UKRAINIAN ORHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
The Newly Elected Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Visits the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Woonsocket, RI!
This past Sunday marked a historical day in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox community in Woonsocket: His Eminence, Metropolitan-elect Antony visited St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He had visited the golden-domed parish many times as its bishop and archpastor, but this was the first time since he was elected as the leader of the entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (UOC-USA).
Metropolitan-elect Antony came to Woonsocket to lead the St. Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its yearly patronal celebrations and to meet with the leadership and members of the parish. The festivities began Saturday evening with the celebration of the All-Night Vigil. An erstwhile parishioner,, Deacon John Charest of Chicago, served alongside the rector of the parish, Father Anthony Perkins and Father Onisie Morar, the priest of neighboring St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church. The cantors, led by Reader Michael Abrahamson, sounded so beautiful that His Eminence invited them to perform the All-Night Vigil at his enthronement. In his remarks at the end of the service, he described in detail the beauty of serving Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Everyone was moved by his recollection.
After the service, parishioners and visitors enjoyed a reception for the Metropolitan-elect at the St. Michael's rectory. Those who did not know His Eminence were struck by his accessibility, kindness, and wit. He is a bishop that is easy to love. It was a nice warm gathering of people who obviously shared a great love for one another, their God, and His Church.
The next morning began with the traditional “bread and salt” greeting of the bishop by the laity of the parish. Jr. UOL Convention singing sensation, Betsy Abrahamson greeted him with flowers and Christine Charest presented him a beautiful and colorful decorated sweet bread. After the visiting seminarians had vested the bishop with full pomp and ceremony in the center of the Church, two of the parish's subdeacons, Paul Cherkas and Joshua Bourgery, led Michael Abrahamson and Nicholas Perkins forward. +Antony tonsured Nicholas as a reader for the parish and Michael, who is enrolled in a diaconal training program, to the subdeaconate. This is a great honor and, along with the many children present at the service, helps ensure the future health and vigor of the community. Later, during the “Little Entrance” of the Divine Liturgy, +Antony presented Fr. Anthony with the first award of the priesthood, the nabedrinnik (shield).
The Hierachical Divine Liturgy was beautiful. Deacon John Charest has a deep voice, which complemented both the wonderful choir, under the direction of Dinna Eichorn, and the baritone of the second deacon, Vasyl Dovhan. At the end of the Liturgy, Metropolitan-elect Antony thanked the choir for their excellent work. He noted that the St. Michael's choir is always a joy to serve with because they sound so beautiful and are always so well prepared for the extra rigors of the hierarchical services.
After the Divine Liturgy, the parish reconvened at the Village Haven in North Smithfield for the parish banquet. Nicholas Perkins gave a talk thanking parishioners for their support of his Summer missionary work and encouraging all the youth to go on mission trips and to All Saint's Camp. The highlight of this event was, once again, the St. Michael choir, this time singing “America the Beautiful” (in honor of our veterans) and a selection of Ukrainian folk songs.
You can see and hear the beauty of the All-Night Vigil and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on-line by visiting the St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church website (www.stmichaeluoc.org) and clicking on the link to their YouTube channel. You can also see more pictures from the weekend at our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/StMichaelUOC).