The initiation of the Benedictine presence in Ukraine
The spiritual path of sons and daughters of St. Benedict continues in Ukraine but only in the abbey of nuns in Zhytomyr. There are no Benedictine monks, and until recently there was nothing to indicate that there would be, especially during this time of pandemic when no one thinks of beginning a new monastic foundation. But unexpectedly, an all-changing sign appeared.
How it started?
The Benedictine nuns from Zhytomyr (Kiev-Zhytomyr diocese) have been preparing for a new foundation in Lviv for several years.
A few years ago, the Archbishop of Lviv, Fr. Mieczysław Mokrzycki offered the sisters to take up Benedictine life in a monastery founded by a family from Switzerland, the construction of which was just beginning. In October 2019, during the canonical visitation of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Abbey in Żytomierz, which was conducted by the abbot president Maksymilian Nawara OSB and prior Izaak Kapała OSB from Lubin, it was clear that the construction was coming to an end and the time of the sisters' departure to the new monastery was fast approaching. However, the sisters, realizing the challenge ahead, were afraid that without real help in shaping the Benedictine life in Lviv, this would be too difficult a task. Abbot Maksymilian contacted Archbishop Mokrzycki, declaring his help in establishing the Lviv foundation. The result was the visit of the Archbishop in Lubiń and a detailed discussion of the situation of the newly established monastery.
It was a big surprise for us that during the meeting in August 2020 in Lubiń, the Archbishop kindly invited Benedictine monks from Poland to co-create the Lviv monastery with the prospect of settling in another location. The Archbishop guaranteed help and, in fact, immediately allocated the entire newly built chaplaincy to the brothers.
However, not one of the Polish monasteries has so far considered the question of a foundation in Ukraine. It was also clear that none of them were strong enough to do it alone. There were two options: either to give up (using the age-old argument: "there are too few of us") or to do it together. We chose the second option.
For the first time in the modern history of Benedictines in Poland, the Abbot President invited all superiors of Benedictine monasteries in Poland to Biskupów to discuss the possibilities of cooperation in a real and practical way. The fruit of this first "Synod of Polish Abbots" was the unanimous consent to attempting a joint foundation project in Ukraine. This is a novelty in the Benedictine tradition. Usually one monastery - the mother, founds another, for which she takes responsibility. This time we had to work out new rules which we set out in the "Declaration of cooperation. The chaplaincy of the Benedictine nuns in Lviv ”.
"Journey to the East"
Therefore, we are going to Lviv primarily to support the sisters in the newly created monastery of St. Joseph and take the ministry in the Rector's Church of St. Benedict. It will be an initiation of the Benedictines in Ukraine. We trust that in the coming years we will be able to find a location for a male monastery, and at the same time we want to continue working in the chaplaincy.
We are going in fours. From Lubinia, abbot Maksymilian - who remains the moderator of the entire project, and Br. Efrem Michalski. From Tyniec W. Br. Leopold Rudziński, the first Benedictine from Ukraine to be ordained a priest in the new church on March 20, and Br. Borys Kotowski.
We will settle in the chaplaincy on one side of St. Benedict church; on the other side, the convent of the sisters exists to which Sr. Bernadeta, Sr. Rita and Sr. Augustyna from Zhytomyr will come.
We will take up a new monastery which must be prepared for living and will require furnishings and appliances. We will also need to work out a model of life for two communities, and organize workshops.
We do not have a source of income, and we will probably not have one for some time. If you would like to help us in any way in this work, we welcome it. Every contribution large or small will be a great support for us. You can do this by Bank transfer to the account:
Bank account number
54 1600 1462 1842 0189 1000 0003
For Bank transfer from abroad
IBAN: PL54 1600 1462 1842 0189 1000 0003
Title: Donation for religious worship – Lviv Foundation
Beginnings are always difficult, but let us take them with confidence. The short story presented here shows that God is clearly inviting us to do something.
We trust that we are allowed to participate in the work of God's providence. We entrust ourselves and the new monastery to the intercession of the Blessed Mary and we ask you for prayer.
Thank you very much for all your support. We will keep you informed about the next steps in our actions in Lviv.