The top story for Ukraine’s Churches during 2019 was the granting of official independence to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine with the presentation of a Tomos of Autocephaly by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on January 6 (Christmas Eve according to the Julian calendar and Theophany Eve according to the Gregorian calendar) at St. George Cathedral at the Phanar in Istanbul. Metropolitan Epifaniy, the newly elected head of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (following the decisions of the Unification Council), received the Tomos after concelebrating divine liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew. The document was written at Xenophontos Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece, by Hieromonk Luke, a skilled calligrapher and hagiographer.
“Today, a new page opens in the history of Ukraine,” Patriarch Bartholomew said on January 5 after signing the scroll. “We entreat and exhort you to strive for unity and peace… also with those brother hierarchs who still remain under the omophorion of… our brother Patriarch of Moscow, in order that, through your inspired presence and prudent administrative service, you may help them understand that Ukraine deserves a unity Church body.”
Metropolitan Epifaniy expressed thanks to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Mother Church, “…With the blessing of your All Holiness and with the support of the Ukrainian state and our president, the divisions that existed until recently in our Church were eliminated and unity was restored.” He added, “We believe that, just as God heard our joint sincere prayers for peace and unity for our Church, … He will hear these prayers also and will give our state peace and unity, and our nation well-being and prosperity.” Metropolitan Epifaniy celebrated Christmas Day divine liturgy on January 7 at St. Sophia Cathedral, the historic cathedral for Ukrainian Orthodox faithful, where the Tomos was on display for the public to view.
The Tomos was returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate Council, where members signed the Tomos on January 9. The reaction from both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Federation was no surprise. Moscow condemned the move by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a “provocation,” “uncanonical” and “unlawful,” and the Synod of the ROC announced it had severed ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Adding salt to the wound was the fact that Ukraine’s Parliament had passed a law in December 2018 that required the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate to change its name to reflect its affiliation with Moscow. The Moscow-backed Church was set to have its charter nullified and voided if it did not comply with the law once it went into force.
The signing and presentation of the Tomos of Autocephaly revealed the geopolitical falling out between Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Constantinople’s deepening relationship with Kyiv and Ukraine. Since the signing, only two autocephalous Orthodox Churches have recognized the OCU’s status, including the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Orthodox Church of Greece. Details of the Tomos also specified that the OCU has jurisdiction only in Ukraine, transferring those churches formerly under the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
A virtual Town Hall meeting, aimed at clarifying the facts and fostering spiritual exchange related to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to grant a Tomos of Autocephaly to the OCU was hosted via conference call on January 26 by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The panelists of the discussion, titled “Ukraine Autocephaly: An Issue So Critical,” included Metropolitan Emmanuel of France (an exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the autocephaly process), the Rev. Deacon Nicholas Denysenko, Ph.D. (Valparaiso University) and Vera Shevzov, Ph.D. (Smith College).
The reaction from the Moscow Patriarchate to the move by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the OCU had caused comparisons to the Great Schism of 1054 that resulted in the division of Christianity into Eastern and Western Churches. Dr. Anthony Limberakis, national commander of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, in an article in Public Orthodoxy, published by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, stated: “…What was, or should have been, simply an administrative issue has become something far larger, with implications for the Orthodox Church as a whole that cannot be overstated. The questions involved in this issue include ones of autocephaly, unity, jurisdiction and the very nature of what it means to be an Orthodox Christian in the world today.”
Dr. George Demacopoulos, moderator of the discussion, underscored three main issues: 1) reconciliation of Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, 2) autocephaly of the OCU within the borders of Ukraine (historical vs modern borders), and 3) Moscow’s reaction to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision.
The Rev. Deacon Denysenko noted that the canonical status of the UOC-MP helped its claim as the major Orthodox Church in Ukraine since independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union until the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014, Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war in the Donbas. The divergent courses of the UOC-MP and the UOC-KP had reached a point of “no return,” he said.
