Second Preparatory Meeting of Future Pastoral Council of the Archepachy via Zoom

On Monday, April 12, Archbishop Borys convened the second preparatory meeting of the future Pastoral Council. The participants of this meeting were chosen from among the delegates who attended the last meeting of the Third Session of the Archeparchy Sobor, held on January 23. All the members are deans, lay representatives from the six deaneries, and representatives from the religious orders. The initial meeting of this group was held on Saturday, March 20. The Pastoral Council is an advisory body to the Archbishop of Philadelphia on pastoral matters.

Pastoral planning for the Archeparchy’s future was the central theme of the meeting. In opening the session, Archbishop Borys shared the Archeparchy’s news and presented on the process of drafting the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s global pastoral plan, which extends until 2030. This new plan will be based on the 6 main points of the Pastoral Plan of the Church 2020, entitled “The Vibrant Parish – a Place to Encounter the Living Christ”: the Word of God and Catechesis; Liturgy and Prayer; Service to one’s neighbor; Leadership-Stewardship; Communion-Unity; and Missionary Spirit. Fr. Andriy Onyferko, who served the executive secretary on the implementation of the previous pastoral plan on the Church wide level, presented on the formulation and implementation of “The Vibrant Parish.”




Metropolitan Borys prays at the graves of the deceased at the Ukrainian Cemetary in Longhorn, PA.

On April 7, Bright Wednesday, Metropolitan Borys prayed the Easter panachyda (memorial service for the deceased) at the graves of the Missionary Sisters in Longhorn, PA. He was accompanied by Mother Maris, Superior of the Missionary Sisters, and Sister Josaphata.

They also prayed at the grave of the late Bishop Walter Paska, who served as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000, as well as at the graves of two priests of our Archeparchy: Vasyl Makuch and Dmitro Stefaniuk. All are buried at the Archeparchy’s Cemetery of Our Lady of Sorrows. Lastly, the Archbishop blessed the graves of the faithful there.




One Year Since Falling Asleep in the Lord of Metropolitan-Emeritus Stephan Sulyk

On April 6, we commemorate the first anniversary of death of Archbishop-Emeritus Stephan Sulyk.

You can find his biographe here

The text of Metropolitan Borys on passing away of Archbishop-Emeritus Sulyk is here




Good Friday Meditation: The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother.

By Nancy B. Claflin   Good Friday (March 29, 2002)

After three hours on the Cross, Our Lord has died…died a painful, humiliating, yet courageous death. His scourged, limp, lifeless body has been placed in the arms of Mary His mother. She is tearful; her heart is breaking; she is all alone. Everyone has left the scene. Certainly the hecklers and executioners are gone. Even those closest to her are gone. Perhaps they sensed her need for privacy; perhaps they thought she wanted to be alone; or maybe, they felt extremely uncomfortable with her tears and didn’t know what to say or do. But no, rather than quietly and prayerfully staying by her side, to offer care, comfort, and compassion, these “friends” left her all alone. What kind of friend would do such a thing?

 

As she lovingly and tearfully cradles the body of Jesus in her arms, holding Him close to her breasts, what thoughts are going through her mind? Perhaps she recalls the many miracles He performed during His earthly life: the healing of the leper; the restoration of sight to the blind; enabling the lame to walk; the changing of water into wine; the feeding of the multitude; the raising from the dead His good friend Lazarus. Perhaps Mary recalls thirty-three years earlier when she carried Jesus in her womb. The womb- a place of safety, nourishment, and protection.

Another womb if you will, is that of St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, a mere stones throw from Ground Zero. This “womb” is also a place of safety, nourishment, and protection. For it is in St. Paul’s Chapel where rescue workers come to be fed and to rest their sore, wearied bodies. I felt honored and blest to have been one of the fourteen people from St. Anne’s that ministered in St. Paul’s from 8:00 PM Sunday March 10th until 8:00 AM Monday March 11th. Throughout the night, rescue workers continued to come and go. There were firefighters, police officers, utility workers, and medical examiners. Only those persons in uniform or those persons wearing proper “World Trade Center” identification were permitted to enter. St. Paul’s Chapel was not and is not a place where spectators can stare, gloat, and interview. I personally was aware of and respected the feelings of all that were gathered within the four walls of the Chapel. If I sensed that a rescue worker wanted to talk, then and only then, would I engage myself in a conversation.

It was about 1:00 AM, the wee hours of Monday morning, March 11th.

While pouring a cup of coffee for one of the firefighters, he kept staring at  me with a glassy look in his eyes and said: “I can’t believe what I just saw”.

