Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration

УКРАЇНСЬКA КАТОЛИЦЬКA ЦЕРКВА ПРЕОБРАЖЕННЯ ГОСПОДНЬОГО


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EPISCOPAL DECREE

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Considering the serious concerns of many medical professionals and government authorities regarding the safety and wellbeing of our faithful due to COVID-19 pandemic, by the order of His Excellency Bishop Bryan Bayda CSsR, Apostolic Administrator of Eparchy of Toronto & Easter Canada, all public Divine Worship in our Eparchy is being suspended, effective immediately and until further notice.

Most Holy Theotokos save us!

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COVID-19 ПАНДЕМІЯ

Враховуючи серьозні побоювання медичних та урядових служб відносно безпеки та добробуття наших вірних в час пандемії COVID-19, інструкцією Преосвященного Владики Кир Брияна Байди, Апостольського Адміністратора Єпархіі Торонта і Східньої Канади, всі публичні Богослужби в нашій Єпархії є негайно відкликані аж до окремого повідомлення.

Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!


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Together we are stronger

Since the coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the WHO, we know that potentially all people the world over can contract the illness. While for most it may feel like a cold or flu, for some it can be deadly. The increasing closures of public venues may seem alarming, but in fact the measures our health authorities are taking are designed to slow down the spread. Fr. Myroslaw is in regular contact with our local medical community and our Bishop in order to keep us updated on any necessary changes to routine.

Here is the website to check for information on symptoms and what to do if you feel unwell: www.regionofwaterloo.ca/COVID19

Please remember that social media sites are often the source of misinformation and lead to unnecessary fear, anxiety, panic—even hysteria.

While the fear a global pandemic holds has potential to incite racism, violence, and thoughtless actions, it also illuminates our common humanity, that knows no borders or differences. Today we can respond to the call of unity, compassion and love towards all humanity. We can be proud of, and grateful for, our leaders who are providing careful guidance and protocols to make changes to our lives less damaging. How fortunate that our already taxed health care system has mobilized to deal with this emergency efficiently.

We too are reminded that each of us can make a difference. How? Follow legitimate updates and protocols. Don’t panic. Self-isolate if you are ill. Self-quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Check the website to know the difference.

Check in on or call vulnerable people you know. Loneliness lowers our immune systems. Share. Be kind. Wash your hands. You are loved more than you can ever know.


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Sunday of Orthodoxy: Icons

Kitchener calendar 2017On this Sunday of Orthodoxy, we can happily reflect on our bountiful and profound heritage of iconography. Although globally icons have become popular as religious art, in our Tradition, they are far more than this. Icons are an integral element of our liturgy and our Christian worldview. The very writing of an icon is considered a form of prayer. In the symbolic language of our iconography we see all material existence transformed by Christ’s incarnation: our environment, our humanness, our bodies, transfigured by Divine Light. But, ever so radically, as the icon speaks of Christ, so too we—each one of us—are called to be living icons. As Byzantine Christians we have received this marvelous understanding to help us recognize God in us and in others. As we commemorate the acceptance of iconography in history, let’s honour and share the sacred light shining in each of us.


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Entering Great Lent

In preparing for Great Lent, Patriarch Svyatoslav has reminded us of our Christian obligation to care for our neighbour, our community, and our environment. He recently wrote: “The Lord created us as the crown of His creation. In His creation we are called to be icons of the Creator, the governor of the created world and ensure its balanced development. It is not humanity’s existence and the number of people on the planet, but the way of life and the predatory character of modern civilization which makes us the cause and, simultaneously, the victim of our current ecological crisis, which is taking on global implications.” Recalling the life and work of Patriarch Josyf, of blessed memory, our Church’s head recalled: “Patriarch Josyf understood that the Ukrainian people will survive only if we care for one another. For this reason the parish, where we find acts of service and concern for the destitute, is the spark of renewal for the entire Church.”


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Incommensurable love

Loving Father Icon

What a wondrous thing to contemplate: to be enfolded in an embrace of complete acceptance, support, warmth, forgiveness . . . love without boundaries, limits, reason. . .love we cannot deserve or earn. . . .

This is the divine love we can be open to . . . we can rest in . . . and in that peace—we can embrace each other and all others. In that peace we forgive ourselves and those around us.


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“Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare Your praise!”

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On Sunday, January 26th,Holy Transfiguration community had the pleasure of hosting the SVITANOK choir from Hamilton for a wonderful concert of kolyady (carols). DidykFeaturing a wonderful array of old and new carols, under the direction of Marichka Duncan, the community was enthralled by the beautiful voices of this women’s choir. An added bonus was the carol medley played by solo pianist Michael Andrushko.A special feature of the concert was the added performance by the three-generations of the Didyk family!

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“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

ЗасіватиTo sing is a human constant. Human beings have raised their voices in song throughout time and place to express joy, grief, pain, love and emotions otherwise inexpressible. We tell stories and share the spirit of cultures through folksongs and ballads. I remember from my childhood how any group of adults sitting together might spontaneously erupt into harmonious song. As an adult I’ve come to recognize how those folksongs created a bond and a solace for the maelstrom of feelings they evoked. Ukrainians are known for being a people of song. Non-speakers often describe the sound of our language as melodic and, despite repression during the Soviet era, Ukrainian styles of singing have endured. Our orthodox tradition has been a haven for song, since we believe that our voices are God’s instrument and so we pray in acappella song and chanting. Today it seems our rich heritage of song is fading. Fewer of us go caroling; singing seems to be allotted to professionals. . . Perhaps if we try, we can keep the spirit alive. This is the time of Theophany, the time of our most internationally famous Ukrainian carol: Shchedryk (The Carol of the Bells). The carol is based on a folk chant predating Christianity but Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych wrote the music in 1914. In 1921 he was murdered by Soviet police. In 1936 Peter Wilhousky wrote the English lyrics that have been translated into countless languages. (read the story of shchedryk). The Ukrainian lyrics bring wishes of a (shchedryj) generous bountiful year for us. May it be filled with songs of joy.


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When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest.

TheophanyTheophany, along with Easter and Christmas, comprise the 3 great Holy Days of the Church year. We hold this trilogy of commemorations because they contain the essence of our Faith Tradition; they hold the mystery of the Divine Trinity. Our liturgical and cultural practices persistently reinforce the number 3, so that its symbolism of eternity, wholeness, and dynamic movement vibrates through our collective being. The Trinity presents God as infinite love. This Love is so great that it cannot be thought of as contained—Love continually flows beyond self to other—in this way being triune and, as such, encompassing us, humanity, in its outpouring.

We reflect Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River in our Baptismal sacrament, using water to mark our entry into the family of the Church. Because of the Theophany, when we saw God as Heavenly (invisible), human (embodied), and spirit (everywhere), the river water was sanctified and thus we believe all earthly matter is sanctified, including humanity, including you and me.

And so together, we drink the water blessed at church, we eat the blessed food at our Kutia, and we love each other into the wholeness of the Trinity of God.


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GOD IS WITH US!

In the Christmas compline we repeatedly sing out the reason that we celebrate the Nativity: God is with us. But this year I find that the accompanying exhortation particularly resonates with me. “Rozumite” translates as a plea (or demand?) to understand—grasp, fathom—the unfathomable reality of God joining us as a fellow human being! We can say it: “GOD IS WITH US.” Yet, getting our head around this is an ongoing process for for over 2 thousand years.

Somehow we have inherited a misleading notion of God as a mighty controller, deciding when or not (and how) we live, suffer, and die. This idea of God is simply not the message of the Gospels. God in

Christ demonstrated that God WITH us, does not mean that human events are manipulated; tragedy, illness, pain remain a constant in our lives. Christ demonstrates that God is in us—in you, in me. Also, easily said, but less easily grasped. I believe we crumple before the need to really comprehend this, because it seems to demand so much from us. Christ asks us to follow his example. We know what happened to him! Accepting that God is with us is in effect accepting that God “is us”—our responsibility—and frankly that seems more than a bit daunting.

We sing in the baptismal hymn that we have “put on” Christ. There it is. In our regular ordinary lives, we, when we can let ourselves accept God’s love for us, in our ordinary humanness, in our ordinary brokenness and daily less-than-perfect routines, schedules, sicknesses, and irritations, Divine love lives through us, whether we know it or not; God is with us regardless of who we are, but we can enjoy so much more contentment when we channel the peace and strength that living love can bring. It’s not a one shot decision; there is no formula or doctrine to follow Christ. It is as simple and as daunting as each day, context, and event presents. Living love, it seems, is desiring, trying, to be open to love in myself and in others. We help each other to be Christ in the smallest acts of kindness. . .

In the words of Mother Teresa: “People are often unreasonable and self centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. .”