In the presence of over 20 clergy, representing various deaneries of the UOC of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony marked the 10th anniversary of his enthronement as the 4th Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Taking into consideration the ongoing war in Ukraine, and following wishes of the metropolitan, the Church limited the celebration to a prayerful Divine Liturgy, served at Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church of the Spiritual Center – Metropolia of the UOC of the USA.
Numerous faithful of the local parishes, as well as the staff and members of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA, students and faculty of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary attended the celebration.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony presided over the celebration of the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy, while Archbishop Daniel and all clergy in attendance gathered around the altar of St. Andrew Memorial Church. The choir, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Andrec, chanted the responses to the petitions of the Divine Liturgy, offering special prayers for the people and nation of Ukraine; the wounded soldiers of the ongoing war, numerous refugees from Ukraine who came to various states of the United States of America.
His Excellency Oleksii Holubov, Consul General of Ukraine in New York represented the Ukrainian diplomats at the anniversary celebration and later in the day presented Metropolitan Antony with a commemorative gift while reflecting on a dedicated ministry of the metropolitan in the Ukrainian-American community.
In his remarks, following the chanting of the Gospel, Vladyka Daniel reflected on the Gospel narrative, thus asking everyone in attendance a rhetorical question, which was pronounced in the Gospel reading by Deacon Pavlo Vysotskyi: “By whose authority do you do these things?” Archbishop reflected on the importance of the spiritual fatherhood of the clergy, but especially of the spiritual legacy of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, who is truly a man of prayer for his flock and a visionary, always looking for new ways of serving the needs of the Church. Archbishop Daniel made reference to the historical moment of consecration of bishop Antony by His Beatitude Metropolitan Mstyslav (Skryptyk), whose physical remains rest at the Holy Resurrection Mausoleum, in the crypt of St. Andrew Memorial Church – thus emphasizing that the spiritual legacy of the forefathers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA is alive through the daily ministry of Metropolitan Antony and it is passed from one generation to the next.
Numerous faithful approached the chalice in order to partake in the Holy Eucharist.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Very Rev. Fr. Stephen Hutnick, treasurer of the Consistory, offered greetings to the metropolitan on behalf of all clergy of the Church. Vladyka Daniel presented Metropolitan Antony with a triple set of ecclesiastical panagias and cross – the exact reproduction of the 10th century Byzantine set, with icons carved on marble.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony stood in front of his flock, while wearing the original panagia of Metropolitan John (Theodorovich) – the first metropolitan of the Church, who came to the United States of America in 1924.
Seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary greeted the metropolitan with a personal gift of an image of Vladyka Antony, as he is holding in his hands the crosier of the metropolitan of the UOC of the USA – which was presented to His Eminence at the conclusion of the 23rd Sobor of the UOC of the USA in October of 2022. Prayerful chanting of God Grant You Many Blessed Years echoed through the entire temple, as seminarians initiated the chant and clergy and faithful joyfully joined into a prayerful embrace of the their metropolitan.
With the clergy gathered round their Prime Hierarch, holding the archpastoral staff (Zhezlo) with gold and gems, an exact replica of the staff of Metropolitan of Kyiv, Petro Mohyla, one of the most important leaders of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in the late 17th century, who is credited with saving Orthodoxy in Ukraine for all time, Metropolitan Antony was deeply moved and offered words of gratitude to all present.
"…As I look back on January 26, 2013, I thank God for all who were present at my enthronement. I especially thank God for my mother who is no longer here, and my spiritual father since my childhood, Protopresbyter William Diakiw who just reposed in the Lord a few days ago and will be laid to rest on Friday and Saturday of this week in Lyndora, PA.
…Today, as I look back - but also forward - I know that I owe everything to the Church. It is the greatest treasure of the Ukrainian American community. It is the Church that has kept us focused as a people in America. Think of it, where would we be without our Church? Our Faith and our priceless Ukrainian Cultural Heritage would have been lost generations ago. It is our Church that has kept us united and strong. It is our Church that has enabled us to maintain our identity in America, this beautiful mosaic of cultures and peoples. The legacy of our Faith Tradition is treasured and perpetuated not by any particular organization or by any particular individuals, but by the Church and its people - our clergy and laity who treasure that spiritual and national legacy of our ancestors.
…During these last 10 years as metropolitan, 38 years as a bishop and 51 years as a priest , I have done nothing more than to build upon the foundations laid by my predecessors. I try never to forget what Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God Who gives the growth" (1 Cor. 3,7). To God Almighty and Him alone belongs all honor, thanksgiving and worship.
…In my ministry, I have endeavored to reflect upon the ever-changing reality in our parishes - to determine the best means for making more efficacious and beneficial our contacts with the faithful entrusted to our care - those in the Church but more so with those who stand outside. I wanted from day one for the entire Metropolia, to reach out to our young people, our teenagers, our college students, and those preparing to enter into marriage. I wanted us to more effectively minister to our elderly, to the homeless and hungry, and to the orphans in Ukraine.
…It is thanks to our priests and faithful that our Spiritual Center has been a beehive of activity, and that the Consistory of the UOC of the USA has been a beacon of philanthropy offering assistance to hundreds of brethren from throughout the world.
… Over the last 10 years, I have done nothing other than be the recipient of God's love and mercy richly lavished upon me. I have done nothing more than what has been expected of me. St. Paul once wrote, If I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel. (1Cor.9:15-16).
…What may have been achieved in the last 10 years, I owe to the faithful who supported the projects we undertook together. I believe that our Church has a bright future. The potential is great. The possibilities endless. The frontiers of the future challenge us to prove worthy of our great potential to grow and become even more vibrant Orthodox Christians. May we be worthy to meet that challenge!"
In conclusion of the liturgical service, everyone in attendance was invited to a short luncheon (prepared by dobrodiyka Oksana Pasakas, dobrodiyka Olena Shak, dobrodiyka Khrystyna Mykytyuk, dobrodiyka Valentyna Vysotskyi; pani Maria Morozovska, pani Ganna Krykh and Maureen Nevins) at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, where the clergy and faithful had a chance to greet their metropolitan, while a silent video of Metropolitan Antony’s consecration to episcopacy was displayed on the screen.
Photos by Subdeacon Maksym Zhuravchyk and Dobrodiyka Oksana Pasakas