Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Visits Parma, OH and Guides Historic Decision as St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Requests the Council of Bishops to Adopt the Revised Julian Calendar
Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Visits Parma, OH and Guides Historic Decision as St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Requests the Council of Bishops to Adopt the Revised Julian Calendar

In a deeply spiritual and prayerful occasion, Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA recently visited St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio. The archbishop’s presence brought a sense of reverence and tranquility as he led the faithful in prayer, fostering a sacred atmosphere within the walls of the historic cathedral.

The visit commenced with a ceremonial ecclesiastical procession from the sacred Altar, marked by the rich tones of church hymns and the aromatic scent of incense filling the air. The cathedral parish congregation gathered with anticipation, eager to receive the spiritual guidance and blessings that Vladyka Daniel would impart during this liturgical celebration.

His Eminence Archbishop Daniel's prayerful visit was more than a ceremonial traditional visit; it was a sacred communion between the spiritual father and the devoted cathedral community, which is led by the pastor of the parish family – Very Rev. Fr. Michael Hontaruk, Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay and pastor-emeritus John Nakonachny. As Vladyka stepped into the cathedral, the archbishop carried with him the weight of his pastoral responsibilities and the collective prayers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.

The focal point of Archbishop Daniel's sermon was the biblical passage from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, verses 18-27. This particular scripture recounts the encounter between Jesus and a rich ruler seeking eternal life. The archbishop's exposition of this passage aimed to draw contemporary parallels, encouraging introspection and reflection among the congregation.

Addressing the faithful in attendance, the hierarch delved into the profound teachings encapsulated in Luke 18:18-27. He highlighted the challenges presented by wealth and the spiritual obstacles one might face in the pursuit of eternal life.

The archbishop's words resonated with the congregation, fostering a sense of collective contemplation on the values that guide their lives. His message, deeply rooted in spiritual wisdom, centered around a profound parable – the story of the carrot, egg, and coffee beans. The congregation gathered with a sense of anticipation, eager to receive the spiritual guidance that Archbishop Daniel had to offer. Little did they know that the Vladyka would weave a tale that would not only resonate with their souls but also impart valuable lessons about resilience and transformation.

The parable began with the imagery of a boiling pot of water – a metaphor for life's challenges and hardships. In this narrative, Archbishop Daniel unfolded the story of a person facing adversity, symbolized by the boiling water. The three ingredients, a carrot, an egg, and coffee beans, each represented a unique response to life's difficulties.

The carrot, initially firm and unyielding, softened and became pliable when exposed to the boiling water. Vladyka Daniel drew parallels between the carrot and individuals who, when faced with adversity, may lose their strength and resilience, allowing external circumstances to change them fundamentally.

Conversely, the egg, when placed in the same boiling water, hardened. The archbishop illuminated the comparison, likening this response to individuals who, in the face of challenges, might adopt a defensive and closed-off stance, allowing hardship to make them bitter and unyielding.

The third element of the parable, the coffee beans, provided the uplifting twist to the narrative. When introduced to the boiling water, the coffee beans didn't just succumb to the heat; instead, they transformed the water itself. In this symbolic transformation, Archbishop Daniel highlighted the capacity for individuals to positively impact their surroundings, turning challenges into opportunities for growth and positive change.

The lesson gleaned from the parable resonated deeply with the congregation, fostering an atmosphere of introspection and reflection. Vladyka encouraged the faithful to consider their own responses to life's trials and tribulations. Were they like the carrot, losing their essence in the face of adversity? Did they resemble the egg, growing hardened and bitter? Or could they embody the coffee beans, transforming challenges into opportunities for positive change?

Numerous parishioners partook in the Most Holy Eucharist - the Body and Blood of Christ, that served not only as a reaffirmation of the Orthodox Christian faith but also as a moment of profound intimacy, where the Divine and the earthly united in a Holy Communion.

Following the celebration of the Liturgy, Vladyka Daniel presented a Certificate in Youth Ministry  Program to Natalia Mahlay, who recently graduated from the Certification program of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary.

The visit of the hierarch also included a pivotal general parish meeting where the faithful made a historic decision: to request a blessing from the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to change the ecclesiastical calendar to the Revised Julian calendar (Gregorian) calendar, with an overwhelming majority of 83.8%.

The decision to adopt the new calendar, holds implications not only for the liturgical practices but also for the broader identity and connection of the St. Vladimir Cathedral with the greater Ukrainian Orthodox Christian community. The decision to adopt the Revised Julian Calendar calendar was not made lightly. Parishioners for months considered the historical context, the implications for liturgical celebrations, and the life of the parish community. 

The archbishop's guidance was instrumental in helping the congregation navigate the complexities of this decision.  The outcome of the parish vote, with 83.8% in favor of adopting the new ecclesiastical calendar, reflects a collective willingness among the St. Vladimir Cathedral community to embrace change in the spirit of unity and harmony. While some members may hold onto the familiar traditions of the Julian calendar, the decision reflects a commitment to fostering greater connections with the broader Christian world.

As the news of this historic decision reverberates beyond the walls of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, it is clear that the community is poised for a new chapter in its spiritual journey. The journey towards embracing the Revised Julian Calendar calendar is not just about a shift in dates; it is a testament to the St. Vladimir Cathedral community's commitment to unity, inclusivity, and a shared identity within the larger Christian tapestry. Archbishop Daniel's leadership in this decision highlights the importance of adaptive traditions, ensuring that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA remains a vibrant and integral part of the greater Ukrainian Orthodox Christian community.

As Vladyka concluded the visit, the echoes of prayer lingered in the air, leaving a profound impact on the hearts of those present. The community at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral departed with a renewed sense of spiritual fortitude, inspired by the archbishop's prayerful guidance and the enduring traditions of Orthodox liturgical worship.

Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Visits Parma, OH

Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Stefanyk

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