On a cool, spring Sunday morning, the parish family at St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox church gathered for the Divine Liturgy, but this was not just your average Sunday. The parish family was blessed to greet His Eminence Archbishop Daniel and welcome him to our community with Deacon John Charest, Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak, and Seminarian Ihor Protsak. On this fifth Sunday after Pascha, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel joined the parishioners of St. Vladimir’s to remember the fifth anniversary of the repose of our dear spiritual father Metropolitan Constantine of blessed memory. His visit also celebrated twenty-five years of service in the Holy Priesthood of Father John Haluszczak, and the tonsuring as Reader a parishioner - Nicholas Sampson.
Archbishop Daniel was greeted at the church with bread, salt, and flowers by Nataliya Petrylo and Aleksandra Kocelko, on behalf of the parish family. Father John Haluszczak welcomed our hierarch to St. Vladimir’s, and His Eminence responded with the expression of prayerful joy as he arrived to share in the celebration of Fr. John’s 25th Anniversary of Holy Priesthood. Before the beginning of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy Nicholas Sampson was tonsured a Reader. During the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel elevated Father John Haluszczak to the [rank] of Mitred Archpriest. In his remarks to Fr. John and the parish, he shared that the mitre used for this elevation was one used by Metropolitan Constantine; this was heartwarming for Father John because Metropolitan Constantine was his ordaining bishop for the order of Holy Priesthood, twenty-five years prior. Archbishop Daniel’s call of “AXIOS!” was echoed through the church with a resounding response from the church family, confirming “AXIOS AXIOS AXIOS!” In his remarks to Father John, Archbishop Daniel also said that this was not just a celebration of twenty-five years, but a call to more responsibility in service of the Church.
The Divine Liturgy continued and the joy of the Resurrection was felt in the beautiful responses sung by the choir, which was led by Choir Director Mauri Druash-Gladys. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel announced to the parish that with the blessing of the hierarchs, he has appointed Father John Haluszczak the Chairman of the All Saints Camp Committee.
After the Divine Liturgy, everyone enjoyed a tasty, Southside meal that was prepared by the parish. During the meal, representatives of the parish presented Father John Haluszczak with gifts of gratitude for his service to the parish. One of these gifts was made by the youth of the parish; the gift was a hymn from the sacrament of ordination with a frame decorated with the fingerprints of the youth of St. Vladimir’s. The parish also presented a gift to their beloved spiritual mother, Pani Anne Haluszczak, to recognize her for the hard work and dedication she has offered to the parish over the last twenty-five years, which often happens “behind the scenes.”
After the meal, many of the parishioners went to the parish cemetery to the grave of Metropolitan Constantine of blessed memory to remember him in prayer on the 5th anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord. Metropolitan Constantine, a well-known and influential leader of the UOC of the USA in the Church and in international communities, was also a beloved friend, family member and guide for many within our parish. Clergy and faithful from the surrounding region joined together in the soothing rain, to pray for His Beatitude and to reminisce about fond memories of His Beatitude.
This Sunday was truly a significant occasion in the life of our parish which celebrated the life cycles of service to the Orthodox Church. We commemorated Metropolitan Constantine’s life-time of dedication to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We honored both Father John’s celebration of twenty-five years of service and his renewal and call to more responsibility in the next twenty-five years. We confirmed the beginning of young Nicholas’ commitment to serving the Church through the first [level] of reader. It was a blessing to be with Archbishop Daniel for this celebration of life during the remainder of the Paschal season, and the parish looks forward to his next visit!
By Lara Haluszczak - Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak