Ukrainian Orthodox Community of Milwaukee, WI Welcomes the Eparchial Hierarch
Ukrainian Orthodox Community of Milwaukee, WI Welcomes the Eparchial Hierarch

Українську Православну Громаду міста Милвакі Відвідав Єпархіальний Архієрей

Much to the delight of the parishioners of the Protection of the Birth-Giver of God (Pokrova) Ukrainian Orthodox parish, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel made his annual hierarchical visit to in Milwaukee, WI over the weekend of April 29-30, 2023. During his stay, Vladyka provided many wonderful opportunities for the membership of the parish community to meet and interact with their hierarch.

Vladyka Daniel arrived Milwaukee, WI way ahead of the liturgical services on Sunday morning, which provided an opportunity for the bishop to meet with some of the faithful prior to the beginning of the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing women. His Eminence was joined at this service by the parish pastor, Very Rev. Fr. Mykola Lymar. Prior to the service Archbishop Daniel was greeted by the representatives of the parish board of administration and presented with a traditional Bread and Salt. The bishop spoke of his joy of being able to visit the parish family and related a greeting to the faithful from Metropolitan Antony. In conclusion of all the greetings, the bishop blessed the faithful, and the service began.

In his sermon, Vladyka Daniel stated: “… Jesus is dead.  His limp body hangs on the cross between the bodies of two dead thieves.  Who will claim the body of that Person?  Who will have courage enough to appear before Pilate and ask for the body of an executed "criminal"?  His disciples?  Where were they to be found?  They were in hiding for fear of their lives.  But there was another disciple.  He was a disciple of Jesus in secret, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God.  But now he declared himself openly for Jesus.  He was Joseph of Arimathea.  It took courage, unusual courage, for a person to do that.

There are many kinds of courage.  There is the courage we see on the battlefield. There is the courage shown by astronauts.  There is the courage of the early Christians who, rather than deny Christ, suffered to have their bodies dipped in tar and used as flaming torches to provide light for the Roman festivals.  There is the courage of the 40 holy martyrs who were left to freeze to death naked on a frozen lake rather than surrender their faith.

But there is another kind of courage -- a courage which is quiet but firm, a courage which in time of crisis reveals itself in the ability to say yes or no -- and to say it firmly; a courage which belongs to the living.  There are times when it takes courage to live. When the storms beat about us and bright days seem more like dark nights, it takes courage to live. It takes courage such as is never seen on the battlefield to live doing what we have to do, not what we like to do, but what love and duty and compassion demand of us.  To face the new day with the knowledge that it will be another day just like yesterday with the same burdens, the same problems, the same heartaches.  That takes courage!

When asked what kind of heroism she practiced, one elderly cleaning lady replied, "I PRACTICE THE HEROISM OF GOING ON". When OT Prophet Daniel was forbidden by decree of the king to pray to his God, he not only continued to pray three times a day as was his custom; but he continued to perform this ritual before his open window, as he did before, where all might see, fully aware that he would be cast into the den of lions as punishment.  What was the source of Daniel's courage?  It was prayer!  Three times a day he opened his window toward Jerusalem and prayed to the one true God.  He stood by the Lord and the Lord stood by him even when he was cast into the lion's den

The world has infected our Pascha (Easter) celebrations. You would think that a story of Christ, a man who was once dead and now lives would be exempt from paganism. The story of Easter is so vividly horrifying, from Pilate’s court to the Crucifixion, that you would hope the world could not effectively change it’s meaning with the usual marketing techniques.

But look what we’ve allowed the world to out Lord’s Pascha-Easter! We’ve allowed ourselves to get caught up in secular celebration of the most significant moment in our Christian heritage - we rush out to buy baskets and fill them with cute little chocolate bunnies, candy eggs. We collect the advertising sales circulars during the Lenten season for Easter sales, as if it were some ritualistic necessity for getting the best price on our family’s new Easter outfits.  But, Christ is Risen!

This is OUR EASTER….Christianity’s finest hour…and its time for us to reclaim it. And we need courage to do it! Pascha-Easter is not meant to be cute like those stuffed animals that are jumping off the shelf… Pascha is about Christ Jesus who stretched His arms in embracing the world… Pascha is His victory over Death and Evil…. Pascha is the path to eternity.

I’d like to use this term to describe the following thought - It seems today that everybody is coming out of the closet.  It has become fashionable to talk in those terms. Everyone is demanding their rights. People are now out in the streets demanding “rights for this and that." There is practically no one left in the closet any more except ....except a large group still hiding in the shadowy darkness.  Who are they?  Christians! 

They are practically the only people left in the closet.  They are afraid to let the world know that they are followers of Jesus.  They hide their faith in the shadow of the closet.  While the Christians are in the closet, the atheists and the secular humanists are out turning the world upside down. Joseph of Arimathea was a closet Christian, but he took courage to leave the closet and declare himself publicly for Jesus, asking Pilate for the body of Jesus.  The Christian belongs in the closet only for prayer.  Then he or she must leave the closet to confess Christ and work for Him in the world.

Were the early apostles closet Christians when they died for what they preached? Was John the Baptist a closet Christian when he denounced the immorality and corruption of a royal court, even though he knew it must cost him his head?

We can have courage in the midst of suffering if we invite Jesus to be with us.  There is nothing like a relationship with Jesus Christ to give us courage. If He is your Friend, you can know that when the darkness begins to come, it will lead to a brighter morning more glorious than ever…”

Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel was presented with a formal greeting of the Mayor of the City of Milwaukee, Honorable Cavalier Johnson, who stated “… On behalf of the City of Milwaukee, I would like to warmly welcome you! It is a true honor to host you as you visit St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Sunday, April 30th. The City of Milwaukee embraces our Ukrainian community and we continue to stand strong with the people of Ukraine during this challenging time.

St. Mary’s has a 100+ year-long history in our Milwaukee Walker’s Point community.  From its original construction as a Lutheran church in the nineteenth century to its current location on Scott Street it has remained a mainstay in the community.  Your visit to the church and Milwaukee is a clear sign to the Ukrainian community and Diaspora that the displaced Ukrainians can find comfort in the greater Milwaukee community as the unprecedented invasion of Ukraine continues.

I hope you have the opportunity to explore Milwaukee and see all our great city has to offer. Best wishes on a successful visit to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church!”

Celebratory gifts were presented to His Eminence on behalf of the City of Milwaukee. Responding to the greeting, Archbishop Daniel offered words of gratitude to the Mayor, City Council and all people of good will for the love and support that they offered greater Ukrainian-American community of the city, especially the warm welcome and assistance provided to the newly arrived refugees from Ukraine.

Following the exchange of greetings and welcome from the parish pastor, Fr. Mykola Lymar, the faithful in attendance took a formal photo with their hierarch, thus marking 106th year of dedicated ministry of the parish community.

The festive trapeza was held in Archbishop Daniel’s honor at which His Eminence interacted with the faithful answering their questions and providing spiritual guidance.

We are very thankful to God for Vladyka Daniel and all clergy of our Church who have been called by Christ to shepherd His flock with the greatest love and care. May God Grant them Many Blessed Years!

Ukrainian Orthodox Community of Milwaukee, WI Welcomes the Eparchial Hierarch

Photos by Subdeacon Andrii Vatrych

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