Australia’s newest Ukrainian Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) Recipient
Very Reverend Mitred Archpriest Walentyn Mowtschan
selected in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in WA is proud that their pastor the Very Rev. Fr. Walentyn Mowtschan was honoured for his long work for the Church and for his beloved community in Western Australia. Very Rev. Fr. Walentyn Mowtschan was selected in the 2018 Australia Day Honours List as a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal. It has been 34 years since a Ukrainian (Mrs Maria Mencinsky) from Western Australia received an OAM. The Community of WA stand as one as we acknowledge Fr Walentyn's achievement.
Axios ! Mnohaya Lita !
A Short Biography of Very Mitred Archpriest Walentyn Mowtschan.
Together with his mother and step-father, young Walentyn Mowtschan arrived in Perth in 1949. As with so many Ukrainians who came to Australia, he came from Ukraine via Germany. While in Germany, Walentyn had been an active participant in and assisted with a variety of Orthodox services. Upon arrival in Perth, the Mowtschan family was sent to the Holden Displaced Persons Camp at Northam where he remained for nearly two years. During this time Walentyn attended school and worked around the camp as a labourer during school breaks.
At around the same time, the first Ukrainian Orthodox priest to come to Western Australia, Fr. Hrihory Fomichevsky, arrived at Northam and commenced services for the local Ukrainian Orthodox community. Walentyn assisted as an altar boy and chanter. The picture shows the little makeshift chapel where sheets were used to form an iconostasis. Once many of the migrants were able to relocate to Perth, services were held in a now demolished Anglican Church hall in Aberdeen Street where Walentyn continued to assist.
All this time Walentyn continued to study, eventually settling upon a career as a radiographer. After completing his training at the then Leederville Technical College, in 1959 Walentyn began work at Royal Perth Hospital as a nuclear radiographer where he remained until his retirement in 1991. In July of 1959, Bishop Varlaam consecrated the new St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Maylands. During the 1960s Walentyn met a young, beautiful Canadian girl, Helen. They soon married and commenced a family. It was also a time when Walentyn had commenced theological studies as he sought leave of absence from Royal Perth Hospital to go to the U.S. and study. Bishop Donat ordained Walentyn to the priesthood in 1968.
From that time until his retirement from active pastoral duties in 2015, Fr. Walentyn was committed to his priesthood. Not only did he tend to the need of the Ukrainian Orthodox community but at various times also saw to the needs of both the Serbian Church of the Holy Trinity and Macedonian Church of St. Nikola during periods when they had no priest available. During this time it must be remembered that Fr. Walentyn also had to balance his roles as husband and father, let alone his professional duties at RPH. The demands on his time and energy may be imagined as his flock called upon him not only for the normal Sunday services but others such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, parish meetings and the like. He also assisted those in trouble - even with the law, the sick, the destitute, the lonely and newly arrived Ukrainian migrants to Australia. There can be little doubt that his pastoral role imposed great strains on his family but they continued to support him, often at great personal cost.
There is so much that may be said about a man who has given half a century of his life to the service of God in priesthood. His humble, gentle and God-loving example has been to the benefit of all who have known him and we are grateful for his service. We also thank Helen and family for their patience and support of him.
Fr Walentyn Mowtschan received the Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day Honours List (2018), in recognition for his 50 years of service to the Ukrainian community of WA.
Parishioners and most certainly everyone are grateful for Fr Walentyn Mowtschan’s tireless devotion to both Church and work in the community and applaud his nomination for OAM.
Very Rev. Fr Walentyn Mowtschan
Mnohaya Lita ! Axios !
Author – Dcn Fr Walter Slaven
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas would like to thank Fr. Deacon Walter for submitting the application for the OAM.
- M Mowczan