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St. Elias reopens 2 years after church destroyed by fire

After a devastating fire, which burned St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church to the ground in Brampton just over two years ago, the church has now reopened, and to celebrate the church held its opening mass and consecration on Saturday.

Hundreds of parishioners and guests from around the world attended opening mass and consecration

St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church was burned down before Easter in 2014. It has now reopened with help from around the world. (CBC News)

After a devastating fire, which burned St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church to the ground in April 2014, the Brampton church has now reopened, and to celebrate the church held its opening mass and consecration on Saturday.

Hundreds of parishioners and guests from around the world attended, including head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav, who flew in from Ukraine to preside.

Picking up after the blaze

Ilya Galadza, son of pastor of the congregation Father Roman Galadza, cheered up his father after the church was destroyed. (CBC News)

Ilya Galadza, son of pastor of the congregation Father Roman Galadza, was there for his father when the church was lost two years ago and says while it was gut wrenching, he found a way to look at what happened positively.

"He was standing in the parking lot crying," Galadza said of his father. "I cheered him up by saying 'We get to do it again. It's a special thing to be able to build two churches in your lifetime.'"

When St. Elias was destroyed, Galadza said the church had to carry around its supplies in car trunks, and that it set up in high schools and atriums.

"It's a huge relief not to have be setting up at 6:30 in the morning at St. Augustine school. To be able to come to church straight away and everything is ready for you," he said. It's a wonderful thing."

Hundreds of parishioners and guests from around the world attended opening mass and consecration. (CBC News)

'Shock and disbelief'

Father Andriy Chirovsky says the loss of the church before Easter was devastating. (CBC News)

Father Andriy Chirovsky, founder of Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, who preached at the consecration of the first church, says St. Elias was held up as a model church and the loss of it a week before Easter was devastating.  

"My reaction was very similar to many people across North America, and even across the world — just shock and disbelief that one of the most beautiful churches that we have had just burned down," Chirovsky said. "Everybody in the Brampton area was very gracious, but the help came from literally all the ends of the earth, and so within two and a half years, here we have the temple rebuilt."

Chirovsky says being back for the consecration of the new church is like deja vu, and it has reinforced his faith.  

"Everything was burnt to a crisp, and now it's back," Chirovsky said. "The Lord will not be held back."

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