Ukrainian Orthodox Christians from across the country joined thousands of other Americans in demonstrating their pro-life convictions during the annual March for Life January 23-24, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Joining the Orthodox hierarchs and Christians from across the country, Archbishop Daniel, who was among the marchers and led the representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, said: “Year after year, we march with thousands of other pro-life Americans. And every year I long for the day when we won’t have to do so. I pray for the day when the most vulnerable are protected and women and children, born and unborn, are valued such that marching for life will seem as unnecessary as marching for gravity.”
The March for Life has been held every year since 1974, one year after the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the country in the Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22, 1973.
On Thursday evening, January 23, 2020, Archbishop Daniel joined the delegation of Orthodox hierarchs of the Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, which was led by Bishop Apostolos of Medeia for the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The Orthodox hierarchs in attendance, representing Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Bishop Apostolos of Medeia), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Archbishop Daniel), Orthodox Church of America (Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Melchisedek, Archbishop Michael, Archbishop David, Bishop Daniel, Bishop Paul) prayed in attendance of the Prayer Vigil for Life, titled: “For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life.” The prayer service was served by Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak, Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan, Subdeacon Myroslav Mykytyuk, Seminarians Andrii Vatrych and Maksym Zhuravchyk) joined the archbishop at the Basilica on the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, during which some 20,000 people of various age and ethnicity gathered for prayer vigil.
The National Prayer Vigil for Life has been an important tradition at the Basilica. It was first held in 1979. Over the years, the event grew and grew, and now, attendants overflow from the Great Upper Church of the Basilica into the Crypt Church, Memorial Hall and side chapels, while hundreds of clergy concelebrate the National Prayer Vigil.
Reflecting upon the words of welcome of the Catholic hierarchs, Vladyka Daniel stated:
This prayer service - Vigil for Life is important because it proclaims the sanctity of all life from conception to natural death. It is important to care for the unborn, because we believe that life begins at conception, and in this moment, a child, a living human being, is formed in the mother’s womb. If we do not protect a vulnerable child, all of God’s children, regardless of age, are in danger of being eliminated when someone declares that the individual life is no longer useful, productive or needed.
I am thankful for the thousands that gather for the March for Fife at the National Mall, as they loudly proclaim that all life is precious, and the unborn, who cannot protect themselves, must be protected by us.
Let us remember that each of us can and should continue to pray and work to ensure the protection of all life, not just every January in Washington, DC, but throughout the course of the year from wherever we are from.
Following the conclusion of the service, Archbishop Daniel lead a walking tour of the Campus of the Catholic University of America for the students of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the UOC of the USA.
Moreover, in the evning hours of the day, the delegation of the UOC of the USA traveled to Union Station in Washington, DC in order to visit the national historic monument dedicated to the victims of Geneocidal Famine in Ukraine.
Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak and Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan