Новий Хрест та Купол Освячені для Української Православної Парафії св. Івана Хрестителя в Шерон, Пенсильванія
Archbishop Daniel Blesses New Dome for St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Sharon, PA
In the presence of clergy, parishioners and guests of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Sharon, PA, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel blessed the newly installed church dome and a cross.
The project that was in planning for quite some time finally came to fruition following the easement of the COVID-19 community restrictions in the state of Pennsylvania.
Archbishop Daniel, in his capacity of the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, traveled from the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA (South Bound Brook, NJ) on Friday, July 23rd in order to join the entire parish family for the installation and blessing of the dome.
Prior to the beginning of the liturgical Moleben service, Vladyka spoke of the spiritual significance of the heavenly image of the church dome and the structural design that reminds of the eternal flame of God’s presence in our lives.
“The dome looks like a candle, a bright light, a beacon to invite people to visit us here in Sharon, PA and to bring them into closer encounter with the Savior,’’ Archbishop Daniel said.
Reflecting on the social and moral state of the greater Christian community, the archbishop called upon those in attendance to shine forth and not to hide the significance of the Christian way of life in times of spiritual and social uncertainty.
"We use water and we bless, so that the Holy Spirit descends upon that water. It's not the water itself but the action of the Holy Spirit that will bless and sanctify and purpose the cross," said Father Steven Repa, pastor of St. John’s parish community.
The church was founded 95 years ago and just four years ago, a storm damaged the old dome. Now with the fiberglass dome in place, the UOC of the USA's archbishop blessed the dome. The original cross that used to sit on top of the damaged dome can be found out in front of the church.
Blessing the dome is essential to the church because, according to Fr. Steven, "the cross is not just a symbol but it's to be used by the holy spirit in a mystical way for the church to reach out to the world".
In the presence of over 50 people in attendance, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel ascended almost 100 feet in the air on the portable lift in order to recite the prayer of blessing over the newly installed dome and a cross.
Several local community TV stations and news reporters joined for the dedication service, asking the hierarch of the Church to reflect on the social, spiritual, moral and political issues of the present-day society.
In conclusion of the service and his visit to the parish family, Archbishop Daniel, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Steven Repa, pastor the parish community; Rev. Fr. Ivan Tchopko of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Youngstown, OH; Deacon Evan O’Neal of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Carnegie, PA; Subdeacons Yaroslav Bilohan and James Cummings – recent graduates of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the UOC of the USA as well as seminarians Mykola Stefanyk and Andrii Akulenko, signed the time capsule that will be placed inside the newly rebuilt parish dome.