UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Nativity of our Lord Celebration at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church
The frigid temperatures outside St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ on Tuesday morning, January 7 2014, were no match for the warmth found inside as the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With some 300 hundred people in attendance at the main church of the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, His Grace Bishop Daniel, Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA led the Nativity of our Lord Divine Liturgy on January 7, 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA presided over the Great Compline/Matins services on Christmas Eve, January 6th, as the low temperatures covered most of Mid-West and East coast of the United States of America.
As the Liturgy was led by Bishop Daniel with Very Rev. Fr. Yury Siwko and Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas concelebrating, the church brimmed with faithful turning up in large numbers to attend the special morning Divine Liturgy, marking the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. Chanting of the choir of St. Andrew Memorial Church, under the leadership of Michael Andrec, Christmas tree and decorations with the candles lit in front of the icons added more charm.
In his homily, the bishop exhorted the faithful to follow in the path of Christ and said that, "Things like Christmas trees, stars, carols give us happiness superficially, but we must celebrate Christmas meaningfully and feel it within us by following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Give space in your hearts, open the doors of your houses for others.” He added, “Remember - our Savior Jesus Christ gave us the message of love, brotherhood and peace. We must live together as God's children. Christ died for us, which indicates how much he loves us, and so we must love each other. We must make real Christ's message in our daily life, live like Him, follow Him and abolish any sense of social/moral/political discrimination between the children of God. We must treat everyone equally…”
He further said that "in this modern world we forget our duties, we do not get time to pray, we do not know who is our next door neighbor… We go to the church and go back home and sit inside our houses without helping the needy…”
While concluding Bishop Daniel said, “Christmas is a time to spread joy, peace and harmony but how much joy we are spreading around us has to be introspected. Do not harden your heart, be more human and help the poor and the needy and celebrate a true Christmas”. The bishop also wished everyone a very happy and peaceful new year.
Once the liturgical celebration concluded, the choir of St. Andrew Memorial Church and the faithful prayerfully sang carols, while Bishop Daniel, assisted by Fr. Yuriy Siwko and Fr. Vasyl Pasakas anointed the faithful and offered them prayerful greetings.
The early hours of Christmas afternoon arrived, yet the carolers remained at St. Andrew Memorial Church to proclaim the great feast of the Nativity to the world, by sharing with each other the traditions of Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas carols, especially treating His Grace Bishop Daniel to his favorite Christmas carol "Heaven & Earth - Nebo i zemlia..."