ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Epiphany of our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., commemorated the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence on Sunday, August 28, with a liturgy, plaque blessing, concert and refreshments.
The day began with a liturgy celebrated by the Rev. Roman Badiak, which included a homily given by Pastor Bohdan Malski from the local Ukrainian Baptist Church. Afterwards, the congregation walked in procession from the church to the parish center for the blessing of a commemorative plaque in memory of the Heavenly Brigade and those who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Ukraine. Everyone lit a candle and placed it before the plaque before proceeding into the parish hall, where the celebration continued.
The Ukrainian American Veterans, Post #40 of North Port, Fla., formed the color guard. The master of ceremonies, Orest Dudiak, introduced the numerous guests, including the military representatives from Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Lithuania, Georgia and Canada, who are stationed with the coalition forces at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. He also introduced three representatives from Ukraine: Cols. Olexander Zhytryk, Svitlana Boiko and Yaroslav Cholovskyi.
The church choir, directed by Nadia Sawa, sang “Plyve Kacha,” “Molytva za Ukrayinu,” and “Zaspivaymo Pisniu za Ukrayinu.” Three young girls, Anastasia Zhytryk, Natalka Slywka and Deenna Slywka, recited heart-rendering poems which moved the audience. A contemporary flair was added by the guitar singing of Samuil Yukhimchuk from New Life Ukrainian Baptist Church.
The festivities ended with the singing of “Ukraina Tse Ty, Ukraina Tse My,” which included joyous participation by the audience. The program ended with a sumptious buffet provided by the kitchen staff and delicious culinary treats made by the parishioners.