UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
His Grace Bishop Daniel Visits Jones, OK
On Wednesday 27 August 2008, His Grace Bishop Daniel arrived at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City, OK, on his first Archpastoral visit to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Jones, OK in order to head the celebrations of the parish’s feast day – Dormition of the Mother of God. At the airport His Grace was greeted by Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Raphael (Moore), pastor of the parish as well as Seminarian Vasyl Pasakas (whop was stationed in Jones, Ok for his summer break from the Seminary studies), Reader Andrew Swanson, and Subdeacon Robby Wall.
On Thursday, the feast day itself, Bishop Daniel served Archpastoral Divine Liturgy with seven orthodox priest of various jurisdiction of Oklahoma City Metropolitan area concelebrating. In his sermon Bishop Daniel reflected upon the role of the Mother of God in the History of Salvation: “She was able to look beyond her motherhood to comprehend the mission of her Son and be one of the first learners, followers of His message, becoming the ultimate example of motherhood and apostleship.”
The following day, Fr. Raphael gave His Grace Bishop Daniel a tour of the Oklahoma City area. Since His Grace Bishop Daniel served as a chaplain in the US Army Chaplain Corps, the visit was scheduled to the 45th Infantry Division Museum.
On Saturday night, His Grace served Great Vespers in the parish church sharing with the faithful a message about the role of a Christian in the 21st century.
The next day, Sunday the 31st of August, the church in Jones was filled to capacity for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Immediately after the vesting of His Grace in the center of the temple, Sandro Gomarteli, a young man who was recently trapped with his family by fighting in the Republic of Georgia, was tonsured a Reader; and Andrew Swanson was ordained a Subdeacon. At the end of the Liturgy His Grace led a procession with the Dormition icon around the exterior of the temple, stopping at each side for a Gospel reading and to bless the building, the city, the nation and the faithful with Holy Water.
All those present enjoyed a wonderful lunch, supplied by the St. Mary’s Sisterhood members featuring Oklahoman, Ukrainian, Georgian, Romanian, Native American and other ethnic foods. During the luncheon Vladyka made it a point to personally visit with those present. In addition, Father Raphael introduced his long-time, best friends – Jean and Gerald Krows to Bishop Daniel. Jean Krows is a Cherokee Indian, and both she and Gerald were dressed in Native American attire. Jean’s dress was a traditional “Tear Dress” recalling the infamous “Trail of Tears” when her people were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes in Tennessee and Georgia and forced to walk, in the cold of winter, to present day Oklahoma.
Fr. Raphael and the members of his parish family requested that His Grace make plans to for a return visit soon.