UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
St. Luke Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Warners, NY - Celebrates 60th Anniversary!
The 60th anniversary of the founding of St. Luke Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Warners, NY was joyfully celebrated by clergy and faithful gathered in the parish on Sunday, 14 November 2010. His Eminence Archbishop Antony, President of the Consistory, celebrated the Divine Liturgy with the assistance of St. Luke’s parish priest, newly ordained Fr. Borislav Kroner and V. Rev. Fr. Ihor Krekhovetsky of St Mary Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Rochester, NY and V. Rev. Fr. John Semko of St Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Herkimer, NY both neighbors in the Upstate New York Deanery. The Archbishop was escorted to the church from the parish rectory by the altar servers, children of the parish casting flower pedals in his path and the seminarians, who accompanied him from St. Sophia Seminary. The parish Board of Administration President, Gregory Lisnyczyj, Sisterhood President, Valentina Zownirenko and Starosta, Aleksandre Dobyuk, greeted the dignitaries at the church entrance with the traditional salt and bread.
After the traditional vesting of the Archbishop in the center of the church, Victor Sinenko was tonsured as a reader by Archbishop Antony, who reminded the new reader of his responsibility to be completely prepared each time he is to read in Church and the faithful present were charged with the responsibility of remembering Reader Victor in their prayers daily, that he might discern a call from our Lord, it there is one, to prepare for elevation to the ranks of the Holy Priesthood of our Church. The church was filled with fellow parishioners and guests from neighboring parishes.
The Archbishop challenged all gathered during his sermon to celebrate the 60th anniversary not only with a beautiful banquet at the Lord’s Table and another in the parish hall, but beyond the confines of both those edifices. He spoke of the joy experienced by the Disciples of our Lord on Mount Tabor – the site of the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord, where they caught a glimpse of the Resurrected Son of God – a joy that they did not want to leave behind. Peter even asked if he could build tents for the Lord and the Disciples so that they could dwell there permanently because “it was good to be there.” Our Lord taught His Disciples that it was absolutely necessary to go down the mountain and back into the world to transform the course of human history. His Eminence called upon all present to go back “into the world”, to come down off the mountain, so to say, and make Christ real in the lives of all they meet – by simply being Christ and sharing His Love for all in all circumstances. This, said the Archbishop, was the ONLY way the 60th anniversary could be properly celebrated.
Following Divine Liturgy, everyone was invited to an “Agape Feast” – a wonderful meal prepared by the members of St. Luke Parish Sisterhood. Greg Lisnyczyj served as Master of Ceremonies introducing the many guests present and sharing with all the joy the parish feels at this celebration. Past president of the Parish Board of Administration, Leonid Jemetz, offered a summary of the historical high-lights of St. Luke parish and how the present church was built because of the love and dedication of its members. Visiting priests, including Fathers Ihor, Ivan and Fr Zinovy Zharsky of St. John the Baptist Parish, Johnson City, NY, offered congratulatory remarks in behalf of their parish members. Seminary Andriy Matlak greeted in the name of all the seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary and expressed most sincere gratitude to Mrs. Valentyna Hursky for the benefits they receive from the Scholarship Fund she established in memory of her late-husband Jacob (Yakiw).
As pastor of the parish, Fr. Borislav expressed his great joy at being part of this celebration only a few weeks after his ordination as priest and appointment to the parish. “We may be a SMALL parish, but we have a BIG heart. We have accomplished a lot in a short time – for 60 years is a short time in the scheme of God’s plan. All of this was done in the name of Love for our church and the respect that we have for our families and friends. We have great faith in a brighter future for our unique parish under the patronage of St. Luke.” Archbishop Antony gave the closing remarks and the benediction and declared his deep gratitude to Fr. Borislav and his family for the gift of the beautiful vestments he wore during the Divine Liturgy that day.