UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bishop Daniel Visits the Ukrainian Orthodox Community in Sharon, PA
On, Sunday, October 11, 2015, His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America, made a pastoral visit to St John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He was accompanied by four seminarians from St. Sophia Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey – Subdeacon Ivan Chopko, seminarians Mykola Zomchak, Mykhailo Bokalo and Ihor Protsak. The congregation was excited to have the honor of hosting their hierarch, but it was also the day for two of its faithful to be recognized.
The procession started at the parish house with the children of the church leading His Grace to the church with bells, banners, and a carpet of rose petals. As he entered the church, he was greeted by the youngest girls with bouquets of yellow roses. The president of the parish board of administration, Myron Worona, greeted His Grace in the age-old Ukrainian traditional, with bread and salt. He was then presented with a whisk and holy water by Andrew Bungar, an Altar boy of the church. As he handed this to the Bishop he asked His Grace to pray for the youth of the church and to give His blessing to begin a newly formed Junior UOL chapter at this parish. Finally, the pastor of the parish family, Fr. Andrew extended the cross to His Grace to welcome him on his first visit to this parish.
The church was filled for this event. Serving at the Liturgy were Very Reverend Mitered Protopriest John Harvey, Dean of the Penn-Ohio Deanery of the UOC of the USA and Protopresbyter Michael Polinichka of the Carpatho-Russian Church. His Grace Bishop Daniel, captured the hearts of everyone. His calmness and controlled demeanor truly manifested grace.
Before the Liturgy started, Edward Rock was tonsured a reader. Ed Rock was brought up in this parish community and served as an altar boy. He had, also been honored to have read the Epistle in English from time to time. Although not active in the church for many years, circumstances brought him back to the beautiful church of his youth. Having been tonsured a reader is, “a great honor that I only pray that I’m worthy of.” Ed is taking the place of the most pious Reader, Jack Barker, who has been deeply involved in serving this parish for decades.
Fr. Andrew Gall was elevated to the rank of Very Reverend during the Small Entrance of the Liturgy. Fr. Andrew is a graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary. His ministry took him to the Eastern Orthodox Foundation near Indiana, Pennsylvania, to St Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Monessen, Pennsylvania, and to St. John the Baptist Church in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He has been attached this church for ten years. It was at St. John the Baptist that Fr. Andrew was ordained 27 years ago.
After the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, the Bishop, visiting clergy, seminarians, parish members, and guests were hosted to a feast prepared by parish members. Fr. Andrew was honored by visiting clergy with many memories of times gone by.
Vladyka Daniel updated everyone about current events and recent changes in the life of the Church. He stated that Metropolitan Antony was in Jerusalem on this day and was praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the congregation of this parish. Most inspiring was his comment about his experience meeting mother Theresa, who described herself “as a pencil in God’s hand, who is writing a letter of love the world.” He encouraged us all to take this to heart and to be more inclusive with our Christian acts of kindness and love to all.
It is an honor for this church, the home parish of Metropolitan Antony, to now have the priest leading them in prayer be elevated to the rank of Very Reverend, and a very devout Reader Edward Rock chanting the Epistle and assisting Fr. Andrew in Liturgical and ministerial services of the parish family.