UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Prayers for the Cancer Patients Offered at St. Andrew Memorial Church
Flight attendants wear jeans and pink shirts or ties. Yogurt lids and pickle jars, NFL jerseys and fireman’s uniforms take on the feminine hue. Twitter pages, calendars, and flashes of Hollywood all seem to bear the image of pink as well. Each year in America, the month of October is a reminder of the need to be ever more vigilant in early detection, unwavering support, and continued research to overcome the disease of Breast Cancer. As the leading form of cancer in women, a disease that will be diagnosed in one out of every eight women, this becomes a pro-life, pro-woman issue for our Church. The Holy Orthodox Church has always exhibited a profound respect and dignity for the feminine genius of woman; and now standing in support and solidarity for them in the face of such a terrible disease is a part of our mission to be a pro-life, pro-woman Church. And although breast cancer is far less likely in men– just under 1 in 1000 men, we stand in solidarity with them as well.
With such words in mind, it was mostly silent inside St. Andrew the First Called Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church on Monday evening (October 26, 2015) as roughly 100 parishioners stood in reflection of the spiritual and physical journey of many cancer patients for whom a healing prayer service – Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God – Healer of Caner was served by Bishop Daniel and chanted by the student body of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ.
“There are special occasions like this one where the faithful are called to pray quietly and offer intercessory prayers on behalf of those that are ill or have gone through the painful treatment of cancer battle,” said Vladyka Daniel prior to the beginning of the service. "Confident that God always remembers the good we have done and God is good and gracious, let us remember those who have suffered the painful treatment journey, - those who were injured both physically or emotionally," Bishop prayed. "Let us also remember and place before God in prayer the medical personnel who offers assistance and medical treatment to those that are struck by this illness… There are almost no families alive who have not been affected by Breast Cancer in an immediate family member or a friend who is like family to them. As we have watched heroic and courageous women fight such a disease, we recognize the moral imperative as Orthodox Christians to support the cause against breast cancer.”
As the liturgical prayer evening progressed, Bishop Daniel, assisted by Very Rev. Yuriy Siwko, Very Rev. Oleh Hucul, Very Rev. Ivan Lyshyk, Rev. Voctor Wronsky, Rev. Vasyl Pasakas and Deacon Vasyl Shak brought forth for veneration the relics of various venerable fathers of the Monastery of Kyiv Caves and offered intercessory prayers for those in attendance. Following the service, Bishop Daniel, in presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, anointed those in attendance with the sacred oil from the Holy Resurrection cathedral in Jerusalem, which was brought to the United States of America by Metropolitan Antony and 2015 pilgrims of the UOC of the USA to Holy Land.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in general and the local St. Andrew’s parish family in particular commit themselves to praying for an end to this tragic disease, to supporting the women who undergo treatment, and to supporting the families who are affected by it. Breast cancer strikes over 1.3 million women around the globe each year and is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society.