It is a pious tradition in the life of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD to celebrate the patron feast day with the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA – His Eminence Metropolitan Antony. However, due to Metropolitan’s illness, Archbishop Daniel traveled to the nation’s capital and presided over the weekend festivities at St. Andrew’s cathedral.
On Saturday, December 7, 2019, prior to the arrival to Silver Spring, MD, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel paid a special visit to the Navy Memorial and WWII Memorial in Washington, DC, paying special tribute to fallen sailors-heroes of Pearl Harbor. On that day, the nation marked the 78th anniversary of the tragic attack upon the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor by Japanese naval forces.
On Sunday morning, Vladyka Daniel surrounded by numerous altar server of the parish community, entered through the doors of St. Andrew’s cathedral in order to be welcomed for the Eucharistic celebration of the Patron’s Feast day of the entire cathedral parish family. Welcoming the archbishop, the children of the parish presented him with flowers and the Parish Board President Dr. Tamara Woroby welcomed His Eminence with the traditional bread and salt, calling upon the hierarch to offer intercessory prayers for the parish community.
The pastor of the cathedral, Very Rev. Fr. Volodymyr Steliak, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Vasyl Kryshtompol (Holy Archangel Michael UOC parish in Baltimore, MD), Very Rev. Fr. Claudiu Lutai and Deacon Sviatoslav Hot (St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary; South Bound Brook, NJ) presented the archpastor with a cross for veneration and a short reflection about the legacy of the cathedral parish and the continued dedication and pledge to the Mission of the Church.
The early hours of the morning brought over 200 people to the cathedral’s temple for the Divine Liturgy. The church was packed with young and old, and there was a holy atmosphere during the service that was supported by the glorious singing of the cathedral’s choir, directed by Greg Oleynik.
Following the chanting of the Gospel Reading, Archbishop Daniel deliver a sermon, reflection on the Gospel narrative of the Sunday, stating that “…being a saint does not mean separating from the world; on the contrary, it means loving God and serving neighbors right here and right now – in the middle of the world…”
Numerous parishioners prepared themselves to receive the Most Holy Mystery of Eucharist. Children, adults, elderly and people with disabilities with prayers on their lips approached the two priests holding sacred chalices, distributing to the faithful the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord.
The day continued with a festive luncheon prepared in honor of St. Andrew’s Feast Day and the visiting hierarch. Ladies in the kitchen (members of the Cathedral’s Sisterhood under the leadership of Pani-matka Marta Steliak), assisted by the younger generation of volunteers, treated everyone in attendance to a festive meal. Dr. Tamara Woroby and Fr. Volodymyr Steliak addressed the congregation reflecting upon the true meaning of parish life and the importance of healthy Christianity in the local community where Ukrainian Orthodox Christians find themselves not only living their lives, but most importantly sharing their lives and Faith with those around them. Vladyka Daniel also addressed the gathered congregation, informing everyone in attendance about the various ministerial opportunities in the life of the Church, as well as about the charitable ministries of the Church.
A true treat to everyone in attendance was a call from His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, who by phone greeted the congregation with their feast and wished them to live their Faith to fullest potential.
Anya Dydyk Petrenko addresses the congregation of the luncheon with a challenge to offer their donatiosn to the ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and for the support of the entire Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook, NJ. The parish pledged to match the gifts that were gathered by the congregation. Thus a donation of $20,000 was collected and pledged to the sacred work of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Both Archbishop Daniel and Fr. Volodymyr Steliak offered sincere welcome to the diplomats of the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America that joined the celebration and participated in the activities of the day. Mr. Andriy Yanevskyi – Charge d’Affaires approached the podium and greeted the congregation on their feast day on behalf of the staff of the Embassy.
As it was also the parish feast day, two awards made annually were presented. Anna Fisher was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Svitlana Kozyr with the Parishioner of the Year Award.
The day concluded with yet another short prayer and numerous opportunities for the parishioners and guests of St. Andrew’s to visit with their bishop, many of whom asked for special prayers and blessings. It was a truly special day!
Photos by Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan