Image - Chile: Ukrainian church parishioners in Santiago.

Chile [Чилі]. A country occupying a long, narrow strip of land along the southern stretch of the eastern coast of South America (2017 pop 17,574,003), with an area of 756,096 sq km. Santiago is its capital.

Individual Ukrainians immigrated to Chile before the Second World War. However, it was only after the war that Ukrainians settled in Chile in any significant numbers. The first postwar transport of Ukrainian immigrants arrived in June 1948, and shortly afterward others followed. In 1949 there were approximately three hundred Ukrainians in Chile, most of whom were skilled workers. A small number had received higher education. Ukrainians settled primarily in the country’s capital Santiago, but small groups also dwelled in Temuco, Osorno, and Concepción in the south. At the beginning of 1949, the Ukrainian Hromada association was founded in Santiago; later it was renamed Prosvita. Its leaders at different times were Fr. M. Pavliuk, L. Gizhevsky, and P. Stefanivsky. Valentyn Trutenko, a lieutenant colonel who commanded the 175th Baturyn Regiment of the Russian Army which later became part of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic, also headed the organization after emigrating to Chile in September 1950. A Ukrainian Catholic parish was formed and was served by Fr. M. Pavliuk, until his departure for Canada in February 1953, and then by Fr. A. Porodko. There were no Ukrainian Orthodox priests in Chile. The Ukrainian Hromda had a women’s section and a mixed choir. Directed by L. Gizhevsky, the mixed choir performed at events organized by the Ukrainian Hromada and by Chilean organizations; it also put on performances for Chilean radio programs. After the departure of some of its members to Argentina and Canada, the Ukrainian Hromada was reduced to sixty active adherents by 1954. In subsequent years, the community shrank even further and the organization, which never was formalized with its own legal statute, declined.

After the 1991 Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence, it established diplomatic ties with Chile. In 1995 President Leonid Kuchma visited Chile and signed several bilateral trade agreements. A Ukrainian consulate was opened in Santiago on 7 April 1998. In April 1999 Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Borys Tarasiuk, accompanied by a group of Ukrainian businessmen, began an official tour of several South American countries, including Chile. In February 2004 Oleksandr Nikonenko, the former Ukrainian ambassador to Poland, was appointed Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Argentina and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Chile. That year, he presented the Chilean minister for external relations, María Soledad Alvear, the Order of Yaroslav the Wise for her contribution to the development of relations between Chile and Ukraine. Agreements signed between the two countries include the promotion and protection of investments (1995) and another on economic cooperation (2001). Chile has an honourary consulate in Kyiv. In 2014, the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Chile, Alex P. Thiermann Isensee, estimated that there were three hundred Ukrainians in Chile. That number includes immigrants who came after 1991 and established themselves as professionals, in business, or as employees in various jobs. Most live in Santiago, although there are some families in other cities of the country. Although there is no Ukrainian cultural centre in Chile, many Ukrainians meet among themselves informally. In January 2013 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Daniel Kozelinski Netto (Apostolic Adminstrator of the Eparchy of Santa María del Patrocinio en Buenos Aires) as the Apostolic Visitator for Greek-Catholic Ukrainians in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Danylyshyn, M. ‘Ukraïntsi v Argentyni ta inshykh kraïnakh Pivdennoï Ameryky,’ Ukraïns'kyi Samostiinyk no. 6 (June 1961)
‘Ukraïntsi v Chile.’ In Ukraïntsi u Vil’nomu Sviti. Iuvileina knyha Ukrains'koho Narodnoho Soiuzu, 1894–1954 (Jersey City 1954)
Honourary Consulate of Ukraine in Chile web site at:

Serge Cipko

[This article was written in 2018.]

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