OCA represented at Enthronement of Ukrainian Primate
18 Aug 2014 at 11:31am
With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, the Orthodox Church in America was represented at the Enthronement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine by His Grace, Bishop Michael and His Grace, Bishop Irénée on Sunday, August 17, 2014.
Metropolitan Onufry was elected to the See of Kyiv and All Ukraine at a special session of the Bishops’ Council convened at the Lavra of the Kyiv Caves on August 13. He succeeds His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr, who fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 78 on July 5, 2014 after a lengthy illness. [See related story.]
The Enthronement took place on the square in front of the Lavra’s Dormition Cathedral.
Also representing the OCA were Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach], Archpriest Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk, and Protodeacon Nazari Polataiko. Representatives from the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and the Czech Lands and Slovakia and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia also participated in the Enthronement Rites.
On behalf of the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Eminence, Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail congratulated Metropolitan Onufry and presented him with the archpastoral staff. Greetings were then offered by representatives of the local Orthodox Churches.
After the reading of the greeting of Metropolitan Tikhon on behalf of the OCA—see text below—Metropolitan Onufry was presented with relics of Saints Herman, Tikhon, Innocent, Raphael and Alexis Toth, with which he blessed the thousands of hierarchs, clergy and faithful who gathered for the occasion.
In response, Metropolitan Onufry reflected on his 40 years of monastic life and the “responsible obedience to Mother Church” required of him as Primate.
Greeting to His Beatitude, Onufry, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, from
His Beatitude, Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada
August 17, 2014
On this day of your enthronement we join in prayer for your ministry as Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. You are called to serve as Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine at a difficult and dangerous time. Ukraine has experienced in its recent history turbulence and confrontation, political and social upheaval and uncertainty, violence and threats of violence. At the same time great effort is being made in Ukraine to build peace and stability.
The vocation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under your guidance is to contribute to peace and stability – peace and stability which will help all the people of Ukraine to live with respect and tolerance for each other. You have already shown your ability to collaborate with other religious communities of Ukraine, sharing with them a love for God, love for Ukraine, and a determination to build a peaceful society.
Today’s painful challenges are not the first difficulties Kyiv and Ukraine have faced. This land and its people have witnessed much suffering through history. There have been many challenges. In the 20th century alone, Ukraine had to bear wars and invasions, Communist and Nazi terror, famine and nuclear disaster. Yet today Ukraine is determined to continue the task of living as an independent European state, at peace internally and enjoying peaceful and productive relations with other nations near and far.
At your enthronement, Your Beatitude, the Orthodox Church in America is represented by two bishops – one American, and one Canadian. There are many Ukrainian Orthodox people in both countries. Some of them are members of the Orthodox Church in America, others are members of Ukrainian Orthodox dioceses and communities belonging canonically to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Therefore, many Orthodox of America and Canada are in close kinship with Your Beatitude and with your Holy Church.
In America and Canada there is a great diversity of language, culture, and historical memory among Orthodox people. There are many whose historical origins are in Ukraine and Russia and Belarus, in Romania and Albania and Greece, in Serbia and Bulgaria and Poland, in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, in Syria and Lebanon and the whole Middle East. Many of our people – bishops, clergy, and lay people – are American and Canadian converts to the Orthodox faith. In Alaska, the Orthodox faithful are Native Americans, descendants of those who received the Orthodox faith and holy baptism from the missionaries sent to Alaska from Valaam Monastery in 1794. This diversity invites us in North America not only to acknowledge our differences but also to live in unity and mutual acceptance.
The River Dnieper at Kyiv is the place where the Baptism of Rus’ took place in 988, at the initiative of the Holy Prince Volodymyr. This baptism is the foundation of the Christian faith and the Orthodox Church in today’s Ukraine and Russia and Belarus. We pray that Your Beatitude, as the Metropolitan of Kyiv, will be granted the grace to affirm the unity of the Orthodox faith in Ukraine, to affirm the common Christian commitment in Ukraine to peace, and to affirm the interreligious commitment to work together for justice and peace in Ukraine. The foundation on which you stand as Metropolitan of Kyiv is strong – its cornerstone is Christ.
On this day, we all join in the joyful exclamation: Axios! Axios! Axios!
Your brother and concelebrant,
New Skete annual pilgrimage attracts hundreds
16 Aug 2014 at 9:31pm
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Sister Dr. Vassa [Larin] was the guest speaker at New Skete Monastery’s annual Pilgrimage on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Hundreds of people were on hand to listen with appreciation to her presentation.
