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Priest. According to media is a member of the Studite Brethern or Studite Fathers (The Studite Brethern is an order within theUkrainian Greek Catholic Church. ) Father Wolinksi served within the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto which is in communion with Rome. Father Wilinski was Superior of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Woodstock, Ontario. 2013 lawsuit launched by mother of his 22 month-old son seeking financial support and sole custody of the child
02 August 2012: Stairway to Heaven (background on the lighthouse)
Lights out at the Woodstock Peace Lighthouse after Studite Fathers put monastery up for sale
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:23:58 EST PM
The Woodstock Peace Lighthouse and Studite Monastery, both city landmarks, have been closed and put up for sale while allegations swirl around the former monastery superior.
Canada’s last active Studite monk claims he has lost almost everything after allegedly breaking one of the most important vows a monk can make.
The former Woodstock Peace Lighthouse and Studite monastery are closed and for sale signs have been posted.
The former priest and monk of 34 years left his post as monastery superior and is believed to have fathered a child with a Ukrainian woman who emigrated to Canada to conduct prayer meetings at the church.
The former Very Reverend Evtimy Wolinski, also known as Herbert Wolinski, a monk with a Ukrainian order known as the Studite Fathers, is being sued for child and spousal support.
Wolinski, 69, claims in court documents that he has been “internationally suspended from all priestly functions.”
According to the documents, Viktoriya Abelyar is petitioning the court to grant her sole custody of her and Wolinski’s 22-month-old child and is asking that Wolinski provide financial support.
Father Myroslaw Tataryn, a Waterloo priest and spokesperson for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto, confirmed Abelyar’s accusation.
“It’s a very, very sad situation, it really is,” he said.
Tataryn, a priest for 32 years, said it is “the only incidence of something like this happening in Canada within our church.”
While Tataryn said he cannot comment on Wolinski’s status as a monk, which is up the Studite Fathers, he said he is no longer “functional as a priest in the Toronto Eparchy.”
“He’s been a monk for many, many years. It happened late in his career,” he said.
While priests are allowed to marry in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, monks, by dint of their vows, are prohibited from wedlock.
Tataryn also added the Toronto Eparchy has not put the land up for sale, as it belongs to the Studite Fathers who have a board of directors and monastery near Rome.
Abelyar, 40, alleged in the court document that she was hired by the Studite Fathers, located at 560 Parkinson Rd., to help organize and monitor a Ukrainian-speaking prayer group known as “Keepers of the Light.”
She said she lived on the church property and was provided with accommodation, food and emergency travel insurance in return for volunteer work, but stayed beyond the initial one-year period.
In a letter to the Canadian Consulate dated June 2, 2009, signed by Wolinski, the Studite Fathers promised to “guarantee food, accommodation, health care and all basic necessities” to Abelyar. She said she spent her days at the monastery gardening and performing secretarial duties.
Four years later, it fell apart, she alleged in the court documents, after she and Wolinski began “an intimate common-law relationship” in January 2010, which ended on June 11, 2013.
A June 2013 letter, also included in court documents and signed by Toronto Catholic Bishop Stephen Chmilar, prohibited Abelyar and her child from trespassing on the land and premises located at 560 Parkinson Rd. after July 2013.
Abelyar alleged that, at one point during their relationship, Wolinski promised to marry her. She also alleged Wolinksi told her that he had other children but did not provide financial support. Wolinski fired back in the documents that “statements about my promising marriage or having other children are absolute lies.”
He also said he wanted to help support the child.
“I cherish little Emmanuel and have said that I will do what I can to help and provide for both as soon as I get back on my feet,” he wrote.
Wolinski said he no longer has control over the Studite properties and was “put out on the street,” with only his old-age pension as an income. Abelyar claimed Wolinski “will not help me care for our baby, and avoids him.”
“I suspect this is because he is monk and part of his vows include celibacy,” she wrote.
Throughout 2012, she said Wolinski gave her a total of $10,000, but she is now down to her last $500.
