CARNEGIE, Pa. – The 75th convention of the Ukrainian Orthodox League (UOL) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. was held on July 27-31 and hosted by the Senior UOL Chapter of Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, Pa. Approximately 120 delegates from across the United States, including clergy and representatives of various UOL chapters, gathered at the Double Tree Hotel in Greentree, Pa.
Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel, ruling hierarchs of the UOC-U.S.A., actively participated in the daily sessions of the convention.
The convention began on a spiritual note with a prayer offered before the first business session, which was called to order at 6 p.m. on July 27. Following the Invocation offered by Metropolitan Antony, the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag, the singing of the U.S. national anthem, opening remarks and greetings were offered by Karen Ferraro and Natalie Hrytsay, Senior and Junior UOL National Executive Board presidents, respectively. Convention Spiritual Advisor Rev. Fr. John Charest (of Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, Pa.) and Senior Convention Committee Chairman Trace Sally welcomed all of the guests to the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and offered the full services and assistance of the hosting chapter.
The first formal session of the day concluded with the approval of the formal agenda, minutes, financial records and audit reports.
The feast day of St. Prince Volodymyr the Great was commemorated with a hierarchical divine liturgy at the hotel chapel to begin activities on July 28.
With the conclusion of divine liturgy, Archbishop Daniel shared a reflection, calling upon the delegates of the UOC-U.S.A. to immerse themselves into the spiritually rich and uplifting treasury of Christ’s presence in participants’ lives. The archbishop called upon the delegates of the UOL Convention to make St. Volodymyr’s legacy alive by living the faith of the ancient forefathers and offering themselves in service to others through the acts of charity and kindness. In particular, he called upon the participants of the divine liturgy to offer their sincere prayers for the people of Ukraine, which is currently fighting to defend itself in an unprovoked full-scale war launched by Russia on February 24.
The convention resumed later that day and was highlighted by a keynote presentation by Very Rev. Fr. John Chakos of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, who reflected on the ministry of the Holy Orthodox Church among the Mayan people in Guatemala.
Delegates then met for group discussion, during which time they touched on the UOL’s Strategic Plan, the Youth Activities of the Church, Ukrainian refugees, and the Church’s spiritual offerings.
A “Through the Decades” dinner and dance held on July 28 was the highlight of the evening, and the day’s activities concluded with evening prayers in the hotel chapel.
A Ukrainian Christmas in July evening was held on July 29 at Cefalo’s Banquet and Event Center in Carnegie, Pa., which featured the story of the Ukrainian Christmas Spider, performed by the Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Carnegie, Pa.
Additional speakers during the Convention included Melinda Johnson, author and marketing director for Ancient Faith Ministries, and Michael Kapeluck, an iconographer. Mr. Kapeluck’s presentation was titled “Icons and Sacred Space.”
A pysanky etching workshop led by Tracey Sally was held on July 29. The Convention also featured a Ukrainian market place that offered shopping for the delegates that was later opened to the public, as was the UOL Historical Room, which showcased glimpses from the UOL’s past conventions and activities.
The Convention Grand Banquet and Ball (decorated in a 1940s theme) was held in the evening on July 30 with music by Zirka from Canada. During the event, individuals were presented with awards and winners of raffle baskets were announced.
The Convention formally concluded on July 31 with a hierarchical divine liturgy and farewell brunch at Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Details on the 76th UOL Convention, to be hosted by the UOL National Executive Board, will be announced in the future. Individuals can learn more by visiting the Ukrainian Orthodox League website, www.uolofusa.org.