The Vicariate of Ukraine is the community of Dominican Friars who live and serve the Lord and His Church in Ukraine. Our presence in this country is aimed at helping the local Church according to our Dominican charism. We serve as parish priests, we administer the Saint Thomas Aquinas Institute of Catholic Theology in Kyiv and we run student chaplaincies and an orphanage.
Since the early thirteenth century, when the first Dominicans arrived in Kyiv, the history of our Order has been mingled with the history of Kievan Rus. The Dominican Province of Rus, an administrative unit within our Order that included much of today’s Russia and Ukraine, existed until the end of the Second World War. At that time, many Dominicans were expelled from the Soviet Union. Others were executed. Sometimes entire communities were killed at once.
During the Soviet period, a few Polish Dominicans came secretly to these lands to serve the people, who desperately needed pastoral care. Beginning in 1993, our Order officially returned to Ukraine, and then also to Russia, and the General Vicariate of Saint Michael the Archangel was formed. Today, there are six Dominican residences in Ukraine. We are trying to rebuild, where possible, churches that were destroyed and to bring regular religious life back to this region. It is not always easy to restore damaged properties in poor areas where local officials may be unfriendly to our Order. Even so, besides establishing the Thomas Aquinas Institute and organizing student chaplaincies and an orphanage, we have been able to rebuild several churches and chapels to a high standard. Beyond that, we run our own publishing house, Kairos.
All of these activities would be impossible without the generous support of our benefactors, whom we remember constantly in prayer.
As we strive to rebuild the Dominican communities that once existed on these lands, with their rich spiritual and historical legacy, we never lose sight of our essential mission: to serve the People of God as preachers, chaplains, and teachers. We want to be, once again, an integral part of the Ukrainian society we serve, and to nourish the cultural and scholarly life of our region. As Dominicans, we are eager to engage in honest dialog with all people of good will, following the example of Saint Dominic and guided by God’s compassionate hand.