With the church bells ringing, the faithful and visitors of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church of the Spiritual Center – Metropolia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (South Bound Brook, NJ) patiently waited for the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel, who led the Synchronized Prayer for Ukraine, thus uniting the local NJ community with the millions of Christians throughout the world in prayer for Ukraine – on the day of the 27thAnniversary of Ukrainian Independence.
Over a dozen of clergy from the local NY/NJ/PA parishes gathered with about 100 people of the South Bound Brook/Somerset, NJ Orthodox community at exactly 11AM (6PM – Kyiv time) in order to unite in prayer with Ukrainian Christians in Australia, Austria, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, China, Romania, Belgium, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ukraine, etc.
“Bozhe Velyky, Edyny…” prayer song was chanted by the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary, while the flag of Ukraine was raised by Alex Pavlykivsky of All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church of New York, NY. Immediately following the prayerful song, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel led a Moleben service for the nation of Ukraine and people of Ukrainian descent throughout the world. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, while still in a wheelchair, following his car accident, made every effort to elevate himself in prayer with the faithful of the Church.
Vladyka Daniel chanted a Prayer for Ukraine, which was written by a young girl from Znamyanka (Kirovohrad region, Ukraine) Orphanage – Valya Nyzhnyk, beseeching the Almighty God for the peace and stability in Ukraine and a swift conclusion of the aggression against Ukraine. Vladyka spoke of the sanctity of Ukrainian flag, which throughout centuries remained a symbol of Ukrainian freedom and struggle for Independence. Moreover, the archbishop called upon those in attendance to be proud of their ethnic heritage. He stated,“…that while we live in the United States of America - the land of freedom for various groups of immigrants, we must be proud of our Ukrainian-American history. We must honor the centuries old sacred traditions of prayer and the ability of wearing Ukrainian embroidery and singing Ukrainian songs, etc.”In conclusion, Vladyka Daniel thanked everyone in attendance for taking time from their work schedule in order to unite in prayer with the World-wide Ukrainian community.
Metropolitan Antony, in his fatherly voice, addressed the gathered clergy and faithful stating “…We call the faithful of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church to a spiritual renewal and to true unity as an expression of our devotion and gratitude to Almighty God in the Holy Trinity for His abundant blessings upon the Ukrainian Nation. The Church must once again become the moral conscience of the nation, as she always was throughout the glorious era of Kyivan-Rus’ before surrounding nations began to conquer and divide the nation and usurp her history.
May God give us the spiritual and moral strength to be His faithful witnesses before the world as recipients of His Grace and abundant Love. Ukraine has been a giant among nations in her devotion to God above all and we must pray that this devotion will raise her up again for that reason alone...”
World-wide Synchronized Prayer Held at the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA - 08/24/18
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan