UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
UOC of the USA Pilgrims Meet With the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
A 25-member group of pilgrims from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA safely departed Tel-Alvin, Israel following a 10-day pilgrimage to the sacred sites of Holy Land.
On Wednesday, November 19, 2014 the group of pilgrims under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Daniel arrived in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey).
The itinerary of this year’s pilgrimage placed the faithful of the Church at the ancient homeland of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Christian Church. The following three days of the pilgrimage were dedicated to the historical and spiritual importance of the old city of Constantinople, the center of Byzantine world. Vladyka Daniel, assisted by the tour guides of Select Travel International, visited numerous historical sites of the city, among which the TopKapi palace, the residence and administrative center of the fallen Ottoman Empire. The highlight of the visit to the palace/museum was the ability to approach the relics of Holy Prophet John the Baptizer that until this day are housed at the museum.
The itinerary of the following two days of the pilgrimage included visits to the church of Holy Peace (Hagia Eirene), which was dedicated by the Emperor Constantine the Great to the peace of God, and is one of the three shrines which the Emperor devoted to God's attributes, together with Hagia Sophia (Wisdom) and Hagia Dynamis (Force); The Church of Panagia Blachernae - Protection of the Mother of God, The Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine churh, and most importantly to the Great Church of Holy Wisdom – Hagia Sophia.
With the blessing of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, the pilgrims of the Church attended the Divine Liturgy for the feast day of the Entrance of the Birth-Giver of God into the Temple (Gregorian calendar - as the faithful of the Slavic tradition celebrated the feast day of Holy Archangel Michael (Julian Calendar), at the patronal feast of the Church of Panaghia in the Pera (Beyoğlu) district of Istanbul. Concelebrating with His All-Holiness were members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne.
After greeting pilgrims personally, he presented them with a small golden cross to mark the occasion. Addressing the pilgrims, the Primate of the Church of Constantinople said in particular, ‘You have been blessed this journey by the two Patriarchs – a blessing from His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine and me. It means your journey was a success. I always look forward to receiving Ukrainian Orthodox pilgrims both from the United States of America and Ukraine. Some of the greatest Fathers of the Church lived and worked in your ancestral homeland… We extend our sincerest greetings and assurance of prayers to your spiritual father – His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, under whose pastoral care you seek the kingdom of God. Marching faithfully with your spiritual fathers – Metropolitan Antony and Vladyka Daniel you will always feel the grace of God and his caring love for you and the God-loving people of Ukraine and the United States of America’.
In conclusion of the meeting, Vladyka Daniel, assisted by Very Rev. Volodymyr Steliac and Rev. Anthony Perkins presented the Patriarch with the copy of the icon of the “Offering of First Fruits” depicting Sts Volodymyr and Olga holding a model of the Desyatyna Church of the Dormition of the other of God, symbolic of St. Volodymyr’s determined effort to donate 10 percent of his income and wealth to the Lord.
The icon was a gift of iconographer Cheryl Pituch and her husband Eugene and his brothers in memory of parents Eugene and Julia Pituch. It is being utilized by the clergy of the UOC of the USA to educate their faithful about tithing of their own treasure, talent and time for the glory of God and the building of His Kingdom on earth.
Biding farewell to the Patriarchate, Vladyka Daniel and the pilgrims of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA received a blessing from His All-Holiness for a safe trip to the United States of America, thus concluding the 2014 Pilgrimage to Holy Land and Constantinople.
To read more about the Patriarchate of Constantinople, visit the official web site of the Patriarchate.