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Ukrainian cardinal known for simplicity, humor, holiness dies at 84


  • Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2011 photo. (CNS photo/Konstantin Chernichkin, Reuters)
  • Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2007 photo in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2007 photo in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2011 photo. (CNS photo/Konstantin Chernichkin, Reuters)
  • Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84. He is pictured in a 2014 photo. (CNS photo/ Petro Didula, Ukrainian Catholic University)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, known for his "velvety baritone" when chanting the Divine Liturgy or making one of his regular appearances on television or radio programs, died May 31 near Kiev at the age of 84.

Like many Ukrainian Catholics around the world, he knew what it meant to be a refugee, to spend time in a displaced persons' camp, to immigrate and to start all over again.

But the experience also helped him become fluent in five languages, "and he could joke in all of them," said Ukrainian Bishop Borys Gudziak of Paris.

And in a post-Soviet Ukraine, where leadership often meant "a compulsive passion" for money and power, "he lived in exemplary simplicity," Bishop Gudziak told Catholic News Service June 1.

"In Ukrainian folklore, a blind elder is considered a sage," the bishop said. "He was the wise man of the country, a real father whose embrace, word, warm smile and sense of humor -- often self-deprecating -- gave people a sense of joy and peace."

Cardinal Husar also was an avid blogger and published his last piece May 1, a blog about politicians who show their loyalty to a church only to gain votes.

He saw a lack of ethical behavior and declining moral standards as a major problem at home and abroad, one that required a creative pastoral response.

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