On August 9 thru August 12, 2018, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada held an Extraordinary National Council or Sobor of the UOCC in Saskatoon to celebrate 100 years of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. The celebrations were attended by Ukrainian Orthodox faithful from across Canada and beyond.
The Sobor began on Thursday August 9, with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of St. Petro Mohyla Institute, presided by His Grace, Bishop Andriy (Peshko) of the Eastern Eparchy, with the responses sung by the Clergy led by Fr. Michael Lomaszkiewicz. This was followed by an All-Canada Clergy Conference conference. All gathered for Vespers at the Mohyla Institute Chapel and this was followed by a wine and cheese reception as the delegates and guests registered for the Extraordinary National Council.
On Friday August 10, the events began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral presided by UOCC Primate, Metropolitan Yurij (Kalistchuk), with responses sung by the Lastiwka Ukrainian Orthodox Choir directed by Larry Klopoushak. Following the liturgy, Metropolitan Yurij opened the Extraordinary Council business session in the Cathedral with a celebratory resolution. This was followed by other official greetings from other clergy. After a luncheon in the church hall, a series of Symposium sessions was offerred by St. Andrew’s College in Winnipeg Faculty of Theology with several clergy presenting. A bus tour of country Churches followed, with a visit to the first official Church and Parish of the UOCC in St. Julien, as well as a visit to St. Michael’s Parish in Lepine, and passing by Ukrainian family farms, many of which are still owned by descendants of the original settlers. The day concluded with a group visit and reception at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon.
The events of Saturday August 11 began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at All Saints’ Parish co-presided by Archbishops Job (Getcha) of Telmissos, representing the Ecumenical Patriarch, and Daniel (Zelinsky) of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA. The responses were provided by the Edmonton Ukrainian Male Chorus directed by Orest Soltykevych. After lunch in the Parish Auditorium, Sobor participants enjoyed a cruise on the Prairie Lily Riverboat through the heart of Saskatoon on the South Saskatchewan River, and a historic landmark city bus tour which passed by the two previous St. Petro Mohyla Institute sites, as well as the Eaton internment camp site.
The third day concluded with a banquet and concert at the Saskatoon Inn. Greetings were delivered by government and Church dignitaries. The concert included performances by performers from across Canada: the Lastiwka Ukrainian Orthodox Choir and Orchestra of Saskatoon directed by Larry Klopoushak, Kateryna Khartova (who came to Canada from Ukraine at the age of 18), the St. Demetrius Quartet of Toronto, Fr. Volodymyr Kouchnir (Dean of St. Sophie Cathedral in Montreal), the Dibrova Ukrainian Folk Ensemble of Saskatoon directed by Stanyslaw Hawryliw, distinguished international violinist Carissa Klopoushak, the Lastiwka Ukrainian Orthodox Choir and Orchestra also directed by Larry Klopoushak, world renowned jazz pianist John Stetch, the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton directed by Orest Soltykevych, and the Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble directed by Serhij Koroliuk. The concert concluded with a performance by the massed choirs directed by Larry Klopoushak of the complex spiritual-liturgical composition “Preslavnyy nyni den’” (“A Most Glorious Day”) by S. A. Dekhtyariv.
The fourth and final day of the Council began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Saskatoon co-presided by all five Ukrainian Orthodox Hierarchs. Metropolitan Yurij, Archbishops Job and Daniel, and Bishops Ilarion and Andriy. Also concelebrating was Fr. Michael Solomko, President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand. Liturgical responses were sung by a combined choir, directed by Larry Klopoushak. The Liturgy concluded with the blessing of the magnificent Icon of the Mother of God of Canada written by Vera Senchuk which will remain in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in commemoration of the celebration of the centenary of the Church which began in Saskatoon.
The lunch in the Parish Auditorium was followed by presentation of commemorative awards to the Hierarchs, as well as to members of the Jubilee Committee headed by Gene Zwozdesky who announced the awards. This was followed by a presentation by the youth attending the Council.
The Council concluded with an Akathist to the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, Founder of the Church in Ukraine celebrated in the Cathedral by Fr. Cornell Zubritsky, leading member of the Jubilee Committee. It was celebrated before the special Icon written for the occasion by Vera Senchuk, which also has in it a portion of the Holy Relics of the Apostle, contributed via St. Andrew’s College by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Icon shall be brought throughout the year to a number of Churches in the Canadian cities with large Ukrainian Orthodox communities for veneration by the faithful.
* Excerpts in the above summation have been taken from the UOCC summary of events prepared by Fr. Ihor G. Kutash. For these full descriptions of the Sobor's events, please refer to the UOCC website at:
* Photos: Ron Demeda