The members the General Administration received an invitation from the Sisters from the Most Holy Trinity Province (Ukraine), who are celebrating their 15-year ministry at their mission in Athens, Greece. Two General Councilors, Sister Nazariya Mykhyaliuk, OSBM and Sister Emanuela Vavrekova, OSBM, gladly traveled to take part in the occasion.
The celebration evolved from the planning of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Athens, which included a meeting with His Beatitude Most Reverend Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Many Sisters from the Most Holy Trinity Province in Ukraine came to the celebration, including the Provincial Mother Danyila Vynnyk, OSBM.
Following a gathering with students, parents and teachers of the Saturday school at the parish, all were invited to participate in an opening of an exhibit of photographs and slides, as well as, sharing about the 20-year history of the parish. In reflections on the growth of the parish, His Beatitude Sviatoslav included among others, the General Superior of the Basilian Sisters, Mother Dia Stasiuk, OSBM, who he emphasized, recognized a great value in his request, although he was still a young priest and student in Rome, to send Basilian Sisters to minister in Athens. She forwarded the request to the Provincial of the Basilian Sisters in Ukraine at that time, Mother Marharyta Gutnyk, OSBM, who then missioned Sister Mykolaya Romakh and Sister Rafaila Lipnitska as the first Sisters to step upon Greek soil to minister to the Ukrainians at St. Nicholas Parish. After many years of ministry, Sister Mykolaya Romakh was replaced by Sister Romana Hutnyk for a short time. After a three-year suspension, the parish mission was renewed with the missioning of Sister Monika Syrotyuk, and, with time, Sister Veronika Galatan and Sister Herarda Smereka. Sister Khrystyna Vyksyuk served there for a short period. After she departed, Sister Khrystofora Ternynko joined the community and, when Sister Monika Syrotyuk returned to Ukraine took over as the local superior. Currently, ministering at the mission are Sisters Veronika Galatan, Sister Herarda Smereka and Sister Khrystofor Ternynko, who sacrifice much of themselves for the needs of the parish.
On Sunday, May 13, 2018, His Beatitude Most Reverend Sviatoslav Shevchuk celebrated a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy with concelebrants: the Most Reverend Papal Nuncio of Greece, Most Reverend Manuel Ni – Apostolic Exarch for Catholics of the Byzantine Church in Greece, Most Reverend Yosyf Milan – Head of the Pastoral-Missionary Department of the Patriarchal Curia of the UGCC, Most Reverend Dimitrios Salachas - Apostolic Exarch Emeritus for Catholic of the Byzantine Church in Greece, and many other priests. Following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the present bishops for their openness and gracious co-ministry and for their participation in the celebrations.
Representing the Basilian Sisters’ Province in Ukraine, Provincial Danyila Vynnyk thanked the hierarchy of the Church for their working together in ministry. On behalf of the General Administration Sister Nazariya Mykhayliuk greeted the Sisters for their 15-years of ministry and encouraged them to be the “warmth of the Church” continuing to touch the souls of people and be a praying, healing and life-giving presence to them.
The celebrations concluded with a marvelous concert of various performances by talented groups and the magnificent singing of Oksana Bilozir, a famous nationally known Ukrainian actress.