Ukrainian Group Fears for Church


Concern that the Reagan administration may abandon the issue of human rights in the Soviet Union was expressed Saturday night by the Ukrainian Patriarchal Association in the U.S.A. at its general convention here.

The 98 delegates from Rom, Italy, and all over the United States said they are worried about the fate of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Ukraine, where it is suppressed and its believers are persecuted.

«This convention urges the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church to support the plea of Ukrainian Catholics and of all believers in the U.S.S.R.,» they said in a resolution. «International organizations and the (Reagan) administration must be more concerned about the implementation by the Soviet government of the commitment in the area of human rights and religious freedom.»

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THE ASSOCIATION released a book, «Vasyl Romanyuk: A Voice in the Wilderness,» published by the Society for the Study of Religion under Communism, of Wheaton, HI. It is a collection of writings by Father Romanyuk, a Ukrainian priest who has suffered since 1972 as an inmate of a Soviet gulag and now is in exile in Siberia.

«For the sole reason that I came to the defense of the unjustly repressed Ukrainian historian Valentyn Moroz, KGR workers fabricated a so-called criminal case against me,» the priest writes in one letter.

In another he writes of «The difficult fate of the truly believing Christian» in prison. «Their oppression is twice as great … They are taunted by the administration, criminals and guards. Crosses are tom away from them, they confiscate all scraps of paper with religious content.»

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A REPRESENTATIVE was sent by Cardinal Jozef Slipyj, 89, living in exile in Rome after being released from Siberia in 1963.

Ten bishops, 1,400 priests and 800 nuns have perished since 1945, when the Soviet Union ordered the Ukrainian Catholic clergy to convert to the Russian Orthodox religion or die, Cardinal Slipyj said.

The association was founded in 1965 under the exiled patriarch’s leadership. Since then, concerned Ukrainians have achieved the establishment of the synodal rule of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and election of new Ukrainian bishops in the United States by the synod.

The ninth convention here welcomed the newly installed Metropolitan Stephen Sulyk of Philadelphia and Bishop Innocent Lotocky as ordinary of St. Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago.

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AFTER DINNER in the auditorium of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, 158 Germaine St., the 150 participants heard Alexandra Voychak play «Yes, My Darling Daughter» and other Ukrainian melodies on the piano.

The Ukrainian Bandurist Quartet played «Homin Stepiw,» «Kolomyjka» and «Zaporozets» on the bandura. The national instrument of the Ukraine is a solid, elongated guitar with 32 strings that are plucked and can effect a rippling sound.

Former Ukrainian actress Irene Lawriwsky, the toastmaster, welcomed the guests in verse.

The Buffalo News Sunday, April 5, 1981

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