Zhukalyuk, Nikolay (Mykola) Arsentievich (1932–2021)

By Valentyna Kuryliak


Valentyna Kuryliak, Ph.D., is associate professor of the Department of Philosophy, Theology and Church History of the Ukrainian Institute of Arts and Sciences. Kuryliak is vice-rector for scientific work at the Ukrainian Institute of Arts and Sciences. Kuryliak's scientific interests include history of Protestantism in Ukraine and history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Kuryliak is a postdoctoral student specializing in history and archeology at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

First Published: November 8, 2022

Nikolay (Mykola) Arsentievich Zhukalyuk was a pastor, editor, administrator, historian, publisher, journalist, writer, and public figure helped to enhance the reputation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine at the national level.

Early Years

Nikolay Arsentievich Zhukalyuk was born on May 14, 1932, in the village of Velikij Porsk in the Volyn province which, at that time, belonged to the Polish Republic (now the Volynsky Region in Western Ukraine).1 Nikolay Zhukalyuk’s parents were Orthodox Christians. His father sang in the church choir and was often present as a violinist during wedding ceremonies.

In due course, as a result of their study of the Holy Scriptures, the parents of this future minister were baptized in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1938 and became devoted members of the local church in the village of Pozharki, Volynsky Region. At the age of four, Nikolay Zhukalyuk learned to read and write in Polish and Ukrainian. At the age of seven, this future historian of the Adventist Church began to read the Bible.

Having embraced biblical principles as a guide in his life, he suffered many times for his faith during his school years, at first in a Catholic school, and later in a Soviet school. Most often his teachers criticized him for refusing to attend school on Saturdays. In parallel with his high school education, Nikolay Zhukalyuk completed accounting courses and tractor driver courses. Being the eldest son in the family, he earned money from an early age to support his relatives since his father was a disabled person.

He began his working life as an assistant accountant for a Soviet collective farm while improving his skills writing various kinds of newspaper articles. In 1948, at the age of 16, Nikolay Zhukalyuk was baptized and became a member of the Adventist Church in the village of Pozharki, Volynsky Region.2


Zhukalyuk showed creative thinking and writing skills during his school years. He began to publish his first written works in 1946 in the Sovetskoye Selo newspaper in the city of Kovel and in the All-Union newspaper Pionerskaya Pravda. After graduating from high, he completed an accelerated course in rural correspondent training. Then he enrolled in the Correspondence Department of Journalism at the Lutsk Pedagogical Institute. After several years of study, he transferred to Leningrad State University. During his studies there, he began to write short stories that were published in Sovetskaya Volyn newspaper. In 1952, after graduating from the Military Journalism Department of Leningrad State University, Zhukalyuk was drafted into the Army.

During the years of military service, he continued his writing career as a military reporter for the Na Strazhe Rodiny newspaper, which was published in the Leningrad Military District. During his service, he was also trained at the School for Artillery Reconnaissance and Observation Commanders. After his demobilization, Zhukalyuk graduated by correspondence from two departments of Moscow State University (in 1960 and 1965).3

Church Administrative Work

Nikolay began his ministry in the Adventist Church as a Bible worker in the city of Vinnitsa. From 1954 to 1958 he demonstrated his qualities of a dedicated leader and minister. As a result, in 1958, he was offered the position of a pastor in the Vinnitsa Region where he successfully served as a responsible minister for six years. In 1964, Nikolay was transferred to serve in the city of Lvov. A year later, he was ordained as a preacher and invited to become a member of the All-Ukrainian Council of Seventh-day Adventists. From 1973 to 1975, he was imprisoned because of his involvement in religious and publishing activities. After his release from prison, he returned to active pastoral and administrative work.

During the years of instability of the church structure in the Soviet Union, Nikolay and Mikhail Kulakov were actively involved in overcoming an intrachurch schism and uniting the Church.4 The efforts of Nikolaj and Kulakov in managing differences within the denomination were positively evaluated by the leadership of the world Church. In 1979, both of them were invited to become members of the General Conference Executive Committee. The delegates of the 4th Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the USSR (Kiev, 1988) elected Nikolay as the first president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine. He held this position from 1988 to 1993. Summing up his administrative achievements, it should be noted that he was a naturally eloquent and well-read man who, through his education, was able to use his inherent leadership skills to benefit of the Church.5

Writing and Publishing Work

Nikolay Zhukalyuk actively began publishing books for the Church during his ministry in the city of Lvov. Between 1965 and 1973, he ran an underground publishing house, using over 40 woman-printers. Ganna Kurilyak, a lay member who lived in Lvov in a time of pastor Zhukalyuk’s ministry, remembers that she, at his request, replicated the handwritten Psalms of Zion on a typewriter. The typing machine was placed in a wardrobe and covered with blankets so that the neighbors could not hear the sound of the keys while she was typing.6

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zhukalyuk, along with other church leaders of that time, dreamed of creating a publishing house in Ukraine. During his presidential ministry, Zhukalyuk, together with other leaders of Christian churches in Ukraine, established and registered, in 1991, the Ukrainian Bible Society where, until the end of his life, Zhukalyuk was editor and honorary member of the Central Board. Beyond that he headed the Audit Commission of the Ukrainian Bible Society until 2002.

