OPEN LETTER
to The Most Reverend STEPHEN CHMILAR, D.D.
Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada

RE: The concealed sale of the MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD MONASTERY

May 18, 2006

Your Grace, Bishop Stephen

Christ is Risen!

We, the benefactors, financial supporters and extended community of the Most Holy Mother of God Monastery in Orangeville, Ontario, have obtained credible information that the Eparchy of Toronto is set to promptly close the deal on a concealed sale of the Monastery, in order to finance serious eparchial debts, which have nothing to do with the Monastery proper. This would terminate its existence as a Christian Sanctuary and place of Marian pilgrimage.

We are strongly convinced that the sacred status of the Monastery cannot be changed :

  1. It is certainly not the will of God that places of active prayer and worship be liquidated.
  2. The Cistercian Monks sold the Monastery to the Ukrainian Catholic Church at one-third its actual market value, with the explicit understanding that it would remain a Christian Shrine. They have made tremendous financial concessions over the years in order to ensure its sacred status.
  3. There is presently an active project in place, of which Your Grace is well aware, to host Catholic Secondary School religious retreats, which will guarantee the financial viability of the Monastery for the future.

May we remind Your Grace as well, that only one year ago, when the Cistercians had officially notified the Eparchy of their intention to repossess the Monastery due to the non-payment of mortgage by the Eparchy for a period of over seven months, there was no apparent plan on the part of the Eparchy to retain ownership of the Monastery. It was only due to the initiative of a few dedicated priests on the Monastery Committee, the external community, and the generous donations and sacrifices of the multitude of faithful benefactors and supporters in the Ukrainian community that the Monastery was preserved and safeguarded for the Eparchy.

We believe, therefore, that the Eparchy is not proceeding in good faith in unilaterally selling the Monastery Shrine especially in secrecy. This is a betrayal of the trust of the Cistercians, of all the donors and benefactors, as well as of the devoted monastery community, who have prayed, laboured and sacrificed for over 3.5 years for the glory of God and His Most Blessed Mother.

In the event the Eparchy is unable to keep the Monastery due to financial obligations, then we, the extended community, hereby propose look at the other viable means to purchase the property of the Monastery, in order to fully cover the balance owing to the Cistercians, provided that the Monastery is preserved as a Marian Shrine. We are prepared to meet with Your Grace to further discuss this proposition.

Please be advised as well that, as representatives of all the benefactors of the Monastery, we are prepared to pursue whatever options are available to us in order to safeguard and preserve God's Holy House.

We continue to pray that the Lord will answer our fervent desires, and guide everyone involved in this very serious matter. Our prayers include the resolution of the Eparchy's financial difficulties according to God's providence.

Sincerely, with Faith, Hope and Love,
The extended Lay Community of the Monastery,

cc:

His Excellency Luigi Ventura
Papal Nuncio

His Beatitude Archbishop Lubomyr Husar

Most Reverend Hlib Lonchyna
Delegate to the Apostolic See in Rome

His Grace Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM
Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada

Most Reverend David Motiuk Auxiliary Bishop

His Grace Most Reverend Michael Bzdel
Metropolitan Emeritus

Most Reverend Michael Wiwchar, C.S.S.R.
Bishop, Eparchy of Saskatoon

Most Reverend Severian Yakymyshym, OSBM
Bishop, Eparchy of New Westminster

Very Reverend William Hupalo
Eparchial Administrator of Edmonton

Most Reverend Cornelius J. Pasichny, OSBM
Eparch Emeritus of Toronto

Right Reverend John Tataryn Vicar General
Eparchy of Toronto

Right Reverend Roman Galadza

Reverend Peter Babej

Reverend Richard Soo, S.J.
Chancellor, Archeparchy of Winnipeg

Abbaye Cistercienne d'Oka
Dom Yvon Joseph Moreau, Abbot

Univ Lavra Studite Fathers
Hieromonk Benedict Aleksijchuk - Hegumen


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