UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Memorial Day Observed at the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
With the chiming of church bells of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ began this year’s prayerful observance of Memorial Day at the spiritual center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA on May 30, 2016.
Several priests from the area, parishioners of various Orthodox and Catholic communities of the immediate Somerset County/Franklin Township area, along with numerous veterans of the US armed forces gathered around the newly blessed and dedicated memorial to the fallen heroes – Ukrainian-American Veterans Monument in order to offer prayers for those that sacrificed their lives in the service of our nation.
His Grace Bishop Daniel led the Memorial service, while the choir of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) students chanted prayerful responses. “Memorial Day is a time to remember those who kept the faith and died in service to our country...It is our duty as Americans to praise their sacrifice, to bless their memories, to pray for their eternal repose, and to thank God for the freedom they preserve for us.” - Bishop Daniel stated in his remarks following the conclusion of the Memorial Panakhyda.
The origins of Memorial Day date back to the Civil War when many cities and towns would set aside a day to remember those who died in the war. Originally called Decoration Day, it was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 of that year when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. It 1971, Congress passed a law placing the celebration of Memorial Day on the last Monday in May.
“… As we all know, freedom does not come free. We, of Ukrainian heritage know this well. There is a price that we pay for our freedom. From our ancestors in Ukraine, fighting for their God-given right of freedom to the modern day American Ukrainians in this county, who because of their heritage, understood the importance of independence and freedom. I am here with you to pay tribute to the thousands of brave Ukrainian-Americans who have answered the call of duty, who have stepped up and paid that price. Many have died defending our freedom. They have paid the ultimate price. Many have suffered debilitating physical and mental injuries in defense of freedom. We owe them more than we can ever give them for their sacrifice. Today, I bow my head before you in gratitude for your service and witness, for your willingness to ensure the bright future for our next generations…” continued Vladyka Daniel addressing a group of participants of this year’s Memorial Day liturgical services.
Memorial Day Observed at the Metropolia Center - 05/30/2016
Photos by Elizabeth Symonenko and Seminarian Hryhorii Matviiv