Late bishop's burial waits for Church leaders' agreement
Catholic Church leaders and an executor of a dead bishop's estate are haggling over his body in a macabre dispute about burial arrangements.
The body of the late Bishop Ivan Prasko, Australia's first Ukrainian Catholic bishop, has been on ice for more than two months because while church leaders and one of the executors of his will reach an agreement on a burial site.
The executor believes Bishop Prasko should be buried under a cross in the grounds of North Melbourne's Ukrainian Catholic Church, which he was instrumental in establishing in the 1960s. But his successor, Bishop Peter Stasiuk, wants him interred in one of six tombs in a new $60,000 crypt in the church basement.
Bishop Prasko, who was highly regarded, studied and worked in Rome before arriving in Australia in 1950. His granite crypt, which was approved by a private building surveyor, paid for by donations from church members and is almost completed, has also angered residents who say they should have been consulted about the plan for six tombs.
Fr Vladimir Wolochy, the executor, said Bishop Prasko, 86, who died on January 28, had made arrangements to be buried under a cross in the grounds of the church in a plan approved by the Department of Human Services in 1993.
Fr Wolochy said the bishop had also considered being buried under the church, but had realised that the building design might make this difficult.
He said: "We don't want to cause any delay. However, it must be assured that the interment is dignified and in accordance with the law. Bishop Ivan was a great man and a dearly loved pastor and the executors are acting only to ensure that his memory is suitably honoured."