Ukrainian and Jewish communities of New York received delegation of Ukrainian Council of Churches

After the meetings in Washington the leaders of Ukrainian denominations arrived to New York, where they met with leaders of Jewish communities in the United States at the invitation of President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder.

During the reception, the question was of an importance for the Jewish community of religious freedom and dialogue with other denominations. At the same time, guests from Ukraine spoke about their own experience of interdenominational harmony and cooperation.

After that the delegation of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations met with the Ukrainian community of the United States in the Ukrainian Museum in New York. The participants got acquainted with the results of the visit of the leaders of Ukrainian denominations to Canada and the activities of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky for life-saving of Jews during the World War II.

The representative of the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter Initiative Adrian Karatnycky presented to the participants of the meeting the purpose of the visit and the membership of the Ukrainian delegation.

In his speech, the chairman of the UCCRO, head of the UGCC, ArchbishopSviatoslav (Shevchuk) noted that the figure of Metropolitan Sheptytsky as Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has exceeded the limits of one denomination,  for the respect for his actions was expressed by representatives of different religions, and it also has exceeded the limits of one nation, as an initiative to honor his deeds in Canada was shown by the Jewish community, and the proposal for recognition of his virtue was introduced to the Parliament of Canada by the deputy of Polish origin. At the same time, the heritage of Metropolitan Andrey came out beyond the borders of Ukraine, for the example of his life was appreciated by the government of a foreign state.

Archbishop Sviatoslav thanked the UCCRO delegation and the Ukrainian diaspora for the fact that such historical events associated with the honoring of Andrey Sheptytsky as a righteous man, have become possible.

At the end of Friday evening, April 27, the UCCRO delegation had the opportunity to attend the service at Park East Synagogue and take part in the dinner on the occasion of Shabbat (the Sabbath), which was held under the aegis of Rabbi of the synagogue Arthur Schneier and the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich.

The next day, the UCCRO delegation had a guided tour to the United Nations. At the memorial they also commemorated the victims of famine in Ireland (1845-1849), which resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million people and the same number emigrated to America. After that, at the place of the twin towers of the World Trade Center they commemorated the victims of the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.

It will be recalled that the delegation of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations visited Canada and the United States within the framework of the program in honor of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky’s Heritage (from 22 till 29 April).

 Photoreport by Maksym Vasin, translation by Svitlana Sydorenko, IRF

© 2012 The Institute for Religious Freedom Kyiv, Ukraine