On December 23, 2021, unique relics from the Holy Land – the stones from the birthplace of the Virgin Mary of Jesus Christ were brought to and consecrated at I. Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University. This symbol of God’s blessing was ordered by the Jewish community of Ternopil region as a gift for all future mothers and gynecologists-obstetricians of Ternopil region. The relics arrived in Ternopil region as part of Alex Stray’s international author project “Wish Stone”.
The initiator of the project personally presented the stones to Professor Mykhaylo Korda, the Rector of TNMU, Petro Mazur, the Director of Arsen Richynskyi Kremenets Medical Vocational College, Liubomyr Bilyk, the Director of Chortkiv Medical Vocational College, Viktor Ovcharuk, the Director General of Ternopil Regional Clinical Perinatal Center Vitorov Mother and Child.
“There is a legend that the Mother of God had an easy labour, which began on her way from Jerusalem near a spring. The world’s first church in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built at this place. Accordingly, a piece of this land is considered fertile for all pregnant women and for those who want to have an easy and successful birth”, as said in an explanation for these relics.
Father Ihor Drapak, who is a priest of the UGCC and chaplain of I. Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University, blessed these stones.
Alex Stray was born in Odessa, travelled throughout Ukraine and lived in Israel for a long time. Today he is a member of the Jewish community of Ternopil region. As he noted, this project was his personal initiative, as he had been studying the history of the Holy Land for a long time as well as history of the Christian church. Alex Stray added that his affairs were seen by spiritual leaders as charitable work in establishment of close interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
Yanina Chaikivska, TNMU Press Secretary
Photos by Mykola Vasylechko