SECOND OPEN LETTER
to the Most Rev. 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 !
June 12, 2006
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Bishop Stephen,
We, the faithful benefactors and supporters of the Mother of God Monastery in Orangeville, Ontario, are forced once more to resort to an open letter to Your Grace, inasmuch as we still have not received an official response in writing to our previously expressed concerns.
As a consequence of our two-day prayer vigil in front of the Eparchial Chancellery, we received an invitation to meet with Your Grace, on condition that the peaceful prayer vigil be terminated. The meeting took place on May 30 th , 2006, and was led by Mr. Don Onyschuk, the Vice-Chancellor.
We remind Your Grace the main points from the meeting:
As far as we are aware, no such meeting of the Consulters has been called. We are also perturbed by the discovery that 3 out of 12 Eparchial Consulters have resigned, two within the last week, including the Vicar General of the Toronto Eparchy.
We emphasize once again, that the Eparchy does not enjoy the moral right to sell the Monastery unilaterally, much less secretly, and is in fact in violation of the guidelines set by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for the sale of church property, as determined by Canon Law.
The Cistercian monks sold the Monastery to the Eparchy for a fraction of its market value, at $ 2.2 million dollars, of which $ 1.8 is still owing, with the explicit understanding that it is to be maintained as a Christian sanctuary. Since its acquisition in 1999, the only direct financial input of the Eparchy has been $ 45 000 at the very beginning, in order to cover the land transfer tax. On the other hand, the actual costs of operating the monastery, approximately $ 150 000 annually , as well as last year's Emergency Fundraising to save it from re-possession - $ 250 000 – were all donated by the benefactors.
Most certainly, no monetary amount can assess the immense spiritual value of the Mother of God Monastery to the Eparchy, as well as for the whole Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada. Sadly, we are constantly left with the impression that Your Grace has no interest in the development of monastic life in the Eparchy, giving but token support to related parochial projects.
We ask, therefore, once again, that Your Grace accept our committed proposal for the preservation of this active Marian Sanctuary, so that with God's help and guidance, a new era of development of monastic life in the Eparchy may commence. We await a clear response to our proposal in writing in the very immediate future. Please send it to the following address:
Mother of God Monastery
953376 -7 th line R.R.5
Hockley Heights , Orangeville , ON , L9W 2Z2
With faith, hope and love,
The faithful and benefactors of the Mother of God Monastery ,
Representatives: Vasyl Shafransky, Roman Zubrytsky, Andrei Jmourko
His Excellency Luigi Ventura
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
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