Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration


Leave a comment

Let us radiate that love and allow ourselves to continually be transfigured by it!

There are many thoughts, feelings, and memories which have encompassed us since informing you of our departure from the parish. We have enjoyed being part of this Christian community: you are faithful children of God! Although many of you have expressed anxiety and worry about what the parish’s future holds, the future is in your hands because you have been and continue to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God is with us!

  We leave you with a short quotation from Pope Benedict XVI:

“[Julian of Norwich] understood the central message for spiritual life: God is love and it is only if one opens oneself to this love, totally and with total trust, and lets it become one’s sole guide in life, that all things are transfigured, true peace and true joy found and one is able to radiate it.”

Let us radiate that love and allow ourselves to continually be transfigured by it!

Thank you for being part of our faith journey and witnessing God’s presence in and among us.

Fr. Myroslaw, Marusia, and Aleksandra

Leave a comment

“Kutia symbolizes our interconnection. We are one body in Christ.”

This Sunday, once again, we come together for our “spilna kutia”:  the holy supper of Sviat Vechir, now repeated with our church family. The symbolism of this Spilna Kutia (community kutia) is profound. Let’s remember and honour its significance.

  We have this kutia during Theophany.


The Early Christians commemorated the Jordan Baptism long before they celebrated Christ’s nativity. The baptism of Jesus revealed the Trinity: God as a community of Love—not the Zeus-like powerful master, but the essence of Love, flowing ceaselessly from self to other and to other. This was and is the shocking revelation in the Jordan River. 

Why do we share the Christmas Eve meal with our parish family?

Our “spilna” kutia reflects our understanding of Trinity as community. The Kutia symbolizes our interconnection. We are one body in Christ. Through the Trinity, we recognize that we are each equal temples of God, yet we are not whole without each other. All creation bears God’s light and together we illuminate life. Like the African concept of “ubuntu”, “I am because we are”, we cannot be content if others suffer.

Why is “kutia” so central to the Christmas cycle?

Kutia is a powerful symbol of life. Despite its endless variations in Ukrainian kitchens, essentially kutia is comprised of 3 ingredients: cooked grain, poppyseeds, and honey. The recipe predates Christianity, yet we know that even in ancient pagan traditions, it was used as a ritual food, carrying deep symbolic significance that today is reinforced when we see that the miracle of Christ’s birth reaches all creation and all time: past as well as present and future.

What’s so special about these 3 ingredients?

Whole grain (wheat). Wheat is a symbol of life. It grows from a tiny seed and eventually becomes the “daily bread” that nourishes and sustains us. Without food we die. Even one spoonful of kutia consists of multiple grains. In life we cannot exist in isolation. We need each other to live. Wheat harvests not only provide food, but also the seeds for future sustenance. Wheat is a metaphor for all humanity, generations past and still to come. The meaning of grain, on reflection, is not finite—we could think of ever more and deeper ways it reflects our being.

But what about poppyseeds? Honey? Mixed with the significant grain, the dark, bitter seeds symbolize the dark, bitter elements of existence that become palatable with the goodness and sweetness of life—symbolized, of course, by the honey.

Together this dish of kutia, consumed during the times we especially celebrate God becoming human, becomes sacred in itself. God with us (Emmanuel) is life itself. We, as a family, as a community of faith, share this gift of life. We share God in each other.

Let’s remember, as we take part in this spilna kutia, that our body and soul are nurtured and enriched by belonging to our parish community.

Smachnoji Kuti! 

Leave a comment

“We combine our strength to resist the force of evil intent on destruction”

The endless dismal grey days we’ve had matched the sombre tone of a CBC radio news cast Tuesday evening. The announcement of Canada’s commitment to purchase a missile defense system for Ukraine, was coupled with an interview of a woman from Bakhmut. Our city was so beautiful, she said, now, there is no life left. How can they do this? During her interview she describes tireless efforts to aid the women and men who defend the front line. We will never give in; we will continue to do everything we can, she explains.

  Listeners of the broadcast are left with her profound final statement, that responds to the persistent astonishment of Western democracies regarding Ukrainian resilience: Our main strength is unity and looking out for each other like never before”.


In this fact we see the truth of the Incarnation: God is with us. Jesus was not the expected mighty King come to vanquish Rome and liberate Israel. Christ demonstrated the power and strength of love: interconnection, caring, kindness, selflessness. Patriarch Sviatoslav spoke of Christ’s nativity at this moment in Ukraine: not a sharpshooter or General, but a buttress of hope—light in the darkness. Now, as we progress into the Christmas cycle, we approach Theophany, the recognition of God in Jesus, revealed in the Jordan river.

As we drink the blessed Jordan water, let’s remember our own baptismal commitment to clothe ourselves in Christ, to BE light in darkness.

Today, do you accept the mantle of Christ? Can we find the strength to fight?

Fight darkness with light.

Fight hate with love.

Fight lies and disinformation with truth.

What do we gain with light, love, and truth? Strength.

When we stand together clothed in Christ, we combine our strength to resist the force of evil intent on destruction. We know that God is with us and we can feel gladness and life even in the midst of sorrow, loss, war.