In 1993, by the decision of ESD church leaders, the Dzherelo Zhyttya Publishing House, headed by Zhukalyuk, was established in the city of Kiev. It is fair to say that he not only headed the publishing work of the Adventists in Ukraine, but also was the editor-in-chief of denominational publications from 1993 to 2002.

In 2002 Zhukalyuk returned from Kiev to Lvov, where he continued to work as chief editor of various Christian publications with the Western Regional Branch of the Ukrainian Bible Society. Thanks to his sincerity and uncompromising attitude, Zhukalyuk successfully supervised the activities of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine.7 According to the recollections of Nadiya Stokolos, who had a Ph.D. in History and was a professor at the Ostrozhskaya Akademiya National University, she once visited a scientific conference attended by Zhukaluk. She remembered very well his speech on the spiritual revival of Ukraine, noting that all of the preceding speakers, among whom were various leaders and honored professors of the region, spoke positively and said that Ukraine was a very spiritual nation and that Ukrainians are actively interested in spiritual issues. However, Zhukalyuk expressed in his speech the opposite opinion. He insisted that any spiritual revival of Ukrainians at the national level was out of the question since all of the existing criteria for the spirituality of people were not satisfied. Prof. Stokolos was impressed that Zhukalyuk was not afraid to voice his opinion publicly even though the eminent participants in that conference presented a contrary point of view.8

After his retirement, Zhukalyuk continued his editorial and writing work. His literary heritage includes 12 self-authored and four co-authored books, the best known of which are The Poor, Hurled by the Storm, and The History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine, an academic study co-authored with Prof. Viktoria Lyubashchenko. A book titled Love Is the Perfection of the Law of Freedom remained unfinished (he wrote 11 out of 12 chapters). Since February 2013, Zhukalyuk devoted his time daily to work on the fourth edition of the new Bible translation in Ukrainian prepared by Rafail Turkonyak.9


In early 1954, Zhukaluk married Yevheniya Voronyuk, who supported him in the pastoral and administrative ministry for many years. The family had four daughters: Nadezhda, Lyubov, Vera, and Natalia. They gave their father seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.10 From the memories of guests who visited this family (in particular from an interview with Valentin Shevchuk), the family atmosphere was very special, spiritual, and inspiring to active service for the Church.11


Zhukaluk was awarded a nominal state diploma as a young inventor in the third year of his service in the army for improving the geodetic instrument for increasing the speed of calculating geographic coordinates. He was awarded a medal and a certificate as a participant in the mine clearance operations in the Leningrad and Novgorod regions. Zhukaluk received the award Man Who Changed the World from the Ukrainian Bible Society for his fruitful work. He was named a Knight of the Order of Saint Prince Vladimir the Great in 1999 and received the Third Class Order of Merit in 2003.12

Last Years of Life

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019, Nikolay Zhukaluk traveled daily to the Bible Society and did editorial work. He was especially interested in the project of writing a three-volume history of the Seventh-day Adventists in Ukraine. Yet while alive, Zhukalyuk donated many materials from his personal archive to the Adventist Museum, directed by Oleg Arutyunov and located on the campus of the Ukrainian Humanitarian Institute.

On December 15, 2021, Nikolay Zhukalyuk passed away at the age of 90. Relatives and friends attended his funeral in the city of Lvov.


At Zhukalyuk's funeral, it was emphasized that his dedication to church ministry and work as a pastor, editor, administrator, historian, publisher, journalist, writer, and public figure helped to enhance the reputation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine at the national level.13 The motto of his life was the Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Publications by Nikolay Zhukalyuk

Vspominaite nastavnikov vashikh (Remember Your Mentors). Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 1999.

Pochti doma (Almost at Home). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2002.

Cherez krutye perevaly (Through Steep Passes). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2002.

Vot ya, poshli menya (Here I Am, Send Me). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2004.

Preobrazhennye Khristom (Transformed by Christ). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2006.

Propovedui Slovo (Preach the Word). Vol. 1. Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2006.

Propovedui Slovo (Preach the Word). Vol. 2. Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2007.

Propovedui Slovo (Preach the Word). Vol. 3. Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2010.

