St. Sophia Seminary Celebrates Seminary’s Chapel Feast Day
Once again the Three Holy Hierarchs – St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian – Chapel of St. Sophia Seminary was filled with incense and chanting of festal verses as local clergy and faithful joined the faculty and student body of the Seminary to celebrate the Chapel’s Patron Feast Day. Even though the celebration of the feast day falls on Sunday, February 12, 2017, the Seminary’s celebration took place on Saturday morning (February 11, 2017) in order to provide an opportunity for the gathered local clergy and faithful to participate in the common prayer service led by His Eminence Archbishop-elect Daniel.
Entering the chapel of the Three Holy hierarchs, Vladyka Daniel was greeted by Seminarian Ihor Protsak, who presented the hierarch with the traditional bread and salt asking for prayers and blessings. Inside the chapel, Archbishop-elect Daniel was greeted by V. Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, provost of the Seminary, whoa asked the hierarch to pray for the vocations of the Church’s Theological school but also the country in which we live and ancestral homeland Ukraine.
In addition to the words of welcome by Fr. Bazyl, fifteen other priests joined the seminarians in chanting “God Grant you Many Years, Master” as Vladyka Daniel entered the chapel and with the help of the deacons recited the Entrance Prayers. The clergy that served and joined the feast celebration were V. Rev. Fr. Yuri Siwko, V. Rev. Fr. Theodore Mazur, V. Rev. Fr. Oleh Hucul, V. Rev. Fr. Roman Shak, V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins, V. Rev. Fr. Vitaliy Pavlykivsky, V. Rev. Fr. Myroslav Turchak, Rev. Fr. Zinoviy Zharsky, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Shak, Rev. Fr. Philip Harendza, V. Rev. Fr. Volodymyr Muzychka, V. Rev. Fr. Mykola Fylyk, Very Rev. Fr. Ioan Proteasa, Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Lyszyk as well as Deacon James Cairns and Deacon Ivan Tchopko.
Responding, the Bishop greeted the faculty, students, guest clergy and faithful on behalf of the Rector of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary His Eminence Metropolitan Antony. He expressed his gratitude to Almighty God for the blessings bestowed upon the Seminary, its seminarians and professors, who invest themselves in securing the future of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in preparing those who will lead parish life as pastors of local parishes.
Attending the celebration were many people from the local community: workers of the Consistory and St. Andrew’s Cemetery, alumni of the Seminary and instructors of the Seminary. The choir was led by the seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary. Serving in the altar and assisting Vladyka Daniel throughout the entire liturgical service were Subdeacon Mykhaylo Bokalo, Seminarians Tadei Surak and Hryhorii Matviiv.
In his sermon, Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins, professor and Assistant Academic Dean of the Seminary, reflected upon the ecclesiological meaning of the Feast and presented a brief reflection on the sacred importance of the Holy Priesthood and how it is related to the lives, dedicated service and love for the Word of God by the Three Holy Hierarchs of the Church.
Addressing about 30 children of local St. Andrew Ukrainian Language and Religion School that were able to attend the Liturgical service, Vladyka Daniel spoke of the importance of the “Light of Christ” in our lives and especially in the lives of the youth of the Church, as they face new social and moral challenges of the 21st century. As always, the hierarch called upon the students to embrace the love for Sacred Texts and Tradition of the Church in the tradition of the Patron Saints, adhering to our Lord’s Commandment of love. He exhorted the academic body to familiarize themselves and to study the social and moral needs of the faithful in order to provide the adequate pastoral response to the challenges of the 21st century.
The liturgical celebration concluded with the melodious chanting of “God grant many years…” to the hierarchs of the Church, the clergy and faithful, and especially to the alumni of St. Sophia Seminary – Very Rev. Fr. Oleh Hucul, who celebrated that day the 22nd anniversary of service in the Holy Priesthood of Christ. Also, those in attendance greeted thee other individuals that celebrated their birthdays that day: Oleksandr Pavlykivsky, Jacob Pasakas and Olga Coffey, who served on a Board of Trustees of St. Sophia Seminary. Moreover, the community remembered in the prayers all those who are privileged to be named after the Three Holy Hierarchs, especially those in attendance.