The first week of Great and Holy Lent in Chicago Deanery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA concluded in various prayer services served by the ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy His Grace Bishop Daniel.
On Cheese-fare Sunday, Vladyka Daniel began the Lenten journey with the faithful of St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Chicago. With the sounds of the cathedral bells, singing of the choir, prayers of the faithful and the message of repentance and fervent prayer, the cathedral community entered into the Great and Holy Lent. His Grace Bishop Daniel addressed the membership of the parish family with the message of repentance. At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, he blessed the newly-elected parish board of administration members enabling them to begin their service in the Name of God to the people of God – members of the Cathedral parish family. The services concluded with the traditional and prayerful “Rite of Forgiveness” on the eve of Great Lent, initiated when the Bishop asked for forgiveness from the clergy and faithful present for all he has done to hurt, affront or ignore them through the past year and then encouraged all present to ask forgiveness from each other. With the words of humble prayer, and some with tears of love and repentance in their eyes, the parishioners departed home to begin the Lenten journey.
On Monday night, Archimandrite Pankratij, the pastor of the Cathedral parish family celebrated with His Grace Bishop Daniel the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, a service during which all present in great humility make numerous penitential prostrations, praying: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me!” This same service of humility was celebrated the following evening at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Palos Park, IL with Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko, pastor of the congregation, and his parish family.