UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Nineteenth Anniversary of Patriarch Mstyslav's Falling Asleep in the Lord
On 11 June, the 19th anniversary of the repose of Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora and first Patriarch of the Reborn Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Metropolitan/Patriarch Mstyslav, the Consistory staff and a few dozen faithful gathered in Holy Resurrection Mausoleum around the crypt where the Partriarch rests. This was the annual commemoration of his death and to recollection of the Metropolitan’s incredible leadership of the Church from 1950-1971 as Archbishop and President of the Consistory and 1972-1993 as Metropolitan.
His Eminence Archbishop Antony, the Locum Tenens of the UOC of the USA and His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA concelebrated the Memorial Pahakhyda, assisted by Rev. Fathers Yurij Siwko, Mykola Filyk and Deacon Vasyl Dovgan, with responses being sung by members of St. Andrew Memorial Church choir under the direction of Dr. Michael Andrec.
Following the Memorial Service, His Grace Bishop Daniel reflected upon the ministry of Patriarch Mstyslav in the life of the Church in the USA and in Ukraine. He paid special attention to the first time he ever saw the Patriarch when he was still a very young man as he passed in a motorcade through the Bishop’s native Buchach in Western Ukraine along with thousands of other faithful who simply wanted a glimpse of a holy man. In his remarks the bishop stated: “…We, Ukrainian Orthodox Christians of the 21st century, continue to live the legacy of our late Metropolitan and Patriarch, who dedicated his life to the establishment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in an independent country – our ancestral homeland Ukraine. Our forefathers laid down their lives so that the voice of millions of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians could be heard in equality with those of other nations, so that their prayers could be offered for the peace and stability of the world and their nations and so that they could not be forbidden to pray in the language of their forefathers! Our Church on this North American continent has been blessed by generations of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians who continue to pray in the language of their forefathers and yet open their doors and hearts to everyone who enters our temples. Here in United States of America we have been blessed to live with, benefitted by the fruits Partiarch Mstyslav’s labor in traveling regularly around the world, including to the Mother Church of Constantinople, seeking the establishment and recognition of the united Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It is our sacred responsibility to ensure that those labors as part of our Church’s mission - will serve as inspiration toward the final unity among Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and all Orthodox Christians throughout the world… May his memory be eternal!”
Archbishop Antony spoke briefly about his work with Metropolitan Mstyslav over the first decade of his hierarchal service to our Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He recalled the many times that the Metropolitan’s voice calling for the freedom of Ukraine and her Holy Orthodox Church was often the only such voice being heard in the world…even those who worked closely with him in the Consistory and Metropolitan Council just nodded their heads in salutary agreement – never believing that they would see such history taking place in their lives. The Archbishop expressed his gratitude to God that the Metropolitan – Patriarch of Ukraine – was blessed with the opportunity to see his vision and dream come true. He spoke of the Patriarch as that symbol of unity between Pre- and Post-Communist Ukraine – a powerful symbol who was greeted by thousands upon his first arrival in Ukraine following his election as Patriarch in 1990. The Archbishop recalled the joy he witnessed in the Patriarch’s eyes as he spent four months with him in Kyiv and saw ancient cathedrals and streets filled with the faithful and as he witnessed history in action watching the broadcast of Verkhovna Rada sessions on television.
The Archbishop announced to the faithful present that just before the 20th anniversary of the Patriarch’s repose – next year on 8 June – the Consistory will organize a Symposium on the life and work of the Metropolitan/Patriarch. Theologians and other scholars from around the world will be invited to participate in this symposium along with the faithful and friends of the Church. He urged those gathered to mark their calendars and plan to attend.