UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Lazarus Saturday Spiritual Outing 2011
By Olena Pawluk-Fitza, Pysanka Instructor
On Lazarus Saturday, April 16th 2011, with the blessing of the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA His Grace Bishop Daniel, the faithful of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Bensenville IL, along with Orthodox Homeschooling families from the area attended a Spiritual Outing to the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God Serbian Orthodox Monastery (New Gracanica) in Third Lake, IL.
The day started with Divine Liturgy served by His Grace Bishop Longin of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Thomas Kazich – Abbot of the Monastery, Rev. Stavrofor Milorad Loncar, and Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynyuk of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Choir members from Holy Trinity joined the Monastery choir and prayerfully sang the responses in Ukrainian, Church Slavonic, Serbian, Greek and English.
All of the children also received bells to wear which is symbolic of a Serbian Tradition – while ringing bells, the children in Serbia would go into the woods on Lazarus Saturday to cut Willow branches, and bring them back to the Church to have Blessed.
Because of inclement weather, the Blessing of the Willows was done inside the Church, but that did not dampen the spirit of the faithful. All the children wore their bells and gathered around as Vladyka Longin Blessed the Willows. After Liturgy, Archimandrite Thomas Kazich and Father Bohdan distributed the Willows to everyone.
After Liturgy, everyone was invited to the Serbian Children's Camp Hall for a delicious Lenten lunch which was prepared by the National Kolo Se Stara (Serbian Sisterhood).After lunch, all the children, even as young as two years old, enjoyed making traditional Ukrainian Pysanky. The Pysanka workshop was taught by Olena Pawluk-Fitza, with assistant teachers Mira Hausser, Taras Rudenko, and Olena's oldest children -- Alexander and Andrianna Fitza.
We would like to extend a warm thank you to His Grace Vladyka Longin for inviting and accepting our guests with open arms, Mira Andjelkovic and the National Serbian Kolo Se Stara for making and serving the delightful lunch, and to Archimandrite Thomas Kazich, Mira Hausser, Taisa Ampulski, and George Demchenko for helping me organize this wonderful day. We are already looking forward to next year!