UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH
OF NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA & THE DIASPORA
Archeparchy of the United States & the Americas
Pastoral Letter of Archbishop-Metropolitan Michael
Regarding the Erection of New Cathedral & Eparchial Center in Manizales
To the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
in Columbia and Venezuela:
Peace, Health and Salvation in our Savior, Jesus Christ
With our Archepiscopal Blessing!
Your Excellency, Archbishop Odon Abad, Very Reverend & Reverend Fathers, Clergy & Religious and my Brothers & Sisters in Christ of our Church in South America:
Christ is Risen!
On behalf of our entire Council of Hierarchs, I wish to express my pleasure on the construction of your new house of worship in Manizales. Certainly, to erect an edifice dedicated to the greater glory of Almighty God is a spiritually joyous endeavor. The fact that the new temple is dedicated to Our Most Blessed Lady, the Mother of God under the title "Mystical Rose" will surely also be an important part of the construction process.
As Mary our heavenly mother is called in the Byzantine Liturgy, the "steadfast protectress of Christians and unfailing mediatrix before the Creator," I am confident that She will "not despise the prayerful voices of us sinners, but in her goodness, will hurry to assist those who trustfully cry out to her, that She will inspire you to prayer and hasten to hear your supplications."
I wish to emphasize how personally proud I am of not only the construction process itself, but of the beautiful and unique design of the project. With God's help, we will soon have in Columbia a beautiful and appropriate eparchial center which will include the cathedral church, the chancery offices and space for the cultural and social activities of the faithful of our church in the Latin America eparchy. The growth of our Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in South America bears witness to the unique heritage and expression of Orthodox Christianity that is the precious treasure of our church,s manifested through the complimentary unity of the Ukrainian and Latino cultures.
Despite difficulties and obstacles, you have all worked hard and persevered in faith and action, towards the erection of this new cathedral and eparchial center. We can only deduce that it has been upheld by your strong faith in Our Lord and complete trust in your patron, his Most Holy Mother, whom we call the "Haven to the storm-tossed, comfort to the sick; Protectress and Patroness of the weak and Staff of the aged" (Moleben to the MOG - Stichera, Tone 2 podoben).
It is my prayer that God, who has begun the good work in all of you, bring it to swift completion, and that He, "make firm this holy church until the end of time" (Liturgy of St. Basil the Great). I look forward to one day in the not-too-distant future, to have the privilege of coming to Manizales, to consecrate the new cathedral church and to celebrate in it, the Divine Liturgy, the "unbloody sacrifice of the holy Body and Blood of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (The Trebnyk - Consecration of a church), for the first time in a solemn fashion.
Be assured that I continue to offer my love, support, commemorations and archpastoral blessing upon the ministry of the whole church in Latin America. I join my prayers with those of His Beatitude, Metropolitan MEFODIY and all of our bishops and people in Ukraine, for the furtherance of our Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church throughout the South of America. In return, I ask for your own prayers, that God's blessing be upon the work of our church in Ukraine and throughout the entire Diaspora.
Faithfully Yours in Our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Most Rev. Michael Javchak Champion, DD., MA Th.
Archbishop-Metropolitan of the United States & the Americas
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of North & South America & the Diaspora
"O Steadfast Protectress of Christians, unfailing mediatrix before the Creator, do not despise the prayerful voices of sinners, but in your goodness hasten to assist those who trustfully cry out to you: Inspire us to prayer and hasten to hear our supplication. Intercede always, Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you."
(Theotokion, Tone 6)
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