UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
His Grace Bishop Daniel Makes an Archpastoral Visit to Arden Hills, MN!
Over the weekend of December 6-8, 2013 the parishioners of Holy Great-Martyr Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Arden Hills, MN welcomed to the parish family their Eparchial hierarch – His Grace Bishop Daniel. Almost immediately following the arrival to Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport, the bishop was greeted by the pastor of the parish family- Very Rev. Petro Siwko, and escorted Bishop Daniel to a local nursing home in order to pay a visit to Very Rev. Michael Kudanovich, a long term priest of the UOC of the USA who also served the Ukrainian Orthodox communities in Minneapolis Metropolitan area. Visiting with Fr. Kudanovich, the bishop had an opportunity to express personal greetings of the Prime Hierarch of the Church His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to Fr. Michael and also to learn a bit more about Fr. Michael’s pastoral path.
On Saturday, December 7, 2013 a number of parishioners of St. Katherine parish gathered in the parish church, in order to participate in Vespers and a special Memorial service which was dedicated to the memory of the founders of the parish, the clergy that faithfully served the spiritual needs of their parishioners, and most especially it was served for the repose of the souls of about 2,335 U.S. servicemen and 68 civilians, who perished 72 years ago in Pearl Harbor attack.
Following the Memorial service, His Grace Bishop Daniel addressed the parishioners of the parish, reflecting upon the tragedy of the early December 1941 and sacrifices made by the sailors and servicemen of the US military following the moment of horrific loss of life.
In his short remarks Bishop Daniel mentioned "...that there are very few left that recall Pearl Harbor from experience, but many remember it; - we all should remember it, because such shared experience will prevent future disasters. A remnant of the World War II generation is still with us. They remain as active members of civil society and we must not forget them. We can serve them if they are disabled; bear the burdens they can no longer stand…Much that should not be forgotten will be remembered if today we remember the day of December 7, 1941 – the day of Pearl Harbor."
In conclusion, His Grace Bishop Daniel stated that "rather than excluding God from our society and our individual lives, we must give thanks to God for His protection and presence in the lives of so many servicemen that have served the nation and continue to dedicate their lives in the service of others."
As the evening hours brought to the end the liturgical cycle of the day, the parishioners gathered with their bishop for a small coffee hour, with soup and baked goods, prepared by the parish’s Sisterhood.
St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church formally celebrated its annual patron saint's day on December 8, 2013. The pastor, Very Rev. Petro Siwko and the parish board of administration invited His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to honor the feast day and to lead the liturgical celebrations. Prior to the Divine Liturgy, children of the parish and the parishioners greeted the bishop on the front steps of the church with the traditional bread, salt and flowers. Mr. Swiatoslav Mirza, the president of the parish board of administration welcomed the bishop, asking for his blessing and prayers for the parish’s congregation, and jokingly remarked that it snows every time bishop visits St. Paul/Minneapolis area.
Following the chanting of the Gospel Reading, His Grace Bishop Daniel delivered an inspiring sermon in Ukrainian and English languages, reflection upon the spiritual meaning of a touch – the “touch” of Faith and the “touch” in faith.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Daniel, assisted by Very Rev. Petro Siwko, the pastor of the parish family, Very Rev. Evgen Kumka, pastor of Holy Archangel Michael/St. George Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Minneapolis, and in the presence of over 200 parishioners, kneeling down offered special prayer petitions for the people of Ukraine and the nation of Ukraine as the world watches the rebirth of Freedom in Ukraine. Quoting the statement of the Council of Bishops of the UOC of the USA, Bishop Daniel stated: “We pray and stand with people in Ukraine, and witness to the local communities throughout the United States of America about the importance of the efforts of the citizens of Ukraine… Throughout Ukraine’s history, millions of people have given their lives for freedom, dignity and human rights, in order to reclaim the right to peaceful demonstration as well as political and societal activity. The voice of the street must be heard and respected and it cannot be silenced by the noise and uncertainties of those in leadership positions who choose to confuse and abuse by utilizing violence against the protestors. The use of force, confrontation and violence will fail to resolve political issues.
We call upon the leaders of Ukraine to address and immediately cease the violence against the protestors. The country's democratic future will depend on dialogue and the ability to listen to voice of Ukrainian citizens. It is essential that logic and calm prevail. No physical force will ever succeed in eliminating the free will and the voice of the citizenry! The authorities must respect the protestors who have simply exercised their political and constitutional – and most importantly – God-Given rights to peacefully gather in protest and demonstration. All the leaders and citizens of the Ukrainian nation must, as Saint Paul reminds us, clothe themselves in “heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” (Col. 3:12).
At the end of the Divine Liturgy Bishop Daniel greeted all the parishioners and guests on this special holy day in the life of the parish family, especially Fr. Petro Siwko on the 15th anniversary of his pastoral service in the life of the parish community as well as on his upcoming birthday. Then all of the parishioners approached the bishop to venerate the cross and to receive special holy icon cards commemorating this day. However, the prayers concluded with a formal photo, taken by so dozens of cameras, hoping to send photo greetings to the people of Ukraine, as they remain on the cold streets of Ukrainian Maydan in Kyiv.
The celebrations continued with lunch in the parish hall and performances by the children of the parish. Bishop Daniel started the event with a prayer. During lunch, Pani Luba Lewytska, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies, called upon those in attendance to reflect upon the tragic events of 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine. Bishop Daniel and Pani Luba read to those in attendance a poem “Dedication to the Victims of Holodomor in Ukraine”, dedicated to the memory of the lost, and written by Svitlana Kuzmenko.
As the program continued, the people were treated to a performance by the parish children. The concert was enjoyed by the audience.
The day's festivities ended with the singing of "Mnohaya Lita." Pastor of the parish family, Fr. Petro Siwko thanked the bishop for joining the parish this day, the guests for coming to celebrate with the parishioners, the cooks who prepared a wonderful meal, the children for their performance, and all the guests and parishioners for their attendance in large numbers. The parishioners were then able to spend some time speaking with Bishop Daniel and receiving his blessings.