Rev. Mitrat Wolodymyr Iwaszko
Man of God, Champion of Youth, Patriot of Ukraine and Canada, Visionary Боговіддана людина, душпастир молоді, патріот України і Канади, візіонер
In recent years, the Youth of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, in cooperation with youth from Sambir, Ukraine, embarked on significant projects to honour and preserve the memory of Father Wolodymyr Iwaszko – a modest priest who left an enduring legacy of 50 years of service to God and community in Ukraine and Canada. It is now time to celebrate the success of these endeavours made possible by those inspired by his life of perseverance, leadership and guidance; and, how he led by good example.
Who was Father Iwaszko? Wolodymyr Semen Iwaszko (1908-1995) was born in Sudova Vyshnia, today a Lviv, Ukraine Oblast. He completed his high school education and theological studies in Peremyshyl, in present day Poland. Ordained a priest in 1934, Father Iwaszko served as chaplain, catechist and youth leader for a time in Sambir. In spite of difficult circumstances and dangerous times as war raged on many fronts in Ukraine, he took care of orphans and the poor; managing to inspire and organize youth in many organizations and sporting activities. This included establishing Plast – Ukrainian Youth Organization.’
For his work with youth and for instilling in them a Ukrainian national consciousness, Father Wolodymyr was sent to the concentration camp, Bereza Kartuzka, where he lived in terrible conditions from the spring to the fall of 1939. When Nazi troops occupied the city of Sambir, he was one of the first to organize resistance fighters, taking an active role in the events leading up to the June 30, 1941 proclamation of Ukraine’s independence.
Following experiences of the sorrows of war and refugee life in a German Displaced Persons camp, Father left for Canada in 1948. He served for a time at Pokrova of Holy Mary Church, in Winnipeg; then relocated to St. George’s Church in Prince Albert, and finally, in 1953, was reassigned to Saskatoon where he served for many years at St. George’s Cathedral. Until his final days he made many contributions to the Ukrainian community – as a spiritual leader and an organizer.
Father Iwaszko believed in the power and promise of youth and worked enthusiastically to inspire in others the same principles he lived by – those of the main duties of the Plast Oath, pledging to be faithful to God, country and community; and, remembering its motto: “СКОБ” (SKOB) – Strongly (in mind and body), Beautifully (in spirit), Carefully (in notions and plans), Quickly (in thought and deed)!
What is happening now? Under the guidance of Viktoriia Marko, Director of Fr. Iwaszko Projects, Youth and Young Adult Minister, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, many hours were dedicated by many people to fulfill the goal of creating a lasting legacy of inspiration for the faithful for years to come.
July 23 & 24 will be a celebration of the three projects that have developed:
- Presentation of the book – ‘From Sambir to Saskatoon – The Legacy of Father Wolodymyr Iwaszko For Young People Today’; a compilation of Fr. Iwaszko memoirs written at age 85, reflections by contributors from far and wide and many unique photos.
- Unveiling of a brass cast image plaque of Father installed at the brama/gateway to St. Volodymyr Church.
- Showing of a Video – produced by youth in Sambir, depicting Fr. Iwaszko’s life and service in Ukraine and Canada.
For more information please contact: Viktoriia Marko,