UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in San Francisco, CA!
By Fr. Georgiy Tyapko & Zhenya Nazaruk
Holy Archangel Michael Parish in San Francisco celebrated the Feast Day of (Patron Saint) Holy Archangel Michael, together with its 55th Anniversary, on Sunday, November 24, 2013. The small yet active parish is the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church within 350 miles of San Francisco and has been serving the spiritual and cultural needs of the faithful since its humble beginnings in the private home of one of its founding trustees.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Metropolitan and Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, traveled to San Francisco to lead the celebrations. His Eminence was greeted by parishioners with flowers at the church entrance and was then escorted through the sanctuary to the altar by V. Rev. Georgiy Tyapko and V. Rev. Yuriy Shakh. After opening prayers and censing, His Eminence conducted the Divine Liturgy and delivered his sermon.
The inspirational sermon’s focus was on the Good Samaritan: If you come across someone who has been robbed, beaten, and left for dead … help him … for he is your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Anyone in immediate need, even a supposed enemy. Thusly, you may inherit eternal life; love God above all else but also love thy neighbor – show kindness to the people around you. His Eminence also spoke of the 20th Regular Sobor, imparting the message that “…there is a responsibility that we are entrusted with. … we are in some sense our brother’s keeper, even as he or she is our keeper. … As much as we may resist the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, in God’s eyes we MUST be our brother’s keeper” and finally touched on the state of affairs in the life of independent Ukraine and her aspirations.
After the Liturgy, a few of the long-term Parish Board Officers and still-living Trustees were honored by receiving a Hramota from His Eminence for their distinguished services over the past five decades.
Following the presentations, His Eminence congratulated the Parish on its 55th Anniversary; Fr. Georgiy Tyapko, in turn, congratulated Metropolitan Antony on his Enthronement as the 4th Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA and as the Church’s Prime Hierarch and thanked him for coming, communicating the Parish’s pride to be a part of the bigger family of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Everyone in attendance was invited to take a group picture with Metropolitan Antony, as well as other photo opportunities.
The gathering proceeded downstairs to Hall. After everyone was seated, His Eminence was welcomed with the traditional bread-and-salt, after which he was given a hand-embroidered rushnyk (towel) and watercolor rendering of the historic parish building as gifts.
The Sisterhood prepared a buffet of customary Ukrainian delicacies. After serving 135 meals, the repast was followed by a concert showcasing local Ukrainian youths, including the Parish’s own Kane Kozaks & Kozachka (extreme martial arts, Ukrainian-style), Zhuravlyky (‘Little Cranes’ Ukrainian children’s folk dance group), and budding teen vocalists.
While festivities were winding down, guests were able to peruse the hand-embroidered wares and paintings created by local Ukrainian artists at the Parish’s Holiday Gift Fair.
This was a very important trip for His Eminence to make since it was his first to the West Coast since his election as Metropolitan and Prime Hierarch. Fr. Georgiy is very proud and greatly honored that Metropolitan Antony’s first visit to the West Coast fell upon St. Michael Parish in San Francisco.