Ukrainian Technological Society of Pittsburgh (UTS) Presents Its Annual 2019 Ukrainian of the Year Award to His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
On Saturday, November 2, 2019 the Ukrainian Technological Society of Pittsburgh (UTS) presented its Annual 2019 Ukrainian of the Year Award to His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, recognizing his leadership and accomplishments in service to the UOC of the USA and especially as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the negotiations that led to the historic granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Archbishop Daniel joined a list of 48 other individuals that have been recognized by the Ukrainian Technological Society for the contribution and service to the Ukrainian and Ukrainian-American community. Among other recipients were President of Ukraine Victor Yuschenko (2005), Metropolitan Mstsylav Skrypnyk (1972), Very Rev. Fr. Andrew Beck (1988), Protopresbyter George Hnatko (1975), Cardinal Joseph Slipyj (1973), Judge Bohdan Futey (2001), Dr. Steven Sivulich (2009), Natalie Kapeluck Nizon (2010), Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalie Ann Jaresko (2017) and Daria Pishko Komichak (2018).
Following the opening remarks of Mr. George Honchar, UTS President, Rev. Fr. Mark Swindel presented the nomination and introduced Archbishop Daniel for the acceptance of the Award.
Having received the award, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel addressed the attendees of the 49th Annual Dinner Gala, stating:
I am truly honored to be recognized and to receive this prestigious award of the Ukrainian Technological Society, here in Pittsburgh, the motherland of so many fathers and mothers of our Ukrainian-American community. I was born in Soviet Ukraine about 50 years ago without even having a slightest idea about the life of the Ukrainian-American community, and today I am honored to be included in a list of so me many worthy recipients of this great award… Thank you for this great honor, but it truly belongs to the people of Ukraine and the hierarchs of the Church of Ukraine – it is because of their desire and sacrifices that we are celebrating the ministry of the Church of Ukraine.
On October 11, 2018, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate discussed at length the ecclesiastical matter of Ukraine and decreed to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (OCU). It revoked the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time. In accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Holy Synod also accepted and reviewed the petitions of appeal of the hiearrchs and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons. Thus, the above-mentioned hierarchy and its clergy have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and with their faithful, have been restored to communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Following this decision, a unifying synod was convened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kyiv on December 15, 2018, to establish the new autocephalous Church of Ukraine and elect her primate. Metropolitan Epiphanios was elected Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine. On January 5, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of autocephaly, thereby officially granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and on the next day con celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, as well as with Hierarchs of the Throne and of the OCU, for the Great Feast of Theophany (January 6) at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George at the Phanar.
I am honored to say that it has been a privilege to be a part of the above-mentioned historical events in the life of the Orthodox Church and the reestablishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
A few days ago, I friend of mine, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, a hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (he is also of Ukrainian-Canadian descent), stated and I paraphrase and adopt the historical events for this purpose….
The tragic reality is that it seems that there are two types of Orthodoxy: one which respects the holy canons and the ecclesiology formulated by the Ecumenical councils, and the other which does not and serve political interests. One which seeks pan-Orthodox unity, and the other which thinks in categories of “schisms”. One which believes in the Orthodox Church as being the One Church, the other which presents Orthodoxy as a federation of independent Churches. One which refers to ecclesiological criteria, the other which makes use of political power, national identity and money. One which speaks of eternal truth, the other which plays with fake-news and falsifies history...
… Church unity could only be the result of a strong desire. If we do not believe in unity, if we do not strive for unity, we will never overcome our human divisions. If we place our personal interests over the love of the other, we cannot find a way towards unity. If we do not place eternal truth and the divine commandment of love over our human ambitions and egoism, we will never reach Church unity. If we do not understand that the mission of Church leaders is to serve and not to dominate, our divisions will never be healed. If our dialogue of truth is not connected to the dialogue of charity, it will never be successful…
In August of 2018 I was appointed and commissioned along with His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada) to serve the Holy Orthodox Church - the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as an Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Ukraine.
Due to the will and multiple requests of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (three distinct ecclesiastical communities: UOC-KP; UAOC; UOC-MP), Ukrainian nation and her political leader President Petro Poroshenko – the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople favorably answered and began the process of studying the steps towards the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.
My time in Ukraine, as an Exarch of the Ecumenical Throne, was both spiritually exciting and at times emotionally and physically challenging – yet the work was done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the benefit of the people of God.
As His Beatitude, Archbishop Ieronoim of Athens and All Greece of the Greek Orthodox Church recently pointed out in his opening address to the members of the Holy Archpastoral Council of the Church, as the Church we are concerned with the Orthodox people of an independent state, which Ukraine constitutes today. We are dealing with millions of Orthodox faithful, who have historically suffered from policies of either Poland or Russia. Therefore, our focused discussions on the validity of Ordinations and the stance of Bishops must take into account the existence of millions of believers for whom we are responsible…
Without doubt, the current situation also has geopolitical dimensions. We recognize our own responsibility today as the faithful of the Church but also as people of our ancestral homeland of Ukraine. Granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – was a day of Spiritual Awakening and Spiritual “Independence”. For better or worse, no autocephaly was ever granted with reference to intra-ecclesiastical factors alone. It always had to do with geopolitical developments as well. I am sorry if some do not understand what is happening in our time, in this XXI century: where we belong and how responsible we are for the outcome.
In our opinion, whole working in Ukraine we often stated that “If we maintain unity, we will be able to overcome any omissions and correct any mistakes; whereas if we are divided, we will never be able to contribute to that which all of us desire, namely the oneness and unity of the Orthodox Church.”
The decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine on October 11, 2018, was based on fundamental facts. Here they are:
First, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been since the very beginning the Mother Church of the Church of Ukraine and that the Church of Ukraine has never been canonically transferred to the Church of Russia.
Second, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been the only local Orthodox Church to proclaim autocephaly since the period of the Ecumenical Councils and regard it as its exclusive privilege being the first see of Orthodoxy.
Third, that among its other privileges, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the right to receive, as are mediator of canon law, the appeals of clergy and bishops that have received a canonical punishment, either having been deposited, anathematized or excommunicated by their respective synod, to review these decisions and to pronounce a final judgement over them in last recourse.
As I conclude these reflections and acceptance remarks, let me share with you the text of the letter that was sent to His beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (dated 17 December, 2018) by the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA following the unification council of the Church in Ukraine:
Your Beatitude: CHRIST IS AMONG US!
The day of December 15, 2018 in the life of the Holy Orthodox Church of Ukraine will always be treasured in history as the day when the faithful of the Church, with the blessing of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, were blessed with the establishment of a Pomisna-Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the election of the Primate-Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine in the person of Your Beatitude. We look forward to your service to the Gospel and Body of Christ in God-loving Ukraine, which will be guided by the Holy Spirit and lead to the final ecclesiastic unity in the Holy Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
“This is a day the Lord has made!” It is the day that the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA have prayed and worked for throughout our 100 year history. Metropolitan John (Theodorovych), our first primate and the only hierarch who survived martyrdom of all the other hierarchs of the first formation of Ukrainian autocephaly (1921) served our Holy Church and the cause of Autocephaly for 50 years. Our second Primate-Metropolitan Mstyslav, from the second formation of autocephaly (1942) served our Holy Church for 43 years. He later became the first Patriarch of Ukraine in the third formation of autocephaly (1990) and never wavered in the struggle for an independent Pomisna Church of Ukraine. Our third Primate-Metropolitan Constantine strove continually throughout his 40 years of service – 20 as Metropolitan – to our Holy Church for the recognition of Autocephaly for Ukraine. We, as the present hierarchs of the UOC of the USA have worked diligently over the past 24 years ensuring that the question of Autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine would never fade away. Our clergy and faithful have never weakened in their faith that this day would come. “We rejoice and are glad” (Ps. 117:24) in this day and thank God for your election your Beatitude, to the Primacy of the fully autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Glory to God for all things!
We all must realize, however, that this is a time in the history of Ukraine and the world that requires gentle healing, firm leadership and great love. Our prayer for you, Your Beatitude, is that you will continue to be graced by God with the gentle healing faith exhibited by the saints of all Rus-Ukraine, that you will be given the strength to exercise firm leadership in the example of the Holy Fathers of the Church and that you will be enabled to unconditionally open yourself in service to the bishops, priests and faithful who are entrusted to your paternal spiritual care. Our Lord will certainly assist you in carrying this heavy burden-responsibility and the powerful prayers of your spiritual children will sustain you always.
In behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, we express to you our most sincere greetings as you begin this certainly difficult, but spiritually and fundamentally important, mission in the life of the Church. We enthusiastically look forward to our common work with you in brotherly love, peace, and harmony as we seek to fulfill God’s Holy Will for all Ukrainian Orthodox Christians.
Dear Brother in Christ and co-celebrant in Christ’s Vineyard, we pray in the depth of our hearts and souls that the joyful Light of the Bethlehem Star will always lead you to Christ our Lord in all your blessed service in His Name seeking the salvation of souls. We know that alone, human desire is insufficient to fulfill this service to which you have been called. As we have seen throughout the history of mankind, we cannot rely upon the wisdom of mankind as our source of strength. May your real strength come from the Wisdom of God in the Holy Trinity, for He is Good, Compassionate, Merciful, Just and loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend…
Once again, thank you for this great honor, but it truly belongs to the people of Ukraine and the hierarchs of the Church of Ukraine – it is because of their desire and sacrifices that we are celebrating the ministry of the Church of Ukraine.
So, please let us all keep each other in prayer, especially our brethren in Ukraine. Thank you and God bless you!...
Offering invocation and benediction at the Annual Gala, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA also offered his brief comments, stating that because of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s concern for the ecclesial and spiritual life of the faithful, it provided a solution to a problem that could not otherwise possibly be solved. It acted in a particular way, because this is precisely the ministry of the Patriarchate, its task within Orthodoxy to mediate and find ways to resolve ecclesiastical anomalies and to bring unity among the discord…
The 49th Annual Award Presentation concluded with the formal Dinner Dance to Zabava Orchestra.
The Ukrainian Technological Society of Pittsburgh (UTS) is a nonsectarian, nonpolitical, cross-generational association of Ukrainian professionals and business persons interested in cultivating Ukrainian cultural and social awareness, and strengthening the Ukrainian Community through active participation and leadership. The Society has continuously served the Tri-state Ukrainian Community by maintaining several key programs, including a scholarship program and a Ukrainian of the Year program. The UTS is looking to the future and recognizes the need to continue its tradition while adapting to the changing needs of the Ukrainian community.