On 31 May 2017, Ukraine lost its moral compass. Lyubomyr Husar, the ex-leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), passed away at 84. Born in 1933 in Ukraine, the future Cardinal Lyubomyr spent a large part of his life in the USA, where he was ordained a priest and pursued theology, and Italy, where he headed a monastery. In 1993, he returned to his native Ukraine, where he inherited the Greek Catholic Church “on its knees” after 45 years of Soviet prohibition and led it to bloom. In 2001, he was elected as Patriarch of the UGCC and in 2011 gave up his power voluntarily. After that, he created the First of December Initiative Group, a union of intellectuals addressing the country in its hardest times. During the Euromaidan Revolution, the words of Lyubomyr Husar inspired millions of Ukrainians to fearlessly stand up for what is right.
Borys Gudziak, who is the the Eparch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of Paris, and knew Lyubomyr Husar all his life, spoke so about him:
“He united Ukrainians, having become for them a spiritual father and a high moral authority.
He was loved by taxi drivers, listened to by the young and old, by entrepreneurs and artists, pious churchgoers and those who weren’t parishioners of the UGCC. He united members of his church and his nation, and strove to spread this unity further – worked towards reconciliation with the Poles and the Jews, dreamed about the cessation of this war and reconciliation with the Russians.
His Beatitude Lyubomyr left us with the legacy of his two special features which make us think and reach for virtue.
In a world and country where people thirst for power and seek to seize it at any cost, he gave up his power, let it go, astonishing the whole Ukraine with his renunciation in 2011.
He just let go of his power…
The Patriarch lived very modestly. He had few possessions, disliked luxury. […] This modesty was passed on in his communication. And he could communicate with everybody, in different languages, in different contexts.”
Though Lyubomyr Husar regularly addressed Ukrainians, his words are relevant for people far beyond the country. We selected 12 quotations, the universal wisdom of which is relevant to people from any country.[quote]God created us as free creatures. Nobody honors our freedom like God.But we don’t have the real courage to be free. Because being free means being responsible. We talk about freedom, indulge in freedom, wish freedom, stress our desire for freedom, but in reality we fear it.[/quote]
Articles by and interviews with Lyubomyr Husar:
- Ukrainian army has an advantage over the invaders: love for their nation
- Ukrainian bishop: there is nothing that can stop us from moving forward except ourselves
- Next task: to incarnate Maidan ideals in all areas of our life – Lyubomyr Husar
Texts by the First of December Group, co-authored by Lyubomyr Husar:
- Ukraine does not need illusory “peace” at the price of capitulation – Ukrainian intellectuals
- Freedom and Responsibility | A new social contract for Ukraine
- Ukraine must not turn into the monster it is fighting – appeal of Ukrainian intellectuals
- “Europe’s fatigue from Ukraine is the aggressor’s greatest ally” – appeal of European intellectuals
A large English-language essay about Lyuboymr Husar by Antoine Arjakovsky: