UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit to Portland, OR!
Subdeacon Vasyl Pasakas
On Friday, August 26, 2011, His Grace Bishop Daniel brought the Western Eparchy parish communities a little closer to each other with a visit to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Portland, OR.
The community patiently awaited the arrival of their eparchial bishop in order to share with him the plans for the future of the parish family as well as to inform the hierarch of the completed projects in the life of the parish since last episcopal visit.
About a dozen parishioners traveled to Portland International Airport in order to be the first ones to welcome their bishop to the West Coast. Children, presenting flowers to Bishop Daniel approached the hierarch and asked for his blessing, as a spiritual father of the parish. Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Petrouchtchak welcomed the bishop, reminding everyone of the meaning of bishop’s role in the life of the Church.
On Saturday afternoon and evening, Bishop Daniel had plenty of opportunities to visit with the parishioners of the parish community, especially the “Varenyky” workers, whose ministry sponsored various reconstruction projects in the life of the parish.
In the evening, the bishop assisted by Rev. Fr. Ihor Bobak of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Seattle, WA led a Vespers service, following which the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA reflected on the significance of the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, reminding the faithful of a beautiful practice of the Church to begin and end the Church Year with a feast day dedicated to the faithful life and service of the Birth-Giver of God. The Bishop also related a historical account of the Dormition feast, while calling upon the faithful of the parish to always remember Mother of God’s faithful answer to her vocational call and ministry.
Once again, leading the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Daniel addressed the faithful in his sermon, reflecting on the feast of Dormition, yet addressing the challenges of the modern world. "An awful lot of people have a concept of God that is [near the maturity of] the second grade… People do not grow up with an image of God. The image is frozen." The hierarch explained that "you can will your own existence after death." He expressed an observation of today's youth as being lackadaisical towards religion and caught up in the belief that "self makes self" instead. "We don't have a vertical relationship with God. We have a horizontal one," he said. "We see God in water and wine, in bread and oil, but we don't see these things as charged with divinity." Bishop Daniel said that he is well aware of the predicament youth fall prey to, concerning their faith. "The meaning of life has always been a challenge," he said. Faith, according to the bishop, requires an active participation of the faithful. "We are not supposed to hold back anything," he said. "[There is] no topic we couldn't explore."
Using the opportunity to visit with the parishioners, the bishop touched upon a variety of topics, including the social and moral dilemmas of our society, as well as the growing concern over the issue of secularization and materialism. Advising against society's tendency to live life materialistically, Bishop Daniel commented on the growing popularity of what he called "trophy possessions," or items purchased mainly to impress peers, not to really live by their value, in the traditional sense. "The house isn't something I am going to live in," the bishop explained. Today, rather, the mentality is that a house is "a reflection of where I come from… the model of a car defines us as people, etc" Having challenged and spiritually uplifted the faithful, the bishop returned back to the Holy Space and continued to preside over the Divine Liturgy.
The day was special in yet another way. The pastor of the parish’s family Fr. Ivan and Pani-dobrodijka Myroslawa Petrouchtchak were blessed with a birth of their son, a child of God Zachariah, who was Chrismated by His Grace Bishop Daniel in the presence of the entire parish family. God grant the child of God Zachary and his parents and godparents many blessed and healthy years.
The day concluded with a luncheon, prepared by the parish’s membership in honor of their bishop.