UOC of the USA Mission Team Spends Time with the Orphans in the Capital of Ukraine
The ten-day visit to Ukrainian orphanage in Znamyanka or Kropyvnytsky region concluded with the departure of the entire Mission Team of the UOC of the USA to the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv. However, this departure also included ten children with minor mobility disability from Znamyanka.
The next three days in the capital of ancient Kyiv Rus and modern Ukraine were filled with prayerful visits to the religious sacred sites of Kyiv as well as various social and cultural opportunities were presented for the children to experience and enjoy while in Kyiv.
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, outside of being a spiritual father of the Team, also turned out to be a tour guide of the sacred monasteries and churches throughout Kyiv. Several visits were scheduled and completed to the ancient ruins of the Church of the Tithe (Desyatynna Czerkva), St. Andrew Church, St. Sophia Cathedral, St. Michael the Golden-Dome monastery and the ancient monastery of Kyiv Caves where the children prayed at the relics of the Holy Fathers of Kyiv Caves Monastery.
Being led by Maryana Voronovych, in country representative for the UOC of the USA Mission Program, the Team treated the Znamyanka Orphanage delegation to a visit to Kyiv City Zoo. It proved to be a truly interactive day of learning about the residents of the Zoo. Moreover, the children got a chance to feed the animals and to even try the fresh carrots and cabbage, which was fed to the goats, donkeys, etc.
On one of the other visits, the Team escorted children to the local Planetarium, where a learning and interactive presentation was offered. And if you are wondering whether the kids experienced simulation rides – the answer id - ABSOLUTELY!
Moreover, the Team paid a special visit to the National Holodomor Museum, where a bell was rang by the Mission Team in memory of the 10 million innocent victims of Ukrainian Genocide.
The love of the faithful of the Church was truly experienced by the kids and their teachers that came for a visit to the nation’s capital in so many ways: prayers and churches and monasteries, city and museum tours, interactive meals and local diners and restaurants, train rides, etc.
However, the three-day visit came to a quick completion and final farewells were exchanged at the Kyiv’s train station. As the children boarded the train, and wheel chairs were stored into luggage compartment, the tears and hugs were given… Tears of joy, hope and love… Hugs of brotherly and sisterly care; the most memorable of them was from Tanya: “give a hug to everyone on America…”
So, we, the Members of 2017 Mission Team of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA: Archbishop Daniel, Pani Olga Coffey (St. Andrew UOC Cathedral, Silver Spring, MD), Subdeacons Volodymyr Yavorskyi and Mykola Zomchak (St. Sophia Seminary, South Bound Brook, NJ), Andrew Powers (Protection of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Southfield, MI), Ginny Ulbright (Sts. Peter and Paul UOC parish, Youngstown, OH), Juliana Leis (Sts Peter and Paul UOC parish, Carnegie, PA), Vitaliya Dokhvat (Holy Archangel Michael UOC parish, Baltimore, MD) and Very Rev. Taras Naumenko (St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA), Deacon Paul and Mary Ann Cherkas, Janice Meschishen, Eleanor Kogut (Holy Archangel Michael UOC parish, Woonsocket, RI),embrace each and everyone of you with the profound sense of gratitude for your love and donations that make this ministry a truly living expression of our Christian journey.