the Ukrainians of Italy and Spain Most Reverend Bishop Dionysius (Lachowicz) at the Patriarchal residence in Rome. During the discussion the Most Reverend Bishop spoke about the current state of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Italy and religious life of immigrants in their new home countries. He also shared plans surrounding World Youth Day to be held in Spain in August of next year. The UWC President noted the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Church and Ukrainian civic organizations. Since at least 1,500 young Ukrainians plan to participate in World Youth Day, Eugene Czolij suggested their program include topics and issues championed by UWC. The men discussed issues of concern to the Ukrainian Diaspora in Italy and spoke about the need to maintain national identity and renew the historical memory of the Ukrainian people, in particular by honouring the memory of Holodomor victims through active participation in the international “Svichka Molinnia” (Remembrance Candle) campaign.
Additional information about the meeting is available on the website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Italy: http://www.chiesaucraina.it/ucra/index.phpoption=com_content&task=view&id=308
On September 16 the UWC President visited the Church of Christ the King at the Monastery of the Basilian Fathers where he and Fr. Yefrem Konchak discussed the Church and community lives of Ukrainian parishioners.
The UWC President next appeared before the Ukrainian community of Rome on the premises of the Ukrainian Catholic University. Eugene Czolij presented an overview of UWC’s activities and called upon the Ukrainian Diaspora in Italy to show solidarity and unity with the people of Ukraine and react to all violations of human and national rights of Ukrainians in Ukraine and Russia.
Eugene Czolij visited the Ukrainian Sunday School at the Sobor of St. Sophia. School Director Myroslava Horbenko spoke about the educational process and the school’s cultural contribution to the community.
The UWC President was interviewed by Radio “Svoboda” correspondent Natalya Kudryk. The interview appeared as an article entitled “Diaspora doesn’t criticize, we root for Ukraine” and is available online:
After Divine Liturgy in the evening, the UWC President delivered a speech to parishioners of St. Sergius and Bacchus Church. He spoke about the recent disconcerting developments in Ukraine and what UWC is doing to defend Ukrainians’ human and national rights. Following the speech Eugene Czolij exchanged thoughts on ways to strengthen the Ukrainian community in Italy with Fr. Ivan Kulyk.
UWC’s President met with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Italy Heorhiy Chernyavskyi on September 17. Eugene Czolij communicated the Diaspora’s concerns over events currently occurring in Ukraine. He also spoke about the Embassy’s provision of services to Ukrainian citizens, plans to establish a Ukrainian cultural centre in Italy, delivery of pension payments, recognition of Ukrainian diplomas and drivers’ licenses in Italy and the transportation of the deceased for burial from Italy to Ukraine. In turn the Ambassador spoke about the embassy’s cooperation with the Diaspora and participation in community events. He stressed the importance of creating an umbrella organization for Ukrainians in Italy that would coordinate and represent the Diaspora in Italy with a single unified voice. The UWC President said that umbrella organizations are typically created “from the bottom up” and without any pressure from external forces.
On September 18, the UWC President met with representatives of various Ukrainian civic organizations in Italy. The meeting was attended by: Oles Horodetsky, President, Christian Fellowship of Ukrainians in Italy; Maria Bednarchuk, Director, “Berehynia” Ukrainian theatre and President, “Oriana” Association in Rome; Natalya Tsebryk, Member, Italian UGL Union in Rome; Mykola Duleba, Deputy president, “Oberih” human rights organization in Venice; Vera Pauk, Director, “Lada” Association in Rome; Maria Ochych, Chair, Ukrainian community in Viterbo; Yevhenia Baranova, Vice President, “Nadia” association in Brescia; Luba Karpa, President, “Ukraina” association in Rome; Larysa Iskiv, Member, Artists’ Union of Ukraine and President, Association of Ukrainian Artists in Rome; Natalya Hrabchuk and Mariana Tris, representatives of Ukrainian youth in Rome. During his remarks Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC’s future plans and called upon the Ukrainian community in Italy to participate in UWC’s campaigns and initiatives. His speech was followed by a discussion concerning the further development of community life, including the possibility of creating an umbrella organization for Ukrainian community associations in Italy.
The UWC President visited St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican where he prayed by the relics of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych and the mosaic icons of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha.
Italy’s largest news agency ANSA reported on the UWC President’s visit to Rome.
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