I simply said: “would you like to talk about it?” With tears in his eyes, firefighter McNamara shared with me that they had just found nine whole bodies, in a small crevice, eight stories beneath the surface of the ground. I immediately offered a silent prayer to God, giving thanks that nine families can finally have some closure. However, I can’t help but wonder how many people had an argument with their loved ones on the morning of 9/11? How many people exchanged unkind words? How many people went storming out of their house without first saying: “I am sorry; I was wrong; Please forgive me; And, I love you”? How many people, husbands/wives, sons/daughters, brothers/sisters, yearn to hold their loved ones in their arms just one more time?

While ministering to and talking with firefighter McNamara, I told him about our Memorial Garden here at St. Anne’s. I explained that at the beginning of this year’s Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night, we are going to gather in the garden. I also shared with him that one of the lessons the people will be hearing is “The Valley of Dry Bones” which I will be sharing. My friends, I then took a huge leap of faith and asked him if at all possible, would I be able to obtain some soil/ash from Ground Zero for Fr. Hastings to inter in our Memorial Garden back home. Immediately, he filled up with tears and said: “Nancy…I would be honored and more than happy to do that for you”. He then left and went back to work.

At 5:00 AM, I saw firefighter McNamara enter the front door of St. Paul’s Chapel. He walked directly over to me, opened his coat pocket, and pulled out a mangled, weather-beaten, almost soggy cardboard box of soil. As he placed it in my cupped hands, he shared with me that it is from the site of the South Tower. I began to cry. It was one of the most, if not the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had. It was Powerful; it was Sacred; it was Holy. I couldn’t speak, so I simply mouthed the words “thank you”. With his left hand, firefighter McNamara simply squeezed my right shoulder and said: “No-thank you Nancy.”

My friends, this soil is presently downstairs in the chapel where it will remain until this Saturday evening. If you have not already done so, please go down to the Altar of Repose and spend some time in prayerful meditation in the Presence of our Lord and this soil. As you do so, think about…pray about…all those persons, living or dead, whom you would like to hold in your arms.

Thanks be to God for the Mary’s in our lives that are there to hold us, comfort us, care for us, and dry our tears.

Nancy B. Claflin   Good Friday (March 29, 2002)




Parishioners of Simpson and Scranton held a collection for the orphans

The parishioners of SS Peter and Paul Church, Simpson, PA along with the parishioners of St. Vladimir’s Church of Scranton, PA held a Sneaker and Shoe Drive and a collection for Children’s Vitamins and Cold Medicines for a few orphanages in the Ukraine.

The overwhelming outpouring of almsgiving during this Lenten Season will surely bring a smile to those children in need.

Rev. Myron Myronyuk is pastor of the two parishes.




10 Facts about His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk

On March 27 we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk as Head and Father of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. For this occasion, we prepared for you 10 interesting facts about our Patriarch.

  1. Sviatoslav Shevchuk was born May 5, 1970 in Stryj, Lviv Region, Ukraine. His younger brother, Vsevolod, is also a priest and serves in the Saint Josaphat Eparchy of the UGCC, which is headquartered in Parma, OH.
  2. He graduated from a school of music and is an accomplished violin player. His favorite composer is Antonio Vivaldi.
  3. After finishing musical studies, he completed medical training in Boryslav, Lviv Region. He then served as a paramedic in the Soviet Army as part of a battalion belonging to the Luhansk Higher Military Aviation School.
  4. He joined the underground seminary before the UGCC’s legalization and underwent formation in Buenos Aires and Lviv. As a graduate student he served Ukrainian immigrants in Greece. He received his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, finishing Summa Cum Laude.
  5. He served as priest in various positions: prefect, vice-rector, and rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv; vice-dean of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy of the Lviv Theological Academy (later the Ukrainian Catholic University); chief of staff of the Curia of the Head of the Church in Lviv; and personal secretary of Lubomyr Cardinal Husar.
  6. On January 14, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rev. Sviatoslav Shevchuk auxiliary bishop of the Eparchy of the Protection of the Mother of God in Buenos Aires. He was ordained bishop on April 7, 2009 at the Cathedral of Saint George in Lviv. On April 10, 2010 he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy in Buenos Aires. There he met Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis.
  7. On March 23, 2011 he was elected Head of the UGCC by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops’ Synod. On March 25 Pope Benedict blessed his election, and he was enthroned on March 27 at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Lord in Kyiv.
  8. During his first 10 years of service he ordained 17 bishops, including Metropolitan Borys Gudziak as well as Bishops Bohdan Danylo and Andriy Rabiy. He created new Metropolitan Provinces, Eparchies, and Exarchates in Ukraine and throughout the diaspora.
  9. He is fluent in English, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Greek. He also knows Latin, Ancient Greek, and Church-Slavonic.
  10. His mother shared in an interview that as a child he liked to wake up early in the morning to watch the tulips open in the garden.



