Pentecost, 20 11

To the Very Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Religious Sisters, Seminarians and Laity of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada:

Acquire education, my brothers and sisters! Strive for it earnestly – cherish it! For learning is nothing other than the recognition of truth, and it is precisely the teaching of Christ that is truth.
Metropolitan Andrey Sheplytsky

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

On the 61th of September 1989 the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada issued a pastoral letter announcing the transfer of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies to Canada. Initially established in Chicago in 1986, the Sheptytsky Institute moved to Ottawa and became affiliated with Saint Paul University, a Catholic institution with Vatican accreditation, where it exists to this day.

These past twenty-five years have seen many changes. The Sheptytsky Institute has grown and developed with new personnel and programs. A new era of freedom has come about in Ukraine, affecting Church and academic life both within Ukraine and beyond. And a new group of bishops now shepherds the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada. As we enter the 25th anniversary year of the Sheptytsky Institute, we, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada, have decided to issue a new pastoral letter in support of the Sheptytsky Institute and its goals.

During its first years of development in Ottawa it was often difficult to imagine what the role of the Sheptytsky Institute would be for the Church in Canada and beyond. As the years have passed this has become more evident in the study programs it has provided, in the publications it has produced and in the number of students it has educated. The Institute is pleased to have graduated 7 doctoral students, 35 post graduate students (Masters and Licentiates), and over 100 Bachelor and Certificate students. Among these graduates are 1 bishop, 41 priests, 5 deacons and 32 women (including three religious)- most of whom serve now in the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada. At the same time the Institute, together with its professors, has developed a reputation in Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere regarding the expertise of its staff and its unique voice for Eastern Christian theology, spirituality, liturgy, ecumenical relations and knowledge of the Christian East.

The financial cost of maintaining the Sheptytsky Institute is considerable. The brunt of this responsibility is borne by the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute foundation. Its dedicated members have undertaken fundraising efforts to provide for the requirements of the Institute, including payment of salaries and purchase of resource materials. At the same time, Saint Paul University has generously shared its space and significant resources for the needs of the Institute.

The main support for the Sheptytsky Institute over these years has come from the faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada and the USA. By your prayerful and moral support, by the participation of the faithful in the programs of study, and by your very generous financial contributions to the Foundation, you have enabled the Sheptytsky Institute to grow and develop into the notable centre of learning and faith formation that it is today. As the hierarchs of the Ukrainian
Catholic Church of Canada we recognize and support the goals ofthe Sheptytsky Institute and we strongly encourage you, the faithful members of the Church, also to support this worthy institution for the hope it offers our Church.

The Sheptytsky Institute works together with Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary to offer an intellectual, pastoral and spiritual formation for seminarians. In the same way that you support the Seminary, we appeal to you to respond favourably to the annual collection for the Institute which has been established for the first Sunday in November, the memorial of the passing into eternal life of Metropolitan Andrey.

Other Churches and faiths have their universities and institutes of higher education to assist in their development and growth. Following in the footsteps and being attentive to the teaching of our great Ukrainian Catholic Church leader, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, we have the Sheptytsky Institute which keeps alive his spirit of faith, growth and education for the members of our Church. Let us carry out our role in ensuring that the gift of God’s Holy Wisdom be ever in our midst. As we look to the future of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada, we call upon our faithful to give generous support to the efforts and good works of the Sheptytsky Institute  in carrying out the mission of Christ in preaching the Good News to the people of God.