Archbishop Daniel Visits Los Alamos, NM - the Parish Community Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attack Upon the US
Archbishop Daniel Visits Los Alamos, NM - the Parish Community Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attack Upon the US

His Eminence Archbishop Daniel made an Archpastoral visit to the parish of Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico this past weekend, September 11th and 12th, 2021.

Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church has a special affinity both for His Eminence and to Saint Job of Pochaiv. This church is the first parish that Archbishop Daniel has named, and he named it after the icon of the saint he was given at his baptism. The Pochaiv Lavra stands on a hill above their city as Los Alamos is situated above the surrounding area. Saint Job, himself, is credited with bringing the then new technology of the moveable type printing press to the Slavic lands, while Los Alamos is a current center for scientific and technological advancement. It is a perfect fit.

On Saturday, Archbishop Daniel offered a Divine Liturgy in special remembrance for those who had lost their lives in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon twenty years ago, as well as those who died in the subsequent Benghazi attacks. The celebration of the Divine Liturgy was properly solemn, in that it was also the commemoration of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

“Today's prayer service provides a small way for our church family to never forget the tragic events of 9/11,’’ said Vladyka Daniel. “A day which has forever changed not only our nation, but our world. Through prayer, we can hopefully memorialize those who lost their lives, provide some sort of comfort to their families, and to remind all that through prayer we can overcome violence and hate.’’

Reflecting on the tragedy and sharing the sentiments of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Archbishop Daniel stated: “… 20 years after the still almost incomprehensible terrorist attack upon our nation on 9/11/01 the emotion and horror still weigh heavily upon each and every citizen of our United States of America.  We still hear daily references to some aspect of a moment in history that forever changed the course of American life.  Sometimes the references relate to positive consequences of an evil act, but more often we are further offended by the negative side effects of man’s ability to hurt and destroy his fellow man…

We offer the first prayer we shared with you 20 years ago as a guide for your personal prayer:  "Lord God, Lover of Mankind, bless our God-protected nation, the United States of America, and forgive those who hate and wrong us. Do good to those who do good and grant all our people safety, health, salvation and eternal life. Visit those who continue to suffer from the terrorist attack upon our nation and heal them. Guide those in our armed forces; in our fire, police and rescue services and in our government. Upon those who have asked us, unworthy though we are, to pray for them, have mercy.

Remember our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have fallen asleep in the Lord under the most horrific of circumstances and grant them rest where the light of Your Face shines in a place where there is no more pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering.  May their memory be eternal before Your Throne.

Remember us, O Lord, your humble, sinful and unworthy servants and enlighten our minds with the light of Your Knowledge and guide us in the way of your Commandments, through the prayers of our Most-Pure Lady, the Birth-Giver of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, and of all Your Saints, for You are blessed to the ages of ages.  Amen."

The liturgical services of the day served those in attendance as a reminder that even though the attacks of 9/11 are far behind us, the lives lost will never be forgotten… Memory Eternal!

After the liturgy the parish shared an agape meal and those who had concerns or questions for the Archbishop had a chance to speak with him privately.

That evening Father Theophan, the priest at Saint Job of Pochaiv, served Great Vespers in preparation for Sunday.

On Sunday, during the Divine Liturgy, Vladyka reflected: “… Remember that our doing and working in the Kingdom of God is not about personal ability, it is about personal faith. It is not about talent, but about desire… With God all things are possible! He can change our "I can’t" into "I will". He can transform our doubts into rock-solid confidence. Even the impossible, becomes reality…”

After the Divine Liturgy, the parish shared another meal, got to know the Archbishop better, and posed for pictures. He also inspected the recently completed traveling chapel that has been constructed by the parishioners of Saint Job. 

Three years ago, His Eminence blessed Father Theophan to reach out to a small group of Orthodox Christians in Farmington, New Mexico, and supply them with the Holy Mysteries on a regular basis. The group has remained small, but is faithful, and may offer possibilities for future ministry in the “four-corners” region and to the Native American population there. A family from this outreach traveled to Los Alamos to visit with His Eminence on Sunday.

The Archbishop and seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan spent the afternoon with Father Theophan and his family at their home and discussed the future of the parish and orthodoxy in Northern New Mexico.

Archbishop Daniel Visits Los Alamos, NM - the Parish Community Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attack Upon the US

Photos by Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan, April Veith and Else-Maria Mena Tennessen

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