Youth volunteers needed at 18th All-American Council
15 Aug 2014 at 5:14pm
The day also included a talk on New Skete’s monastic life by Sister Rebecca, a discussion on iconography by Sister Cecelia, a tour of Holy Wisdom Temple, and a photo exhibit highlighting New Skete’s history. Visitors also feasted on Greek and Lebanese food offered by Flavors of Lebanon, a local food vendor.
Sister Vassa is the host of “Coffee with Sister Vassa,” a YouTube podcast. Despite her extensive academic background — she did her undergraduate work in the US and pursued Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Germany — her videos are relaxed, easy to follow, and quite humorous at times. Born in Nyack, NY, Sister Vassa is a nun of the Russian Orthodox Church, author of many articles and a monograph on Byzantine liturgy and theology, and an outspoken public intellectual. She is an independent researcher at the Department of Historical Theology, University of Vienna in Austria. Her presentation was titled “Mystery and History: Two Pillars of Traditions.”
In addition to the celebration of Matins and the Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, a late afternoon Healing Service with anointing and the Saturday evening Vigil was also held.
New Skete, since 1979 a monastic community of the Orthodox Church in America, was established in 1966 by a small group of Byzantine Rite Franciscan monks. The monks are renowned for their breeding of German Shepherd dogs and their training of all breeds. In 1969, seven Poor Clare nuns from Indiana, inspired by the vision of contemporary monastic life, settled near the monks and joined New Skete. The nuns of New Skete have been baking their world-famous cheesecakes for over 35 years. In 1983, a third community was established when eight dedicated parish members expressed their desire to live in accordance with the monastic way of life and formed the Companions of New Skete.
Youth and young adults from across the Orthodox Church in America are encouraged to attend the 18th All-American Council in Atlanta, GA July 20 – 24, 2015.Children in PK through second grade will meet for a play group, which will be organized in a similar manner to a Vacation Church School program. In the afternoon, the children and their parents will participate in additional activities.
For third through 12th graders, a similar format will be used, with parents picking up their children and teens after the afternoon activities. Volunteers that are trained and screened will chaperone the afternoon activities.
“Youth and volunteers will experience the fullness of our Church in a way that can’t be described in words,” said Priest Benjamin Tucci, who is overseeing the AAC youth program. “The entire Synod of bishops, its clergy, and faithful will be in attendance, bringing joy and glory to God. There will be an entire hotel full of Orthodox faithful worshiping, participating in council events, and celebrating the faith. Together we will learn ‘How to Expand the Mission’—the theme for the week.”
The hotel itself sits in the midst of Atlanta’s downtown Peachtree Center, just minutes from the airport by a low cost tram system called Marta. Youth and volunteers will explore the area during the daytime hours, when AAC meetings are in session. They will visit the Georgia Aquarium which boasts one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, large enough to host a few large whale sharks. They will see the famous World of Coca-Cola, where youth will be able to make their own soda pop and sample different soda pops from all over the world.
“And together, we will explore the CNN Studio,” Father Benjamin added. “Lunch will be provided daily, and transportation will be available to and from activities that are not within walking distance.”
Each morning, youth ages three to 18 will enjoy age-appropriate educational sessions.
“Youth and volunteers are needed,” Father Benjamin emphasized. “The youth will give a presentation at the end of the week to the entire body of the Council.”
Volunteers may register on-line. An on-line training, screening and background check will be provided to volunteers at no cost before the Council begins. Meals and fees associated with the activities will be covered by the OCA. Room costs and meals outside of the activities are not covered, however.
Youth also may register on-line at our AAC web site and will be charged a participation fee for the youth programming events. Transportation to the AAC, hotel fees, and meals outside of activities are the responsibility of the youth. Chaperones and parents should be aware that the youth will need to be chaperoned and watched over during times that they are not at the scheduled events.
Fundraising Ideas are available on-line at oca.org/the-hub/20-something/ideas-for-fundraising.
For more information, contact Father Benjamin at email@example.com or visit the AAC web site. Youth directors and church school coordinators should begin fundraising as soon as possible.
In related news, the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] will begin their annual national convention on Saturday, July 18. Those interested in attending the FOCA’s meetings and sessions or to find out more about them may visit the FOCA web site at www.orthodoxfellowship.org.
“The FOCA also plans to have youth activities and activities for all age groups,” Father Benjamin added. “Youth and adults are encouraged to come to the Council early and find out more about the FOCA, which encourages stewardship and parish growth through participation in local and national events, including the annual FOCA basketball tournaments, the married student housing project at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, and a variety of other events and activities.”