UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
New Mosaic Blessed in Bayonne, NJ
On Sunday, September 21, the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Birth-Giver of God, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and His Grace Bishop Daniel, Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Holy Wisdom Ukrainian Orthodox parish, Bayonne, NJ. Assisting the hierarchs of the Church were Rev. Fr. Myroslav Schirta - pastor of the parish family, Archimandrite Aphanasiy of St. Tikhon Orthodox Monastery and Hieromonk Paisius (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese).
That same day, the parish presented for the blessing of the hierarchs a newly installed mosaic of Holy Wisdom over the exterior door of the main entrance to the parish’s temple. Prior to the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, both bishops, escorted by the clergy and the faithful of the parish’s community processed to the front entrance for the blessing service. The mosaic became a prayerful reality through the generosity of Catherine Havrylo.
At the Small Entrance of the Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, on behalf of the Council of Bishops of the UOC of the USA elevated the pastor of the parish’s community – Rev. Fr. Myroslav Schirta to the rank of Protopriest with a blessing to wear a gold cross.
The Liturgy was served in Ukrainian, English and Romanian, in the presence of a multitude of worshipers. Following the chanting of the Gospel lessons, His Eminence delivered a sermon: “…On this radiant and joyous Sunday, we celebrate the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Birth-Giver of God. This feast is the dayspring that proceeds the sunrise, proclaiming joy to the whole world by that joy, experienced by the Holy Righteous Joachim and Anna, for a child is born from whom the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, will shine forth… This feast proclaimed joy to the whole world – the birth of the Ever-Virgin Mary and the coming birth of the Savior. The Holy Righteous Joachim and Anna had long mourned their inability to conceive a child, and they prayed that God might release them from their barrenness. Through their unceasing prayer and almsgiving, their spirits were gradually cleansed, and their love for and loyalty to God grew as a flame. For their undertakings, the Lord vouchsafed them to bear the Most-Blessed Mary, the Mother of God Himself, chosen from among all nations…”
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, numerous parishioners approached the myrrh-streaming icon of Holy and Righteous Anna, which was brought to the parish by Archimandite Aphanasiy of St. Tikhon Monastery (South Canna, PA). One by one, some 250 parishioners and visitors to the parish approached the icon and venerated the cross from the hands of Bishop Daniel.
At the conclusion of the liturgical services, the parish community hosted a reception in honor of the hierarchs and faithful that took part in the celebrations of the day. In honor of Fr. Myroslav’s elevation, the sisterhood prepared several cakes. The day ended with many joyous toasts and, after the final prayer, some music performed by parishioners and children of the parish. Among numerous music pieces, the melody, written by Secret Garden and performed by the children of the parish specially touched Bishop Daniel and parents of over 50 children of the parish family.