On Sunday, February 16, 2020, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel led the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Canberra, Australia. The parish serves as a center for the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand of the UOC in Diaspora. Very Rev. Fr. Michael Solomko – president of the Consistory of the Eparchy is also a pastor of the local parish family that serves the pastoral needs of the community and often ministers to the diplomatic staff of the Embassy of Ukraine in Australia. Ambassador of Ukraine Dr. Mykola Kulinich, his wife Olena and members of the Embassy’s staff attended the celebration of the Liturgy.
Welcoming the hierarch to the parish’s temple, the children of the community presented him with the traditional bread and salt as well as flowers. In response, His Eminence gave a little talk to the youth of the parish about the significance of the welcoming bread and salt in the tradition of Ukrainian culture and Holy Orthodox Church.
Fr. Michael in his welcoming remarks to the hierarch, called upon the archbishop to offer prayers for the Ukrainian Orthodox community throughout Australia, especially for the parish communities that archbishop visited on his archpastoral journey in the past three weeks, representing His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the UOC in Diaspora and the United States of America.
Concelebrating with the archbishop was also Protopresbyter Bohdan Matwijchuk, who represented the Ukrainian Orthodox communities in the United Kingdom.
Celebrating the feast of the Encounter of our Lord and the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, the archbishop concentrated his sermon on the topic of the Light of Christ in our lives and the example of spiritual revision and accountability that are portrayed in the Gospel Parable.
Reflecting on the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, Vladyka Daniel reminded the faithful of the reality of the Dread Judgment, which very few, even among Orthodox Christians, take time to contemplate. "The feast of the Meeting of the Lord is in accord with the meaning of the Sundays preceding the Great and Holy Lent," His Eminence noted. "The Righteous Simeon long awaited Christ, and now he receives the Savior in the Temple of God, and he no longer fears proceeding into life eternal." Archbishop Daniel added that the Righteous Simeon is an example for us of how we should receive Christ into our own temple, for our bodies are the temple of God: "If we will be with Christ, then we have nothing to fear from the Dread Judgment. On the contrary, we will rejoice with Christ in life eternal, as in it rejoiced the Mother of God, the Righteous Simeon, and other saints."
Many parishioners gathered for the weekday feast. Upon completion of the Liturgy, Vladyka Daniel led traditional service of blessing of candles, stating in his remarks that everyone must become an opportunity for internal transformation and transfiguration. “This Apostolic Feast is an invitation leading to God, light and hope, which fills our hearts and souls with love and warmth; once again reminding us of meeting the Lord, evaluating our lives by Him, and the necessity of having the Eternal Light of our Lord inside us. Today more than ever we need the light of God, so that the darkness of ignorance disperses. Therefore, we won’t be only the bearer of light, but be the light around us, showing by our example the sweetness of being a member of Christianity and the Church”, noted the Archbishop.
Celebration of the Divine Liturgy concluded the formal visit of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel to Canberra (Australian Capital Territory), thus giving an opportunity for the faithful of Sydney Metropolitan area to visit with the archpastor before his return to the United States of America on February 19, 2020.