Lenten Mission Weekend at St. Andrew Parish in Boston
Lenten Mission Weekend at St. Andrew Parish in Boston

Lenten Mission Weekend at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Boston

By Jane Yavarow

On Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18, 2018 St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Boston held its annual Lenten Mission with special guest, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony of the UOC of the USA. The Mission began on Saturday evening with Vespers led by Very Reverend Roman Tarnavsky of St. Andrew’s and assisted by visiting clergy, Very Reverend Stephen Masliuk from Bridgeport, CT, Reverend Borislav Kroner and Deacon Paul Cherkas both from Woonsocket, RI. The responses were rendered by Archdeacon Vasyl Janick, Deacon Michael Abrahamson, both from Woonsocket, RI and the choir of St. Andrew’s. After Vespers attendees partook of a Lenten supper prepared by St. Olha’s Sisterhood. Many parishioners contributed their Lenten specialties for all to enjoy.

Dinner was followed by the highlight of the evening, a Lenten talk by Vladyka Antony. His Eminence used the penitential prayer of the Judean king, Manasseh, as the basis of the first part of his talk. “…I bow the knee of my heart, beseeching thee for grace. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge mine iniquities; but I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me, and destroy me not with mine iniquities. Be not angry with me for ever, by reserving my evils for me; neither condemn me to the lower parts of the earth; for thou, O Lord, art the God of them that repent; and in me wilt thou show all thy goodness; for thou wilt save me that am unworthy, according to thy great mercy. And I will praise thee henceforth all the days of my life…” Through the exploration of this prayer, Vladyka reminded those in attendance of the way we can all seek atonement as we humbly ask God’s forgiveness.

Vladyko Antony also emphasized that a very important part of our daily life should be to seek our true religious inner soul as well as “theosis,” or union with God. He encouraged the audience to read the book, The Way of the Pilgrim. In this fictional account, a pilgrim journeys through the land trying to find a way to pray unceasingly. Metropolitan Antony’s message to us was that if we pray unceasingly we will be mindful and grateful to God for all that we have. A quote from the book sums this up. “The Apostle says: ‘pray without ceasing; that is, he teaches constant remembrance of God at all times, in all places, and under any circumstances. If you are busy doing something, you must remember the Creator of all things; if you see light, remember Him who gave it to you. If you look at the sky, the earth, the waters and all that is in it, marvel and glorify the Creator of all. If you are putting your clothes on, remember Him whose gift they are and thank Him who provides everything in your life. In short, let every action be an occasion for you always to remember and praise God. And before you know it you are praying unceasingly and your soul will always rejoice in this.’”

His Eminence’s talk was thought provoking and well received, a good prescription for those 40 guests in attendance seeking to be spiritually uplifted during Great Lent.

On the following day, Sunday, March 18, 2018, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the faithful of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Boston. He was welcomed with flowers presented by the children of the parish and greeted with bread and salt by Jane Yavarow, Parish Board President. Pastor of St. Andrew’s, Fr. Roman Tarnavsky, presented him with the cross and asked for his blessing. From the first “God, Grant you Many Years, Master!” to the final “Amen,” responses were beautifully rendered by the dedicated 18 member church choir under the direction of Jane Yavarow. During Vladyko Antony’s sermon he emphasized the importance of praying the prayer of St. St. Ephraim not only during Great Lent but every day as a guideline for the way we should live our daily lives.

After the Liturgy, all were treated to a Lenten Luncheon prepared by St. Olha’s Sisterhood under the leadership of co-presidents Vera Geba and Valentina Dingle. At the conclusion of the dinner, a donation of $1,000, raised from Lenten soup sales and funds from the Parish Board and Sisterhood, was presented to Vladyko Antony to be used for the wonderful work our Consistory does to support orphanages in Ukraine. As the day drew to a close, many of the faithful, filled with a renewed spirit divined from the Lenten Mission, came forward to seek the blessing of His Eminence.

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