Dr. Shevzov highlighted the need for the OCU to overcome collective historical memory and shake off the Soviet legacy of atheism and mistrust of religious institutions. Dr. Shevzov was critical of Constantinople’s decision to no longer recognize the UOC-MP and its head, Metropolitan Onufriy (who rejected participating in the Unification Council of 2018 that elected Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the OCU), citing a lack of transparency and a sense of being rushed in its efforts.
Metropolitan Emmanuel said he saw no signs of interest from Moscow for a sincere dialogue about Ukraine. He clarified that the decisions by the Ecumenical Patriarchate were based on the canons of the Church, and thus could not be considered misconduct by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Metropolitan Epifaniy’s enthronement ceremony was held on February 3 at St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. In attendance were the hierarchs of the UOC-U.S.A. and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, as well as bishops from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and monastics and clergy from Xenophontos and Vatopedi monasteries of Mount Athos. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gifted an archpastoral staff to Metropolitan Epifaniy that was presented by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France. Metropolitans Antony and Yuriy, respectively, of the UOC-U.S.A. and UOCC presented panagias (episcopal medallions of the Theotokos).
The ceremony was described by President Petro Poroshenko as the “completion” of the process of granting autocephaly to the OCU. Metropolitan Epifaniy’s message focused on pursuing unity in the Church and efforts to continue to build and strengthen the OCU. He attempted to downplay Moscow’s use of provocations to manipulate threats of violence in the transfer of property and churches from the UOC-MP to the OCU, underscoring the stated goal that this process will be “peaceful, calm and voluntary.”
In other news from Ukraine, Archbishop Klyment (Kushch), head of the Crimean Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on March 3 attempted to travel to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, to visit imprisoned Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb, the 20-year-old charged with “terrorism.” The archbishop was detained for several hours in Symferopol and charges were never filed against him. “Although the Russian occupation regime stopped short of imprisoning the archbishop… this is a very dangerous new move in Russia’s persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and of Klyment himself,” the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group said in a March 4 statement.
The episode came only weeks after Archbishop Klyment was forced to appeal to the international community to prevent the effective destruction of the OCU, which first came under attack soon after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. Only nine of the 44 registered parishes affiliated with the UOC-KP remained in Crimea as of March 6. Russian authorities had previously detained Archbishop Klyment on October 19, 2016, when he attempted to enter the Crimean peninsula from mainland Ukraine; no explanation was provided by the authorities for the detention.
On March 14, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a letter listing the historical precedents that supported his decision to grant autocephaly to the OCU. The letter, addressed to Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and all Albania, was in response to the archbishop’s January 14 letter that called for a pan-Orthodox council (similar to the one held in Crete in 2016) to resolve the split in world orthodoxy that erupted following Patriarch Bartholomew’s signing of the Tomos of Autocephaly on January 6 and the creation of the OCU and the Unification Council’s election of Metropolitan Epifaniy as the new head of the OCU on December 15, 2018. The letter cited numerous historical examples of decisions by the Ecumenical Throne that were seen as invasive or not respecting the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as other patriarchates and Churches.
Greek bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on March 17 expressed support for the decision to grant autocephaly to the OCU following divine liturgy on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodicea stated: “…The Ecumenical Patriarchate, as the first throne of Orthodoxy, exercised its ecclesiastical authority in the context of canonical and synodal tradition and self-perception. …However, at this sacred moment, I cannot but refer to the sacrificial ministry of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, with his dynamic personality and extensive theological and canonical training, upholds, by the grace of God, the divine mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and at the same time remains the nexus of the brotherhood of the Orthodox Churches.” The bishop lauded the decision by Patriarch Bartholomew to “provide the proven and most appropriate solution to the chronic ecclesiastical problem of that country [Ukraine].”
On the bumpy road of seeking unity in the OCU, Metropolitan Epifaniy tried to ease tensions with honorary Patriarch Filaret (former primate of the UOC-KP).
