August 6, 2007 - South Bround Brook, New JerseyIt was a great day! The official ground breaking for the proposed Historical and Educational Complex occurred on Monday, August 6th as nearly 100 participants witnessed the historical occasion on the church grounds adjacent to the Consistory building in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
The complex is a multi-purpose facility that will provide space for ongoing education and awareness of the history of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as museum space for over 8,000 invaluable religious and cultural artifacts. Equally important, there will be a permanent Memorial and Exhibit dedicated to the Ukraine famine of 1932-33, and space for the recognition of Ukrainian-American members of the Armed Forces. A very important component of this building is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archive and Research Center and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Library and Ukrainian Cultural Center that will facilitate education and research by clergy and seminarians. The Visiting Art Exhibit Hall will provide space for traveling art exhibits. The complex is designed to be an invaluable educational tool and research center for all members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the general public.
Archbishop Antony, President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, opened the ground breaking ceremony with the following prayer: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Most loving God, we thank you that through faith you make us all members of your eternal family We give thanks for all the love that you send to draw our earthly families together, to heal us, and to heal those who have gone before us. Fill this building with your divine presence, we pray. Pour out your love to deepen the fellowship to be shared here. Let your wisdom guide us, and all who will work to build his home, and let your presence bless us, throughout this building process.”
The Archbishop said: “today is a significant day in the life of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. After many years of thoughtful planning, we gather here today to break ground for the Ukrainian Educational and Historical Complex.
We welcome you and thank you for participating in this noble event. We are appreciative of the moral and financial support already given and appreciate your intent to see this project to its conclusion. For those who may have some reservations, we respectfully request that you view this as not just another building, but a treasury from which the children of this and coming generations can be nurtured at the well-spring of knowledge.”
Mrs. Nadia Mirchuk, President, United Ukrainian Orthodox Sisterhoods of the USA, greeted the gathering with the good news that her organization had already raised $250,000 and that it will continue its efforts to include an endowment fund for operating expenses of the complex/museum.
Mrs. Maria Konyk, President of Protection of the Mother of God (Pokrova), South Bound Brook, NJ, announced that the sisterhood would fulfill its pledge of $100,000 to the Historical and Educational Complex/Museum at our upcoming Sobor. Archbishop Antony praised this local sisterhood for its readiness over the past fifty years to assist the church with all its needs. The sisterhood has given over one million dollars to the church.
Dr. Stephen Sivulich, Director, Office of Development, offered thanks and appreciation to individuals, parishes and church organizations that have already contributed very generously. He also indicated that an aggressive fund drive for the balance of $2.5 million that will include an endowment fund would begin immediately. He encouraged those present to provide him with names of prospective donors.
Mr. Emil Skocypec, Property Manager, commented on the construction phase of the building, and introduced Mark Dobbs, who will serve as General Construction Manager of the Complex/Museum project.
Mark Dobbs reflected on the construction process, and expressed his joy of working with Archbishop Antony and Emil Skocypec. He also reported that a Website would be established and maintained to timely report the progress of the ongoing construction.
Mr. Victor Rosynsky, President of the Ukrainian Information Bureau, Inc., addressed the gathering and presented a check in the amount of $58,500 in memory of Patriarch Mystyslav. Then, Mrs. Mary J. Kramarenko presented a check in the amount of $30,000 in memory of Patriarch Mstyslav and dedicated to the memory of her husband, Petro Kramarenko who was co-founder and Past-President of the Ukrainian Information Bureau, Inc.
Mr. Rosynsky, in behalf of the Ukrainian Information Bureau said: “We are pleased to be able to participate in this grand effort to construct a fine tribute to our generation that worked so hard to establish recognition of Ukraine in the USA and to rid a long held conception that we are not an entity but part of neighbor nations. This will also be a place of memory and study for future generations to learn how difficult the task was to build and sustain our church and the Ukrainian communities.”
Others participating in the actual ground breaking—with shovels and hard hats included: Protopresbyter Taras Chubenko, Consistory Member; Shirley Skocypec, Senior Ukrainian Orthodox League; Kristin Ulbright (Youngstown, OH) Junior Ukrainian Orthodox League; Ala Trochymchuk, Treasurer, Friends of the Memorial Church Museum; and Richard Jarmel, Engineer for the project.
The ground breaking ceremony was followed by a delicious buffet lunch in the U.O.C. Cultural Center where the excitement of this historic event was repeated time and time again.
Indeed, this was a great day!
Information about the fund drive is available from:
Dr. Stephen Sivulich, Director, U.O.C. Office of Development
206 Christopher Circle
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Tel.: (412) 389-1723