Prominent Ukrainian bishop awarded France?s top honour - Knight of the Legion of Honour

Borys Gudziak, Ukraine’s catholic bishop in Paris, has been awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour in France’s New Year honours list. The order, established by Napoleon Bonaparte back in 1802, is the highest decoration in France. Bishop Borys, who is president of the Ukrainian Catholic University, has spent his professional life preaching the message of freedom and dignity for all. 

A leading intellectual and historian globally recognised for his scholarly achievements and pastoral inspiration, Gudziak has helped make the Ukrainian Catholic University an exemplary educational institution, which teaches democratic principles and models ethics and morality to the future leaders of Ukraine while exploring the broader theme of the place of Christian spirituality in a post-modern world.

It is seldom that non-French nationals are presented such a distinguished award. The order is presented to foreign nationals who “have served France or the ideals it upholds.” The Order and is divided into five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer), and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

“The remarkable work that Borys Gudziak has done, and continues to do, is being recognised across the globe. He is an inspiration to diverse generations, both young and old. A great ambassador that Ukraine has, acclaimed for promoting freedom and dignity,” commented Andy Hunder, director of the Ukrainian Institute in London.

Gudziak was born in 1960 in Syracuse, New York, the son of immigrants from Ukraine. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and biology in New York and then studied in Rome, in the circle of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj. He received a degree in theology and then returned to America to pursue a doctorate in Slavic and Byzantine Cultural History at Harvard University. In 1992 he moved to Lviv where he consequently became rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University.

In May 2011, he was visited by the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) which instructed him to prevent his students from protests against the Yanukovych government. He refused, maintaining that “speaking and writing openly about these issues is the most peaceful and effective manner of counteracting efforts to secretly control and intimidate students and citizens.” Bishop Borys, an active supporter of Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement for dignity, appeared regularly on leading global TV channels and media providing commentary and analysis.

In 2012 he was appointed Bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Switzerland and presently is based in Paris. Bishop Borys also serves as the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church’s Head of External relations.

Read more on Bishop Borys here: http://www.britishukrainiansociety.org/the-ministry-of-bishop-borys-by-andy-hunder/