The rift was exposed on May 14, when Patriarch Filaret invited bishops to St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kyiv and did not invite Metropolitan Epifaniy until it had been made public. Only four out of 60 bishops attended. There was a need for respect on both sides, and Metropolitan Epifaniy said he would listen to advice but not adhere to ultimatums. Also, he said, the decisions of the Unification Council must be respected and followed, meaning that the UOC-KP does not exist anymore, and the Tomos of Autocephaly should guide the division of responsibilities.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on August 8 at the Phanar in Istanbul while the president was on a working visit to Turkey. The two leaders agreed not to interfere in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, as it seeks to heal the spiritual wounds inflicted by the destabilization efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate through the UOC-MP. The patriarch urged President Zelenskyy to refrain from interference in the internal affairs of the OCU, as the Ecumenical Patriarchate underscored its position to respect the independent and autocephalous nature of the OCU. The meeting concluded with a luncheon and a tour of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George, where the Tomos of Autocephaly had been signed and presented to Metropolitan Epifaniy. Mr. Zelenskyy stated after the meeting, “Government should not interfere in Church matters, and I defend the independence of the Church.”
On October 12, the Council of Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church adopted a proposal from its primate, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II, to ratify a previous decision to the Synod of this Church proclaiming “the canonical right of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly, as well as the privilege of the primate of the Greek Church to further pursue the issue of recognition of the Church of Ukraine.” It was the first Orthodox Church to officially recognize the OCU as independent and autocephalous. Metropolitan Epifaniy expressed thanks to the Greek archbishop and the Synod of the Church of Greece, and its brother hierarchs, for supporting the canonical and historical decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He noted the historical ties between Greece and Ukraine, and said he looks forward to many shared pages of friendship and cooperation. Moscow reacted by blaming Ukraine, Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate for fomenting a schism in world orthodoxy.
A new metropolitan for the U.S.
The Vatican Information Service announced on February 18 that Bishop Borys Gudziak had been tapped as metropolitan-archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, that is, as the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States. The appointment was made with the recommendation of the Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops during its meeting in Lviv in September 2018. Bishop Borys, who served the St. Volodymyr the Great Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (that includes France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland), replaced Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka, who retired after reaching the mandatory age. Bishop Borys also was former rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and served as head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
In an interview published in March, Bishop Borys explained that he was filled with emotions at hearing the news of his appointment, but at the same time, he is at peace with it, and would focus his ministry on people and pastoral works. He expressed sadness for having to leave the Paris Eparchy, but was filled with joy with the prospect of “coming home” to the U.S., where he was born in Syracuse, N.Y. Among his accomplishments at the Paris Eparchy were the purchase of a church that had been unused for services for 200 years and the launch of the Cultural Center of Anne de Kyiv, named after the Kyivan princess and daughter of Prince Yaroslav the Wise who later became queen of France. Other areas of development were the revival of the pilgrimage center in Lourdes and the Paul Kohut Youth Center in Alsace.
Bishop Hlib Lonchyna of the London Eparchy of Great Britain and Ireland became the apostolic administrator of the Paris Eparchy until a new bishop was selected.
A key slogan Archbishop-elect Borys adopted for his ministry in the U.S. was “heart to heart” – focusing on the need to listen to one another and to speak from the heart and to keep those that need our prayers – the poor and marginalized – in our hearts. He brought to his new appointment his experience in Europe, with its heavily secularized society, and said he knows how to address these challenges in the U.S. He reiterated his support for victims of sexual abuse in the Church (and outside it) and the need to comfort and support these victims, and through increased awareness to heal the wounds of the past and to hear the victims who were silent for decades. The new metropolitan said he looks forward to his work in the U.S. as an adventure of getting to know the Church in America in a new way.
Metropolitan-Archbishop-elect Borys was welcomed to the Chancery of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy in Philadelphia on March 1. Bishop Andriy Rabiy, apostolic administrator for the archeparchy prior to the appointment of the new metropolitan-archbishop, welcomed him with the Ukrainian tradition of bread, salt and a bouquet of sunflowers. Bishop Borys asked the Chancery staff what kind of archbishop-metropolitan they would like to see and their expectations of him in that role. “I want to be a good listener and I ask you to be my teachers,” he said. He expressed his hope for the clergy, laity and the community to deepen their relationship with Christ.
Additional meetings were held by Metropolitan-Archbishop-elect Borys with the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchs of the United States on March 5-6 in Philadelphia. He discussed plans for June 2-9, the week of his enthronement ceremony and related observances, with the theme “Heart to Heart.” The bishops also discussed plans for the individual eparchies in the U.S.A. for 2019 and 2020. Attending the meeting were Bishop Andriy (Philadelphia Archeparchy), Bishop John Bura (Washington Eparchy), Bishop Paul Chomnycky (Stamford Eparchy), Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk (Chicago Eparchy) and Bishop Bohdan Danylo (Parma Eparchy).
The new metropolitan-archbishop also visited the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great in Fox Chase Manor, Pa., on March 2, and concelebrated a hierarchical divine liturgy with Bishop John at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family on March 10 in Washington. A welcoming reception was held following liturgy.
More than 2,500 people attended the enthronement of Bishop Borys as the seventh Ukrainian Catholic metropolitan of the U.S. on June 4 at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. Also participating in the enthronement were 50 bishops representing the Ukrainian Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Latin Rite and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, 125 priests, 11 deacons and 70 religious. Notably present were Patriarch Sviatoslav, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput and Metropolitan Antony of the UOC-U.S.A. Also in attendance were Ambassador Valery Chaly of Ukraine to the U.S.A. and Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian World Congress.
During the ceremony, the official enthronement began after the recitation of the “Apostles’ Creed,” followed by the presentation of the pectoral cross and the archbishop’s staff by Patriarch Sviatoslav.
The City of Philadelphia and the City Council also marked the beginning of a new era in the life of the Ukrainian Catholic community in America and the enthronement of Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys. June 2 through June 9 was declared as “Heart to Heart Week” with a proclamation and citation signed by Mayor James Kenney. City Council members were joined by Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys and Metropolitan-Archbishop emeritus Stefan Soroka during the presentation ceremony, with the proclamation read by City Councilman Allan Domb. The statement congratulated Archbishop Borys on his appointment as metropolitan-archbishop, invited guests during the celebrations to enjoy the various sites of the city, and acknowledged the role that the Ukrainian American community has played in Philadelphia.
As part of the events surrounding the enthronement of the new metropolitan-archbishop, a clergy-laity conference (open to both Latin and Byzantine rites, monks, nuns, Orthodox and Catholic) on the future of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in North America was hosted in Washington on June 6 at the Catholic University of America. Patriarch Sviatoslav presided over a divine liturgy at the Ukrainian National Catholic Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington that was celebrated by Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys and several hierarchs. The conference focused on “the beauty and art of living well in unity with God and neighbor, youth and children, and a grateful appreciation of God’s graces.” Catholic University President John Garvey announced a $5 million gift from Bishop emeritus Basil Losten for Ukrainian studies at the university, focusing on theology, graduate studies and research.
Archbishop Borys was announced as the recipient of the Notre Dame Award during a ceremony on June 29 in Lviv. The archbishop was recognized for his work with the Ukrainian Catholic University as a center for cultural thought, Christian witness and the formation of a Ukrainian society based on human dignity. The archbishop’s work also included addressing and ministering to the crowds during the Revolution of Dignity. This was the first time the award was conferred on someone of Ukrainian descent, which is presented to “men and women whose life and deeds have shown exemplary dedication to the ideals for which the university stands: faith, inquiry, education, justice, public service, peace and care for the most vulnerable.”
Pope Francis met with Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church hierarchs on July 5-6 at the Vatican in a demonstration of the Holy See’s support for the Church at a time of war, shifts in interconfessional relations, fluctuating hopes amid heightened tensions, and humanitarian and social crises. Among the Ukrainian delegation were 11 bishops, including Patriarch Sviatoslav and Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys. Archbishop Borys reflected on the history of the Church, noting its near extinction under the Soviets and its modern resurrection – through educational institutions, organizations and similar projects – thanks to the support from the Vatican.
There were encouraging signs from the discussion and an honest and sincere dialogue was begun. Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys noted that the Holy See hears the prayers of the Ukrainian Catholic community around the world and offers its solidarity in the face of Russian aggression. “It was a first step toward a deeper acquaintance and understanding. Clearly it was not full, but the Lord fills everything and will be with us all. …The pope encouraged us to be pastors who do not look at our watches but who give time,” he added.
Other news about our Churches
- Soon after the granting of the Tomos to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. and Bishop Andriy Rabiy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church met on January 23 in Philadelphia at the Chancery Offices of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy to discuss a number of pastoral issues pertaining to the life of the greater Ukrainian American community and in particular those issues facing parishes of both Churches. Archbishop Daniel explained his reflections as an exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate about the process of the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the OCU and invited Bishop Andriy to formally visit the spiritual center of the UOC-U.S.A. in South Bound Brook, N.J.
- Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church spoke at the Kyiv Security Forum on April 12. His address underscored Moscow’s attempts through its ongoing informational war and use of other technologies to further antagonize and divide Ukrainian society. These divisions fragment society into target groups. The role of the UGCC and religious institutions is to create core values as the main foundation, the patriarch said, noting that lacking a common foundation would bring great peril for Ukraine. He cited four core principles that are needed for the success of any society and at this time are a security issue: first, the dignity of the human person; second, the common good; third, solidarity; and fourth, subsidiarity.
- Thousands of visitors to the spiritual center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. gathered for the annual St. Thomas Sunday pilgrimage on May 4-5. Archbishop Daniel celebrated divine liturgy on Saturday morning and concelebrated with Metropolitan Antony on May 5 at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church. Visitors held graveside prayer services to commemorate departed loved ones at St. Andrew Cemetery. The Ukrainian American Veterans served as a color guard during the prayer service at the organization’s national monument to all Ukrainian American men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Vendors showcased offerings at the Ukrainian Cultural Center of New Jersey, tours of St. Sophia Seminary were available, and the Ukrainian History and Education Center promoted its latest exhibit about rushnyky (ritual cloths) of Ukraine.
- On May 12 the St. Nicholas Eparchy of Chicago announced its start of a major fund-raising campaign whose goal is $3.65 million. The funds are meant for the restoration of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Chicago and as seed for an endowment fund to better support all parishes and missions within the eparchy and to sustain the long-term viability of the eparchy, while further developing eparchial resources and continuing the education of priests, deacons and laity. The campaign began at St. Nicholas Cathedral and the five Chicago-area parishes, and then spread throughout the rest of the eparchy. Bishop Venedykt was instrumental in forming the Stewardship Committee on May 17 that oversees the campaign, which has done all of the preparatory work and attracting the professional personnel for it to be successful.
- During an archpastoral visit to the Philadelphia Archeparchy, Patriarch Sviatoslav met with the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn., on May 13. An English-language (Galician chant) divine liturgy was celebrated at the chapel of the Knights of Columbus building by the patriarch, his staff and clergy of the Stamford Eparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. At the end of liturgy, Patriarch Sviatoslav presented the signed antimension used in the service to the supreme grand knight as his contribution to the noted Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven. A luncheon followed liturgy that was hosted by the K of C Grand Council, and included a private audience between the supreme grand knight and Patriarch Sviatoslav, who is a founding member of the Kyiv Council of the Knights of Columbus.
