On Holy Wednesday, His Grace Bishop Daniel accompanied by seven priests of the Deanery joined together for Holy Unction service at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL. Very Rev. Taras Naumenko – pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Palos Park, IL, Archimandrite Pankratij of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Very Rev. Howard Sloan of Sts. Peter and Paul UOC in Palos Park, IL; Very Rev. Ramond Sundland of Holy Archangel Michael Pro-Cathedral in Hammond, IN; Rev. Walter Hwostik of Protection of the Mother of God UOC in Milwaukee, WI; Rev. Taras Maximtsiv of Holy Trinity UOC in Goshen, IN; Rev. Fr. Silouan Rolando of Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Palos Park, IL; Protodeacon Mykola Dilendorf and Deacon Andrij Fronchak of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral, Chicago, IL joined the bishop for the prayer service. About 130 people, representing various parishes of the Deanery, gathered that evening to partake in the service of Healing, served by their bishop and clergy.
The Sacrament of the Unction is the Church's specific prayer for healing. If the faith of the believers is strong enough, and if it is the will of God, there is every reason to believe that the Lord can heal those who are diseased. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, or Holy Unction as it is also known, reminds us that when we are on pain, either physical, emotional, or spiritual, Christ is present with us through the ministry of His Church. He is among us to offer strength to meet the challenges of life, and even the approach of death. As with Chrismation, oil is also used in this Sacrament as a sign of God's presence, strength, and forgiveness. After the reading of seven Epistle lessons, seven Gospel lessons and the offering of seven prayers, which are all devoted to healing, the priest anoints the body with the Holy Oil. Orthodoxy does not view this Sacrament as available only to those who are near death. It is offered to all who are sick in body, mind, or spirit. Christ came to the world to "bear our infirmities." One of the signs of His divine Messiahship was to heal the sick. The power of healing remains in the Church since Christ himself remains in the Church through the Holy Spirit.
At the conclusion of the service, the faithful of the Deanery witnessed an ancient rite of the Washing of Feet, served by the Ruling Bishop of the Western Eparchy His Grace Bishop Daniel. This service portrays Christ's washing of His disciples' feet after the Last Supper. During the service, the celebrant washes the right feet of the 12 clergy, drying them with a towel and kissing them. The senior-ranking clergyman among those whose feet are being washed speaks the words of Holy Apostle Peter, and the bishop or speaks the words of Jesus. Then the bishop himself concludes the reading of the Gospel, after which he says another prayer and sprinkles all of those present with the water.
At the conclusion of the service, the Dean of Chicago Deanery Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynyuk reflected upon the spiritual meaning of the service and our personal journey with the Lord through the days and events of Holy Week. As the service concluded, the faithful venerated the Holy Cross from the hands of their hierarch and returned home in preparation for the service of the Holy Passion of our Lord.
On Thursday evening, His Grace Bishop Daniel led the service of the Passions of our Lord - the Reading of the 12 Gospels at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Serving with the bishop were the pastor of the cathedral parish family – Archimandrite Pankratij, Protodeacon Nicholas Dilendorf and Deacon Andriy Fronchak, assisted by the seminarians of the Church subdeacons John Charest and Vasyl Dovgan. The evening entered those in attendance into the celebration of the holy, saving and awesome Passion of Christ. To take away our sins, Christ willingly endured the spittings, scourgings, buffetings, scorn, mocking and the purple robe; the reed, sponge, vinegar, nails, spear and, above all, the Cross and Death. The confession from the cross of the penitent thief, crucified with Christ, is celebrated. This service is usually long, but its content is dramatic and deeply moving for the devout Christian. Those, in attendance at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL, had an opportunity to once again participate in the prayers and the historical sequence of the events, as related in the Gospels and hymns, providing a vivid foundation for the great events yet to come.
Holy Friday! What a solemn day in the life of any Christian. On this day the Church commemorates the sufferings of Christ: the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross.
The day of Christ's death is the day of sin. The sin which polluted God's creation from the breaking dawn of time reached its frightful climax on the hill of Golgotha. There, sin and evil, destruction and death came into their own. Ungodly men had Him nailed to the Cross, in order to destroy Him. However, His death condemned irrevocably the fallen world by revealing its true and abnormal nature.
St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL was once again a spiritual place, to which hundreds of people came on Friday night to participate in the Vespers service, at which the Holy Shroud is brought out of the sanctuary and placed in the midst of the faithful for veneration. The ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, His Grace Bishop Daniel prayerfully led the evening service. In his short remarks, the bishop directed the attention of the faithful to the profound and awesome event of the death and burial of God in the flesh, as it is marked by a particular kind of silence. Bishop Daniel invited everyone to enter into the mystery of the tomb of Christ, putting our hopes and prayers at His feet, so that we can come out on Pascha morning and proclaim to the world that the Lord has Risen! In conclusion, Bishop Daniel stated: "Let this night be a time for all of us, individually and together to revitalise our spiritual life and to involve ourselves more in the life of our parish community and the world around us!"
On Holy Saturday, His Grace Bishop Daniel once again presided over the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL.
On Great and Holy Saturday the Orthodox Church commemorates the burial of Christ and His descent into Hades. It is the day between the Crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. For Orthodox Christians Great Saturday is the day between Jesus' death and His resurrection. It is the day of watchful expectation, in which mourning is being transformed into joy. The day embodies in the fullest possible sense the meaning of joyful-sadness, which has dominated the celebrations of Great Week.
The Liturgy served on the morning of Holy and Great Saturday is that of Saint Basil the Great. It begins with Vespers. After the entrance, the evening hymn 'O Gentle Light' is chanted as usual. Then the Old Testament readings are recited. They tell of the most striking events and prophecies of the salvation of mankind by the death of the Son of God. The account of creation in Genesis is the first reading. The sixth reading is the story of Israel's crossing of the Red Sea and Moses' song of victory - over Pharaoh, with its refrain: 'For gloriously is He glorified'. The last reading is about the Three Children in the fiery furnace of Babylon, and their song of praise with its repeated refrain: 'O praise ye the Lord and supremely exalt Him unto the ages.' In the ancient church the catechumens were baptized during the time of these readings. The Epistle which follows speaks of how, through the death of Christ, we too shall rise to a new life.
After the Epistle, the choir chants, like a call to the sleeping Christ: 'Arise, O Lord, Judge the earth, for Thou shall have an inheritance among all the nations... As the chanting progresses, the altar vestments as well as all sacred vestments are changed in the temple into the bright snow-white colors. The deacon carries out the Book of the Gospels, and reads the first message of the resurrection from Saint Matthew. Because the Vespers portion of the service belongs to the next day (Pascha) the burial hymns of Saturday are mingled with those of the resurrection, so that this service is already full of the coming Paschal joy.