UKRAINIAN BAPTIST HERITAGE CENTRE

             Kuzma Ciona

November 14, 1908 - November 29, 1984

Article on Mr. Ciona's life (in Ukrainian) written by Dr. Iwaskiw in the May-June 1985 issue of The Christian Herald, Vol. XLIII, No. 5-6, pages 16-17.

On January 25, 2011, the UBHC received its first of three English translations for articles that were published in Ukrainian.  They were provided by Dan Ciona, son of Kuzma Ciona, who translated the above article into English with the help of his wife, Nellie, as well as two articles on Wasyl Siery, Nellie's father. 

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Kuzma Ciona was born on November 14, 1908, in the village of Cebeerchiv, Region of Sokol, Halichiny Territory.

            He immigrated to Canada as an 18-year old in 1930 to join his older brother who had arrived earlier, and settled in Saskatchewan.  In due time, Kuzma married a girl from a neighbouring village in Ukraine, Mary Yanischuk.  They settled on their own piece of land, becoming “Homestead” farmers.  But in reality it was not a farm, yet, but in fact endless forest. The trees had to be cut, the stumps removed and the land worked before it could become a farm to grow grain.  The Ciona’s both being quite young, but hard working, they were truly “children of the soil” which they truly loved, and applied all of their efforts in order to develop a good farm.

 

            In 1955, when I was studying at the Saskatoon Bible Institute, in Saskatchewan, I was invited to minister at the Baptist Church in Foxford for Thanksgiving, and I had the opportunity to be hosted by the Cionas.  They had a fine arrangement of buildings, and animal husbandry in good order.  However in the difficult climate of northern Saskatchewan, earning a good livelihood was difficult.  Many times the crops were damaged or destroyed by frost.  Brother and Sister Ciona had four sons and one daughter.  Three of the sons studied at the Ukrainian Bible Institute in Saskatoon.

 

            In 1940, Kuzma, along with his wife, professed faith in Jesus Christ, as their personal Saviour and were baptized.  Kuzma was one of those who organized the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Foxford, Saskatchewan.  Bro. Ciona did much carpentry work in the construction of the Prayer House as well as material resources.  He was a long-serving Treasurer of the Church body.

 

            In 1956, the Ciona family moved to Ontario and settled near the village of Boston, operating a small vegetable farm.  In 1968/69 Kuzma was awarded the distinction of Top Tomato Grower.  He loved that soil so much that he would walk barefoot in it, to better feel the warm earth on his feet.

 

            Upon arrival in Ontario, the Ciona family home became the centre of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Boston, which was active for 20 years.

 

            Wife Mary went to be with the Lord in 1969.  In his later years, Bro. Ciona lived with his youngest son Dan and daughter-in-law Nellie.  His married daughter, Olga and her family lived in an adjacent house on the same property.  Kuzma was proud of his grandchildren, and they all loved their grandfather.  The entire family was concerned and cared for him to the end of his life.

 

            When he passed away, Bro. Ciona was a member of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Hamilton.  Two years prior to his passing he would join his son Dan and son-in-law Ludwik in travelling to Hamilton to work in a major renovation of the Hamilton Prayer House.  He even provided a special significant donation so that the Prayer House sanctuary would be carpeted.  This was installed after his death.

 

            Bro. Ciona was of a peaceful disposition, a man of few words, but when he spoke, it was with wisdom and common sense.  He was a strong believer and showed evidence of his faith with good deeds, was faithful in attendance at worship services; he and his family being present every Sunday although each round trip was 100 kilometres.  His peaceful, gentlemanly character had an impact on everyone who knew him.  He subscribed to many Ukrainian magazines and newspapers, loved books, and was an informed Ukrainian patriot. He was puzzled and sympathized by people he met who did not know who they were, and to what ancestry they belonged.  In one word, Bro. Kuzma Ciona was a wise man.  He knew what life was on this earth, and knew how to build his home life, on the rock (of Jesus Christ) and not on the sand.   All of his children, as well as his adult grandchildren, are good examples of believers in Jesus Christ.  Three husbands of his granddaughters, and one grandson are Pastors.

 

            It is sad that such people have to die, but we have to agree with this certainty, because this is the law of God, “a time to be born and a time to die”.

 

            Our dear brother in Christ, Kuzma Ciona went to be with his Lord (which he dearly loved) on November 29, 1984.  He left four sons and one daughter. Stanley and his family in Mississauga, Walter and his family in Oshawa, George and his family in Waterford, Olga and her family in Wilsonville and Dan and his family in Wilsonville.  He also left behind 13 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and many brothers and sisters in Christ, which loved him.

 

            A large funeral was held for Bro. Ciona  at 1:30 p.m. on December 3, 1984, at the Thompson-Mott Funeral Home in Waterford.  Rev. J. Iwaskiw preached the gospel in Ukrainian, Rev. Dan Shurr in English, Rev. Robert Flemming led in the singing of hymns; these latter two Pastors being the husbands of two of Kuzma’s granddaughters.  The Pastor of the Boston Baptist Church, Rev. Dan Burkholder read the eulogy while Margaret Burkholder and a trio of from the Hamilton church, Bro. and Sister Schurenko and Sally Mackanyn provided the special music in English and Ukrainian respectively.  Rev. Josaphat Iwaskiw conducted the funeral overall and Bro. Ciona was laid to rest beside his wife at the Greenwood Cemetery in Waterford.  Rev. Iwaskiw read the scriptures and the committal services at the cemetery.

 

            Following the funeral, all relatives, friends and colleagues were invited to the home of Dan & Nellie Ciona for a reception, to fellowship and remember our departed brother.  May the Canadian soil, after his striving, be gentle to him.

 

            “Then I heard a voice from heaven, say to me, “Write:  ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’”  “Yes, says the spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.”

 

[English translation by Dan and Nellie Ciona submitted to UBHC on January 25, 2011.   Ukrainian article written by Rev. Josaphat Iwaskiw in 1985]

 

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