St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Parish of Bayonne, NJ Marks 80th Anniversary
80 years have passed from the day when the first Ukrainian Orthodox Christians settled in the immediate area surrounding a city of 186 years of its own history. St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Bayonne, NJ became home to numerous immigrants that throughout history flocked to the parish’s temple: Ukrainians from Eastern and Western Ukraine, Ukrainian Romanians, Orthodox Christians of Polish descent and most recently converts to the Holy Orthodoxy – thus truly being a temple for the people of Christ who came to seek better economic life and religious freedom in a New World.
80 years later, on September 23rd 2017, two hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel crossed the sacred threshold of the parish’s temple in order to once again mark an anniversary of faithful service. Children and members of the parish’s board of administration as well as the pastor of St. Sophia parish, Very Rev. Fr. Myroslav Schirta welcomed the hierarchs to the temple for a formal liturgical consecration of the new altar and renewed icons.
Assisted by twelve priests of various Orthodox jurisdictions of the United States of America, the UOC of the USA hierarchs led the consecration of the altar service and the procession with the relics of Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon as well as the relics of Holy Martyrs of Chernihiv.
With the proclamation of the Holy Gospel and reflection on it, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony touched everyone in attendance with the words of spiritual reflection and call to spiritual awakening and renewal, just as the parish church is being renewed and rededicated 80 years since its foundation and establishment.
With about 50 adult communicants, Archbishop Daniel administered the Most holy Eucharist also to the smallest members of the parish community: about 40 children approached the sacred chalice with their parents and sponsors.
In conclusion of the liturgical service, a short prayer service was offered in front of the Myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God (from Taylor, PA), which remained in the parish’s temple for the entire weekend. Hundreds of faithful had a chance to witness the miracle of the Birth-Giver’s presence on their lives and to receive a blessing for the healing of souls and body from the Vladyka Daniel with the oil streaming from the icon’s sacred image of the Theotokos.