A small town of Monessen, PA, population of which is 7,720 according to 2010 Census of the US government is a home for the parish family of the Ukrainian Orthodox community of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America, made a pastoral visit to Monessen, Pennsylvania. He was accompanied by a seminarian of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, New Jersey) Yaroslav Bilohan.
The congregation was excited to have the honor of hosting their hierarch, but it was also the day for two of its faithful to be recognized. Upon the entrance to the temple, Fr. Roman Yatskiv, administrator of St. Nicholas parish, greeted Vladyka Daniel. As His Eminence served the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, the church was filled with warmth as the church choir sang the responses, under the direction of cantor - Margie Druash.
In his sermon, the archbishop reflected upon the historical account of the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos and encouraged the faithful in attendance to reflect upon their path of life, finally stating that the earthly journey of the Mother of God: “… Her journey covers the distance between life and death, tears and joy… and the vehicle for her travel through life was untiring hope, true love and persevering prayer…”
The prayers were offered for all clergy, people, the sick, the suffering, and especially to all of the armed forces who have served, are serving, or those who have given their lives for the freedom of all.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Vladyka Daniel blessed the flowers and herbs prepared by the congregation that adored the sacred icon of the Dormition.
Vladyka Daniel addressed all in His Archpastoral greeting and passed on the blessing of the Primate of the UOC of the USA - Metropolitan Antony.
As the Liturgy concluded, Archbishop Daniel addressed the faithful in attendance on behalf of the Council of Bishops of the UOC of the USA and presented two Centennial Medals of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle to Marjorie Druash and Helen Guzensky in recognition of their selfless dedication to the ministry of the local parish family and the greater Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan