Sunday After Theophany and Observance of Ukraine’s National Unity Day Marked at Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in London, U.K.
With about 300 people in attendance, the Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in London, Great Britain celebrated the Sunday after Theophany with His Eminence Archbishop-elect Daniel, who presided over all Theophany liturgical services in the United Kingdom.
The day was also special for Ukrainian Orthodox Christians, as Ukrainians across the world marked National UNITY Day.
Entering the sacred temple, Vladyka was greeted by the members of the parish’s board of administration, Mr. Volodymyr Muzychka and children of the cathedral’s school. Presenting the bishop with the cross and welcoming him to the temple, local clergy: Fr. Bohdan Matwijchuk, Fr. Evhen, Fr. Mykhaili, Fr. Yakiw, Fr. Mykola and Deacon Volodymyr asked their hierarch to pray for the founders of the cathedral community as well as for the numerous parishioners and visitors that weekly worship at the cathedral.
Solemn Hierarchal Liturgy followed. The Church was filled to capacity. The Church Choir, under the leadership of Chanter Ivan, aptly sang responses to Vladyka Daniel’s prayers during the Divine Liturgy, especially as the Solemn Prayer for Ukraine was pronounced.
Many times during the Divine Liturgy Vladyka Daniel blessed the congregation with the hierarchal Dykiri and Trykiri candles. In his very moving sermon Vladyka presented many examples and advice for creating a pleasant and inviting atmosphere in the churches, which would attract guest visitors of parish churches who might possibly be looking for a new place of worship and possibly join the parish. Vladyka Daniel emphasized that because our Ukrainian Orthodox Church is in the middle of two cultures – the Ukrainian and the British - it is very important in order to preserve the traditions of the Holy Orthodox Church to adjust the celebrations to both cultures. In his homily, Vladyka Daniel expressed how pleased he was to be present with the congregation and to encourage the cathedral parish as they work toward building up the renewed parish family. The hierarch encouraged those in attendance, especially the new generation of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians, in the efforts to care for the parish community, because such growth in the parish is a powerful way for us to reach out to bring others closer to Christ’s healing touch. Vladyka acknowledged that growth is always accompanied by struggles. He assured the faithful that we are in his prayers and he asked for the prayers for the parish and for him. He reminded the congregation in attendance that our ancestors had a vision for themselves and the future generations, just as we do, to provide comfort and hope and to minister to others about the presence of God. This attracts others to join us in praising God. In conclusion, Vladyka Daniel also stressed that inner peace and spiritual happiness is more important than the accumulation of worldly possessions.
The Archbishop-elect then administered the Holy Eucharist, first to the altar servers, and then to many children and parishioners who prepared themselves to receive the Eucharist from Vladyka Daniel on this special Sunday morning.
After singing the final prayer “Bozhe Velykyj Yedynyj…” – the Ukrainian prayer which imploring the Almighty God to preserve our Fatherland Ukraine – a long line for veneration of the cross and the relics of St. Basil the Greta formed and the radiant and smiling Vladyka Daniel found enough time to exchange at least a few friendly words with just about everyone who approached him and talked to him while receiving a commemorative icon card. Once the veneration of the relics was complete, a general photo of everyone in attendance was taken, holding in their hands the image of the map of Ukraine with the inscription: UNITED UKRAINE – a symbolic photo, celebrating Ukraine’s National Unity Day.