Rev. Fr. Theodore Taras Harasymchuk
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HARASYMCHUK, Rev. Fr. Theodore Taras —

At Ian Anderson House, Oakville, on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at the age of 89. Beloved son of the late Paul and Daria Harasymchuk. He will be dearly missed by his family: Theresa Kolisnyk and Nicolas Tjelios; Janet and the late Willy Harasymchuk; Roxanne and Michael Harasymchuk. Fr. Ted was born in Roznochenchiv in the Ternopol region of Western Ukraine to Paul and Daria Harasymchuk. After his parents and he immigrated to Canada, Fr. Ted grew up at St. Josaphat Cathedral where his parents were very active in the parish. Fr. Ted graduated from De La Salle College and entered St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto for his theological studies. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Most Rev. Bishop Isidore Borecky on May 4, 1952 at St. Josaphat Cathedral. Fr. Ted served briefly as an assistant at The Holy Protection of the Mother of God in Toronto and was transferred to Montreal where he served his first seven years as priest at St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church. There he did some marvelous work with the youth. The faithful of the parish truly valued his pastoral work with everyone. His next assignment was Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) where under his leadership the congregation erected the beautiful church of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God. From the parish base at the Holy Protection of God, Fr. Ted served a number of mission parishes - Red Lake, Geraldton and Nipigon. He also served several years at Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hamilton. There, too, he put great effort into his pastoral work. Fr. Ted retired from pastoral work in 1974 and continued studies at Niagara University in Buffalo where he received a Master's Degree and later served as a counsellor at Sheridan College in Oakville. He returned to pastoral work and served at St. Joseph Churhc in Oakville from 1994-1995. Fr. Ted lived out his last years as a resident of Ivan Franko Seniors' Home in Mississauga where he served as a chaplain. Resting at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 143 Franklin Avenue, Toronto on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 from 7 – 9 p.m. with Panakhyda prayers at 7 p.m. Funeral Liturgy to be held at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 10 a.m. Interment Mount Hope Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Ivan Franko Home, 3058 Winston Churchill Blvd., Mississauga, ON L5L 3J1.

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Published in Toronto Star on Oct. 6, 2016.
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2 entries
October 6, 2016
My condolences to the family of Fr. Ted. He was special,kind to all, lots of laughter, but serious talks when needed by us. CYO was an interesting organization during his time at Holy Spirit in Hamilton. Always walked quietly in the footsteps of Jesus,doing his work without fanfare.
Loved people, always tried to help those in need. Will always be remembered for the truly spiritual, down to earth person he was while in service.
vechnia Pamyat Luba Romanow(Slotiuk)
October 6, 2016
My heartfelt condolences to Ted's family.

One day decades ago, Ted and I were walking down a street in downtown Toronto. He stopped to give a beggar some money. He said to me, I imagine them when they were babies. I was so struck by this that I've never forgotten and for me it was a life changing moment, among many in my encounters with him.

Funnily enough, that day he stopped in curiosity by an Eckankar storefront as well, trying to make sense of the philosophy. I just thought Eckanakar was weird. But those 2 events were Ted in a nutshell: a man of great kindness and compassion and a man with a curious and hungry mind, eternally fascinated by the mysteries around him. He was erudite and he was a polymath and he loved writing in Latin.

He loved the endless mystery of Jesus and G-d, loved people, flying, music, art, and created a beautiful natural garden filled with grace, a sanctuary for humans and birds. He planted trees. He surrounded himself with beauty and created beauty everywhere he could . In fact, when I think of him now, I think of Byron's poem: He walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies,/ And all that's best of dark and bright / Meets in his aspect and his eyes.

He once described himself as not a gentle man. I imagine he had his struggles. But it was a face he never showed to me, or, I imagine to many others. To me he was and is a tzaddik; in Judaism that means a completely righteous person, someone spiritually great. In mystical Judaism, some believe, based on a passage in the Talmud, that in every generation there are 36 tzaddikim, the hidden spiritually great ones. "In merit of these righteous individuals, our world receives the divine vitality that keeps it going. We do not know for sure, however, the identity of all these extraordinary individuals. I believe he is one of those hidden tzaddikim; I know of no one who more closely emulated Jesus than he.

To the end, I know, he was putting others first. He was my mentor, my dear friend for 42 years, and my role model. A talk with him was always brimming with life and vigour, always elevating, as was his being. Knowing him turned my life in the right direction when I was young and lost, and his influence continues to this day and always will. Gratitude' is an inadequate expression for the great gift of his friendship.

On a side note, funnily enough I never knew he was a priest until years later, and that was something I learned by accident. I never brought it up, and we never spoke of it. To me, he was and is simply, Ted.

Requiesce in pace, dearest friend. Until we meet again.
Grazyna Bliss Bak
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