Over 60 delegates and clergy, representing Ukrainian Orthodox parish communities from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, gathered in Papanduva, Santa Catarina region of Brazil for the XVth Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of South America, marking the 50thanniversary of Eparchy’s establishment.
The sacred gathering of Eparchial communities commenced its work with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the UOC of the USA and Diaspora, who delegated Archbishop Daniel to formally represent the Metropolitan of the Church and preside over the plenary sessions.
On Friday evening, 6 September, 2019, Archbishop Jeremiah (ruling hierarch of the South American Eparchy) and Archbishop Daniel presided over the Vespers service in Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Papanduva, Brazil. Sobor delegates from Brazil and Argentina sincerely offered prayers for the clergy and delegates of the parish communities from Paraguay who were arriving to Santa Catarina region of Brazil, having completed 20 some hours on a bus, bringing over 20 delegates representing parish communities in Paraguay.
On Saturday morning, 7 September, 2019, the formal opening of the XVth Eparchial Sobor took place with the prayerful chanting of “O Heavenly King..” and blessing from His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, representing Metropolitan Antony.
In his opening remarks, the eparchial hierarch, Archbishop Jeremiah welcomed the delegates of the parish communities to St. Volodymyr the Great parish and offered sincere gratitude for all in attendance for their dedication and ministerial work for the past three years, following the conclusion of the XIVth Regular Sobor of the Eparchy in Curitiba, Parana in 2016.
Archbishop Daniel delivered formal greeting of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony to the Sobor delegates. In his written remarks, Vladyka Metropolitan called upon the faithful of the parish communities to faithfully respond to the challenges of their local communities in the countries of South America yet maintaining the sacred traditions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and passing them to the generations to come. Moreover, Metropolitan Antony expressed his joy to the delegates of the Sobor upon the formal canonical recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which resulted in the formal granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly.
Greeting the delegates of the Eparchial Sobor, Archbishop Daniel related prayerful well-wishes of the Council of Metropolia and Consistory, clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. In his capacity of the Eparchial hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora, Vladyka Daniel related words of spiritual love and support from the clergy and faithful of the parish communities of Western Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, the chairperson of the XVth Sobor, presented written greeting of His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasious of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of South America, who is also the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in South America.
The plenary sessions of the day continued with the individual reports from 27 active parishes of the Eparchy and active Deaneries, representing Northern and Southern Brazil, Buenos Aires Metropolitan area of Argentina, and Southern Paraguay.
Following luncheon, the formal elections to the Offices of Ministry and Administration of the Eparchy took place. The day concluded with the presentation of the Resolutions made by the Eparchial Sobor, making plans to expand their catechetical program, work with the youth of the parish communities, charitable work, preservation of the Faith and cultural traditions of the Church. Moreover, a formal theological program was proposed for establishment, which will properly train the prepare Deacons for the service in the parish communities of the Eparchy.
Vespers service was served in the late hours of the day, thus preparing everyone in attendance for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, celebrating the feast of the Nativity of the Birth-Giver of God (according to Gregorian calendar).
Early in the morning on Sunday, 8 September, 2019 – the Eparchial clergy, in the presence of over 200 people, welcomed Archbishop Jeremiah and Archbishop Daniel in front of St. Volodymyr the Great Ukrainian Orthodox parish for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, thus enabling everyone in attendance to partake in the Holy Mystery of Eucharist.
During the Small Entrance of the Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, presented the clergy in attendance with the Centennial Pectoral Cross of the UOC of the USA, thus showing spiritual connection between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Eparchy of South America, which is under the spiritual omophorion of the Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel blessed the icon of Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Volodymyr, written and prepared by iconographer Eduardo Mauro, which will be utilized by the local parish community for weekly family visitation, thus insuring the on-going daily prayer life in the community of Papanduva, Santa Catarina.
A formal farewell luncheon took place in the parish hall of St. Volodymyr parish community, treating everyone in attendance to a delicious local Brazilian and Ukrainian cuisine dishes, while the youth of the local community performed several Ukrainian ethnic dances.
As the late hours of Sunday afternoon settled, the bus for Paraguay departed, giving signal to all delegates to prepare their way to return to the parish communities in three South American countries.
Photos by Dorotea Tchopko