The Byzantine Catholic World talks with Bishop Nil Lushchak of the Eparchy of Mukachevo
By David Mayernik Jr., Editor
The Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Eparchies of Parma, Passaic and Phoenix have collected more than $500,000 to help feed and support the homeless whose lives have been torn apart by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The funds are being sent to the Eparchy of Mukachevo, located in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.
“Our people and churches have responded with the largest collection in the history of our Byzantine Catholic Church,” Archbishop William Skurla said in his 2022 Paschal message.
“We continue to send our support and daily prayers that the suffering will end. We give thanks to all who are helping. And, we pray that the Mother of God will protect everyone from harm.”
The Archeparchy of Pittsburgh has 10 Ukrainian priests serving in its parishes.
The Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo is located in the Transcarpathia region in southwestern Ukraine.
It was established officially by Pope Clement XIV on Sept. 19, 1771.
According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, more than 5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started Feb. 24.
The Byzantine Catholic World talked on the phone April 7 with Bishop Nil Lushchak, Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Mukachevo.
The conversation was translated into English by Father Vasyl Polyak, pastor at SS. Peter and Paul in Tarentum, Pa.
Bishop Nil said he is seeing signs of the war even though Uzhhorod is located in the southwestern area of the country.
“Thanks to God, at this time the Mukachevo Diocese is the most peaceful area in our country,” he said.
“But we got a lot of refugees from the big cities like Kyiv and others where the active war is still going on and all the refugees are in danger of death because of bombing their peaceful cities. For this reason, many of them are here in our city.
“We’ve got a lot of parish and social centers which are already full and packed with refugees.”
Bishop Nil said the influx of refugees has required some changes in living arrangements.
“There are some examples of when our parish rectories are provided for refugees instead of clergy. There are some situations already,” he said.
“One parish house is already prepared and offered for one family who was located in Bucha, 20 miles from capital city of Kyiv, where the most horrible things – homicides and unfortunately raping – are happening. One house is provided for that family.”
Father Vasyl translated Bishop Nil’s response to: What should people in United States know about what is happening in Ukraine?
“Bishop Nil would like the American people to know they are in need of prayers and other kinds of support, financial, as well, for all our faithful in Ukraine. He would like to give thanks to everyone for everything which will be done and all those finances already spent in supporting the people in need; all the refugees.”
Bishop Nil said the money donated by Byzantine Catholics in the United States will be used to help those who are suffering.
“Mostly all the finances will be spent on all the refugees who are already located in our town. Social halls and rectories where the refugees are in need of food and other kinds of support,” he said.
“We have families who lost members of their family, such as sergeants who were killed and provide support to them, as well.”