The objective of the special visit June 8-9 by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel to St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Rochester, NY, was to join the congregation in the celebration of Very Rev. Fr. Igor Krekhovetsky’s 25thanniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
Fr. Igor, who came with his family to the USA in 1995 from Ukraine, studied at the Ivano-Frankivsk Spiritual Seminary and was ordained by Bishop Ioan (Bondarchuk) in the Lutsk Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in 1994. He first came to Detroit and occasionally served in the Ukrainian Orthodox church of St. Mary the Protectress (Pokrova) in Southfield, Michigan. And, in 2002, with the blessing of the-then Bishop Antony, Fr. Igor was assigned to St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Rochester, NY where he continues as rector of the parish.
Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel arrived the evening before in time for the Saturday Vespers. The parish sisterhood had prepared in advance a tasty supper to serve after Vespers to welcome the Metropolitan and Archbishop and their entourage consisting of Deacon Sviatoslav Hot, Subdeacons Ihor Protsak and Ivan Venhryn, and Seminarians Pavlo Vysotskyi and Myroslav Mykytyuk.
In the morning, on Sunday, the church council president, Mykola Sztanko, together with sisterhood co-presidents Susan Ost an Maria Ulici, greeted the hierarchs at the church entrance with the traditional bread and salt welcome. Two young ladies, Maria Tebyrtse and Nadia Lyubezna, separately presented each hierarch a bouquet of flowers accompanied by a welcome poem.
The anniversary gift from parishioners of an ornate cross from a Romanian monastery was blessed and given to Fr. Igor during the hierarchal liturgical service. Archbishop Daniel delivered the sermon of the day and Metropolitan Antony gave his final word at the end of the liturgy.
The celebration then continued in the parish hall where parishioners were joined by V. Rev. Mykola Andrushkiv from Syracuse NY, V. Rev. Yuriy Kasyanov from Buffalo NY, Rev.Fr. Daniel Ene and Fr. Ioan Ardelean from the local Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox church and Fr. Roman Sydorowycz from the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Epiphany of Rochester. Rev Fr. Mykola Andrushkiv gave Fr. Igor a Service Book and Rev. Fr. Yuriy Kasyanov a hand-held cross as gifts for the occasion.
The banquet included a delightful meal cooperatively prepared by the brotherhood and sisterhood. Following the dinner, the parish children recited verses glorifying God. The Dzus sisters, Lydia and Zina, with guitar and mandolin, then entertained the guests with 5 familiar Ukrainian songs.
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony gave a final address regarding the call to and responsibilities of the priesthood and the need for prayer by both, the priest and the congregation. Very Rev. Fr. Igor then came to the podium and thanked those who organized and those who came to honor him on this special occasion and asked for the closing prayer.
Text by Mykola Sztanko
Photos by Seminarians Ivan Venhryn and Yaroslav Bilohan