ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕС! CHRIST IS RISEN!

April 8, 2018

EASTER AT THE CATHEDRAL - ONCE AGAIN, THE PLACE TO BE

In the dark of the predawn morning, there was movement around the massive Ukrainian Cathedral on McGregor Street. The Rector of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, Mitred Archpriest Monsignor Michael Buyachok and the cantors and sacristans (palamri) and other cathedral staff were making their way to the church. Doors were being opened, lights switched on, candles lit, vestments put out and the sanctuary prepared for the glorious events that were soon to take place that morning.

It was Easter morning according to the Julian Calendar still used by the vast majority of the Ukrainian Catholic Church around the world. The tradition, loyally maintained at the Cathedral, of a procession around the church, Resurrection Matins and a joyful hierarchical Divine Liturgy - always attracts hundreds of parishioners and non-parishioners alike. The liturgical services conclude with a festal anointing with holy oil (Myrovannya) for which everyone comes forward to share the greeting of the holiday and to receive the special Easter blessing. All this is customarily followed by the dancing of Hayivky in the blocked street before the Cathedral. The cold temperatures this year, unfortunately convinced the organizers of the Easter dances to cancel.

The long-serving Cathedral Cantors (Djaky) led the congregation once again this year in the Resurrection Matins that got underway at 6:30 AM. They sang the inspiring verses with the service's unique melodies that most Faithful hear only on this day when the whole Church gathers to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It was during the Matins that Metropolitan Lawrence himself sang the highlight canticle of the service - the Exapostilarion "Plotiju". The words and the melody make it an emotional moment in the service. It is tantamount to a tranquil, yet powerful response to "why did we just make the journey through the Great Fast? Why Easter and the whole of the faith?" Because….. "You, O King and Lord, have fallen asleep in the flesh as a mortal man, but on the third day You arose again. You have raised Adam from his corruption and made Death powerless. You are the Pasch of Incorruption. You are the Salvation of the world."

When Matins had concluded, the Divine Liturgy began. His Grace, Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, being the Archbishop of Winnipeg and the pastor for the whole archeparchy, was present to preside. He was joined by other clergy who were able to come in the morning before returning to their own parishes for later Sunday liturgies. Aside from Msgr. Buyachok, Frs. Buduykevych, Kwiatkowski, Maljik and Shved concelebrated with the assistance of Protodeacon Stefan Tyrawski. The Cathedral Choir helped make the whole Liturgy a transcendent experience with their brilliant singing of traditional melodies and a few newer arrangements.

One of the inspirations was the large number of Altar-servers and Girls of Mary that were present, all in capes and vestments.

Was it long? Who knows. It was glorious and inspiring. As the closing hymns were sung and everyone left for their homes or to Baba's and Dido's or wherever they planned to share the traditional Easter breakfast… they did so with a joy in their hearts and a happiness and a hope that they would not, can not, get anywhere else….

Christ is risen from the dead! By His death he conquered death! And to those in the tomb, He granted life!


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