St. Andrew Feast Day
Silver Spring , Maryland
What is more beautiful than the sparkle of sunshine on freshly fallen snow? It is a parish community, warmly coming together to celebrate its Feast Day, surrounded by the wonder of such snow outside. On Sunday, December 10, 2017 Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD celebrated its patron feast day, continuing a wonderful tradition of community celebration.
Our Prime Heirarch, Metropolitan Antony, led a truly beautiful Liturgy. His profound sermon reminded us of the importance of giving to others, spoke to our hearts and allowed us to be spiritually rejuvenated. Our Cathedral pastor, Father Volodymyr Steliac, along with Father Claudiu Lutai and Father Vasyl Kryshtompol, from St. Michael’s parish in Baltimore, assisted in the Liturgy, providing all present with peace and tranquility. In addition, Deacon Ivan Tchopko and three seminarians, along with the Cathedral altar servers, contributed to the Liturgical beauty.
The day began with the altar boys leading Metropolitan in the procession from the rectory to the doors of the Church, where His Eminence was greeted by a number of parish children offering flowers and smiles. The Sisterhood president, Panimatka Marta Steliac and the Parish Council president, Tamara Woroby, welcomed Metropolitan with traditional Ukrainian bread and greetings. Despite the unexpected snowfall that had made driving treacherous, the Church was filled to capacity and the Liturgy was a true gift to all.
At the end of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Antony thanked the Choir, led by Gregory Oleynik, for a great job and asked all the parishioners to sing ‘Mnohaya Lita’ to the choir members. His Eminence greeted Father Volodymyr, who that day was celebrating 22 years from the day of ordination to the priesthood. He then asked Panimatka Marta to come to the front of the Church, and acknowledged her enormous contribution to the parish. We all happily sang ‘Mnohaya Lita’ to Father Volodymyr, Panimatka Marta and their two sons Alexander and Daniel, who stood behind them. Everyone in the Church knew how much this family is loved and appreciated.
In the Parish Hall, members of the Sisterhood had prepared a great feast. Bountiful appetizers and refreshments were served. As soon as the head table was seated, the Parish Brotherhood, along with parish youth, gallantly served a three-course gourmet meal to every parishioner and guest. Center pieces had been artistically prepared by Svitlana Kozyr, and everyone marveled at the beautiful Christmas trees on the stage, which had been decorated under the direction of Lida Czumak. Much of the early critical logistics had been done by Olga Coffey and Vera DeBuchananne, and that included the decoration of two twelve feet Christmas trees in the Church.
Among the guests were Ukrainian Embassy diplomats, in particular General Volodymyr Havryliv, as well as Bishop Bura, Father Vasyl Kharuk and Father Alexander Dumenko from the Ukrainian Catholic churches. Many parishioners from St. Michael Parish, Baltimore, MD joined us as well.
Parish Council President Tamara Woroby served as MC for the program, the highlight of which was the announcement of the Parishioner of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards, which were presented by Metropolitan Antony. The recipient of the Parishioner of the Year Award was Raisa Zolotar, who is much involved in the Choir, the Sisterhood, the Festival and willingly takes an active role in all parish activities and events. Her daughter Sveta is a member of the parish and was in attendance to see her mother receive this honor.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mrs. Olena Korytnyk, who for decades, and with a most charitable attitude, has made, and continues to make, an important contribution to many aspects of parish life. Her two daughters, Christine and Natalka, are parish members, and her son, Peter, serves as Secretary on the Parish Council.
Before dessert, we were treated to a glorious flute and violin concert, by the immensely talented duo of Solomia Horohivska and Andrij Pidkivka. After the meal and closing prayers, many parishioners and guests stayed on for hours, since no one wanted to interrupt such special moments in our life. Following on the heels of this fall’s Fifteenth Annual Washington Ukrainian Festival, which welcomed some fifteen thousand people and demanded the involvement of every parishioner, our St Andrew Feast day was a much-appreciated spiritual and social celebration for all.