UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
13th Annual Washington, DC Ukrainian Festival
For the last thirteen years, St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral has hosted the Washington Ukrainian Festival. With the support of the Ukrainian Embassy and local organizations, this is a wonderful two-day celebration of Ukrainian culture. The reputation of the Festival has grown, and it is now established as one of the most popular traditional events in the metropolitan Washington DC area. This year the Festival took place September 19-20, and the weather was picture-perfect, with blue skies and temperatures in the 80’s.
The Festival is held on five acres of open field, behind the Cathedral and Cultural Center. The property includes a beautiful pond with a water fountain and wooded areas. All of this is on New Hampshire Ave, a road that if followed south will take one straight to the U.S. Capitol. The unique location of the Festival contributes to its success.
On Saturday, September 18, the Festival began with an official opening ceremony at which Fr. Volodymyr Steliac, the Cathedral pastor, introduced His Grace Bishop Daniel who offered opening prayers for the Festival. The visitors in attendance were greeted with the traditional bread and salt by the Ukrainian Dance Ensemble «UKRAINA» from Toronto, ON. The Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly as well as various State and Local government officials participated in the official opening. The entertainment that followed over the next two days, from Ukrainian dancing to bandura solos and band singers, from junior to senior violinists, was sensational and non-stop. Among numerous performers on the stage were Vasyl Popadiuk- violinist virtuoso from Montreal, Canada as well as Gerdan Ensemble (Solomia Gorokhivka and Andrei Pidkivka), etc. The Sisterhood prepared industrial quantities of delicious Ukrainian food, enough to feed over 10,000 people who come year after year to taste the delicacies prepared. This year along – 14,000 varenyky and 6,000 holubtsi (staffed cabbage) were made by the membership of the cathedral’s Sisterhood.
Many vendors displayed exotic Ukrainian gifts. There was a live pysanka demonstration as well as pottery demonstrations by Ukrainian ceramic artists. The children too were not left out of the festivities. Among the many fun things for them were pony rides, a moon bounce, and face-painting, etc. There were Church tours where people were able to become acquainted with Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
Sunday morning (September 20, 2015) gathered quite a large group of people for the Liturgy at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. His Grace Bishop Daniel presided over the service with about two hundred faithful in attendance representing Ukrainian, Romanian, Greek Orthodox communities of Washington Metropolitan area. While offering prayers for the peace and stability in Ukraine and throughout the world, Bishop Daniel reflected on the Sunday Gospel narrative of the Parable of Talents, stating ”This Gospel narrative is seen to illustrate a spiritual principle. It is vitally important how we respond to what is given to us. The good and faithful use of our gifts will lead to their increase. The neglect of our gifts will lead to their decrease.
What is Jesus saying to us through this parable? There are several important spiritual principles for us to note carefully:
- Whatever gifts we have are entrusted to us by God. Each gift is of value. No gift is to be despised.
- The gifts we have are to be developed and used. As they are developed and used, they will be enhanced and multiplied.
- The gifts are given to us in trust. They still belong to God. How we respond to God in his gifts is crucial. We are accountable to him for how we use them.
Used wisely and faithfully, our gifts will increase. Neglected and buried, they will decrease. Don't spend your time dreaming about those millions dollars that you see others have! Those are not the talents given to you."
God has entrusted you with gifts which are unique to you. They are for you to use on his behalf, to look after for him. Use your gifts wisely - don't bury them! The Lord wants to say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master's happiness!"
In conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the pastor of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD – Very Rev. Fr. Volodymyr Steliac introduced to Vladyka Daniel numerous visitors to the cathedral parish family, especially the faithful of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Community of Silver Spring, MD that arrived in numbers to participate in the Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral – a temporary place of worship for the parish family, while their parish temple is being constructed.
The Festival was truly a sight to behold: Ukrainian-Americans enjoying themselves alongside people of many diverse backgrounds against the backdrop of the golden -domed Cathedral All who came to the Festival were exposed to the best of Ukrainian culture. Whether it was the caliber of the artists, the wide-ranging display of Ukrainian handicrafts and artwork, or the mouth-watering food, it is clear that this Festival was enjoyed by many and is a fall tradition that is here to stay.