UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
25th Parish Anniversary in Genk, Belgium
“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” These words from the 89th Psalm were often quoted by the faithful of Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Genk, Belgium as the parish community celebrated on September 23-25, 2011 the twenty-five years since the consecration of the parish’s church building and their ministry in Brussels Metropolitan Area.
An overflowing crowd of close to several hundred people attended the festivities, which began on Friday, September 23, 2011 with the arrival of His Grace Bishop Daniel to Brussels International Airport, who visited the parish at the request of Metropolitan Constantine, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora, expressing to the Ukrainian Orthodox community of Belgium the depth of paternal love our hierarchs have for the Church.
Immediately, following the arrival to Belgium, His Grace Bishop Daniel visited His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Belgium and a Permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Great Church of Christ, along with His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, an assistant to Metropolitan Panteleimon. The hierarchs discussed the status of Orthodox affairs in Belgium, the USA and in Ukraine.
On Sunday, September 25th, the Anniversary Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Daniel, assisted by the pastor of Holy Archangel Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Very Rev. Vitalij Derewianka and the visiting clergy: Very Reverend Bohdan Matwijczuk, Very Reverend Yevgen Stasyuk and Very Reverend Volodymyr Kolodnitskyi from Great Britain.
Also in attendance at the Liturgy were representatives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hasselt, Belgium and members of the diplomatic community of Ukrainian Embassy to Belgium, as well as numerous parishioners from of the Ukrainian Orthodox communities from Germany, France and Great Britain.
During the Divine Liturgy, with the blessing of Metropolitan Constanine, Bishop Daniel presented the pastor of the parish Very Rev. Fr. Rev. Vitalij Derewianka and Very Reverend Bohdan Matwijczuk with miters, honoring their dedication to the pastoral ministry among the faithful in Great Britain, Belgium and other European countries.
In his homily, Bishop Daniel reminded the faithful to give thanks for the blessings they have received and to continue to ask God’s blessings on the parish community. He also remarked on the importance of recognizing the need to work together and that having done so in the past, the parish community has arrived at this celebration.
After the Liturgical celebrations all were invited to a reception on the premises of the parish center. In the afternoon, artistic group from Lviv (Ukraine) “Vysokyj Zamok” treated the faithful and the guests of the parish community to a beautiful concert of ecclesiastical music. The greetings to the parish community were also expressed by the Mayor of Genk and the minister of Belgian Royal government, as well as the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hasselt – Most Rev. Patrick Hoogmartens.
Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox parish community in Genk is a richly diverse parish made up of different cultures and languages; however, the parish takes pride in their Ukrainian language liturgical celebrations and traditions, which are prayerfully preserved by the community and the parish’s choir.
Many people were departing from the festivities, stating that Holy Archangel Michael is not only a parish, it is a family. Yes, there are at times differences, but we are extremely blessed by our parishioners who are generous in giving of their time, talents and devotion to the parish.