UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Holy Thursday Liturgical Services in Chicago Deanery!
There are four events commemorated on Thursday of Holy Week: the washing of the disciples' feet, the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas.
The faithful of Chicago Deanery of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA were blessed to experience all four of these sacred commemorations, while attending the liturgical services of the day at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL.
Holy Thursday morning started at the cathedral with the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, which was concelebrated by the clergy of the Chicago Deanery with His Grace Bishop Daniel. This Liturgy commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and it was spiritually uplifting to see the clergy of the Deanery (Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynuk – pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL; Archimandrite Pankratij – pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Very Rev. Raymond Sundland – pastor of Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Pro-Cathedral in Hammond, IN; Rev. Fr. Walter Hwostik – pastor of Annunciation of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Milwaukee, WI; Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha – pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL; Rev. Fr. Silouan Rolando – pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Goshen, IN; Very Rev. Fr. Andriy Shelvakh and Rev. Fr. Taras Maximtsev, as well as Protodeacon Mykola Dilendorf and Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL) pray together at the Altar of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. The bishop in his remarks reminded the faithful in attendance that “The Eucharist is at the center of the Church's life. It is her most profound prayer and principal activity. It is at one and the same time both the source and the summit of her life. In the Eucharist the Church manifests her true nature and is continuously changed from a human community into the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and the People of God… Our new life in Christ is constantly renewed and increased by the Eucharist. The Eucharist imparts life and the life it gives is the life of God.”
Drawing near the conclusion of the Vesperal Liturgy, an ancient and sacred Rite of Washing of Feet took place in the nave of the cathedral. It appears that the Early Church had a ceremony of the Washing of the Feet annually on Great Thursday in imitation of the event at the Last Supper. For the most part, it was limited to Cathedral Churches and certain monasteries. In time, the service fell into disuse except in certain areas. It is now being recovered by many dioceses throughout the Orthodox world. The service is elaborate, dramatic and moving.
The bishop with the clergy processed from the sanctuary to the nave of the church in order to spiritually put into action the very example of humility and service to others that was preached by our Savior. By washing the feet of His disciples, the Lord summarized the meaning of His ministry, manifested His perfect love and revealed His profound humility. The act of the washing of the feet (John 13:2-17) is closely related to the sacrifice of the Cross. While the Cross constitutes the ultimate manifestation of Christ's perfect obedience to His Father (Philippians 2:5-8), the washing of the feet signifies His intense love and the giving of Himself to each person according to that person's ability to receive Him (John 13:6-9).
The eparchial bishop, having taken off his outer vestments approached each priest and in Christ like manner washed the feet of his clergy, dried them up with a towel and prayerfully kissed them, thus as a spiritual father of the Eparchy and a successor to the Apostles he instructed the clergy and the faithful in attendance the importance of humility, love and sacrifice in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.