Vsevolod enthroned archbishop of united Orthodox Church
by Khristina Lew
CHICAGO - Bishop Vsevolod (Majdansky) was enthroned archbishop of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. by Metropolitan Constantine at St. Volodymyr Cathedral here on March 2. The elevation of the former primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America to archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. is the first manifestation of the two Churches' decision in November 1996 to unite into one body, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Enthronement proceedings began with the vesting of the hierarchy and a divine liturgy at St. Volodymyr Cathedral (Archbishop Vsevolod's cathedral see) concelebrated by Metropolitan Constantine, Archbishops Antony and Vsevolod, three archimandrites and priests. In the spirit of ecumenism, Ukrainian Catholic Bishops Basil Losten of Stamford and Michael Wiwchar of the St. Nicholas Eparchy of Chicago stood by the altar. Over 150 Ukrainian Orthodox faithful from Chicago-area parishes attended.
At the conclusion of the divine liturgy, Metropolitan Constantine installed Vsevolod as archbishop of the newly created Western Eparchy, which encompasses the region between Detroit, Mexico and Hawaii, and presented him with a staff, "the external manifestation of a bishop's power and grace to rule his eparchy."
In addressing the faithful, Metropolitan Constantine said that the unification of the two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches into one body was done "for the good of our Church in the United States and for the good of our Church and people of Ukraine."
The newly enthroned archbishop echoed the metropolitan's sentiment and called for the divided Ukrainian Orthodox Churches in Ukraine to unite into one Ukrainian Church. He thanked God "for giving unity to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church beyond the borders of Ukraine" and said, "we must hope for unity to reign in our native Ukraine."
The recently united Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. has been restructured into three eparchies. The Eastern Eparchy, with 46 parishes, is headed by Archbishop Antony; its cathedral see is New York. The Central Eparchy, led by Metropolitan Constantine, has 36 parishes; its see will be Parma, Ohio. Archbishop Vsevolod oversees the Western Eparchy, which has 30 parishes.
The unification of the two largest Ukrainian Orthodox Churches in the United States completes the unification of all Ukrainian Orthodox Churches beyond the borders of Ukraine, all of which are now under the spiritual authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
A banquet honoring Archbishop Vsevolod was held at St. Volodymyr Cathedral parish hall following his enthronement. The hierarchs were greeted by the cathedral's choir, Boyan; Volodymyr Masur, president of the Parish Council; and Dr. Gayle Woloschak, member of the Metropolitan Council. The 170 guests were then entertained by the Surma men's choir and students of the Saturday School at St. Andrew Church in Bloomingdale, Ill.
During the banquet Archbishop Vsevolod spoke of the need to unite Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholics into one Kyivan Church. He cited the efforts of Orthodox Metropolitan Petro Mohyla (who was canonized in December 1996) and Catholic Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky to "find unity between our two Churches."
The archbishop contended that "in helping our brother and sister Orthodox in Ukraine to create one united Orthodox Church, we will be supporting a dialogue for the creation of one Ukrainian Church." He then greeted Ukrainian Catholic Bishops Wiwchar and Losten.
Archbishop Vsevolod has long been an advocate of rapprochement between Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholics. In Lviv in May 1992 he became the first Orthodox bishop in 400 years to address a Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops.
In August 1992 he and Bishop Losten initiated the creation of the Kyivan Church Study Group, an unofficial, informal ecumenical dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics. The group, composed of 15 interested bishops and theologians, has met six times since 1992 to study, according to the Rev. Andriy Chirovsky of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, "how to get back to one Kyivan Church in communion with Rome and Constantinople."
The Kyivan Church Study Group has met with Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios of Constantinople, and has the blessings of both Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky, primate of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Patriarch Bartholomaios for their work.
Throughout the course of the banquet, Archbishop Vsevolod's enthronement was greeted by government officials, Church leaders and representatives of Ukrainian community organizations. Pat Mikulski, special assistant to Jim Edgar, extended the Illinois governor's best wishes. Ukrainian Consul General Victor Kyryk of Chicago hailed the unification of the two largest Orthodox Churches in the United States and called for the unity of Orthodox Churches in Ukraine.
Unity also was the theme of Bishop Losten's and Archbishop Antony's greetings. Bishop Losten spoke of the work of the Kyivan Church Study Group and said, "there is no reason in the world for us to be divided." Archbishop Antony expressed his wish to Archbishop Vsevolod that "you and your flock throughout the western United States become one."
The Rev. Myron Panchuk of Ss. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church extended his best wishes, as did the Very Rev. Archimandrite Damian of Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Palos Park, Ill.
Numerous community organizations sent greetings. Orest Baranyk of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America welcomed the newly enthroned archbishop, and the local Self-Reliance Federal Credit Union and First Security Federal Savings Bank each donated $1,000 in recognition of unification.
Vsevolod's vision for the Church
Archbishop Vsevolod was the bishop of the 45,000-member Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America for nine years before its unification with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. in November 1996. A psychoanalyst by training, the newly enthroned archbishop sees the Church's mission as threefold.
First, he said, the unity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church beyond the borders of Ukraine must serve as an example for the disunited Church in Ukraine. "We must help our disunited brothers in Ukraine to achieve a unity, because unity in Ukraine is very important. Here, beyond the territory of Ukraine, we have a dialogue going with the Ukrainian Catholics. What kind of a dialogue can you start in Ukraine?" he said.
Metropolitan Constantine said it is the prayer of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. that the fragmented Orthodox Church in Ukraine unite into one body. "How can one Church be fragmented into four sections?" he said. "It is uncanonical, and it is certainly a scandal. It is a scar not only on Orthodoxy, but on Christianity, and a scar on Ukraine itself."
In addition to encouraging unity in Ukraine, Archbishop Vsevolod said Orthodox should continue their dialogue with Ukrainian Catholics. "We are the same tradition. We are the same Kyivan Church. I want all the years of bickering we had to cease," he said.
Finally, the archbishop said he would focus his efforts on building the self-esteem of Ukrainians by developing the church as a cultural center and bringing young people back into the fold.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, March 9, 1997, No. 10, Vol. LXV
| Home Page |