10 facts about Bishop Soter Ortynsky

Most Rev. Stephen Soter Ortynsky, OSBM

  1. Soter Ortynsky was born on January 26, 1866 in the village of Ortynychi, located in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, within the larger Austrian Empire (today the Drohobych District of the Lviv Region, Ukraine). His baptismal name was Stephan and he first studied in the Drohobych Gymnasium, but due to the teachers’ Polish propaganda, his parents transferred him to the Stryi Gymnasium. Stephan entered the Basilian novitiate in February 1884 at the Order’s monastery located in Dobromyl (Lviv Region). There he received the name Soter.
  2. Father Soter prepared for missionary service to Ukrainian immigrants living in South America, yet he was unexpectedly made the first bishop for Ukrainians in the United States. Because of this he was named the “bishop-pioneer.” Hryhoriy Lushnycky wrote a book with this title on Ortynsky’s life and work.
  3. Since the Bishop arrived in the United States on August 28, 1907, the Feast of the Dormition was moved to the following day. (The Dormition is celebrated on August 28 according to the Old Calendar.)
  4. During the 10th Convention of the Ukrainian National Association (then known as the Ruthenian National Union), which took place July 1-8, 1907, Bishop Ortynsly was named an honorary member and protector of this organization.
  5. During his episcopate, Bishop Soter founded the Union of the Ruthenian Greek-Catholics’ Brotherhoods: Chrystyianska Lubov (Christian Love) as well as the Brotherhood of Saint Hryhoriy. He also launched the newspaper, Dushpastyr (Pastor of the souls).
  6. On September 28, 1910, during the visit of Metropolitan Sheptycky, the corner stone for the seminary building and orphanage was blessed in Yorktown, VA. However, the construction remained incomplete. Meanwhile, on November 28, 1911, the first Basilian Sisters arrived in the United States and started an orphanage in Philadelphia. Within a few years there were 131 children there. The Sisters also opened a publishing house around that time and started to print Misioner (Missionary).
  7. Bishop-pioneer Soter Ortynsly purchased a Protestant church and renovated it. This building became Philadelphia’s first Ukrainian Cathedral which Metropolitan Sheptycky consecrated on October 2, 1910.
  8. The Canonical organization of the Greek-Catholic Church in the United States happened during Bishop Ortynsky’s episcopate as well. The Apostolic Letter Ea semper, promulgated September 17, 1907, granted Bishop Soter ordinary jurisdiction though he was still dependent on the Latin Ordinaries. But then on May 28, 1913, the Exarcate for Greek-Catholics was established with full jurisdiction and was confirmed by the decree, Cum Episcopo. Henceforth, Bishop Ortynsky and his successors no longer answered to the Roman Catholic ordinaries of the United States.
  9. Regardless of canonical issues or internal tensions, the number of parishes grew from 86 to 296 and the number of priests increased from 120 to 220 under Ortynsky’s pastoral care.
  10. On March 24, 1916, Bishop Soter Ortynsky suddenly died of pneumonia at just 50 years old. He is buried in the crypt of Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Philadelphia.

by Rostyslav Savostianov




Rev. John Wysochansky has fallen asleep in the Lord

With sorrow and great hope in the Resurrection we share with you the news that Rev. John Wysochansky, retired priest of Archeparchy of Philadelphia, was called to the Lord on Friday, February 26, 2021 at age 92. We extend condolences to Fr. Walter and to all members of the Wysochansky Family, beloved by God.
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
  • The Priestly Parastas will be celebrated on Sunday, March 7th at 7:00pm at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Olyphant, PA.
  • The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, March 8th at 11:00am at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Olyphant, PA, followed by the interment.
May his memory be eternal!
Vichnaya pamyat!



First Sunday of the Great Fast. Triumph of the True Faith

by Fr. George Worschak

Triumph of the True Faith

The First Sunday of the Great Fast is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy or the Sunday of the True Faith. The Sunday of Orthodoxy, also known as the Triumph of Orthodoxy, is celebrated in both the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. We commemorate and celebrate the final defeat of iconoclasm and the restoration of icons to the churches.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 had presented a clear teaching about icons.  The Council taught that “Icons… are to be kept in churches and honored with the same relative veneration as is shown to other material symbols, such as the ‘precious and life-giving Cross ‘ and the Book of the Gospels.”

Nonetheless, iconoclasts (those opposed to the use of icons in churches) had stirred up trouble once again.  The last iconoclast Emperor of Byzantium was Theopholos.  After his death in 842, his son Michael III along with his regent-mother Theodora sought to bring peace and accord to the people of Byzantium.  Together with Methodios, Patriarch of Constantinople, they were able to realize this accord.  Patriarch Methodios summoned a Synod in 843, whose intention was to bring peace to the Church.

