In a day of great joy – January 18, 2020, Deacon Yurii Bobko, a native of Kozova, Ukraine was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA by Archbishop Daniel at St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ.
Seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary chanted the responses of the Divine Liturgy while clergy, family and friends from tri-State area attended the ordination.
In his homily, the archbishop told Deacon Yurii that, to him and through him, the Lord will continue to fulfill his promise to be a Good Shepherd, one who knows his people and cares for them.
A candidate for the priesthood, no matter his age, can easily identify with Prophet Jeremiah’s words: “Ah Lord God, I do not know how to speak. I am too young.” However, Archbishop Daniel stated that God’s response is very reassuring: “I know you well! Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. . . I will be with you.”
Quoting Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Vladyka Daniel stated that a priest must always remember God’s call: “We are called by God and we are called to be with Christ, united with Him. It is precisely this ‘life in Christ’ that ensures our service is effective and fruitful.”
The archbishop emphasized to the candidate to the Holy Priesthood to remember that he has been called by God every day and hour of his priestly service. “Deepen your understanding of your call by God through daily prayer!”
As spiritual father of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, Archbishop Daniel continued, “When I lay my hands upon you, I will call down the GRACE of the Holy Spirit upon you — not to honor or reward you with an exalted position — but to enable you to serve others faithfully after the model of the Good Shepherd.”
In the Gospel reading from St. John, at the moment of establishment of the Holy Eucharist, our Lord prayed that His heavenly Father will consecrate his disciples “in the truth. Your words are truth. As you sent me into the world, so I send them into the world.”
Archbishop Daniel lamented that we live in a time of chaos and polarization, of “fake news” and distorted information for partisan purposes.
“Yurii, my spiritual son,” he stressed, looking directly at the deacon, “As a priest, as a missionary disciple, you are to lead your people in faithfully and boldly proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Bring the Light of Christ into the darkness and shadows of our world. The Holy Spirit will empower you to do this. The Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, will be with you, showing you the way to faithful discipleship as a priest!”
Trembling in the fear of God and with tears in his eyes, after the Great Entrance, Deacon Yurii was brought forth to the Royal Doors by the deacons, from where serving clergy presented him as a worthy candidate in front of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel. Clergy in the altar of St. Andrew’s Church led the candidate for the ordination in prayerful chanting and veneration of the corners of the Sacred Altar of the Church, each time presenting him to the bishop for a blessing.
At the sacred moment of ordination, Deacon Yurii was led by the archbishop to the corner of the altar, where he knelt before it and placed his hands on it, thus promising obedience to the Church and the ordaining bishop. The archbishop placed his hands in silence upon Deacon Yurii’s head. With this laying of his hands Archbishop Daniel passed the Grace of the Holy Spirit through the Apostolic Succession.
As all those gathered exclaimed in unison AXIOS the newly ordained was found worthy of being vested in priestly garments in following order: sticharion, epitrachelion, belt, cuffs, phelonion, cross and sluzhebnyk (service book).
The life of ministry in Orthodox Church is not only for the priest, but for the entire family. Dobrodijka Olha, Fr. Yurii’s wife, was too called to serve and was as such was blessed through the prayer read by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel to give her strength and guidance for the years ahead.
Immediately following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel, assisted by the concelebrating clergy, led the Service of the Great Blessing of Water on the Eve of the Great Feast of Theophany of our Lord.
Having presented the Certificate of ordination to the newly-ordained priest Yurii, Vladyka Daniel greeted everyone in attendance, but especially the parents of Fr. Yurii (who live in Ukraine) and were going to listen and view the Liturgy via technological device because of their inability to be present physically at the service.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, who was in attendance, greeted the newly-ordained priest Yurii and assured him of his daily prayers and parental spiritual love, instructing the new priest to pray for his ordaining bishop as a new spiritual bond was formed between the archbishop and Fr. Yurii at the moment of ordination.
At the conclusion of the service, Fr. Yurii expressed his sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to him on this special day and throughout the last six years as a student at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the UOC of the USA.
While at the luncheon, Mr. John Holowko, representing Mrs. Karen Ferraro, president of the Ukrainian Orthodox League of the UOC of the USA, presented a check in the amount of $2,500 for the needs of the Seminary to the hierarchs.
Being ordained to the Holy Priesthood means that you act in the Name of Christ - as Christ Himself. You are the Christ to people and they come for confession as they would to Christ, and receive Holy Communion from priest’s hands as they would from Christ’s. This is what Fr. Yurii was found worthy of in his congregation. Now he is to serve in the image of Christ to the faithful and to those who are in need to be brought to salvation.
The Liturgy was followed by a luncheon at the Seminary building for all those in attendance prepared by the Seminary chef pani Maria Morozovska with the assistance of pani-matka Oksana Pasakas, pani-matka Olena Shak and pani-matka Olha Bobko.