The free world stands in awe of the resilience and spirit of Ukrainians in Ukraine. We too here fight the good fight of God’s love, in every gesture of kindness, no matter how small or large. Let’s grow together in this strength and power.

Christ is born!

Slava Ukraini!

Leave a comment

   “The joy of Christmas is an immersion into the reality of God”

Although in the midst of the turmoil of war, His Beatitude Patriarch Svyatoslav bring us words of joy and comfort. Here are a few excerpts from his Christmas pastoral letter:

 (T)oday, we announce to each other a joy that no earthly ordeal or misfortune can deprive us of—the invincible joy of Christ’s Nativity. This is not some fleeting experience or form of distraction that allows us to escape for a while from some daily or even cruel reality. The joy of Christmas is an immersion into the reality of God himself. The Son of God enters into human life, human reality, and takes upon himself the fragility and drama of human existence in order to bring a heavenly perspective into human horizons: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Lk 2:13-14).

   Christmas invites us to an encounter with a God who comes as the Saviour of the world—an encounter that brings heavenly joy. . .

To celebrate Christmas means not to be afraid of heavenly joy while engulfed in a sea of tears and blood. Allowing the joy of Christmas to enter our hearts guarantees our perseverance and indomitability, our ability to overcome all life’s challenges, as St. Paul explains: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:12-13).

. . . Dear brothers and sisters! I warmly greet you all with the Birth of Christ: from East to West, from North to South—in Ukraine and abroad, on all the continents of the world.

. . . From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you the authentic joy of the children of God, a tasty kutia, a cheerful celebration of Christ’s Nativity, and a happy, peaceful, and blessed New Year!             

Christ is born! Glorify Him!                                                                                       


For the full text in Ukrainian and English: Pastoral letter

Leave a comment

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 

This Sunday before the Feast of the Incarnation falls on the first day of the civil calendar year. In Canada it’s a time to review the past year before looking to the future: best books, worst weather, top pop songs . . .

  As a spiritual community about to embark on our annual celebration of Christ’s birth, we might do well to reflect on how we have manifested Christ. Christmas is nothing less than God’s Love taking flesh in time and place. Jesus Emmanuel: God with us. The life of this man Jesus, His teaching, His very being, is summed up in one essence: love.

Our church year, indeed every person’s life, is spent in seeking how to embody this love. The Gospels, our Faith Tradition, our cultural heritage and our community interactions illuminate God in all creation—and all creation is interconnected.

  Since 2014, when Fr. Myroslaw was assigned to this parish of the Holy Transfiguration, we have journeyed together in this discovery of God with us and in us. In our liturgies, bulletins, gatherings and celebrations, we have helped each other find the joy of reaching beyond ourselves to consider others with kindness and yes, love. We welcome everyone. We do not exclude.

What have we done?

  We have learned about global interconnections whereby our desire to buy cheap goods shackles workers in less wealthy nations to poor working conditions and slave wages. For this reason it is imperative that we buy only FAIR TRADE coffee for our gatherings and at home when possible. 

  We looked at the interconnection of all creation and our responsibility to act to save our environment from further degradation. How? By supporting environmentally responsible governments and protesting actions such as the current move to develop designated green space. It is our duty as Ukrainian Catholics to protect creation.

  As a community we grieve our deceased members and rejoice the births and birthdays of those among us.

  We support Ukraine with many initiatives.

  We have grown in awareness of domestic abuse here and in Ukraine. We strive for equality amongst all people.

  We support the Working Centre and we keep a free Pantry to reach out to our local community in need.

  We share our culture with the local community through initiatives like Doors Open and Discover Ukraine.

  This is simply a start to a reflection on the steps we take while growing in our likeness to the Trinity: many in one, dynamic, overflowing with love.

  As we approach Christmas, please take time to think of all the ways we grow in Christ: how Christ is born again and again in you and me. Let’s rejoice and be glad . . . God is with us.

Leave a comment

“It is very important to celebrate together and to rejoice together”

This year, are you confused about when we celebrate Christmas: 25th or 7th? The war in Ukraine has caused such havoc in the world that perhaps we begin to question even our own knowledge. Rumours are circulating that the “old calendar” is not Ukrainian, but only Russian and we must switch to December 25th. Not true!

Let’s start with a few facts:

