UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Parish Feast Day and 99th Anniversary Celebration at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL
A memorable weekend was celebrated in Chicago, Illinois on 1-2 August, 2015. The cathedral parish community of St. Volodymyr in Chicago celebrated not only the patronal feast day, but also the ninety-ninth anniversary of prayerful witness of St. Volodymyr’s legacy among the Christians of his heritage. This year, the cathedral community also commemorated the 1000th anniversary of repose of Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Volodymyr. It was truly a special opportunity and time to celebrate these momentous occasions.
Festivities began on Saturday with the arrival of the eparchial bishop of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA - His Grace Bishop Daniel, who flew for the celebrations directly from Kyiv, Ukraine where he was attending various Church-related activities representing the UOC of the USA. Celebrating the Vespers service at the Cathedral, the community prayerfully entered into the spiritual journey, which was to culminate with the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist on Sunday morning, calling everyone in attendance to share in one Sacred Cup.
On Sunday morning, the altar servers of the cathedral parish family led the procession with Vladyka Daniel from the rectory to the church. His Grace was met at the church doors by representatives of the parish youth, who warmly greeted the spiritual father of the Church on behalf of the children of the cathedral community in both English and Ukrainian languages. Vladyka Daniel lowered himself in front of the children and thanked them for their words of welcome and numerous bouquets of flowers, which were handed to the hierarch. At the end of the greeting, bishop offered a pastoral parental kiss of love to the youth of the parish community. The parish board of administration president, Roman Deshkant and St. Olha Ukrainian Orthodox Sisterhood president Pani Nadia Brushenko greeted the bishop with the traditional bread and salt on behalf the parish clergy and faithful. Fr. Ivan Lymar, concluded the welcoming greetings, stating “… Vladyka Daniel, we welcome you to your cathedral parish family and beg your prayers for us and the people of our much loved and now much suffering ancestral homeland Ukraine!” Responding to the greetings of welcome, the bishop briefly reflected upon power of prayer and intercession of the Church in Diaspora, especially in the USA, for the refugees and the men and women of the Ukrainian armed forces, who daily sacrifice their lives in protection of their homeland.
Bishop Daniel led the Archpastoral Divine Liturgy with assistants of Fr. Ivan Lymar and Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak, while assisted by 11 altar servers of the cathedral. The parish choir, who sang and chanted the responses and hymns, beautified the Liturgy. Volodymyr Popowych expertly directed the choir.
In his archpastoral sermon, Vladyka Daniel offered a brief reflection on the life of Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Volodymyr, presenting a memorable phrase – REALIZATION-CHANGE-ACTION, which was left with the parishioners of the cathedral for their personal reflection and prayer, as we are all called to live out our Faith.
Thirty and some children approached the Holy Eucharist and received the Body and Blood of Christ from the hands of their spiritual father.
The Liturgy concluded with the prayerful chanting of GOD, GRANT YOU MANY YEARS to the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of the Church, as well as to those that bare the names of St. Volodymyr and Prophet Elijah, whose feast day was also celebrated on Sunday, August 2, 2015.
After the veneration of the Holy Cross, our beloved bishop, clergy, and faithful, proceeded to the front yard of the Cathedral’s Center for a formal blessing of two new flags – of the United States of America and Ukraine. In the presence of hundreds of parishioners and guests of the cathedral community, the flags were blessed and dedicated, and while the national anthems of both nations were chanted - the flags were raised.
Following the blessing of food, this year’s celebration of the community’s parish feast day took upon itself a new dimension: men and women, children and youth, dressed in traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts, gathered together for the formal celebration of the feast in form of a picnic. Hundreds of pounds of meat, varenyky, holubtsi and other foods were prepared and offered for consumption by the dedicated volunteers of the cathedral’s community. The music selections of Ukrainian popular songs and various performers enriched the festivities, while the visiting clergy from Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic parishes of Metropolitan Chicago area interacted with people in attendance, partaking in conversations and thought provoking discussions about the spiritual and moral wellbeing of Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic parishes in the area.