“Because of Herbert’s disinterest in our child and our well-being, and his financially controlling behaviour, I feel very much that we are victims of economical and emotional abuse,” she wrote.
She also alleged that Wolinski was a regular gambler and included copies of a player prestige card from Casino Windsor with the court documents.
The Studites, members of one of the oldest monastic orders of the church dating from pre-schism times, once owned hundreds of acres of land in Woodstock. Over the years, the order has slowly sold off its land to developers.
In 2000, Wolinski was responsible for establishing the Woodstock Peace Lighthouse of Icons, which, at one time, housed more than 100 religious icons or intricate paintings about religious subjects. He had hoped it would generate interest in the monastery and act as a draw for tourists.
In 2002, Wolinski told the Sentinel-Review the Lighthouse “is a celebration of Christ’s birth and essentially features the life of Christ in icons.”
Numbers listed for the Woodstock Peace Lighthouse were disconnected and an e-mail was not returned.
Both Wolinski and Abelyar could not be reached for comment.
Their case returns to court on Dec. 11.
Father Evtimy Wolinski wants to offer a place of prayer and reflection
‘He has hope’
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 12:00:00 EST AM
Shown here in January 2012, Father Evtimy Wolinski is one of the last remaining active Studite monks in Canada. Wolinski was the driving force behind the 10-storey lighthouse that has become a Woodstock, Ont., landmark. STEVE ANDRUSIAK /SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL-REVIEW/QMI AGENCY
Woodstock – WOODSTOCK – Climb the hill in Woodstock where Parkinson Road meets Ferguson Drive. Ask Father Evtimy Wolinski about the monastery land that has been up for sale for more than a year. He will look at you patiently as if to ask, “what’s the rush?”
Wolinski is part of Ukrainian order called the Studites. Studites work for eight hours, rest for eight hours and pray for eight hours.
The prayers are much needed.
According to Wolinski’s colleagues at the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop’s office in Toronto, the Woodstock monk is the last active member of his religious order in Canada: an order that began work in AD 500.
“In Canada, he’s about it,” says Father Bohdan Bilinsky, the regional chancellor.
“I have been here for 31 years. I have nowhere else to go and nobody else to fill in so I’m here. I’ve never questioned the fact that I was sent here. It’s my home and I like the area. I like the people. I like what I’m doing,” Wolinski says.
That home is a 12-room lodging, which once housed religious painters who produced stunning icons. Today it is all but empty. The Church of the Holy Dormition, with dining hall space for 300, now serves only a dozen parishioners. Donations have dwindled, and 1.57 hectares (3.89 acres), once used for making honey are up for sale to bring in money.
Once developed, the rolling little pasture could accommodate 26 town houses. The property borders the city-owned community complex and Fanshawe College to the west. Bill Taplay of Century 21 Real Estate has repeatedly tried to interest developers.
But he says there is an oversupply of residential land in the city.
The price has dropped $200,000 in one year.
“Every couple of months we reduce (the asking price),” Mr. Taplay says. “They have owned hundreds of acres . (which) they’ve consistently sold off, sold off, sold off.”
Wolinski says he is selling in order to build. He built a 10-storey lighthouse to offer display space for his icons and to honour the life of Jesus Christ. He famously – but unsuccessfully – once even invited Pope John Paul II to visit. Nothing seemed impossible. His plan today is to consolidate what is left. The retreat house with its lighthouse would offer a place for reflection and prayer for anyone or any group seeking peace of mind.
“We straddle both the Catholic and the Orthodox Church, but most of our visitors to the lighthouse here are Protestants,” Wolinski says. “We’re open. . Our best parishioner is Hungarian, and we have some Greeks here. We’re trying to be creative while open-minded.”
“He’s a businessman, I can tell you,” Taplay says while breaking into a laugh.
“If anybody can do it he can do it”, he says of the priest who successfully built a 10-storey lighthouse with no ocean in sight.
