SAINT SOPHIA UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
St. Sophia Seminary Students Serve Divine Liturgy at Halki Theological Seminary!
Photos by Pani-matka Ivanna Wronsky
On Sunday, April 14, 2013 the day of prayerful observance of the Fourth Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, also known as the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder, the graduating class of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary, along with His Grace Bishop Daniel served Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great at Holy Trinity Chapel of the monastery and the Theological School of Halki.
Gathered around the sacred altar of the monastic community’s chapel were not only the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA but also His Eminence Metropolitan Elpidoforos of Bursa (in attendance), the abbot of the monastery and Fr. Samuel, a priest-monk of the monastery. The seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary chanted prayerful responses to the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian, English and Greek languages. Deacon Philip Harendza chanted the Epistle reading, while His Grace Bishop Daniel and Fr. Samuel proclaimed the Gospel readings in English and Greek languages.
In his remarks at the Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Daniel reflected upon the prayerful ministry of St. John of the Ladder, briefly mentioning his life path and the spiritual treasures of his works and prayers that are presented as the way to spiritual perfection. In addition, Bishop Daniel greeted Rev. Fr. Victor Wronsky on the seventh anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood which took place at the Holy Trinity Chapel of Halki Seminary through the laying on of hands of Archbishop Vsevolod of blessed memory in 2007. Moreover, His Grace greeted Fr. Vasyl Pasakas on one week anniversary of his ordination, (Fr. Vasyl was ordained on April 6, 2013 at Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of St. Sophia Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ by His Grace Bishop Daniel) calling upon both fathers to remain true to their vocational call to the Priesthood. Traditional “Mhohaya Lita” was chanted at the end of the Liturgy.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy Bishop Daniel once again offered words gratitude on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Rector of St. Sophia Seminary and Primate of the UOC of the USA to His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Elpidoforos for their hospitality and a blessing given to students of St. Sophia Seminary to visit the Patriarchate, Halki Theological Seminary and opportunity to pray at the altar of the monastic community. Responding to Bishop Daniel’s remarks, His Eminence Metropolitan Elpidoforos mentioned that such visits and events strengthen the ministry of the Holy Orthodox Church throughout the world and provide and renew unity among the Mother Church of Constantinople and the Church of Ukraine and especially the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Following the exchange of remarks and greetings, Metropolitan Elpidoforos presented the clergy of the UOC of the USA with gifts on behalf of the monastic community: a commemorative gold plated coin of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a panagia to His Grace Bishop Daniel. Responding to Metropolitan’s generosity, the seminarians of the UOC of the USA presented His Eminence with a traditional Pascha egg-pysanka. Bishop Daniel presented Metropolitan Elpidoforos with a wooden Great Lenten panagia.
Later in the afternoon, the delegation of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, headed by His Grace Bishop Daniel, which consisted of seminarians Rev. Fr. Andriy Matlak, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Dovgan, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Deacon Philip Harendza, and accompanied by Rev. Fr. Victor Wronsky and Pani-matka Ivanna Wronsky left Halki Theological Seminary and returned to Constantinople in order to continue their educational journey through the historical and religious sites of the old city.
On Monday evening, April 15, 2013 the group is scheduled to meet once again with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.