- St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, celebrated its 95th anniversary on July 27-28 with a hierarchical divine liturgy concelebrated by Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel of the UOC-U.S.A. An anniversary banquet followed liturgy at the parish center with 275 guests in attendance. The banquet program included the presentation of the annual Brotherhood Scholarship to three high school graduates: John Meaden, Julia Hontaruk and Sophia Shilling; and the Brotherhood Parishioner of the Year award for 2018 was presented to Alex Pihuliak for his love and dedication to the parish. Entertainment during the banquet included Ukrainian folk dances and songs performed by the parish ensembles and music by bandurist Oleh Sozansky, visiting from Ukraine. The parish was founded in 1924 in the Tremont section of Cleveland, and the current property was purchased in 1954. In 1957 the parish purchased the Parma City Hall, sold for $11, and moved the two miles to the church’s property where it served as an interim chapel. In 1967, the parish sold the Cleveland church and constructed the current cathedral, where the chapel was converted to a school, a library and a memorial room dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor. A 400-seat capacity banquet center and two rectories were also built. Since then, a large mosaic depicting the Baptism of Ukraine was installed in 1988 over the front entrance to the cathedral, a Holodomor monument was erected in 1993, and in 2009 the city of Parma designated the one mile of busy State Road as “Ukrainian Village” and the side street by the cathedral as St. Vladimir Way.
- The restored Orthodox chapel at the Ukrainian American Youth Association camp in Ellenville, N.Y., dedicated to the Dormition of the Birth-Giver-of-God, was re-consecrated on August 31 during the Labor Day weekend by Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel of the UOC-U.S.A. The Orthodox hierarchs were joined during the liturgy by invited clergy. The work to bring this project to its completion was made possible by volunteer workers, fund-raisers and donors, including the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union, Ukrainian National Home in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Branches 41 and 2 of the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine. Awards were presented to the Rev. Vitaliy Mykulinsky (St. Job of Pochayiv), and Oleh Mykulinsky (Order of St. Great Martyrs Borys and Hlib) “for service to God and his Church.” A celebratory picnic was held on the chapel grounds and speakers recounted the two-year-long restoration process.
- The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. held its triennial 22nd Regular Sobor on October 16-19 at the Metropolia Center of the UOC-U.S.A. in South Bound Brook/Somerset, N.J. More than 170 delegates and participants discussed and listened to reports on the issues facing the Church. Financial reports dominated much of the discussions, and the simultaneous Youth Sobor offered a fresh perspective from the younger members of the Church. Greetings were delivered to the Sobor from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and during the Sobor banquet from Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. During the event’s final dinner, Archbishop Daniel presented two books, one a poetry book by an orphan in Ukraine (who lives in an orphanage sponsored by the UOC-U.S.A.), and the other “Sacred Grounds of St. Andrew Cemetery” (in Ukrainian) by Lev Khmelkovsky, an editor of the newspaper Svoboda.
- Metropolitan Epifaniy accepted an invitation to visit the spiritual center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. in South Bound Brook, N.J., on October 21 during his visit to the U.S.A. The hierarchs of the UOC-U.S.A. led the prime hierarch of the OCU around the grounds of St. Andrew Cemetery and prayed at the crypt of Patriarch Mstyslav at Holy Resurrection Mausoleum. Metropolitan Epifaniy also toured St. Sophia Ukrainian Theological Seminary, the Ukrainian Cultural Center and Archives, the Consistory of the UOC-U.S.A. and the Ukrainian History and Education Center. The visit was an affirmation of the strong relations between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the UOC-U.S.A. and the diaspora.
- On October 23 Metropolitan Epifaniy met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, where Mr. Pompeo congratulated the Ukrainian hierarch on receiving the Athenagoras Human Rights Award by the Order of the St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, during its annual banquet in New York. The two leaders expressed concerns about abuses of religious freedom in Russian-occupied Crimea and in the Russian-controlled parts of the Donbas. They highlighted their hopes for a diplomatic resolution and underscored the need to heal the wounds of war and foster unity. Also during his visit to Washington, the metropolitan officiated at a requiem service at the Holodomor Memorial on October 23, visited the Taras Shevchenko Monument on October 24, and met with members of Congress, the Ukrainian American community and its leaders. He also visited St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, Md.