“He doesn’t need an ocean,” Taplay says. “He has hope.”
Church adapts to changing times
The Simcoe Reformer
Friday, January 8, 2010 11:49:38 EST AM
Father Evtimy Wolinski-Ihumen performed a Christmas Mass at Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church yesterday confident in the knowledge that there would be many more in the future.
The two-hour ceremony, which was conducted mostly in Ukrainian, attracted a crowd of 25. Most were seniors. This is a far cry from the 1970s when it would have been standing-room-only in the cavernous sanctuary.
But the Ukrainian congregation in Waterford is doing well compared with many Ukrainian Catholic congregations elsewhere in North America. Congregations as small as 10 are common, Wolinski-Ihumen said yesterday, adding he knows of a congregation in Germany with only three members.
“Our presence is modest,” Wolinski-Ihumen said following yesterday’s service. “I remember 30 years ago when the church on a day like this was overflowing. We are aware of the situation. The policy of our eparchy (Ukrainian diocese) is that we maintain our parishes as long as possible; until the congregation comes to us and says we can no longer maintain a congregation or the property. That is not an issue at the moment in Waterford.”
The congregation has 45 members, but many are infirm and unable to attend on a regular basis. With donations down in the collection plate, the church has had to be resourceful.
Two of the four acres it owns at the corner of Thompson Road and Duncombe Road are being serviced for a 26-unit townhouse development for seniors and empty nesters.
Meanwhile, Central Baptist Waterford is renting the Ukrainian Catholic Hall beside Sacred Heart church. Central Baptist holds services there on Sundays and Bible education classes for young people during the rest of the week. The hall remains available to the Ukrainian community and the public on a needs basis.
“We’re glad to have them,” Wolinski-Ihumen said of his Baptist tenants. “They’re very co-operative.”
Wolinski-Ihumen has overseen a number of construction projects for his church over the years and is managing the townhouse development in Waterford. This one has been a challenge, he said, because the subject land was in a low spot and needed nearly 1,500 truckloads of clean fill to level it off .
The priest doesn’t know when construction will begin. He intends to take it one step at a time as circumstances allow. He did say, however, that the church is willing to take on partners to see the venture through.
In the meantime, Wolinski- Ihumen doesn’t see the Waterford congregation folding anytime soon. The church, he said, is strong compared to similar congregations elsewhere. And at age 65, Wolinski-Ihumen sees himself making the weekly commute to Waterford from Woodstock for the foreseeable future.
“I’m habituated to this,” he said. “To me, it is commonplace to work with small parishes. I enjoy coming to the small communities where the atmosphere is so prayerful. It is a joy to me.”
Ukrainians around the world marked the beginning of three days of Christmas yesterday. Wolinski-Ihumen would normally have said midnight mass in Waterford Wednesday night. However, the church would have been mostly empty because most congregants are uncomfortable driving at night.
Ukrainians mark Christmas two weeks after everyone else because the Eastern Orthodox churches adhere to the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar in Europe in 1582.
Monte Sonnenberg 519-426-3528 ext. 150
Bishop Borecky ready to resign
The Ukrainian Weekly
15 May 1994
No. 20, Vol. LXII
by Christopher Guly
OTTAWA – The nightmarish turf war for episcopal control in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto may soon be over.
Bishop Isidore Borecky, 82, who has steadfastly refused to resign as Toronto’s first Ukrainian Catholic bishop, even at the urging of the majority of his fellow eparchs at their February synod in Lviv, told The Ukrainian Weekly that he’s now ready to step down. The Most Rev. Borecky, consecrated a bishop in 1948 and head of the Toronto eparchy since 1956, is now waiting word from the Vatican about a replacement. Winnipeg’s retired Archbishop-Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk said that announcement is expected within the next two weeks.
However, Bishop Borecky added he would first consult with his clergy and laity before making a final decision to quit.
This latest development follows a year-long battle for control between the octogenarian eparch and his Holy See-appointed successor, Bishop Roman Danylak, who was installed as administrator and de-facto Toronto eparch last March.
