Saint Sophia Seminary Celebrates Patronal Feast of the Three Hierarchs
On Monday 12th of February, 2018, the faculty and students of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary, along with the clergy and faithful of NY/NJ/PA/CT surrounding parishes, celebrated the feast of their heavenly intercessors and stalwarts of theological study, the Holy Three Universal Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom.
Divine services were led by the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of Consistory of the UOC of the USA, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, and co-served by His Grace Bishop Sabas of the Georgian Orthodox Church of North America.
Entering the chapel of the Three Holy hierarchs, Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Sabas were greeted by Subdeacon Yurii Bobko and Seminarian Ivan Venhryn, who presented the hierarch with the traditional bread and salt asking for prayers and blessings in both English and Ukrainian languages. Theologically sound in their presentations, seminarians of the Church academic institution asked the hierarchs of the Church to pray for them and as two seminarians take mtheir first steps towards the Holy Priesthood, while being tonsured and set aside as Readers and Subdeacons. Inside the chapel, the hierarchs were greeted by V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins (Vocations Director), assisted V. Rev. Fr. Stephen Hutnick, V. Rev. Yurii Siwko, V. Rev. Fr. Vitalii Pawlykivsky, Very Rev. Fathers Matthew and Arseniy of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Dovgan, Rev. Vasyl Pasakas, Rev. Fr. Myron Korostil, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Shak, Rev. Fr. Philip Harendza, Deacon Adrian Mazur, Deacon Ivan Tchopko and Deacon Richard Jendras.
Responding, Archbishop Daniel 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.
Prior to the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Daniel tonsured and set aside as Readers and Subdeacons seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary Ivan Venhryn and Constantin Dancu.
The Divine Liturgy, led by the archpastors of Christ’s Church truly embraced the spirit of the feast of the Holy Three Universal Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom. The deacons chanted litanies in Ukrainian, English, Georgian, Portuguese Greek and Romanian languages representing the rich liturgical tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church and ethnic origin of many visitors and students of the Seminary.
Following the chanting of the Holy Gospel, Very Rev. Fr. Stephen Hutnick, who serves as Treasurer of St. Sophia Seminary, deliver a sermon. The theme of Fr. Stephen’s homily centered on both a text from the Gospel for the day, “You are the light of the world” [Matthew 5], and a text from the writings of Saint Gregory the Theologian, “The mystery of godliness is for those who are willing, not for those who are overpowered.”
Attending the celebration were many people from the local community: workers of the Consistory and St. Andrew’s Cemetery, alumni of the Seminary and teachers of the Seminary. The choir was led by seminarians Subdeacons Ihor Protsak, Mykola Zomchak, Yurii Bobko, Valentine Olijnyk and Oleh Kravchenko. Serving in the altar and assisting the hierarchs throughout the entire liturgical service were the newly set aside Subdeacons Constantin Dancu, Ivan Venhryn and Subdeacon Volodymyr Yavorsky as well as semianrians Myroslav Mykytyuk and Yaroslav Bilohan.
Following the dismissal, Archbishop Daniel welcomed on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Bishop Sabas to the Spiritual Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South bound Brook, NJ and presented him with a memorable gift.
The liturgical celebration concluded with the melodious chanting of “God grant many years…” to the hierarchs of the Church, her clergy and her faithful, and especially to all those who ere in attendance and named after the Holy Universal Teachers Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom. Moreover, Archbishop Daniel greeted Fr. Vasyl Dovgan on a triple celebration of the day: his birthday, Name’s Day and the 5th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood, while seminarians of the Church presentd Fr. Vasyl, a graduate of St. Sophia Seminary with a birthday cake.
Following the Liturgy, the participants took part in a splendid luncheon, which was prepared by the seminary’s cook, Mrs. Maria Morozovska.
During the feast, the seminarians and faithful were able to venerate the relics of over 40 saints that were installed in the Three Holy Hierarchs Seminary chapel for veneration and prayerful protection of the seminarians of the Church as they further their academic studies.