UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
“LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER SO THAT WITH ONE MIND WE MAY CONFESS THE HOLY TRINITY…”
Patron Feast Day at St. Andrew Cathedral, Metropolitan Washington, DC!
The parish family of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Metropolitan Washington DC celebrated its annual Feast Day of St. Andrew, Founder of Christ’s Church in Ukraine on Sunday, December 9. It was, as always, a most spiritual day, on which many guests joined with the family to welcome His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and, most importantly, to offer sincere gratitude to God Almighty for another year of abundant blessings upon us all.
The arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony was excitedly anticipated by our young children children with bouquets of flowers. As he entered the Church, escorted by three Subdeacon-seminarians – Vasyl Pasakas, Ioan Chopko and Adrian Mazur, along with Deacon-seminarian Vasyl Dovhan, the children rushed forth with sparkles in their eyes to present the flowers to His Eminence, who must have seemed so very tall to them, but he bent down to greet and bless each one of them. It was a moment they will long remember. Parish Council President, Dr. Tamara Woroby, then welcomed the Metropolitan with the traditional offering of a beautiful ceremonial bread and salt, asking him to pray for all the founders and benefactors of the parish, along with all the faithful members of the parish.
Fr. Volodymyr Steliac, the cathedral priesy, welcomed His Eminence, asking him to pray for all his predecessor parish priests – especially for Fr. Hryhorij Podhurec, who had fallen asleep in the Lord just two days earlier. Fr. Hryhorijwas the priest God entrusted to build St. Andrew Church. Welcoming along with Fr. Volodymyr was Fr. Nicholas Manousakis and Jason Houck of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church; Fr. Luke Melachrinos of St. Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hampstead NY – son-in-law of Fr. Podhuretz and Fr. Vasyl Kryshtompol of St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Baltimore MD. The parish family of Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish is presently sharing the Cathedral with our parish family while their own new church property and building are being developed and constructed. The celebrate Liturgy in the morning before St. Andrew parish Liturgy each week. It was wonderful to have both parish families worshipping together for St. Andrew Feast Day!
The church was filled to capacity. During Liturgy His Eminence offered an inspiring sermon centered on the topic of the health of the body and soul stressing that the state of the soul and the depth of faith it reflects in presenting itself to Christ is extremely important to the health of the physical body. Christ sees beyond what we present to the world – what we truly are and what we can become. He will, if we open our hearts and souls to Him, enable us to become more than we could ever imagine being.
His Excellency Ambassador Alexander Motsyk with his wife Natalia and embassy staff were among those in attendance at the Feast Day celebration along with many other guests, who reveled in the beauty of the service, especially the wonderful and prayerful liturgical singing by our parish choir, under the direction of Gregory Olynyk. Assisting the seminarians serving in the Holy Altar were our regular altar servers.
At the end of the Service a group picture of everyone in the church was taken to capture this momentous day, one which will be remembered as a very special day in our parish history.
Following Liturgy, a delicious Lenten meal awaited all present, having been prepared by the cathedral sisterhood under the leadership of Panimatka Marta Steliac. There was no admission fee for the lavish banquet each year because this is simply a time when we want our whole family gathered together with our Spiritual Father – our Metropolitan – to celebrate what God has provided for us. Even though no admission fee is required, many present made significant donations on a voluntarily basis.
The parishioner of this year is Ivan Kolesnyk, our parish Treasurer, who devoted an extraordinary amount of time and energy in handling parish finances, enabling the parish administration to work in a responsible manner. Mrs. Olha Mutula received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifetime of charitable work dedicated in the parish organizing aid for orphans in Ukraine, the sick, shut-ins and people in need and for many other purposes. Through her efforts and leadership many thousands of dollars have been collected over the years and channeled to those in need. Both honorees received beautiful “Hramotas” (Certificates of Blessing) from Metropolitan Antony, which are elaborately decorated with iconography and graphic motifs.
The presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony is always most important to our annual parish Patron Feast Day. This is evident by the obvious love that emanates from him for our parish family and in which he is embraced by our family during this celebration. This same love is evident in the relationship of Fr. Volodymyr, Panimatka Marta and their sons Alexander and Daniel with all the members of the parish family. This sincere love is evident, not only on this one day, but at every step in our parish life and provides a sense of security for the future of our parish and, in turn, for our entire Church. It is almost palpable when one spends any real time with our parish family. We pray that others “know that we are follower of Jesus Christ by this love we have for one another”. We are grateful to God for such blessed moments as our annual Feast Day in our lives and the opportunities it offers for us to “be of one mind in confessing the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – one in essence and undivided”.