I was honored to be present for the installation of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna as the Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Exarchate in the UK today, September 27, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the Julian Calendar. Bishop Hlib is a longtime friend, having attended both previous Orientale Lumen Conferences in Constantinople and as a plenary speaker at OL XIII in Washington this past spring.Presiding at the Divine Liturgy was His Beatitude, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from Kiev, His Excellency Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio of England, and His Excellency Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference in the UK.
The Cathedral of the The procession of priests and bishops escorted the new bishop into the church where he began the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy from chairs placed in the front. The entire liturgy was in Ukrainian, but a local Melkite deacon performed the incensing as usual while the priests said the various litanies and other diaconal parts.
Cardinal Husar delivered a homily in Ukrainian, but welcomed the Roman Catholic guests in English. Even with four bishops distributing Holy Communion, the entire crowd seemed to come forward and it lasted 20 minutes.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, the Apostolic Nuncio read the Papal Bull appointing Bishop Hlib as Apostolic Administrator, and Cardinal Husar led the new bishop to his throne, installing him with his staff as leader of the local community.
The Ukrainian Catholic communities in Great Britain, as in many parts of Europe, are experiencing yet another wave of immigration and growth. When I attended this same cathedral in the late 1980’s when I lived in the UK for three years, there were barely 50 people at Sunday liturgy. The cathedral rector now reports the church filled for two services every Sunday – and the church seats about 500 on the main level. There were probably 800-900 at this special celebration.
Eis polla eti Despota! Mnohaja L’ita Vladyko! Many years to Bishop Hilb!