October 31 – Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Bl. Theodore Romzha

November 1 – Prayer for the Beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky

November 8 – Divine Liturgy for the Feast of St Michael and all the Incorporeal Powers

November 16 – Prayer Service for Ukraine

November 17 – Stories from the War-Zone

On Friday October 14, 2022 the Feast of the Holy Protection by the old (Julian) reckoning, Fr Bohdan Prach, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, visited the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute and the Faculty of Theology at the University of St Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. Present at this meeting were the Institute’s Executive Director, Fr Alexander Laschuk, Fr Andrew Summerson, Professor of Greek Patristics in the Faculty, and Dr Jaroslaw Skira, Dean of Regis-St Michael’s. After a discussion regarding possibilities for collaboration between the two institutions, the group visited St Sophia’s Chapel in Elmsley Hall where the sixth hour was celebrated. Following this, Fr Prach joined in conversation about the current situation in Ukraine with a number of students from the Faculty of Theology as well as the wider University of Toronto community, including several exchange students who have recently come to Canada from Ukraine to continue their studies during the war of Russian Aggression.

Celebrating the Sixth Hour in St Sophia Chapel

Staff and Students Gathered with Fr Prach at Windle House

Dear Friend of the Sheptytsky Institute,

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky is our patron for good reason. The father of the modern Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church had a tremendous insight. He saw that the wisdom of the Christian East could form saints, sustain a civil society, and create concord among peoples, nations, and races. He prayed fervently for this wisdom and serves as a model for us today.

Today’s bloodshed in Ukraine is a sin against Divine Wisdom—the dawn from on high that desires to break upon us all and show us the true light, loosening our lips to speak with the boldness of Zachariah, who was moved from silence to speech at the birth of his son, the Forerunner of our Lord (Luke 1: 68-79). We must not be silent in the face of such atrocity. We, who know the Prince of Peace, must speak boldly against this aggression.

The Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies is committed to helping our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. In fact, the MASIF directors have pledged to match every dollar you donate up to $20,000, and to offer the funds in support of humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Through your generosity, the combined donations will be sent to the Special Campaign for Ukraine, established by our partners at the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), the papal agency dedicated to the pastoral and humanitarian care of the Eastern churches. Importantly, donations MASIF sends to CNEWA will be further matched up to $500,000 in support of humanitarian aid in Ukraine (thanks to a generous family in Alberta). This effectively amounts to multiplying your donation towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine by a factor of 4.

You might ask, given the urgency of the moment in Ukraine, what is the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies for? In the face of such urgent need, the cynic may quip, “We need action, not ideas.”

Yet the Sheptytsky Institute exists to contemplate Divine Wisdom, making sure there is a space for Eastern Christianity to form future leaders, with ideas born of wisdom, not ideology. Our professors, students, and associates labor to ensure there is concerted effort to beat swords drawn against Divine Wisdom into ploughshares (Is 2:4). Without the Sheptytsky Institute, we would not have a space to reach into the heart of our tradition, our daily bread that sustains us, even through the most tumultuous temptations.

In this time of Great Lent and of unjust war in Ukraine, we intensify our prayer for the conversion of all and meditate on these words of the Great Canon: “We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before You. We have not watched or done as You had commanded us. But do not give us up utterly, O God of our fathers” (Ode 7, Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete). It is with our eyes first fixed on the Word of God that we look at the tragedy in Ukraine. Our Lord dares his persecutors to destroy the temple and says he will raise it up in three days. John speaks precisely: “He was speaking about the temple of his body.” (2:19-21). The body of Christ remains victorious through torture and conquers death itself. We, who are the body of Christ on Earth, are nurtured with the same hope.

Though the bombs may befall Ukraine, Christ’s body will never lay broken.

Statement on the Unprovoked Invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation

These recent days the staff of MASI have watched the events in Ukraine with horror.  Our thoughts go especially to our students, both current and former, with ties to Ukraine. This is a time of great suffering for the Ukrainian people. Pope Francis has described it thusly, “Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine. It is not merely a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction and misery.” (March 6, 2022) We echo the words of Patriarch Bartholomew, “We are certain that the Lord will hear our prayers and will not abandon his beloved children in Ukraine.” (February 27, 2022)

The Sheptytsky Institute condemns this military action and encourages all people of goodwill to enter this season of Great Lent with a real attitude of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine. His Beatitude Sviatoslav has reminded us that this will be a Lent unlike any other. Recognizing this penitential season calls for us all to make sacrifices, the annual Easter appeal of the Sheptytsky Institute will be directed in entirety to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association to support the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Beyond that, the directors of the Sheptytsky Institute Foundation have committed to offering matching funds for these donations, to further aid the Ukrainian people. 

Be informed. Pray. Fast. Give alms. З нами Бог! 

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’” (Mt 25:40 RSV)

The Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies

Humanitarian projects which support the suffering of the people of Ukraine:

Catholic Near East Welfare Association www.cnewa.org

Chalice Canada www.chalice.ca

Canadian Red Cross: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal www.redcross.ca

UCC-CUF Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal www.cufoundation.ca

KofC Ukraine Solidarity Fund https://www.kofc.org/secure/en/donate/ukraine.html

Caritas Ukraine Emergency Appeal http://caritas.ua/