During March 18-20, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel visited St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Portland, OR. At his arrival, Archbishop Daniel and seminarian of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary Subdeacon Pavlo Vysotskyi were greeted by parishioners on Friday, March 18.
Early on a sunny Saturday morning, they joined the faithful of the church in making varenyky as a fundraiser for Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine. There were a great amount of parishioners present to make and sell varenyky, as well as other items. During this event, many people from the Portland area came to support our cause. The line of supporters was so lengthy that it wrapped around to the outside of the church from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm.
In the evening, His Eminence joined the faithful for the Vespers with Litiya service. With the candles twinkling upon the Lenten purple and silver altar table, the service ebbed and flowed, as the chanter choir sang and people prayed. His Eminence delivered a short sermon at the conclusion of the service and then anointed the faithful with Holy Oil. After the service we gathered together for a fellowship. Fr. Volodymyr explained that Vespers is the first service of the Daily Cycle of divine services celebrated in the Orthodox Church. Due to the liturgical day beginning at sunset. Vespers is traditionally served in the early evening and prepares the faithful for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, His Eminence was guided from the church rectory to the front steps of the church where the children of the parish welcomed him with warm greetings and flowers. He was then greeted with the traditional bread and salt by the President of the parish, Serhei Nahurskyy. Gratefully accepting the warm welcome, His Eminence exchanged a few words and accepted the cross offered by parish priest, Fr. Volodymyr Yavorskyi before proceeding into the nave and beginning the service. Fr. Andriy Matlak, from Holy Trinity UOC parish in Seattle, WA also served during the Divine Liturgy.
After the reading of the Epistle and Gospel, Archbishop Daniel stood amid the faithful and stated that we all need to remain humans during this unfathomable time with the war in Ukraine. He warned us not to cross the line and to become in-human. Compassion needs to be on our minds, whether it is about Ukraine, a homeless person, or a co-worker asking how you are doing. Concluding his sermon, Vladyka returned to the altar, and continued the Divine Liturgy.
During the Litany all of the faithful knelt as His Eminence prayed a special prayer for Ukraine. Tears were brought to the eyes of the parishioners, as we all face troubling times, God is present and listening to our prayers.
Preparing for communion, the children knelt in a line at the front of the church, praying and waiting for Holy Communion. As the dismissal prayers were read by Fr. Andriy, His Eminence gave them the final blessing.
The parish family proceeded downstairs to the parish hall for a Lenten luncheon and fellowship. After the meal everyone sat around and chatted the afternoon away.
Fr. Volodymyr Yavorskyi, Dobrodijka Ginny, along with the parishioners of St. John the Baptist UOC, extend their gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Daniel for his visit and wish him many blessed years!