At the conclusion of the Synod’s first session, a triumphal procession of icons was made from the Church of Blachernae to the Hagia Sophia, where icons were restored to that church.  In order to commemorate this triumph over iconoclasm, the Synod Fathers decided to establish an annual commemoration – on the First Sunday of the Great Fast.  Just as the faithful celebrated the restoration of icons in 843, so too do Eastern Catholics and Orthodox today have a procession of icons, either prior to the Divine Liturgy or towards the conclusion of the Liturgy.

For us, Ukrainian Catholics, the icon has become and remains an integral part of the Faith and the faithful openly venerate them. In the person of Christ Jesus, God is present among us. His presence is real, complete and visible. The Churches of the East regard the icon as having a “sacramental” character.  The icon makes present to the believer the person or event depicted.  Proper terminology is to be understood and kept, namely, that we “venerate” icons, but we “worship” or “adore” God alone.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav once explained in his homily for the First Sunday of the Great Lent how the holy icon is a “window to Heaven.”  Icons open to us another realm – the spiritual, other than the merely visible.  Looking at the icon, our eyes are transformed, changed, enhanced. The icon gives us a glimpse into the divine and that of the Eternal God Himself. We contemplate the face of God by means of His grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We look upon the face of God, depicted in human form and this enables us to experience a foretaste of the Heavenly Kingdom, which is an eternal Kingdom of happiness and peace.

 

“Can anything good come from Nazareth? – Come and See!”

The Gospel of the first Sunday of the Great Fast speaks of Jesus calling His first disciples, the apostles.  Andrew is the “First-Called”, then Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter. The next day, Jesus went to Galilee and asks Philip to follow Him. Philip in turn meets Nathanael and tells him: “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth” (John 1:46).

Nathanael’s initial response was: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip told him: “Come and see!” As Nathanael was walking toward Jesus, Our Lord remarked: “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile.”  Although Nathanael’s initial response was not proper, for he had judged Jesus merely based upon His place of origin, Nazareth. But after Philip invites Nathanael to come and see for himself, Nathanael decides to go and see for himself, expressing an openness to Whom Jesus truly is.  After Our Lord told Nathanael that He had seen him under the fig tree even before Philip seen and spoke with him, Nathanael asserts that Jesus is “the Son of God, the King of Israel (John 1:51).”

Let us during this holy season of Great Fast (Lent) seek to develop a deeper personal and spiritual relationship with our Lord and make the Gospel message of Love and Truth the very center, core of our lives! For we acknowledge Jesus as our Redeemer Who died on the cross to save us from the wickedness and cunningness of the devil. So great was the Love of Christ that He died on the cross to save us and He continually cares for each and every one of us.- our well-being and salvation of soul.

 




Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh nominated Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Germany and Scandinavia

On Thursday, February 18, 2021, the Vatican announced that the Holy Father Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Petro Kryk from the government of the ruling bishop of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite in Germany and Scandinavia. At the same time, Pope Francis blessed the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC and nominated Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, the Bishop of the Curia of the Major Archbishop and Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, as the new Exarch.

Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, who a few days ago celebrated the 15th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, became the third Apostolic Exarch in Germany and Scandinavia for Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite.

Biographical Information

Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh was born on March 20, 1967 in the village of Hirske (Mykolaiv district, Lviv region). In 1990, he entered the Theological Seminary in Drohobych. He later studied theology at higher theological schools in Europe: in Warsaw, Strasbourg, Innsbruck, and Rome. He received a doctorate in theology.

On March 17, 1991, he was ordained a priest (the principal consecrator was Bishop Yulian Voronovsky, Eparch of Sambir-Drohobych).

On December 21, 2005, he was proclaimed Auxiliary Bishop of the Kyiv-Vyshhorod Archeparchy. The episcopal ordination took place on February 15, 2006 in the St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv (consecrator -His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar). In 2006, he was elected Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC.

Reference

The Apostolic Exarchate in Germany and Scandinavia has been caring for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Germany since the first half of the twentieth century. In 1984, the territory of the pastoral care of the exarchate was extended to Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Most of the faithful of the exarchate are descendants of Ukrainians who had to flee the territory of Ukraine in the interwar and war years, both because of the discriminatory national policy of the Republic of Poland and the Bolshevik system.

Blessed Petro Verhun was one of the first pastors for Ukrainians in Germany. His relics are kept in the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Andrew the First Called in Munich.

From November 20, 2000, Bishop Petro Kryk served as the ruling bishop of the Apostolic Exarchate in Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

 

The UGCC Department for Information