Rev. olexa  Harbuziuk Legacy

Пастор олекса Романович Гарбузюк

Rev. Harbuziuk is partially visible to the right of and behind the speaker in the Illinois State Capitol building.

Rev. Harbuziuk introduced U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois and Illinois state representative Boris Antonovych during the morning service at the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Chicago on January 29, 1978. Senator Percy spoke about his support for human rights in Ukraine. An article appeared in The Ukrainian Weekly.

First president of independent Ukraine

David H. Swartz (center) meets with Ukrainian community activist Julian Kulas and Rev. Olexa Harbuziuk at the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Chicago on May 14, 1978.

Governor of Illinois

Rev. Harbuziuk met several politicians in the state of Illinois, including Governor Jim Edgar, who was elected in November 1990 and re-elected in November 1994.

When Rev. Harbuziuk met the first president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk (center), he presented a Bible to him and emphasized the importance of religious freedom. Rev. Harbuziuk also met the second president of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, and presented a Bible to him. At right is Chicago attorney Julian Kulas, who was president of First Security Savings Bank in Chicago, and has been very active in the Ukrainian community. This photo was taken in September 1991 when President Kravchuk visited Chicago.

 Mr. Kulas provided successful legal representation for 12-year-old Volodymyr "Walter" Polovchak in his struggle to stay in America when his parents wanted to return to Soviet Ukraine. Walter's 16-year-old sister, Nataly, also stayed in America, but their 5-year-old brother returned to Communist Ukraine with their parents.

     Rev. Harbuziuk came in contact with numerous famous and high-ranking people, especially in the United States and in Ukraine.
    He got to shake hands with the president of the United States of America -- Ronald Reagan -- during a visit to the White House with a Ukrainian delegation in October 1988. Please click on the "President Reagan" page to see more photos with Rev. Harbuziuk.
    He also met with President Reagan on a previous occasion. See the newspaper article on the "Reagan" page.
    Pastor Harbuziuk was among a group of ethnic leaders from across the country that met with U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz on September 9, 1985 in Washington, D.C.
    In January 1989, Rev. Harbuziuk, as president of the All-Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Fellowship (diaspora), attended the inauguration of President George H.W. Bush in Washington, D.C.

U.S. politicians

U.S. ambassador, State Department officer

        David Heywood Swartz was a commissioned officer in the foreign service of the U.S. State Department. For a while, he was stationed in Kyiv, Ukraine, as chief of an advance party preparing for a future consulate general in Kyiv.
      He visited the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Chicago on May 14, 1978 and spoke to the congregation in the Ukrainian language. 
      Mr. Swartz served for 28 years in various capacities as a foreign service officer of the U.S. Department of State, stationed in Moscow, Kyiv, Zurich, Calgary, Warsaw and Washington, D.C. In 2006, he co-founded the Center for Belarusian Studies at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, and currently is associate executive director.  
     A 1959 graduate of York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, Mr. Swartz was one of eight alumni chosen in 2015 to receive the York Distinguished Alumni Award.