UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to St. Demetrius Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Cartert, NJ
By Deacon James Cairns
On November 3, 2013, the prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony once again visited his beloved flock at St. Demetrius Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral for their annual celebration of St. Demetrius Day. His Eminence was greeted upon his arrival with flowers and love from the children of the parish. He was then met by Mr. Richard Stokes, President of the Cathedral’s Board of Administration, who presented the Metropolitan with a traditional gift of bread. Protopresbyter Dr. Taras Chubenko, pastor of St. Demetrius, then came forward and welcomed the Metropolitan on his annual visit. His Eminence thanked Father Taras for his welcome and expressed his joy at once again visiting the faithful of Carteret.
With the words “Eis Polla Eti Despota” being sung by the choir, His Eminence entered the body of the church. After the entrance prayers and the great censing, His Eminence proceeded to ordain Reader Nicholas Obrizan to the Subdeaconate. After placing the orar upon Subdeacon Nicholas, the Metropolitan reminded him that he was undertaking yet another step towards the priesthood, having taken the first step when he was tonsured a reader. He emphasized that the orar being crossed over Nicholas’s body was emblematical of the cross that we should all bear, that cross that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, took up for us. He turned to the faithful and asked that they remember Nicholas in their prayers not only today but every day as he continues his journey in the church.
The Divine Liturgy was then celebrated with Protopresbyter Taras, Father Francis Rella and Father Vasyl Dovgan concelebrating with the Metropolitan and Deacon James Cairns, participating. The Gospel reading for the day was that of the rich man asking for Lazarus the beggar to quench his thirst. During his sermon, His Eminence relayed a story about a poor man who frequented a church for months without once being greeted, until finally once day the sole of his shoe touched that of the man sitting next to him in the pew. The man reached out to the poor man and welcomed him as Christ taught us we should all do. The poor man was overcome with emotion as for the first time someone looked past his external appearance, and his soul was touched by another as the soles of their shoes had connected. The Metropolitan reminded us that if the rich man in the Gospel had bothered to look past the externals of Lazarus the beggar, then he might not have been tormented in the afterlife.
Following the Liturgy, the entire congregation gathered for a photograph before retiring to the church center where a short memorial service was held for those remembered in the Tree of Life at the center. An agape meal was then served for all present with Father Vasyl Pasakas, and his wife, from the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox parish in South Plainfield, NJ joining the festivities. After a closing prayer, the Metropolitan departed with the seminarians, promising to return again in the future.