Kogda nevynosimo tyazhelo (When It’s Unbearably Hard). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2009.

Skvoz’ buri, shtormy, likholetya (Through Storms, Tempests, Calamities). Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2009.

Ni napravo, ni nalevo (Neither Right Nor Left). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2012.

Za kogo vy Menia pochitaete (Who Do You Think I Am). Zaoksky: SOLPH, 2014.

Co-authored publications

Parasey, A. F., and M. A. Zhukalyuk. Bednaya, brosaemaya bureyu (The Poor, Hurled by the Storm). Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 1997.

Zhukalyuk, M., and D. Stepovyk. Kratkaya istoriya perevodov Biblii na ukrainskiy yazyk (A Brief History of Translations of the Bible into Ukrainian). Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2003.

Zhukalyuk, M., and V. Lyubashchenko. Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Ukraine (The History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine). Kiev: Dzherelo Zhyttya, 2003.


Balykov, Vladimir. “Intrachurch Schism of Seventh-Day Adventists in the USSR (1950-1980).” Internet newspaper Put. June 6, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.asd.in.ua/archives/1188335433.

“Mykola Arsentiyovych Zhukalyuk – obituary.” Logosinfo. 2021. Accessed May 13, 2022. https://logosinfo.org/2021/12/16/mikola-arsentijovich-zhukalyuk-nekrolog/.

“Mykola Zhukalyuk, the first president of the SDA in Ukraine, has died.” RISU. December 17, 2021. Accessed May 14, 2022. https://risu.ua/pomer-mikola-zhukalyuk--pershij-prezident-asd-v-ukrayini_n124355.

“Zhukaluk Mykola.” Internet store 7 books. Accessed May 12, 2022. https://7knig.org/catalog/autor/zhukalyuk-nikolay/.

“Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych (1932-2021). Obituary.” Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine. 2021. Accessed May 13, 2022. https://adventist.ua/news/ukraine/zhukaliuk-mykola-arsentiiovych-1932-2021-nekroloh/.

“Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych.” Encyclopedia of Modern Ukraine. 2009. Accessed May 10, 2022. https://esu.com.ua/search_articles.php?id=18318.

“Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych.” Wikipedia. Accessed May 12, 2022. https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/.


  1. This article was originally written in Ukrainian. It was translated into English by Elvira Sulaimankulova.

  2. “Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych,” Wikipedia, accessed May 12, 2022, https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/.

  3. “Mykola Zhukalyuk, the first president of the SDA in Ukraine, has died,” RISU, December 17, 2021, accessed May 14, 2022, https://risu.ua/pomer-mikola-zhukalyuk--pershij-prezident-asd-v-ukrayini_n124355.

  4. Vladimir Balykov, “Intrachurch Schism of Seventh-Day Adventists in the USSR (1950-1980),” Internet newspaper Put, June 6, 2016, accessed May 9, 2022, https://www.asd.in.ua/archives/1188335433.

  5. “Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych,” Encyclopedia of Modern Ukraine, 2009, accessed May 10, 2022, https://esu.com.ua/search_articles.php?id=18318.

  6. Anna Kuryliak, interview by author, Vynogradov, Ukraine, May 10, 2022.

  7. “Zhukaluk Mykola,” Internet store 7 books, accessed May 12, 2022, https://7knig.org/catalog/autor/zhukalyuk-nikolay/.

  8. Nadezhda Stokolos, interview by author, Rivne, Ukraine, May 22, 2022.

  9. “Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych (1932-2021). Obituary,” Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine, 2021, accessed May 13, 2022, https://adventist.ua/news/ukraine/zhukaliuk-mykola-arsentiiovych-1932-2021-nekroloh/.

  10. “Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych,” Wikipedia, accessed May 12, 2022, https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/.

  11. Valentin Shevchyuk, interview by author, Lviv, Ukraine, May 10, 2022.

  12. “Zhukalyuk Mykola Arsentiyovych,” Wikipedia, accessed May 12, 2022, https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/.

  13. “Mykola Arsentiyovych Zhukalyuk – obituary,” Logosinfo, 2021, accessed May 13, 2022, https://logosinfo.org/2021/12/16/mikola-arsentijovich-zhukalyuk-nekrolog/.


Kuryliak, Valentyna. "Zhukalyuk, Nikolay (Mykola) Arsentievich (1932–2021)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 08, 2022. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJF0.

Kuryliak, Valentyna. "Zhukalyuk, Nikolay (Mykola) Arsentievich (1932–2021)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 08, 2022. Date of access June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJF0.

Kuryliak, Valentyna (2022, November 08). Zhukalyuk, Nikolay (Mykola) Arsentievich (1932–2021). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJF0.