"Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11
Seeing the face of Christ in others is a primary responsibility of all Christians and the hierarchs of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, desirous of embracing that responsibility and encouraging our clergy and faithful to do the same, recently called upon the Church’s members as the Body of Christ, to "to live from a vision of peace and love rooted in faith" by contributing toward a special fund to aide the victims of extremely destructive flooding in Western Ukraine.
Over the past few months, the faithful had responded with contributions totaling nearly $20,000 to aid their brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the stricken regions of Ukraine who lost their homes and almost all personal belongings during the flooding. Acting on behalf of the faithful of the Church, His Grace monitored the distribution of the above mentioned funds.
During the fist week of November, His Grace Bishop Daniel visited the sites of the most damaging devastation. The bishop addressed several groups of people who gathered to greet him on the streets of their towns and villages. He had an opportunity to personally witness the devastation while visiting private homes of people who suffered from many illnesses and became helpless victims of the natural disaster. In each case His Grace attentively listened to personal accounts of people as they shared their loss with him wiping the tears of their eyes and with much difficulty was able to assist some of the most severely suffering people.
His Grace also visited many church/parish communities in the Ivano-Frankivsk, Halych, Kolomya and Ternopil regions of Western Ukraine, which have communicated with the Consistory of the UOC of USA, requesting aid. At each encounter, Bishop Daniel related the good wishes and the assurance of prayers in their behalf to the parish clergy, executives and members of the parishes from the clergy and the faithful of the UOC of the USA. At the same time he requested their sincere prayers prayers for the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. The bishop also shared the history of the Church in the USA these communities, and related accounts about the flooding that took place at the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA in 1996 and 2007 – so that they knew that we certainly do understand their present plight. Since distribution to individuals was an extremely difficult task, the vast majority of the funds contributed were presented to these parish communities, whose churches had also been severely damaged by the flooding.
From the traditional welcome hospitality ritual of presentation of bread and salt on the embroidered towel to the joyful and tearful singing of “God, grant you many years” in each visited area, the bishop experienced the outpouring of love and gratitude from the people of Ukraine to their brothers and sisters in the United States of America, which is, hopefully, depicted in the photographs seen here.
The Council of Bishops and the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA express their most sincere prayerful gratitude to all members of the Church for their charitable donations and willingness to respond to our Lord’s commandment of Love. "Live in peace; and the God of Love and Peace will be with you," wrote the Holy Apostle Paul to the Church in Corinth. Please, continue to help us to bring peace, mercy, justice and love to a hurting world. Please continue to give generously to the various ministries of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Your gift makes a world of difference!