  1. The Church calendar is actually two calendars, one superimposed on the other. One is the calendar of ‘fixed’ feasts that have a specific date, such as Christmas, our parish feast of the Transfiguration, etc. The other is the cycle of moveable feasts that change in relation to the date of Easter in a given year. Easter changes because it is calculated based on the moon’s cycle. Therefore, Pentecost is always 7 Sundays after Easter, Ascension is always the 40th day after Easter, etc.
  2. Why don’t all Christians celebrate together? The answer is politics and history. In the first two centuries of Christianity, when Christians started commemorating events in Christ’s life, they did not have all the feastdays we have now. We know that soon after Christ’s resurrection they celebrated Easter—at the time of the Jewish Passover. However, Christians did not commemorate Christ’s early life until the 3rd or 4th c. On January 6th they had a special feast which tied together His birth, circumcision, and most especially His baptism in the Jordan. The high point of this celebration was the Great Blessing of the Waters.  Gradually, in the Roman Empire, the birth of Christ received its own day: Dec. 25. Christmas was born! (The Armenian Church to this day only celebrates January 6, because they were not part of the Roman Empire when the change was made.) Similarly, when Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 chose to update the calendar based on the newest astronomical information, that change only affected the Roman Catholic countries. Protestant and Orthodox countries kept the older calendar established in 45 BCE by Julius Caesar. Many of those churches moved to the Gregorian calendar gradually from the 18th to the 20th century. There is a 13 day ‘lag’ between the newer Gregorian (now civil) calendar and the older Julian. Therefore, although our liturgical books all have Dec. 25 as the day of Christmas, that date falls 13 days after Dec. 25 on the civil calendar!
  3. Can we change to the Gregorian (civil) calendar? So far, ongoing discussions among churches have been unsuccessful. In Ukraine today there is talk about moving to the Gregorian calendar, however Patriarch Svyatoslav has, wisely, stated that there are three factors to consider: 1) a change is about the entire calendar, not just Christmas. 2) “we cannot make this kind of change on our own, separate from the entire church community. Christmas is a feast of all our people, our entire Church. It is very important to celebrate together and to rejoice together”; 3) “when the house is burning, it is not time to discuss which wall the icon should hang on. It is essential for all our efforts now to be turned to the victory of Ukraine.”

Our community has maintained the Julian calendar and we celebrate Christ’s birth on Jan. 7th with the traditions we have inherited from our forebears. May we greet this mystery of God’s incarnation with deepening hope, faith, and love.

Leave a comment

Exciting initiative for Ukrainian newcomers

21.12.2022: Нині інформуємо що шукаємо керівника програми для дітей. За більше деталів про позицію тисніть Клуб підтримки сім’ї. Будемо давати пріоритет в усіх платних позиціях жінкам з України. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, as we well know, has caused a massive exodus of Ukrainian citizens. According to the UN, as of Dec. 2, 2022 approximately 7.9 million are residing in Europe. Canadian government sources inform us that as of Dec. 6, 2022 724 494 applications for the CUAET visa have been received, of which 451 258 have been approved. All levels of government in Canada are engaged in assisting our newcomers from Ukraine. Recently our parish applied and has received a grant from the Region of Waterloo to create a support program for new arrivals to our region. Planning is currently underway to launch our “Family Support Club” at the end of January, 2023. More information is available in Ukrainian by pressing the link above: Клуб підтримки сім’ї.

Leave a comment

“Gentleness and goodness come off him like aftershave”

St. Nicholas, is the beloved saint who ushers in our Christmas season. The remarkable generosity and simplicity of this fourth century bishop has never ceased to bring joy and warmth to everyone’s heart year after year, yet during his life, St. Nicholas never sought renown; he spread goodness and charity anonymously, unexpectedly. He was as humble as he was altruistic. What a happy reminder for us: this is the holiness to which we are called.  

“ ‘Saint’ does not mean merely dedication, or selflessness, or generosity, though it subsumes all those. Nor does it mean the apogee of religious devotion, though it can subsume that too—sometimes. There are many pious people who believe themselves to be saints who are not, and many people who believe themselves to be impious who are.

   A saint is a person who practices the keystone human virtue of humility. Humility in the face of wealth and plenty, humility in the face of hatred and violence, humility in the face of another’s humility, humility in the face of love and beauty, humility in the face of pain and death. Saints are driven to humbling themselves before all the splendor and horror of the world because they perceive there to be something divine in it, something pulsing and alive beneath the hard dead surface of material things, something inconceivably greater and purer than they.

   This man is one of those rare, rare creatures. Gentleness and goodness come off him like aftershave. . . a great stillness surrounds him in which he will fold you without your knowing it, numbing the pain of your most jagged obsessions, soothing away the mad priorities of your world with the balm of his peace.”

Hendra, Tony, Father Joe: The man who saved my soul.

Leave a comment

“Wake up” we’re told, “Don’t be stupid!”

Sometimes, when we read scripture passages, it’s easy to get caught up in the solemnity of the language and the foreignness of the biblical era. Parables may not attract the viral status of twitter or TikTok feeds, yet, their messages are as current. Whether or not we know who the Ephesians were, or if we relate to a story of a wealthy farmer, today’s readings from Paul and Luke seem to harmonize in their advice to us: wake up and smell the coffee!

How are you living your days? Luke reminds us that, as much as we’d like to believe that our wealth can control our future, in reality we may leave this life at any moment. So, what matters? Paul gives us the answer in his letter to the Ephesians: follow the light! Try to live every moment to its fullest in goodness and love for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” 

  “Wake up” we’re told, “Don’t be stupid!” Don’t listen to lies (conspiracy theories, gossip); don’t take part in actions that encourage self-centredness. We can discern what (and who) is true when love is in the source and outcome of any action. A popular Hollywood star (Danny Trejo), at the age of 78, writes in his memoir that anything good that ever happened to him came from helping another person. Our Sunday readings never fail to point us in the direction of true success and happiness: living our lives for each other in goodness, truth, and light.