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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Ukrainian cardinal known for simplicity, humour, holiness dies at 84

Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his “velvety baritone” when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died on 31st May near Kiev at the age of 84.

Like many Ukrainian Catholics around the world, he knew what it meant to be a refugee, to spend time in a displaced persons’ camp, to immigrate and to start all over again.

But the experience also helped him become fluent in five languages, “and he could joke in all of them,” said Ukrainian Bishop Borys Gudziak of Paris.

And in a post-Soviet Ukraine, where leadership often meant “a compulsive passion” for money and power, “he lived in exemplary simplicity,” Bishop Gudziak told Catholic News Service on 1st June.

“In Ukrainian folklore, a blind elder is considered a sage,” the bishop said. “He was the wise man of the country, a real father whose embrace, word, warm smile and sense of humour – often self-deprecating – gave people a sense of joy and peace.”

Cardinal Husar’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 221 members, although Pope Francis is scheduled to create five new cardinals in late June.


Picture: Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his “velvety baritone” when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died on 31st May near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2014 photo. (CNS photo/ Petro Didula, Ukrainian Catholic University).