1918 – 2018 “100 Years of Service, and Missionary efforts …” – a few thoughts from the Office of the Consistory, (Fr.) Taras Udod …
To all of my Brothers and Sisters … sons and daughters of our beloved Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada … I say dyakoyu … thank you for your service and missionary efforts …
We ARE celebrating this tremendous milestone in the life of our church – “church organization.” So what does this mean? What, if anything, does this call or invite me to? What am I supposed to feel, experience, partake of … as a result of being blessed to be living in this centennial year for our Church?
My dear brothers and sisters … God is calling all of us who love and care for our Church, the “Ukrains’ka Pravoslavan Tserkva v Kanadi” / the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada” – as that Ark of our Salvation … that same Ark that carried our forefathers to this land more than a 100 years ago and continues to carry us … to give thanks – deeply, profoundly and with every fiber of our being …
It was and is that overwhelming love, grace and power of our God with Us … that inspired our parents and grand-parents to rally together … such that during First World War … Mohyla Institute was founded (1916,) later the St. Petro Mohyla Institute. It was that same inspiration, drive and commitment that motivated these same people … two years later, in the aftermath of that same First World War to establish the Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of Canada.
Having been blessed to be born “into” this Church and “wider hromada (community)” … not a day goes by that I am not grateful for the service and missionary efforts of bishops, priests and their dobrodiyky, and families, and numerous lay leaders – members … men and women and youth of Our Church who served in many capacities.
Many of our predecessors served and laboured in circumstances that were trying and challenging to an extent that it is nearly impossible for us to comprehend and difficult to appreciate. (I like to remind others, and especially myself … that getting to church in the wintertime now, includes the “inconvenience” of having to press a button inside our warm house to “hitch up our horses” outside …)
Over the course of our 100 year history … there were many times when getting to church, heating it up (using the old “bashtok,”) and actually celebrating a divine liturgy was an all-day affair, and one that took significant dedication and commitment. And yet, these services were held – prayers were offered, the Holy Gifts were received, and Our Lord was present … where even two or three would manage to gather in His Name.
So, in response to my “invitation” above … what are we “supposed to” feel, experience and so forth … I share the following quote that I was blessed to note on a “church sign” recently: “Accept what is and let go of what was.”
We are not the UGOCC of 1968 – celebrating our 50th Anniversary, with many of our “founding members” living and recalling the events of 1918 – because they were there and directly involved. For many of us, we are now the “them.” We are now the generation called to serve – to give of ourselves, as the previous generations did …
As many of you will know – my +tato of blessed memory loved to draw attention to U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, and the specific quote – “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
My dear Brothers and Sisters … I challenge us all … let us not ask what “our church, our parish, or for that matter, our consistory office can do for us …” let us celebrate our “sto-littya” (100th Anniversary) – our blessed centennial of service and missionary efforts by not only asking of ourselves what can we do for our Church, but even more importantly – being firmly committed to seeking out and doing whatever we can, to as great an extent as we can for our Church.
In this way – we honour those who went before us. We honour their service and missionary efforts. And, we serve and continue these same missionary efforts as every single one of us is called to … in and through the Church – once again, and always until the end of the Age … the Ark of our Salvation.
I hope to see you all in Saskatoon in August as we celebrate and give thanks!
z namy Boh! God (is) with us!
– Fr. Taras Udod, Chancellor of the UOCC