Today, 15 November, is the beginning of the pre-Christmas season of abstinence and penance of the eastern churches, often known as ‘Philip’s Fast’ because it begins the day after the feast of St Philip the Apostle. The season corresponds to but is somewhat longer than the season of Advent in the western church, and lasts through 24 December.
Although not traditionally as strict a fast as the pre-Easter season of Lent, Philip’s Fast serves a similar purpose in preparing us mentally and spiritually for the great celebration to come. In the words of Monsignor Russell A. Duker:
To worthily meet our Lord and Savior, we should sanctify this pre-Nativity season of the Phillipian Fast. Sanctifying means spending our time in faith and in the service of God and in kindness towards our neighbor, especially those who are in need of our assistance. And we should think of what we would have been had Christ not come to our lowliness and poverty. Together with the whole of the Byzantine Church we should try to meet Christ as he deserves to be met and as it will, in His mercy, best serve our spiritual benefit!
Join us on Saturday 17 November, following our regular Divine Liturgy, for a presentation about the life and legacy of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky OSBM.
Andrey Sheptytsky was Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church between 1901 and 1944: a tenure that encompassed two world wars and seven different political regimes in Ukraine. According to the historian Jaroslav Pelikan, ‘Arguably, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky was the most influential figure … in the entire history of the Ukrainian Church in the twentieth century.’
Father Yuriy will present a short video (approx. 30 minutes), and lead discussion.
On Saturday 24 November, our parish will commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor—from морити голодом, ‘to kill by starvation’—, the man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. The full extent of this famine has only become known in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of historical archives in Russia and Ukraine. Although the exact number who died as a result of the famine cannot be known, recent scholarship suggests it is between 3.3 and 7.5 million.
At the end of our liturgy on that day, we will have Panakhyda (memorial prayers) for the victims of the Holodomor, and after the service will gather in the parish hall to watch the film Bitter Harvest. This 2017, English-language film mixes romance and action genres to tell the story of the Holodomor through the experience of two young lovers struggling to survive and resist the Bolshevik forced collectivization of farms and starvation policies.
We expect to start the film at about 12:30 PM, and it is 1 hour and 43 minutes long. All are welcome.
The annual Christmas Bazaar, organised by the Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo and the Vesna Ukrainian Dancers, will take place this year on 1 December, in St Michael's parish hall. Please come out to support these two organisations and to stock up on perogies, borscht, and other delicious Ukrainian fare for the holidays. Doors open at 11:00 AM, and close at 3:00 PM.
Note:On that weekend, to ensure that parishioners and bazaar attendees both have access to parking, our regular Liturgy schedule will be adjusted. There will be no Divine Liturgy on the Saturday, but instead the service will be at 3:00 PM on Sunday 2 December.
If you missed our recent after-Liturgy presentation and discussion on Christ our Pascha, the catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, you can watch one of the videos from that presentation here. In this video, Right Rev. Dr Andriy Chirovsky from the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, speaks about the unique structure of this Ukrainian Catholic catechism and how it relates to the Byzantine Liturgy of St Basil the Great.
Our next parish education event will be after Liturgy on 17 November, and will be devoted to the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.
Our parish praznyk (the annual celebration of the feastday of our patron, St Michael the Archangel) will take place earlier than usual this year so that as many parishioners as possible can be present. On Saturday 27 October, following the 11AM Divine Liturgy, a parish luncheon will be held in the church hall. Parishioners old and new, visitors, and family members are all welcome.
If you would like to contribute by bringing a dish of food to the meal, that will certainly be appreciated, but there is no obligation. We expect to have plenty of food, including traditional Ukrainian dishes.
Beginning in October, our parish will be hosting a series of monthly presentations and discussions. These will take place after Divine Liturgy on Saturday, and will consist of a short video on a select topic, followed by discussion. The presentation and discussion will be led by Fr Vyshnevskyy, and all are welcome. This is a great opportunity to learn about aspects of Eastern Christianity in general and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in particular.
20 October — Christ our Pascha: the catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
The inaugural session of our new education programme will look at the new catechism, Christ our Pascha, which was published by the synod of the UGCC, first in Ukrainian in 2012, and in English in 2016. The presentation will look at how this catechism differs from the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Churhc and reflects our complementary but distinctive theological and liturgical traditions. As His Beatitude Sviatoslav, head of the UGCC, said in his announcement of the new catechism:
This Catechism witnesses to the intrinsic relation of the Kyivan-Christian tradition to universal Christianity. Thus, this Catechism addresses the UGCC faithful, as well as members of other Churches and all people who are sincerely seeking the Truth.
More information about following sessions will be published as their dates approach:
17 November — Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky: a gift to humanity.
15 December — The Eastern Catholic Churches: what are they?