UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Memorial Day Observance at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL!
While some see Memorial Day Weekend as a weekend off, cookout time, retail sale day or the unofficial start of summer, the faithful of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL paid a special tribute this year to honor those who died for American freedoms.
His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA led the faithful of the cathedral parish family in the Sunday Divine Liturgy and the Memorial Service, remembering those that have served their homeland with dedication, honor and sacrifice. The bishop stated: “What is Memorial Day? For most of us, the observance of Memorial Day in the United States is always about those that fought and sacrificed many human necessities even their own lives to free the world from dictatorial dominance during World War II. While the United States has participated in many wars from the American Revolution, the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War and the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many men and women have answered the call to service and sacrifice through military service. We also need to recall and commemorate the millions of Americans that assisted the war efforts over the years through their skills and talents.
In countless cemeteries across the country, and in town centers, people gather to honor those who died in service to our country. Today and tomorrow, we pay tribute to them and to all those who gave their lives in defense of our nation’s liberty and freedom.
As we honor our fallen heroes, it is also fitting that we express our deep gratitude for the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world–we pray for their safe return.
For some years, I was privileged to serve as a chaplain to an Army Reserve unit. Their monthly drills, their special drills that took them half way around the world to prove their readiness, taught me how arduous is the role even of those whose commitment to the service is on a part-time basis. Even more, I hear from those who now are chaplains of the generosity and of the love of country of those who serve in these days.
The words of our Lord in the Gospel touch directly the theme of this Memorial Day weekend: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
Looking at the framed list of the deceased parishioners of the cathedral parish family, who have served in the armed forces of the United States, the Bishop continued: “During today’s Liturgy we give thanks for the heroes and heroines who have died to preserve our freedoms. We pray that they may rest in God’s everlasting peace. Let us also pray for those in the armed services today that they may find in living out God’s commandments and the Beatitudes of our Lord a path to happiness and peace of heart. Their commitment to principles of justice, decency and goodness will bring blessings to individuals, to families and to our country.
This commitment will also be a way of keeping faith with those honored dead whom we remember today. God grant them peace and God grant us the grace to hallow their memory by our noble purposes and deeds.”
Photos by Subdeacon Vasyl Dovgan