In the last two months, Bishop Borecky was visited by a representative of Archbishop Carlo Curis, apostolic pro-nuncio to Canada, and a canon lawyer from St. Paul University in Ottawa.
In March, Bishop Borecky also met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, but said nothing about the Toronto problem was discussed during their meeting. “He [the pontiff] has more important problems to worry about, other that the Toronto Eparchy,” he explained.
Perhaps, but the issue of leading Canada’s largest Ukrainian Catholic diocese of 100,000, has reached a boiling point for many.
“Most clergy are tired of it,” said the Rev. Andrij Chirovsky, director of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute at the University of Ottawa. “It has scandalized us. We want to get our Church back and focus on Jesus Christ.”
Most of the world’s Ukrainian Catholic hierarchs must have already identified that. In late February, they voted overwhelmingly (25 to 2, according to the Catholic New Times, and 23 to 3, by the Rev. Chirovsky’s count) to accept both Bishop Borecky’s and Bishop Danylak’s resignations. Bishop Danylak was willing to comply, since he was already rumored to have twice offered his resignation to the Holy See; Bishop Borecky refused.
“It’s not up to them to make that decision,” said Bishop Borecky.
Yet, he explained he is willing to pass his mitre on to one of three candidates, to whom he’s given his blessings. They are: Toronto priest John Tataryn, one of 12 clerics suing Bishop Danylak for libel and slander; Severian Yakimyshyn, a Basilian priest based in Rome; and Evtimy Wolinski, superior of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Woodstock, Ontario.
The Rev. Wolinski, 49, a nephew of Edmonton’s Bishop Myron Daciuk, said he “would be willing to take the (bishop’s) job if there were no unforeseen circumstances.” But he added that his superior, Lubomyr Husar in Lviv, has requested that he remain neutral until Rome officially names a successor to Bishop Borecky.
But the next bishop, who would technically be Toronto’s third, is bound to have his work cut out for him. “The person will have to have proven organizational skills and also have the ability to rally people around him,” explained the Rev. Chirovsky.
He added that although Bishop Borecky made great strides in positioning the Toronto Eparchy as a leader in recovering the Church’s Eastern identity and establishing strong links with the Church in Ukraine, he failed to bring the clergy together in his eparchy.
“The good thing about him is that he didn’t stand in their way,” said the Rev. Chirovsky.
As for Bishop Danylak, the Ottawa-based priest and a member of the Toronto Eparchy for the past 14 years thought “it was unfair to (Bishop Danylak) to have put up with so much opposition.
“No one ever thought that he would get the Toronto Eparchy. He was Bishop Borecky’s chancellor for (27) years. Once Bishop Borecky puts you in a job, you basically stay there.”
Bishop Danylak declined any comment. But his predecessor said he had recommended other posts for his unlikely successor, including the London Exarchate, the Winnipeg Metropolitan See and the Saskatoon Eparchy.
One source, who requested anonymity, speculated that Archbishop Hermaniuk was behind blocking Bishop Danylak’s appointment to Winnipeg in favor of a Redemptorist, Michael Bzdel, who now holds the job. But the 82-year-old archbishop denied the suggestion. “Nobody is supposed to know who the candidates are for bishop. That’s secret,” said Archbishop Hermaniuk.
Still, Bishop Borecky doesn’t have a problem with discussing the names of his three possible successors. He also doesn’t care if not all of his some 100 priests concur with his approach or with his decision to stay or go. “Why should I ask them? They belong to the Eparchy of Toronto.”
Whether he gets the job or not, the Rev. Wolinski said he hopes that the “people at the heart of the struggle” will help heal the wounds of a bitterly divided diocese. “They will have to come together through prayer.”
For his part, Bishop Borecky insists that he will remain in Toronto until he dies. And hopefully forgive, if not forget, those responsible for forcing him to accept the mandatory retirement age of 75. “Of course it’s bothered me,” he said.