Dominicans See Their First Priestly Ordination in Post-Soviet Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine, JULY 1, 2002 ( A Dominican deacon was ordained to the priesthood over the weekend, the order’s first such ceremony here since the fall of the Communist regime.

Angelic Kitsula, from western Ukraine, was ordained Saturday in the Latin-rite Cathedral of St. Alexander by Bishop Jan Purwinski of the Diocese Kiev-Zhytomyr. Father Kitsula had studied in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland.

The friars of the Order of Preachers came to Kiev within a few years of the establishment of their preaching community in 1216. They were led by St. Hyacinth, from Kracow, one of the disciples of St. Dominic. Their mission was endorsed by a 1234 bull of Pope Gregory IX, dedicated to the friars “going to Rus and pagans.”

St. Alexander Parish, where the ordination took place, shared the fate of its Latin-rite diocese under the Soviet regime. In 1937, the KGB murdered the pastor, closed the parish and remodeled the church. The sanctuary was returned to Roman Catholics in 1991, after the establishment of the Ukrainian independent state.