CHANCELLOR’S REFLECTION – July 2021
Слава Богу за Все! Glory be to God for ALL His many blessings!
… and Glory be to God for His ever-sustaining and always Providential Love and Care for everyone of us in whatever trials, tribulations, griefs, sorrows or distresses we may find ourselves.
The Consistory Board of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada was preparing to meet by means of a virtual platform at the end of Pentecost Week, (June 24-25.)
On the eve of this meeting – the last one to be presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij prior to his retirement on July 10th, our entire UOCC was shocked and very saddened at the sudden repose of Fr. +Ihor Okhrimtchouk, of Ottawa. Fr. +Ihor had faithfully served the Ottawa parish for 19 years, and was but 51 years of age.
The death of an active, serving priest is a significant loss – in the first place to his Dobr. Jennifer, and son Taras, and daughter MaryAna, and to his extended family. It is a significant loss to his “wider family” – the parish in Ottawa, and community beyond the parish, and beyond Ottawa. It is also a loss to our UOCC, and in particular, to the hierarchy, and to us, his brother-clergy. There is a bond that all priests share by virtue of the common experience to us all – at our ordination we are given the Body of Christ by our ordaining bishop (prior to partaking of Holy Communion,) and we are told: “guard it with your life, for you will have to account for how well you guarded it at the Final Judgement!” This is why the funeral of a priest is a most solemn service as “we” his brother-clergy, led by our bishop, pray over him, pray for him, and as is the custom, carry him to his final resting place.
It was with the news of this death and up-coming funeral that our Consistory Board met and sought to deal with the numerous matters before the UOCC, prime amongst them – the retirement of Vladyka Mytropolit Yurij, and the transition to Vladyka Ilarion’s new and additional service as the “Locum Tenens” (standing in place of,) or Acting Chief Hierarch of the UOCC, as of July 11, 2021. (The Consistory Board meeting was continued on Sat. June 26th, and concluded on Wed June 30th.)
By the Grace of God – working in and through His people (that’s us!) and us allowing God’s Grace to flow through us, and to help each other – and to live, to love, and to serve that these past ten days have been wonderful manifestations of that Love of God at work – in and through the funeral and the Consistory Board meeting.
As though to underscore the above message (for me, anyways,) as I was putting these thoughts together earlier this afternoon (Sat July 3rd,) – I was called to fill-in for a local priest, here in Winnipeg, to make an emergency visit to a local hospital, to the ICU ward for a man very ill (not Covid.) His family was gathered and we prayed and I (we) anointed him “unto the healing of soul and body,” and as God Wills … “unto life everlasting.”
Let us all be open and receptive to that same Love, Power, and Grace of God working in every one of our lives, blessing, sustaining, comforting and leading us all up to that place … where there is no more sickness, or sorrow, or sighing, but life ever-lasting!
з нами Бог, God (is) with us!
(Fr.) Taras Udod,
The three photos that follow are “screen-shots” from the video-feed of the funeral of Fr. +Ihor of Tues morning, June 29th, presided over by His Grace Bishop Andriy. (Д’якую, Владико, та отці-собраття за службу і молитви!)