UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
St. Andrew Parish Feast Day in Silver Spring, MD
By Tamara Woroby
The parish feast day at St Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD (on the outskirts of Washington, DC) is always a wonderful celebration. This year, it was made more special by the fact that we, as a parish, marked the anniversary of 20 years in the Holy Priesthood of our beloved Very Rev. Father Volodymyr Steliac.
The day began with a glorious sunrise welcoming an unusually warm December Sunday that would see temperatures rise above 70 degrees! We were honored to have His Eminence Metropolitan Antony lead our prayers with a Heirarchal Liturgy. Metropolitan was assisted by Father Volodymr, Very Rev. Father Todor Mazur from Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York, as well as subdeacons, seminarians and altar boys. The Church was packed with young and old, and there was a holy atmosphere during the service that was supported by the glorious singing of the Church choir, directed by Greg Oleynik.
Following the Liturgy, we proceeded to the Parish Hall, where tables had been beautifully set and a gourmet meal prepared by the Sisterhood. Halyna and Oleh Voloshyn served as the bilingual Masters of Ceremony. The Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Valerij Chaly offered greetings and presented a special Hramota from the government in Ukraine to Father Volodymyr. Parish Council President Tamara Woroby then asked all the Council members to come forward, and they together recognized the tremendous leadership and spiritual guidance that Father has provided to all. They also applauded Panimatka Marta for the indefatigable support that she has given to Father and to so many in the parish. The parishioners also sang Mnohaya Lita, not only recognizing Father’s 20 years in the Holy Priesthood, but the fact that just a few weeks earlier it had been the 20thwedding anniversary of Father and Panimatka Marta.
Father Volodymyr then told us about his journey to the Priesthood, from growing up in a small village in Romania, to being a seminarian in Ukraine, to meeting a devout young girl and marrying her within three weeks of meeting her, to becoming ordained as a Ukrainian Orthodox priest and making the decision to come to the United States.
As it was also the parish feast day, two awards made annually were presented. Anya Dydyk Petrenko was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Halyna Voloshyn with the Parishioner of the Year Award. The founders of the parish were then asked to stand and be recognized. There afternoon concluded with greetings to Father Volodymyr from the Sisterhood and other parishes in the area, including St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Holy Trinity Particular Ukrainian Catholic Church, Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church . The final highlight, no doubt, was when 15 year old Oles Steliac stepped forward to the microphone to honor both his parents. Not only his parents, but all who have watched Oles grow up, were so proud of him. It was a truly special day!