Stolen statue head returned to Winnipeg Ukrainian Catholic church – CBC.ca

Stolen statue head returned to Winnipeg Ukrainian Catholic church - CBC.ca
Winnipeg Ukrainian Catholic Church statue head returned, staff still missing
Just as mysteriously as it disappeared, the head from a statue has been returned to a Winnipeg church.

The statue of St. Volodymyr at the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga on McGregor Street was found headless early Tuesday morning.

"Thank you to all for your prayers regarding the vandalism of our statue of Blessed St. Volodymyr. We were very thankful to have someone find and return the statue head to the Cathedral today," the Facebook post by the chuch said.

The missing head was found wrapped up in a garbage bag at the front door of the cathedral around noon Saturday, said Right Rev. Monsignor Michael Buyachok.

The Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga posted a photo on Facebook showing the bronze head depicting St. Volodymyr resting on a table, saying that someone found and returned the head on Saturday.

"I guess somebody maybe had a guilty feeling after reading all the items in the paper and seeing it on the television," he said when reached by phone later Saturday afternoon.

A statue depicting St. Volodymyr outside the Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga in Winnpegs north end is shown on Friday May 24, 2019. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Malone)

"Or it was left somewhere and somebody picked it up and brought it over to us — we don't know how it got here.

The chuch had earlier said in a statement that the vandalism had created a financial burden for the parish, and that it didnt know how much it would cost to repair.

Who ever removed the statue's head in the first place also made off with the top and bottom of its staff, and those parts have not been recovered, said Buyachok.

Buyachok said church officials plan to search around the church to see if the other missing pieces were left somewhere nearby as well, but added those parts can be replaced.

The statue was decapitated outside the cathedral early Tuesday and a cross-like symbol on a Ukrainian coat of arms was also stolen.

Repairing the statue without the head would have been a different story because there are no casts or moulds left of the Leo Mol original, he said.

The statue, which was created by well-known Winnipeg sculptor Leo Mol, was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1984, and depicts a significant saint for Ukrainian Catholics who accepted Christianity in Ukraine in 988 when he was a prince, Buyachok said.

Buyachok credits media coverage of the crime for the quick return of the head and says since the story made the news the church was contacted by a man who worked with Leo Mol who offered to repair the statue free of charge.

"We're glad it came back after a week of excitement and now we'll just have to reconstruct it and see what we can do with it," he said. 

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Four days after vandals decapitated a statue outside a Winnipeg Ukranian Catholic Church, its head has been returned.

The statue of St. Volodymyr outside the Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral on McGregor Street had its head and staff initially removed in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

In a phone call to Global News, a church spokesperson said a passer-by found the head in a duffel bag and returned it to the church.

The statue was designed by renowned Winnipeg artist Leo Mol in 1984 and was even blessed by Pope John Paul II when he visited Manitoba.

A church staff member said residents at a nearby complex were awoken in the early hours Tuesday by a grinding sound.

When people went to investigate, they found that the statues head had been stolen, along with its staff.

Speaking to Global News shortly after the theft, Pastor Michael Buyachok speculated the pieces were taken to be sold as scrap.

“We notified all the places where these kids would go and get money for it, but nobody has said anything and it has not been found,” Buyachok said.

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