On Thursday, February 6, 2020, the feast day of Venerable Xenia (Oksana) of Rome the Ukrainian Orthodox community of Holy Trinity Parish in Carlton, Victoria welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Daniel on his archpastoral visit.
Since arriving in Australia, the Archbishop has been extremely busy with the responsibilities of his archpastoral office and this was the fourth parish visit. What a beautiful part of Southern Victoria to visit!
Entering the parish temple, Vladyka Daniel was welcomed by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Solomko, president of Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand of the UOC in Diaspora, Very Rev. Fr. Vasyl Kasyan of the Nativity of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Geelong and representatives of the parochial community Lesia Williams and Tonia Bezkorowaina.
During the Moleben prayer service, the archbishop chanted a prayer of Intercession for the parish community, stating:
"Heavenly Father, we are ever grateful for the knowledge and faith You have given us.
In gratitude for these gifts that brings us peace in this life and certain hope of eternal life, we ask to extend Your gifts to those in our parish who have lost sight of them and those who have not heard of them.
Give us in our weakness the strength we need to do whatever the Holy Spirit directs us to do in order to spread the knowledge and love of Christ the Savior and the Birth-Giver of God and our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand and throughout Diaspora.
Help us to make our parish a center of love for God and neighbor. For You are a Merciful and Loving God and to You we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.”
In his remarks, His Eminence reflected on the life of Venerable Xenia (Oksana) of Rome, stating: “St. Xenia of Rome, in the world Eusebia, was the only daughter of an eminent Roman senator. From her youth she loved God and wished to avoid a marriage that had been arranged for her. She secretly left her parent’s home with two servants and set sail upon a ship. Through the Providence of God, she met the head of the monastery of the holy Apostle Andrew in Milassa, a town of Caria (Asia Minor). She asked him to take her and her companions to Milassa. She also changed her name, calling herself Xenia (which means “stranger” or foreigner” in Greek).
At Milassa, she bought land, built a church dedicated to St. Stephen, and founded a woman’s monastery. Soon after this, Bishop Paul of Milassa made Xenia a deaconess because of her virtuous life. She helped everyone – for the destitute, she was a benefactress; for the grief-stricken, a comforter; for sinners, a guide to repentance. She possessed a deep humility, accounting herself the worst and most sinful of all.
She was guided in her ascetic deeds by the counsels of the Palestinian ascetic, St. Euthymius. The sublime life of St. Xenia drew many souls to Christ. The holy virgin died in 450 while she was praying. During her funeral, a luminous wreath of stars surrounding a radiant cross appeared over the monastery in the heavens. This sign accompanied the body of the saint when it was carried into the city, and remained there until her burial. Many of the sick received healing after touching St. Xenia’s relics…
… The Holy Church of the 21st century is in need of such powerful witness, as it enters a new era in its history in the Western world. It is entering an era where it is no longer seen as a respected presence in the society but is viewed by many as an obstacle to the wellbeing of society. The Christian church is currently being forced more and more to retire within its own walls. There is a growing anti-Christian sentiment where the Christian churches are regarded as being out of touch with the realities of contemporary life, wedded to some bygone era… We are entering a new phase of Christian life. We must remember our past but live in this day, preaching the WORD of God by LIVING the precepts of our Faith and not just reading them in our prayer books and catechisms…”
After Moleben service at Carlton church, Vladyka enjoyed local hospitality with a morning tea and refreshments in a social hall of the parish, where he had the opportunity to meet and talk with parishioners.
With the visit to Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish, Archbishop’s visit ended to Melbourne Metropolitan area. Parishioners of all four parishes enjoyed meeting and chatting with Archbishop after liturgical services.