UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Mosaic Blessed at All Saints Parish, NY City!
It could not have been a more fitting day for a Patron Saint Day – All Saints Sunday – than it was on 10 June at All Saints Parish on 11th Street in New York City. It was a sunny day in which the newly installed – stylized mosaic of the Protection of the Mother of God stood out brightly on the front of the church building above the entrance doors.
Archbishop Antony visited the parish this day, as he has for most of the years of his episcopal service, to offer gratitude to God for a vibrant community that carries on the legacy of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in a vibrant and accomplished way. He was greeted at the entrance of the Church by Parish Board President Petro Plisak and artist of the unique mosaic, Vasyl Barabash, who expressed their gratitude to His Eminence for his visit. Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Andre Kulyk, welcomed the bishop as the true spiritual father of the parish and asked him to pray for the deceased parish priests who preceded him and all the founder, benefactors and members of the parish. The Archbishop responded that he would also pray for all Fr. Andre and all the clergy and faithful present, thanking God for their dedication and devotion to Christ and their desire to preserve the historical treasury of the Faith handed down to them from generation to generation.
The Archbishop entered the Church to venerate the Holy Altar and then invited all present to exit the church for the blessing of the newly installed mosaic, which stylistically represents the Protection of the Mother of God for not only the Ukrainian nation, but specifically for the faithful of All Saints Parish, who are depicted along with their bishop in the mosaic.
Following this blessing the Archbishop led everyone back into the Church for Divine Liturgy. Just prior to the beginning of Liturgy, however, he ordained Georgi Ostrozhnyuk to the Subdeaconate. Georgi was tonsured as a reader in the parish several years ago and his Spiritual Father, Fr. Andre, testified to His Eminence about the progress in faith and devotion he has witnessed in Georgi since that time. The faithful were reminded that they were not just witnesses to the ordination. Having participated in the prayerful moment obligates them to keep this faithful servant – Subdeacon Georgi – in their daily prayers. He has entered the first rank of the Holy Priesthood and the Archbishop urged the faithful to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Georgi’s life and in enabling him to discern a calling to further service in that priesthood.
Assisting the Archbishop in serving the Divine Liturgy were Fr. Kulyk, Fr. Mykola Filyk, Fr. Ivan Dufenyuk, Fr. Alexander Ioukhlayevskikh of the OCA and Fr. Yurij Bazylevsky, parish priest at Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel and St. Volodymyr Mission in Kerhonkson, NY. Also present after the conclusion Liturgy in their own parishes were V. Rev. Todor Mazur, parish priest of Holy Trinity Cathedral, NYC and V. Rev. Volodymyr Muzychka, parish priest of St. Volodymyr Cathedral, NYC. Seminarians from St. Sophia Seminary, Subdeacon Ivan Mazur and Yurij Andreyko, along with newly ordained Subdeacon Georgi, served during the service. The parish choir, under the direction of Panimatushka Stephanie Kulyk, beautifully sang responses during the service.
During his sermon the Archbishop spoke on the theme of “sainthood” and called the faithful to remember that they are all called to join the ranks of the saints they see depicted on the icon screen and on the walls of the church. He reminded them, as our Lord did in the New Testament parable about the shepherd and his flock, that theirs must be an intimate relationship between them and their Good Shepherd – Jesus Christ, Himself – a relationship which enables them to trust in our Lord as the Savior of the world, making us dependent upon Him, but also to realize that He depends upon us to live lives worthy of His Love. He depended upon all the saints throughout all the ages to exhibit mercy and compassion to all mankind. The Archbishop offered his prayer that in the 22nd century and beyond the faithful of Christ’s Church would be praying to and thanking the saints of All Saints Parish in New York City for their preservation of the rich legacy of Ukrainian Orthodoxy and passing it on enriched to their descendants.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Antony called forth three individual members of the parish, at the request of their Spiritual Father and the Parish Board, to honor them with special certificates – “Hramoty” – of honor for their contributions to the life of All Saints Parish. Myra Mandziuk served the parish for thirty-five years as the Financial Secretary of the Parish Board and was very diligent in her handling of the parish’s financial responsibilities. Vasyl Barabash and Philip Ravenberg, parishioners and artists responsible for the mosaic blessed during the Patron Saint Day celebration, were also honored for their contributions, which will serve to edify the faithful for generations to come. Mr. Barabash’s artistic accomplishments adorn every wall of the parish hall in the basement of the Church.
Following Liturgy the clergy and faithful offered sincere prayer to God for the repose of the soul of the newly departed and presented servant of God, Metropolitan Constantine, Primate of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Most of the parish membership, which has a large number of new immigrants, never had the opportunity to meet with His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine. Archbishop Antony spoke of his leadership as Metropolitan of the Church for the last 20 years and the circumstances of his final days of life – reposing just a day after the celebration of his 40th anniversary of episcopal service to our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
A wonderful feast followed the religious services in the parish hall. During the parish’s normal Patron Feast Day celebration the hall if filled with lively music and declamations, but during this period of mourning a program of classical music was led by Andrij Miliavskyj, which properly reflected the deep respect everyone present had for our beloved Metropolitan Constantine.