UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Metropolitan Antony and Bishop Daniel Participate in the XXIII SOBOR of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
The conferences of the 23rd SOBOR of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada commenced on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 with the clergy and faithful gathering in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Fort Garry Hotel in the La Verendrye Room to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Chapel for the XXIII SOBOR. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel participated in the proceedings of the XXIII Sobor, offering greetings and reflections throughout the sessions of the Sobor, thus expressing brotherly love of the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
On Wednesday, July 15, the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Metropolitan Cathedral on Main Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This liturgy preceded the official opening of the 23rd SOBOR of the UOCC. Primate ofthe Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij, Archbishop of Winnipeg and the Central Eparchy presided over the service.
Following the Liturgy a Moleben’ to St. Volodymyr the Great was served on the occasion of the 1000th year of his repose. The 23rd SOBOR was officially opened with the procession of the Icon of the Canadian Mother of God written by Vera Lazarovich Senchuk, member of the St. Mary the Protectress cathedral in Winnipeg, MB.
His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij addressed the SOBOR participants, bringing greetings. He was followed by His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who conveyed greetings and blessings from the Ecumenical Patriarch. His Grace Bishop Ilarion and His Grace Bishop Andriy also spoke, highlighting the theme of the SOBOR regarding brethren living together in harmony, guided by the Holy Spirit. His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of the UOC of the USA reminded us that we ought to celebrate being the Light of Christ for the world around us.
Among numerous workshops and session, lively discussion took place around the topics of Parish Development, Youth Engagement and Spiritual Renewal. It was noted by one of the presenters that the Church is a family in Christ, whose life is centered on the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, which is immersion into Christ’s death, whereby we take a firm stand against the evil passions and ways of this transitory fallen world, and emersion in Christ to manifest a life of joy, love and the good works of His Kingdom.
Further in the week there was a formal election of the new Consistory Board and the Presidium of the Consistory of the UOCC. Following the formal voting, it was announced that Very Rev. Fr. Taras Udod was elected as the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Metropolitan Yurij expressed profound gratitude to the outgoing chancellor Fr. Victor Lakusta for his diligent, self-sacrificing exercise of his duties – and also to his family for their support of his demanding ministry. The Sobor responded with an extended standing ovation.
On the third day of the XXIII Sobor – Clergy/Laity Congress of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada - Friday, July 17, 2015, at 6:00 pm over 170 guests gathered on the premises of Ft. Garry hotel in Winnipeg, Canada for the Convocation, Inauguration and Awards Ceremony of St. Andrew’s College of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
The Master of Ceremonies, V. Rev. Fr. Roman Bozyk, Dean of Theology and Acting Principal of St. Andrew’s College, welcomed everyone in attendance and introduced the members of the Platform Party. Having completed the formal introductory presentations, His Eminence Metropolitan Yuriy, primate of the UOCC, took podium in the capacity of the Chancellor of St. Andrew College in order to present the recipient of the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree – the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA His Eminence Metropolitan Antony. Reflecting on Vladyka Antony’s spiritual path, Metropolitan Yuriy made numerous references to the kind and gentle leadership skills that Vladyka Antony obtained as a student of St. Andrew’s College and shared with the student body and his flock as a priest, a bishop and now as a Primate of the UOC of the USA.
Having bestowed upon the Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA Honorary Doctorate, Metropolitan Yuriy invited His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to deliver a Convocation Address in which he spoke directly to the seminary graduates discussing the importance of each one of them coming to a “knowledge one’s self” in order to be prepared to apply the teachings and principles presented to us by our Lord in the Holy Gospels and all of Holy Scripture.
Following the Metropolitan’s address several degrees were awarded and presented to the graduates of St. Andrew’s College. Moreover, the Convocation ceremonies included presentation of Scholarship and Bursary Awards to deserving students of the Faculty of Theology and the seminarians of the UOCC. These awards are made possible thanks to the many generous donors who recognize the importance of encouraging and rewarding academic endeavors.
The program concluded with the Ceremonial Recessional and was followed by a delightful reception during which the students and guests had the opportunity to visit and pose for photographs, which will become part of their fond College memories.
On the final day of the Sobor, the delegates adopted numerous resolutions, which expressed love and concern over the political and religious unstable circumstances in Ukraine. Moreover, a number of resolutions called upon the spiritual renewal of the parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. Following the conclusion of the Sobor, a festive banquet took place on Saturday, July 18, 2015 during which his Grace Bishop Daniel deliver a keynote address titled: “Enter to Worship – Exit to Serve!”. During his presentation, the bishop of the UOC of the USA stated: “…The true life of the believer comes from our life in God. We bring to Him a sacrifice of our lives, our gifts, the fruit of our labor and lay it at His feet. The premise for most Christians today is what can God do for them instead of how can I worship God with all that is within me.
The Scriptures teach us that everyone has something to offer. When we worship in the fullness of our lives, God then fills us to be able to affect our world. We then exit to serve God through proclaiming His Word, serving those around us and proclaiming His name in all the earth. Everything we do in Church is to help us fulfill God’s calling on our lives in the world… The Church is supposed to be equipped for ministry. We are not banks that collect money, we are a prayerful Christian home that receives, spends, gives and shares... Everyone should be able to proclaim the message and everyone should have the opportunity and privilege to praise God we serve. That should not happen just on Sunday mornings between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. We should be able to give God praise in our homes and throughout the week. I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour – when the faithful transform the experience of a religious worship service – the LITURGY – into the practical way of life.” Following a formal banquet, a short musical presentation was offered by Fr. Volodymyr Kushnir.
The XXIII Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada concluded in the same manner in which it began – the hierarchs, clergy and delegates gathered around the sacred altar of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Winnipeg for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. All hierarchs of the Church concelebrated: His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij (UOCC), His Eminence Metropolitan Antony (UOC USA), His Grace Bishop Ilarion (UOCC), His Grace Bishop Andriy (UOCC) and His Grace Bishop Daniel (UOC USA). The clergy of the newly elected Consistory assisted the hierarchs at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Later in the day, the parish family of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Winnipeg, Canada, offered a formal farewell luncheon.
The hierarchs of the UOC of the USA departed for the their home flock in the United States of America on Monday, July 20, 2015.