His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, representing the fullness of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA of the Greater Chicago, IL area joined His Eminence Metropolitan Ilia, Bishop of Philomelion Albanian Orthodox Diocese, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Nicolae of Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in Americas, Bishop Longin of Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America Diocese of New Gracanica-Midwestern America His Grace, Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America, Archbishop Peter of ROCOR Chicago and Mid-America Diocese the Right Reverend Paul, Bishop of Chicago and Midwest, OCA.
The Orthodox Christian presence in Chicago began in the late 1800s with the establishment of the “Greco Slavonic Brotherhood,” which included immigrants primarily from Sparta and Corfu, Greece; Montenegro and Hercegovina, in Serbia; and Carpatho-Rusyns and Galicians from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After petitioning the ecclesiastical centers in their respective homelands, priests were sent in 1892 to serve the needs of the faithful.
Exactly 125 years ago, Orthodox Christians from various nations were unified as they gathered together for the very first Divine Liturgy served in Chicago. They have emigrated from different places in the world, but they were unified by the Orthodox Faith and started to gather together and establish Orthodox parishes in Chicago and Chicago-land. They were those pioneers, who have brought Orthodox Faith to the Midwest America. The Orthodoxy grew and prospered. Today, there are nearly 80 parishes in the greater Chicagoland area.
The hierarch, clergy and the faithful gathered for the Pan-Orthodox Divine Liturgy to celebrate the glorious anniversary and to honor the pioneers of Orthodoxy in Chicago, to remember in prayers the founders of our churches, who have built our communities with great personal sacrifice; often not having much themselves have given a lot for the church to be build and grow. Their memory has been and will be passed from generation to generation and their good deeds have inspired and continue to inspire many to live the Orthodox Faith.
His Grace Bishop Irinej [Dobrijevic] of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America delivered the insightful and uplifting homily. Over sixty priests and a dozen of deacons from Albanian, Antiochian, Bulgarian Carpatho-Rusyn, Georgian, Greek, Romanian, ROCOR, Serbian, Ukrainian and OCA local parishes have concelebrated with the hierarchs at this historic Liturgy. The Pan-Orthodox Choir of Greater Chicago directed by Gordana Trbuhovich sung the responses at the historic Divine Liturgy in English as well as other languages of the participating faithful.
The Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was represented by the clergy of Chicago Deanery who joined Archbishop Daniel at the altar: Very Rev. Fr. Bohdan Kalynyuk, Chicago Deanery Dean and pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL; Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Lymar, pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Very Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, pastor of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL; Rev. Fr. Silouan Rolando of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Goshen, IN; Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA; Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak and Deacon John Charest of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL as well as Very Rev. Fr. Howard Sloan, Fr. Mykola Dilendorf (in attendance).
Subdeacons James Nevels and Jeremy Oryhon of Sts Peter and Paul UOC in Palos Park, IL as well as Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) provided liturgical assistance to the Orthodox hierarchs during the Archpastoral Divine Liturgy. Moreover, parishioners of Sts Peter and Paul UOC parish in Palos Park, IL took an active part in joining the Pan-Orthodox Choir of Greater Chicago, directed by Gordana Trbuhovich, and sung the responses at the historic service. Several dozen of Ukrainian Orthodox parishioners from the parishes of Chicago Deanery joined about 1500 people in attendance of the Divine Liturgy.
The celebration continued at Chicago’s Marriott O’Hare Hotel, where a jubilee banquet took place, at which several tables were occupied by the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
The day concluded with a prayerful exclamation: “Grant, O Lord, a prosperous and peaceful life, health safety and furtherance in all good things, to all Chicagoland Orthodox Christians who are celebrating 125 Years of Orthodox Christianity in this great city; and in appreciation, O Lord, of our ancestors who, since the year 1892, founded and established near 80 Orthodox churches throughout Greater Chicago, and to all who worship in them O Lord, bless and preserve them for many years!”
The Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago [OCCA] has sponsored this glorious event.
Chicago Pan-Orthodox Community Celebrates 125 Years - 09/30/17
Text by Very Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha - Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak