Winnipeg Ukrainian Catholic Church statue head returned, staff still missing

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Ukrainian church forgives statue vandals, seeks return of stolen head'
Winnipeg Ukrainian church forgives statue vandals, seeks return of stolen head
WATCH: Members of a Ukrainian church in Winnipeg, and of the wider community, were shocked to learn a beloved statue was vandalized, and call on the culprits to return stolen items – May 23, 2019

Four days after vandals decapitated a statue outside a Winnipeg Ukranian Catholic Church, its head has been returned.

The statue of St. Volodymyr outside the Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral on McGregor Street had its head and staff initially removed in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

In a phone call to Global News, a church spokesperson said a passer-by found the head in a duffel bag and returned it to the church.

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The staff and cross that were also removed by vandals are still missing.

The statue was designed by renowned Winnipeg artist Leo Mol in 1984 and was even blessed by Pope John Paul II when he visited Manitoba.

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A church staff member said residents at a nearby complex were awoken in the early hours Tuesday by a grinding sound.

When people went to investigate, they found that the statue’s head had been stolen, along with its staff.

Speaking to Global News shortly after the theft, Pastor Michael Buyachok speculated the pieces were taken to be sold as scrap.

“We notified all the places where these kids would go and get money for it, but nobody has said anything and it has not been found,” Buyachok said.

“It’s a tremendous loss to us. It’s a beautiful statue.”

Scratch marks could also be seen on other parts of the statue.

— With a file by Kevin Hirschfield

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