.- Pope Francis on April 20 appointed Bishop Venedykt (Valery) Aleksiychuk as Bishop of the Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Eparchy of Chicago.
Bishop Venedykt, 49, was born in Borshchivka, Ukraine in January 1968. He graduated from Rivne medical college in 1987, and worked as a physician’s assistant for several years. He also served in the Ukrainian military for two years.
He attended the seminary of Drohobych and was ordained a priest of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Lviv in 1992, at the age of 24. Until 1994 he was responsible for organizing missionary work in eastern Ukraine, and he also served in Belarus.
He was professed as a member of the Ukrainian Studite Monks in 1995, and earned a master's degree in theology at Lublin Catholic University the following year.
Bishop Venedykt was transferred to St. Catharines, Canada in 1996 to found a monastery, and while there he served at several parishes of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Toronto.
In 1999 he returned to Ukraine after being elected hegumen of the Holy Dormition Univ Lavra religious community, serving three terms in this position.
Continuing his theology studies in Lublin, he received a licentiate and a doctorate in 2006 and 2008, respectively. He has written on St. John of Kronstadt, a Russian Orthodox priest of the 19th century, and St. Theodore the Studite, a Byzantine monk of the 9th century who was a defender of icons.
Bishop Venedykt also completed courses in psychology and mental disorders at three institutions in eastern Europe.
In 2010 he was consecrated a bishop, and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Lviv. He has served as chief of staff of the archeparchial curia, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church's liturgical commission, and is chair of the synodal committee on liturgy.
Since 2014 Bishop Venedykt has been a member of the Saint Sophia charitable religious community in Rome.
In June 2016 he received a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Bishop Venedykt was preceeded as Bishop of Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Eparchy by Bishop Richard Stephen Seminack, who died Aug. 16, 2016.
The eparchy is responsible for all Ukrainian Catholics in the United States west of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. There are currently around 70 priests and deacons working in the eparchy in 46 parishes and mission stations.
Since the death of Bishop Richard, Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Eparchy had been served by Fr. Richard Janowicz as administrator.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church of the Byzantine rite which is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.