With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, who was in attendance for the very first time after his car accident, Archbishop Daniel served the Divine Liturgy with the help of local parochial clergy: Very Rev. Mitered Fr. Yuriy Siwko (pastor of St. Andrew Memorial Church), Rev. Fr. Myron Korostil and Hieromonk Sophroniy of Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ).
Prior to the Divine Liturgy, the seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary prayerfully chanted the Hours, while the choir (under the leadership of Dr. Michael Andrec) sang the responses of the Eucharistic Liturgy.
In his sermon, Vladyka Daniel reflected upon the spiritual meaning of the Feast of Transfiguration, stating: “Today is the feast of the Transfiguration. It’s a holy day celebrating one of those really important events in the life of Jesus Christ that is surprisingly unknown, or unappreciated, by the vast majority of Christian believers. We often talk about the customs that surround this day, but forget about the spiritual meaning of the feast.
What wisdom or application does the Transfiguration offer to believers? How can this feast day help Christian disciples in our world today..?
“Transfigure” is not a word often used in conversation nowadays. We might use “transform” or “alter” instead, or even “change.” There is an interesting question with the Feast of the Transfiguration: who is it that’s really being changed in this story? Jesus appears to be changed. Luke writes “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.” But the truth is, Jesus only looks different to his disciples. It is Peter, John, and James who are really transfigured, their eyes now open to see Jesus as he really is, clothed in light and revealed as the Son of God. And the disciples’ lives are changed too, after this experience of God’s presence: before, they thought they were following a remarkable teacher; after, they know their lives are being woven into God’s plan for the transfiguration of the world.
What experiences in your life frame the way you see and understand the world? Much of the way we experience the world is fixed by circumstances beyond our control: who our parents are, where we are from, the language we speak. But sometimes we have moments of clarity which allow us to see the world in a new light, from a bird’s-eye view. These are moments when it seems we can see beyond ourselves and our limitations, into the heart of reality. When you have this kind of experience, you can be fairly certain it’s because you have been in the presence of God. Transfiguration is a natural consequence of being in God’s presence…
The Lord sends us an invitation to our own kind of transfiguration. It’s a call to accept what is offered, to live what is modeled, and to share a glory that has been revealed…”
About fifty faithful with children partook in the Most Holy Eucharist, thus truly celebrating the Feast, sharing in the very Body and Blood of the Savior.
After the Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel greeted Metropolitan Antony, who joined the community in prayer following a car accident, in which he was injured and later underwent emergency surgery. Metroplitan addressed the congregation, telling everyone about the events of the car accident and calling upon all in attendance to treasure the most precious gift the Lord has given us – our life.
In conclusion, Metropolitan Antony, while in a wheel-chair, and Archbishop Daniel read the Prayers for the Blessing of Fruits and the blessed fruit and vegetables were shared by the faithful along with antidoron.
While the Liturgy concluded, people stayed around the main spiritual temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, celebrating the feast and sharing in a moment of spiritual joy and fellowship.
The Feast of Transfiguration at the Spiritual Center of the Church - 08/19/18
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan