UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Holy Unction Service at Sts Peter and Paul UOC Served by the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy, His Grace Bishop Daniel and the Clergy of Chicago Deanery
Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, Pastor of Sts Peter and Paul Parish in Palos Park, IL
Photos by Donna Nevels and Subdeacon Ivan Chopko
There is no man on the earth, who would not benefit from receiving healing. We are all in a need of some type of healing, either physical or spiritual; especially after the strain of “not so happy events” that have shaken our country and shaken the whole world… We have fallen into a spiritual distress. Pastors of various religious congregations have been encouraging laity to seek spiritual healing. One after the other has been reminding their faithful of the importance of wellbeing of one’s soul. Our Holy Orthodox Church, besides providing healing through the comforting words of its clergy provides spiritual healing through miracle working sacraments: Holy Confession, Holy Eucharist and in particular Holy Unction.
The faithful of the Chicago Deanery of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, had an opportunity to receive so much needed spiritual healing in the evening on Holy Wednesday at Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Palos Park, IL. Mystery of Holy Unction or Anointing unto Healing with Holy Oil was served by the Clergy of the Chicago Deanery under the leadership of the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy, His Grace Bishop Daniel.
The beautiful and somewhat warm spring evening of the Holy Wednesday began with the gathering of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Parishes of Chicago land as well as Indiana, at the parish temple of Sts. Peter and Paul in Palos Park, IL. People have spent hours in traffic, traveling quite a distance, tired after working day, just to be a part of this unique and powerful healing service.
The Holy Mystery of Unction calls for seven priests, seven readings from the Scriptures, seven prayers and anointing with oil specifically blessed during the service. Although it is not always possible to perform the sacrament in this way, the customary procedure is still to gather together as many priests and people as possible. It was by the Grace of God that several priest were able to serve this Holy Mystery of the Church: Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynyuk, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Bensenville, IL; Very Rev. Ivan Lymar, pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Rev. Silouan Rolando, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Goshen, IN; Rev. Walter Hwostick, pastor of Pokrova of the Mother of God Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Milwaukee, WI and Rev. Vasyl Sendeha and Deacon John Charest of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Palos Park, IL.
The Lord Himself came into the world to "bear our infirmities." In Matthew 11:28-29 Christ says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” One of the aspects of Christ Divine Mission on the Earth was to heal the sick. The Sacrament of the Unction for the sick is the Church's specific Service for healing. If participants have strong faith, and if it is according to God’s will, there is every reason to believe that the Lord can heal those who are ill with any possible affliction.
Quite often people think of the Mystery of Holy Unction as a Sacrament served only for one who is ill and in pain or is in the final hours of his/her life. Besides providing physical healing, this Sacrament also provides healing of the soul. It provides great benefits to the one who at times feels alone and isolated to the one who is spiritually ill. It has power to heal, physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. Christ is present in this Holy Mystery through the ministry of His Church.
The foundation of the Holy Mystery of Unction is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the Book of James 5:14-16 we read; “If any among you sick, let him call for the presbyters of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
The words “Anointing” and “healing” are mentioned over 150 times, in the New Testament. As we can see the act of “Anointing with oil” is quite common throughout the Holy Scriptures. We can receive the same grace and healing given by God through His Apostles by being anointed by Priest and/or Bishop.
Today, Service of the Holy Unction stands as a miracle working Sacrament that has great powers to bring comfort and relief from our physical, spiritual or emotional sufferings. It will work miracles in our lives as long as we believe, as long as we have that little muster seed of faith. I have heard of so many healings from this Sacrament, some so miraculous that they go beyond human understanding. Truly, in faith, with faith, all things are possible through God.
This Sacraments of Holy Unction is a magnificent way to draw near to God together as a congregation of His people. It helps us to commune with Him, to receive His healing power and to worship Him with our whole being.