SAINT SOPHIA UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Three Holy Hierarchs Feast Day Observed in the Seminary’s Chapel
On February 12, 2015 – St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary celebrated its patronal feast, commemorating the Three Holy Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom. They were highly influential bishops of the early church who played pivotal roles in shaping Christian theology. In Eastern Christianity they are also known as the Three Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers. All Christians are indebted to these “Pillars of Faith” for their defense of the Divinity of Jesus Christ and their faithful articulation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. They are held in honor by the Church as vessels of God’s grace who preserved the Christian Faith for us today. For they were not only bishops and theologians, but ascetics, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
During the eleventh century, disputes raged in Constantinople about which of the three hierarchs was the greatest. Some preferred St. Basil, others honored St. Gregory the Theologian, while a third group exalted St. John Chrysostom Dissension among Christians increased. Some called themselves Basilians, others referred to themselves as Gregorians, and others as Johnites. By the will of God, the three hierarchs appeared to St. John the Bishop of Euchaita in the year 1084, and said that they were equal before God. “There are no divisions among us, and no opposition to one another.” They ordered that the disputes should stop, and that their common commemoration should be celebrated on a single day. Bishop John chose February 12 for their joint Feast, thus ending the controversy and restoring peace.
His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of the Consistory of the UOC of USA celebrated Archpastoral Divine Liturgy on this feastday. Students of the Seminary, Subdeacon Ivan Chopko and Seminarian Michael Bokalo greeted the hierarch with the traditional bread and salt asking for prayers and blessings. Very Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, Provost of the Seminary with a number of clergy, greeted the Bishop at the entrance to the chapel. Among the serving clergy also were V. Rev. Yurij Siwko, Fr. Adrian, V. Rev. Petro Levko, V. Rev. Volodymyr Muzychka, V. Rev. Todor Mazur, V. Rev. Mykola Fylyk, V. Rev. Taras Naumenko, V. Rev. John Haluszczak. Fr. Demetrius Nicoloudakis, Fr. Zinoviy Zholobak, V. Rev. Anthony Perkins, Rev. Zinoviy Zharsky, Rev. Ivan Synevskyy, Rev. Vasyl Pasakas as well as Very Rev. Volodymyr Khanas, Very Rev. Myron Oryhon, Rev. George Bazylevsky, Rev. Victor Wronsky and other clergy. Responding, the Bishop greeted the faculty, students, clergy and the faithful.
Attending the feast of Three Hierarchs were His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, Consistory of the UOC of USA and St. Andrew’s Cemetery workers, Full and Part Time seminarians, alumni and the faculty of the Theological school and faithful from the local parishes.
In their sermons, Fr. Demetrius Nicoloudakis and Fr. Ivan Synevskyy preached about theological and moral instructions for the Orthodox faithful to follow. They mentioned that the Three Hierarches became so well-known not only because they knew how to teach, but because they lived and practiced their teachings. We, way too often pick and choose whom and how many times we should help. They were helping people all the time because they saw God’s image and likeness in those who were in need and Christ told us to do things seventy times seven or in other words always.
At the end of the liturgy His Grace Bishop Daniel and V. Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, Provost of the Seminary thanked to His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and to all, for their presence at the feast of the Three Hierarchs on the beautiful day. Celebration concluded with the melodious chanting of “God grant many years…” to the hierarchs of the Church, clergy and faithful, and especially to Pani Maria Morozovska, who was presented with a "Hramota/Blessed Certificate" by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony and His Grace Bishop Daniel for being so devoted to the work at the Seminary Kitchen and in her own helping to raise the next generation of clergy.
Also, everyone was blessed with an opportunity to venerate the icon and the relics of the Three Hierarchs beautifully decorated with flowers.
Following the Liturgy, everyone was invited for a luncheon prepared by the seminary cook Pani Maria Morozovska. On January 30, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony celebrated his Name's Day (St. Anthony the Great) and his birthday. Also, that month His Eminence celebrated his Third Year Anniversary of Enthronement as the 4th Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. On behalf of the clergy, seminarians, Consistory workers and the faithful of our Church, during the reception in the seminary dining room His Eminence was presented with flowers and a cake.
The Administration and the seminarians send their best regards to all, who had come and joined them for their feast of the Three Hierarchs.
Christ is Among Us!