Consistory Nativity Tree Decorated with the Hand-Made Ornaments of the Youth of the Church
Consistory Nativity Tree Decorated with the Hand-Made Ornaments of the Youth of the Church

The Christmas tree, a cherished emblem of the Christmas season, carries deep symbolism that has evolved over centuries. The evergreen tree represents resilience, eternal life, and the triumph of light over darkness. Its nature of retaining its green foliage throughout the winter symbolizes the enduring spirit and the promise of renewal. It is a symbol of God’s strength and continuity, even in the midst of the harshest winters.

Every aspect of the Christmas tree is steeped in symbolism.  The trees triangular shape reminds us of the Holy Trinity, while the twinkling lights, which historically were lit candles placed on the tree boughs, represent the Light of Christ.  The star that tops the tree is the Star of Bethlehem, while the many angel ornaments are the angels who brought the good news to the shepherds in their fields. 

The Christmas tree serves as a focal point for gatherings and celebrations, embodying unity and togetherness. The act of decorating the tree is a shared experience, fostering a sense of community and warmth during the Christmas season.  Just as a family gathers to decorate their Christmas tree at home, so the Church family has “gathered” to decorate the main tree at the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.  The faithful of the Church heeded the request made by Archbishop Daniel, Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and Consistory President of the UOC of the USA, to send in handmade ornaments.  Children from the following parishes lovingly created colorful ornaments, covered in glitter, sewn with love, and glued with joy:

  • St. Andrew Cathedral, Silver Spring, MD
  • Sts Peter and Paul Parish, Palos Park, IL
  • St. John the Baptist Parish, Dixonville, PA
  • St. Nicholas Parish/The Petroff Family, Troy, NY
  • St. Vladimir Cathedral, Parma, OH
  • St. Demetrius Cathedral/The Linck Family, Carteret, NJ
  • St. John the Baptist Parish, Johnson City, NY
  • Sts Peter and Paul Parish, Youngstown, OH
  • Ukrainian History and Education Center – St. Nicholas Workshop
  • St. Andrew Memorial Church/The Pasakas Family, South Bound Brook, NJ
  • St. Panteleimon Parish, Brooklyn, NY

Boxes upon boxes of ornaments arrived via various delivery services, the post office, curriers and even by the children themselves. 

On the big day, the tall atrium filled with echoes of laughter and admiration as Archbishop Daniel opened the boxes and admired the handiwork of the youth of the Church.  Himself recovering from a recent illness, Archbishop Daniel expressed his gratitude to all the youth and parishes who had reached out to him and supported him through his recovery with cards, gifts and mostly with their prayers.  Assisted by the Consistory clergy – Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Fr. Vasyl Shak, Fr. Ivan Tchopko, and Deacon Roman Marchyshak, His Eminence stated that having all these ornaments from so many children was like having those children themselves present with them at the Consistory.

As they hung angels, crosses, icons, baubles with glitter, Ukrainian themed ornaments, ribbons, icicles, snowmen, and stars with the large icon of the Protection of the Mother of God which hangs over the Library doors gazing thoughtfully down upon them, the clergy one by one began to softly sing Christmas carols, glorifying the Lord who incarnated to save all of humanity.  As the clergy sang, the tree inch by inch began to sparkle and shine with the love of all the faithful of the Church. 

As the sun set, the tree which remains lit throughout the Christmas season, cast a warm glow which emanated out the glass doors and could be seen over a great distance.  The Consistory Christmas tree truly is a tree of unity and family, reflecting the joy and faith of the youth of the Church, whose love for God illuminates the world around them, as the tree illuminates the winter darkness.

Consistory Nativity Tree Decorated with the Hand-Made Ornaments of the Youth of the Church

Photos by Subdeacon Maksym Zhuravchyk

(22 images)

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
P.O. Box 495
South Bound Brook, NJ 08880

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Metropolia Center
135 Davidson Avenue
Somerset, NJ 08873