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Sunday of Orthodoxy Celebrated in Chicago Area!

UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
PRESS RELEASE

Sunday of Orthodoxy Celebrated in Chicago Metropolitan Area!

On Sunday, March 4th, 2012, six hierarchs from Orthodox Churches who are members of the Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North America presided over the Vespers service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Oak Lawn, IL, commemorating the feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Each year on the first Sunday of Great Lent, Orthodox Christians around the world commemorate the restoration of icon veneration, first celebrated in 843 A.D. in Constantinople.

As an expression of the “oneness” of the Orthodox Church, Orthodox hierarchs, clergy and faithful from many jurisdictions gathered on this day in cathedrals and churches around the world, to proclaim with one voice, “the faith of the Apostles…the faith of the Fathers…the faith which has established the universe.” In their Sunday of Orthodoxy encyclical the bishops addressed the faithful stating, “The Sunday of Orthodoxy is most auspiciously placed at the beginning of the Great Lent as an encouragement for all of us to proclaim, and most importantly act, according to the ‘right belief’ of our Faith. We give honor to the memory of the Righteous by our authentic engagement in the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying, and almsgiving. Through the help of our All-Merciful and Loving God, our sacrifices and spiritual efforts can bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of our families, church communities and society. What is more, these days of grace, repentance and transformation prepare us to become partakers of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Holy Pascha.

As the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, we exhort all the faithful to celebrate this Feast with special joy, and with a shared sense of our common Faith. The Assembly includes every canonical Orthodox presence in our region, and as such is a living icon of the varied traditions that have been carried to the New World by faithful Orthodox Christians from around the world. We encourage mutual celebrations and fellowship in the spirit of the Feast. Let us honor those who have come before us and preserved for us the integrity of Holy Orthodoxy. Let us be ourselves icons of the Living God, filled with faith, hope and love, and thus fulfill our Lenten struggle, and be counted worthy to worship the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA was a main speaker at the Pan-Orthodox Vespers Service. In his remarks the bishop stated: “…When people talk about the future of the Holy Orthodoxy in general terms, the usual issues are prominent in the discussion – ministry,  lay people involvement, membership, finances, the role of the Church in education, moral and social issues of the society, vocations etc. However, the most important issue lies much deeper. The challenge that faces us, to put it simply, is the question of continuing to believe in God in the world of the twenty-first century with all its uncertainties. That is the fundamental issue for us as followers of Christ. We are faced with a situation which might be summed up as “secularized existence” Many persons live as though God did not exist and place themselves outside the problem of faith versus non-belief, as if God disappeared from their existential horizon…

…As Orthodox Christians, we are called to be living icons of the Lord. Just as people look upon icons for a variety of reasons, so many people look to us for a wide range of reasons. To some, Orthodoxy is a fascinating example of ancient religion and Eastern mysticism. Then, there are those who see Orthodox Christians in terms of exotic rites and rituals. There are others who will see us as wood-worshipers. The seventh Ecumenical Council clearly condemned those who accuse us of worshipping idols, saying: “Anathema to those who apply the words of Holy Scripture which were spoken against idols, to the venerable icons. If we are true to our faith and desire to draw close to God, then His Divine Grace will pour out of us. Though not all people will see it in us, it will be there, just as this same grace comes from the holy icons. Some will perceive this shining grace within us. The icons are a reminder to us of our purpose in the spiritual life…

… While our society and the world around us may be trying to get us to believe that this is a time when it's "every man for himself," our Faith and our Church tells us that God has composed the body so "that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (I Corinthians 12: 25-26). I believe that these words apply to our Holy Orthodox Church today. This is a time when our Church should be doing even more to build up the body of Christ, to serve her people. The measure of our progress as a Church today will not be building projects, and new iconography projects, etc. We have a far more challenging task: caring for the people in the parishes, which is a much more difficult "building program," but a far more rewarding one…

… We ourselves must live out the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We must beg God to purify us through confession and pious practices that bring saving humility.  Only then can we be a parent, a brother or sister, or even a friend.  We must begin now to practice what we preach: mercy and love, peace and joy. I beg all of you, at all times, to work hard and be dedicated to your parishes and your Holy Orthodox Church. We need to help each other to commit ourselves in building part of the path toward the Kingdom of God.”

Some 50 priests and about 500 faithful participated in the Vespers service with the following hierarchs: Metropolitan Yakovos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America & Canada, Bishop Longin of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North America, Bishop Peter of ROCOR, Bishop Ilia of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America, and His Grace Bishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.

Representing parishes of the Chicago Deanery of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, and participating in the Vespers service were Archimandrote Pankratiy (St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL), Fr. Walter Hwostik (Protection of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, WI), Fr. Vasyl Sendeha (Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park, IL), Fr. Silouan Rolando (Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen, IN), Fr. Mykola Dilendorf (St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL), and Deacon John Charest (Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park, IL). Several dozens of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians of Chicago Metropolitan Area traveled to Oak Lawn, IL and took part in the evening prayers service with their bishop, many of whom are active participants of Chicago Pan-Orthodox Choir, under the leadership of the choir director of Ms. Gordana Trbuhovich.

Prior to the evening service of the day, in the morning of the 1st Sunday of Great Lent – the Sunday of Orthodoxy, His Grace Bishop Daniel joined the faithful of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL for the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and the service of Orthodoxy with the procession of icons.

The parish choir, under the direction of Subdeacon Yurij Czepynsky, sang responses for the Liturgy, while seminarian Bohdan Melnykovych from St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South bound Brook, NJ and the Subdeacons and altar servers of the parish family assisted the bishop about the Holy Altar of the parish temple.

At the Small Entrance of the Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Daniel presented an ecclesiastical award – a spiritual “sword” to the pastor of the parish community – Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, who prayerfully entered into the 5th year of his service in our Lord’s Vineyard.

The children and the youth of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish carried icons in a solemn procession, chanting hymns glorifying the fullness of Orthodox Christianity and its triumph over false teachings. The procession concluded with the entire congregation reciting the Proclamation of Faith.

In his homily for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Bishop Daniel spoke of the spiritual foundation of the first Sunday of Lent – the Sunday of Orthodoxy and exhorted the faithful to bear witness to the Gospel in their local community and their homes.

At the end of the prayer service, the bishop took part in a Lenten dinner prepared by the parish family and blessed a newly refurbished parish hall of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park, IL.

Sunday of Orthodoxy Celebrated in Chicago Metropolitan Area!

Sunday of Orthodoxy Celebrated in Chicago Metropolitan Area! - 03/06/12

Sunday of Orthodoxy Celebrated in Chicago Metropolitan Area!

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
P.O. Box 495;
South Bound Brook, NJ 08880
732-356-0090 (Phone) / 732-356-5556 (Fax)

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