February 17-18, 2019 weekend – the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, was truly a spiritual and uplifting weekend for the faithful of St. Andrew the First-Called Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral community in Silver Spring, MD.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Daniel visited the nation’s capital – Washington, DC Metropolitan area Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral. The archpastoral visit combined several events in the life of the Ukrainian-American community of Washington, DC. Archbishop Daniel presided over the baptism of a new parishioner of the Church; led the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy, spoke to the faithful about the importance of the granting of Autocephaly and the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, participated in the formal program and led the Memorial Service, honoring the sacrifices of the “Heavenly Hundred” - the 100 young men and women that in 2014 sacrificed their lives on the Maydan of Kyiv for the freedom of the ancestral homeland Ukraine.
The pastor of St. Andrew’s cathedral, Very Rev. Fr. Volodymyr Steliak, welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Daniel with the words of spiritual joy and asked the hierarch to bless the congregation of the faithful on their preparation journey toward the Great and Holy Lent. In his sermon, Vladyka Daniel reflected upon the meaning of the Gospel narrative of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, calling upon the faithful of the parish cathedral community to adhere to the teachings of the Gospel in every aspect of their life’s journey, remembering that “… anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Several dozen of parishioners of the local Ukrainian Orthodox community approached the chalice to receive the Holy Eucharist from the hands of the archpastor. The choir, under the leadership of Gryhoriy Oliynyk, prayerfully chanted during the Liturgy.
Following the service, Archbishop Daniel presented a short reflection about the sacrifices of the heroes of the “HEAVENLY HUNDRED” and over 13,000 soldiers that have lost their lives protecting the sovereign borders of Ukraine against Russian aggression. The hierarch spoke with gratitude to the faithful of the parish and the greater community for their dedication to the mission of providing assistance to the wounded soldiers that go through rehabilitation in the United States of America; for the contributions to the charitable mission of the Church through the ministry of St. Andrew’s Society. During the program in the hall, the parishioners responded to Vladyka’s remarks and collected over $3,000 in donations to aid the wounded soldiers in Ukrainian military hospitals and the soup kitchens, sponsored by St. Andrew’s Society. Dr. Tamara Woroby, the president of the cathedral’s parish board of administration, presented Archbishop Daniel with the collected funds and thanked him and Metropolitan Antony for the leadership in the charitable outreach mission of the Church.
Addressing the parishioners and guests during the luncheon, His Eminence spoke about the historic developments in the life of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – especially about the process of receiving the Tomos of Independence of the Church from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The archpastor truly engaged himself in the conversation with the faithful; thus leading a true “town hall” meeting on the topic of ecclesiastical history and pastoral mission of the Church.
Later in the day, Vladyka presided over the Memorial Service for the “HEAVENLY HUNDRED” downtown Washington, DC – by the HOLODOMOR monument – thus commemorating the two atrocities that were imposed upon the people of Ukraine and Ukrainian descent – the tragedy of the Genocidal Famine of 1932-1933 and the loss of life on Kyiv’s Maydan and the continued loss of human life during the military aggression against the freedom loving people of Ukraine.
In the late hours of the evening, Archbishop Daniel, assisted by the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary – Mykola Zomchak, Yaroslav Bilohan and Ivan Venhryn, departed the nation’s capital for the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ.
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan