Every month, members of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA meets to review Church statistics and information. On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the board members gathered at 1 PM as His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, President of the Consistory, called the meeting to order and led everyone in prayer.
Having thanked everyone for their participation, Archbishop Daniel welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA and Diaspora and invited the metropolitan to provide an update on his parish visits as well as the latest news concerning UOC of the USA Property Management. Much work has been dedicated to reconciling all the property damage from the damage incurred during Hurricane Ida in 2021. Restoration of damaged property continues through the obtainment of loans and anticipated assistance from FEMA.
Protopresbyter Stephen Hutnick, Consistory Treasurer, reported on the financial status of the Church. Things are tight everywhere including the Church, however, by the Grace of God and the generous donations of the faithful the Church continues to function, minister to the flock, hold educational and spiritual retreats, give aid to the needy, support the impoverished, and provide necessary aid to Ukraine in these troubled times.
The members of the Board were delighted to hear that parishes are flourishing and that the spiritual needs of the faithful are being met. Clergy have reported increased attendance at their parishes, especially during Feast Day celebrations. Parish Boards continue to support their parish priests, and work amicably with their parishioners to sustain and grow their parishes. Additional good news came from groups of individuals living in remote areas who wish to gather for Divine Liturgy and have requested creating mission parishes.
The Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary is doing well, with a number of seminarians expected to graduate later this year, while new students are being interviewed. The future clergy, trained at the Seminary, will be able to minister to the faithful of the Church successfully, being not only trained in Liturgics, but in Theology, Dogma and pastoral care.
The St. Andrew Church Good and Bookstore continues to provide the parishes and the faithful with Church Supplies, such as censors, vestments, and service books. Icons, hand crosses, lampadas, candles, and incense are also available. Additionally, the faithful of the Church can purchase prayer books, children’s books, embroidered good, stickers, car icons and numerous other goods to enhance their spiritual lives.
Having concluded the meeting, the Board walked over to the Ukrainian Historical and Education Center’s exhibit on Holodomor, “Depicting Genocide: 20th Century Responses to the Holodomor.” Timed to commemorate the 90th anniversary of this tragic event, this exhibition explores some of the ways in which the Holodomor was depicted during the 20th century, particularly though art. The artistic depiction of genocide is challenging. Should horrors be depicted directly and graphically — with skeletons or dead bodies? Or should the approach be more understated, providing the viewers or readers with just enough to allow them to create the images of horror in their own minds? This exhibition explores the extremely varied approaches that artists over four decades have used to tackle the Holodomor through works in the UHEC's permanent collection, many of which have not been on public view for two decades. The exhibition also includes period primary sources that shed light on the Holodomor as a historical event, how it was portrayed in the press, and how Ukrainian Americans responded to it.
This day also marked the 13th anniversary of the repose of Protopresbyter Frank Estocin who was a long time member of the Council of the Metropolia and sat on the Board of the Consistory. At the gravesite behind the St. Andrew Memorial Church, the board members joined Metropolitan Antony and the seminarians for a Memorial Panakhyda in Fr. Frank’s memory, served by Archbishop Daniel. Having prayed for his peaceful repose, as well as for that of his wife Irene buried next to him, and sprinkling their graves with holy water, Vladyka Daniel recalled numerous stories of his life, the work he had accomplished, and the memories he had made during his life.
As the Consistory Board members departed the Metropolia Center back to their home parishes, they were confident that the Church was in good hands, and by the Grace of God would continue to do good works and be a point of light in an ever-darkening world.