Those who pray before your holy icon, O Lady,
Are vouchsafed healing and receive the knowledge of the true faith,
And they repel the attacks of the Hagarenes.
Therefore entreat remission of sins
For us who fall down before you.
Enlighten our hearts to thoughts of piety,
And raise a prayer to your Son to save our souls.
(Troparion of the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv Icon)
On Friday evening, August 4th, the bells of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Freeland, Pennsylvania, rang a hierarchical greeting for the first time in their new home in Los Alamos, New Mexico. His Eminence Metropolitan ANTONY and His Eminence Archbishop DANIEL were met at the door of the new temple of the Saint Job of Pochaiv Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the President of the Parish’s Board of Administration Mr. Nicholas Gordon, the children of the parish, Father Theophan Mackey and the faithful of the church. Father Theophan then served Great Vespers to begin the celebration of the commemoration of the Our Lady of Pochaiv Icon, August 5th.
On Saturday morning the icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv that normally is situated in the high place of the church was brought to the entrance of the church. There it was prayed over and blessed by Archbishop DANIEL. Both hierarchs then entered the temple again and concelebrated the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom. Beside the full complement of the faithful, there were many visitors in attendance to witness this historic event. Father John Bethancourt of Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church in Santa Fe and Father Silouan and three of the brothers from the Monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael (OCA) in Cañones were in attendance as well. The joy of the day was evident and the choir and congregation both sang with full voice.
Following the liturgy, everyone retired to Pasta Paradiso, the Italian restaurant next door to the church, for a wonderful meal. There, the people of Los Alamos were able to meet the leaders of our church and receive their blessings.
In the evening, Great Vespers was revisited for the Resurrection and the commemoration of the Passion-bearers Boris and Hleb, August 6th. The parish council of the church then shared a meal with the hierarchs where they shared ideas for parish health and growth.
On Sunday morning the hierarchs gathered, with the faithful, and this time blessed the new temple with a copious dousing of holy water. The joy of this event, led by our beloved bishops, was palpable. Then with bent knees and bowed head they all prayed for the blessings of the Lord God to continue to abound in their temple. The Divine Liturgy which followed was again blessed with joyous music and wise instruction.
Thou wast a pillar of the True Faith;
a zealot of the commandments of the Gospel;
a denouncer of pride,
and a defender and teacher of the humble.
Therefore, those who honor thee pray for the remission of their sins,
and that this, thy holy habitation, be kept safe from all harm,
Job, our father, who resembled the long-suffering Patriarch of old.
-Kontakion of Job of Pochaiv
After a potluck, for hours, the hierarchs met with individuals and couples of the parish in private, listening to their concerns, giving advice, and praying with the faithful.
Monday morning, after a leisurely ride to the Valles Caldera, a nearby extinct volcano crater, the Hierarchs boarded their flight home from Santa Fe. Their presence was a great blessing to all of us, and the memory of their visit will remain with us for years to come.
May God grant our hierarchs many blessed years!
Eis polla eti despota!
New Parish Temple Blessed in Los Alamos, NM - 08/08/2017
Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak, Barbara Kobelka Addesion and Else-Maria Tennessen