Ukrainian-American community of greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area gathered together for an evening of prayer, reflection and theatrical presentation, marking the 28thanniversary of Ukraine’s Independence at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Jenkintown, PA.
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, escorted by Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA and seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) participated in the celebratory event.
As every event in the life of the Ukrainian-American community, the concert program was opened and closed by a prayer. Metropolitan Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church opened the event with a reflection about the importance of the celebration as the one at hand, marking the accomplishments of the modern Ukrainian nation.
The concert program was chaired by Mrs. Ulana Mazurkewych and consisted of Accolada Choir, the duet of Ukrainian Bandurists “the Swords of Kozaks” and a theatrical group under the leadership of Mr. Yuriy Nakonechny, presenting an artistic reflection, depicting the historical journey of Ukraine and her struggle for Independence.
At the conclusion of the concert program and before the magnificent prayer “Bozhe Velykyj Eydynyj…” was offered, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel offered brief remarks, presenting to everyone in attendance a book of poetry by a young lady from Znamyanka Orphanage, Valia Nyzhnyk, who wrote several poetic prayers, beseeching the Almighty God for the end of war and peace in the ancestral Ukraine. Vladyka Daniel shared s personal story of Valia, who is 28 years of age and suffers from a medical condition that forced her to live her life in a wheelchair. Comparing the struggle of Ukraine for the past 28 years of its Independence to Valia, who struggles to get up from the “chains” of the wheelchair for the past 28 years as well, the archbishop wished the nation of Ukraine the strength and determination of Valia Nuzhnyk, who is determined to live and to once and for all get out of the restraints that keep her grounded.
The Accolada Choir chanted the final prayer… The celebration concluded, yet about 250 people remained in the concert greeting each other in sharing in fellowship. The clergy of both Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches spoke with three bishops in attendance: Archbishop Daniel of the UOC of the USA and Metropolitan Boryz Gudziak as well as Bishop Andriy Rabiy of the UGC Church about the common projects and celebrations that could being the greater Ukrainian-American community of Philadelphia, PA to a closer cooperation.
Sincere gratitude to Citizens' Committee of Philadelphia and Mrs. Ulana Mazurkewych for organizing the program.
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan