On September 16-17, 2022, the Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish family together with their parish pastor, Rev. Yurii Bobko, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Parish by Ukrainians from the Carpathian Mountains region and Galychyna who began immigrating to Western Pennsylvania. Thousands of Ukrainian immigrants arrived in Butler and Lyndora, PA to work in the steel, coal, railroad, and auto industries. Between 1919 and 1920, Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church were established. Ukrainians bought the property and began construction of the church, which was completed in 1922.
The faithful of the of Ss. Peter and Paul awaited the arrival of distinguished guests, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Diaspora, and His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy.
On Friday evening celebration began with a Great Vespers service with hierarchs: His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Daniel and local clergy: V. Rev. Michael Kochis, Rev. Mykola Zomchak, Rev. Ihor Protsak, and newly ordained Dn. Pavlo Vysotskyy. At the end of Vespers, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony spoke to people underlying the importance of taking responsibility for our spiritual life and being the ones who are not afraid to live as true Christians in today’s society. He emphasized our calling, spreading the word of God first of all through the example of our lives, remembering our ancestors who sacrificially gave their lives in service to the Church. Following the service, parishioners sponsored a wine-chees reception for visitors and family in the dining Hall of the Ukrainian Hall.
The next day, when the sun was shining brightly, all the people gathered outside, awaiting the procession with banners, and the entrance of the Hierarchs into the Temple for the celebration of the greatest service of the Orthodox Church, Divine Liturgy. A beautiful procession with Banners and Cross in the leadership of Hierarchs entered the Church where the pastor of the parish Rev. Yurii Bobko together with parish President Maria Corbin, and visiting clergy, greeted hierarchs with bread and salt, expressing a word of gratitude for their leadership and always guiding their faithful to main destination – Kingdom of God; asking about their prayers for Ss. Peter and Paul family, for our long-suffering motherland Ukraine during the ongoing war, and bringing the greatest gratitude before the Throne of God – Holy Eucharist.
To share the joy of celebration of anniversary together with Hierarchs gathered V. Rev. Mark Swindle, and Paisius McGrath, Rev. Fathers John Charest, Mykola Zomchak, Ihor Protsak, and Michael Sochka, and Decons. Evan (Clifford) O'Neil, Pavlo Vysotskyy, Seraphim Truckley, together with all seminarians of Ss. Sophia Theological seminary. The Archpastoral Divine Litugy was complemented by the majestic choir of the parish under the professional lead of Lydia Rudolf and the capable assistance of member of other local parishes, together with seminarian Roman Marchyshak.
During his sermon, Metropolitan Antony talked about living our life according to the teachings of Christ, then others will be interested in hearing about our faith. He also mentioned that we need to study Orthodoxy, so that when we asked questions, we are able to answer.
At the end of the liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, at the request of Fr. Yurii, awarded our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA highest award, the Centennial Medal for Lifetime Service to God and Community to Karen and Steven Sheptak, Rose Raith, Lydia Rudolf, Todd McCarthy, John and Stanley Ostwinch, Alexander Shott. These people showed their true Love to Christ in dedicated service to His Church showing a true example of the Christian life.
Also, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel granted certificates of gratitude to the President of parish Maria Corbin for the financial support of Ukraine during the ongoing war, to the President of St. Mary Magdalene sisterhood Antoinette Kennedy, and to all pirohi makers who every other week make pirohi for the wellbeing of the parish.
After the award ceremony, Fr. Yurii expressed His words of Gratitude to Arch pastors for being present with the parish fulfilling an apostolic mission, and sharing the joy of celebrating their celebration. In addition, Fr. Yurii expressed his word of gratitude to parishioners whom the Lord has so sincerely blessed him and offer a word of thank you to them for their love for the Lord and His Church, for the tireless sacrifice and work with which they prepared this celebration.
The 100th-anniversary celebration continued with the festive banquet where Lydia Rudolf shared her memory and word of thank you to all people who have been part of a parish for many years and made their contributions in a different way in the life of the Church. Fr. Yurii said that parish members chose the theme of their celebration “Peace and Love in the World”, emphasizing the ongoing war in Ukraine because the Church here together with its faithful is trying to connect with all this who are struggling there and we all are called to proclaim peace and love in the world.
In the end, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony together with His Eminence Archbishop Daniel expressed their gratitude to all faithful of Ss. Peter and Paul for their dedication for all these years. They encouraged everyone to continue to be an example for other people, bring even more fruits in their Christian lives for the future existence of the parish, putting Christ in the center of their lives.
Photos by Seminarian Mykola Stefanyk and Lydia Rudolf