VIDEO MESSAGE by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America (South Bound Brook/Somerset, July 28, 2018)
Your Eminence Metropolitan Antony,
Your Excellency Archbishop Daniel,
Christ-loving clergy and devout faithful of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America,
Our dearly beloved spiritual children in the Lord,
It is with heartfelt joy that we communicate with you in order to convey our warmest congratulations, as well as those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of your communities in the United States of America. The centennial of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America is a testament to the deep faith of the Ukrainian people who have always desired to make the Church of Christ the center and source of their life. This ethos can be traced all the way back to your pious and Christ-loving ancestors who received illumination and regeneration of spirit through the baptismal waters of the Dnipro River. It was truly divine providence which manifested itself in the missionary activity of our Ecumenical Throne. The Mother Church of Constantinople has always remained close to the Ukrainian people and has done so through the centuries by demonstrating particular pastoral care and concern.
During these festive days, which we pridefully concelebrate with you, we especially commemorate in our prayers, as well as honor the legacy of two esteemed brother hierarchs—Metropolitan Constantine and Archbishop Vsevolod of blessed memory. With gratitude we remember and praise their selfless and dynamic ministries in the United States of America. Thanks to their wise pastoral activity, visionary leadership and concern for the spiritual wellbeing of the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in the United States, your communities enjoy the pastoral care, the canonical protection and the deep affection of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Our sincere desire—while exercising the canonical rights and responsibilities of the Ecumenical Throne—is to heal the ecclesiastical problem in Ukraine and to restore unity to the divided ecclesiastical body there. For ultimately, it is the preservation of the unity of the Orthodox Church as a whole that we unceasingly work and pray for.
On this joyous occasion of the celebration of your centennial, we congratulate you and assure you of our paternal love and commendation. We wholeheartedly encourage you to continue on the journey that began a century ago, keeping in the center of your hearts your love for Christ and for His righteousness, which made this marvellous anniversary possible. May you always remember the words of Saint Paul the Apostle, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
May the grace of the Almighty and Benevolent God be with you all.