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Following the trip to Constantinople, the spiritual centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel arrived in Manchester, England to be greeted by Fr. Bohdan Matwijczuk, Fr. Vitalij Derewianka and Ivan Moshkun to commence their first official parish visitations to the North West and Yorkshire.

Here in 1947 settled the majority of Orthodox faithful Displaced Persons in GB and in conjunction with the first Pontifical Divine Liturgy concelebrated by Bishop Mstyslav in the AUGB offices in London, also 70 years ago this year which founded the UAOC in GB attaining Diocesan status in 1981.

Directly from the Airport the Hierarchs visited the self built Church of “The Dormition” and “Memorial to the Great Famine” in Manchester. Parish head Evhen Maksymuk greeted them with the traditional greeting of bread and salt, young Maksym recited a spiritual poem in honour of the Hierarch’s.

From Manchester the Hierarch’s travelled to Oldham to be greeted by Parish Head Lydia Price and Choirmaster Halyna Saj on the doorsteps of the first purchased in 1953 UAOChurch of St. Volodymyr the Great and where the well known Choir “Dnipro” was based.

In each parish a Moleben was concelebrated with responses from the parish choirs, following which a candle was lit during the Litany in eternal memory to the long serving departed founding “nastoyately” pastors and parishioners.

On Sunday 3.12.2017 the Hierarch’s were officially greeted by Oxana Metiuk, Nadia Susenko and children in the “Pokrova” Church Rochdale and before it’s unique iconostas donated by Fr. Bohdan and his family to concelebrate a Archpastoral Divine Liturgy marking 25 years Ordination into the Holy Priesthood of Fr. Bohdan who greeted them in the Church with the traditional nastoyael’s greeting, asking for their blessings and prayers.

Concelebrants: Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Daniel, Fr. Bohdan Matwijczuk, Fr. Vitalij Derewianka, Fr. Mychajlo Furyk, Fr. Mykola Romaniv and served by Ivan Bilaniuk. Halyna Saj divinely led the Liturgical singing by the parish choir “Dnipro” from Oldham.

During the small entrance the Metropolitan elevated Fr. Bohdan to the rank of Protopresbyter. A litany was again proclaimed for the anniversary repose of the long serving nastoyatel Fr.Mychajlo Diachenko and all parishioners.

To recognise 70 years since the foundation of the UAOC in GB 70year commemorative “Hramoty” were presented to: Choir “Dnipro” Oldham – Halyna Saj; “Pokrova” Rochdale – Nadia Susenko and oldest parishioner; London Cathedral “Transfiguration” – Volodymyr Muzyczka; “Pokrova” Bradford – Wasyl Hutorny; “St.Volodymyr’s” Oldham – Lydia Price; “Dormition” Manchester – Evhen Maksymuk; Medals bestowed upon Dobrodijka Anna & Protopresbyter Bohdan.

The service ended with the singing of “Bozhe Velykij” and the distribution of a commemorative icon.

All relocated for a Reception and fasted meal at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Mere Street Rochdale.

Guests travelled from Germany, Belgium, Scotland, London and all local parishes. Opened with prayers and a blessing….. and a backdrop screening of the film of the actual ordination of Fr.Bohdan 25 years ago on the 15.11.1992.

Speakers and gifts from: Yurij Bender, Consistory Deputy Chair; Volodymyr Muzyczka – AUGB London; Ivan Bilaniuk – Choirmster London Cathedral; Stefan Moroz – who read out a greeting from his local UGCC parish priest Fr. B.Lysykanych; Fr. Vitalij Derewianka – Genk Stavropeg Cathedral ; Maria Kopczyk on behalf of Olga Kurtianyk – Chair AUGB Rochdale; Fr. Yaroslav Rij – UGCC Bradford

Also attending UGCC priests Fathers Rij, Bilyk, Sampara and verbal greetings from Fr.Pidlutskij and Nebesniak. During the dinner one of the youngest parishioners Georgian Natalia Sardali performed a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria

Fr. Bohdan presented flowers to Mrs. Butczuk, Halyna Saj Choirmaster, Mrs Kopczyk Kuma for catering services and to Dobrodijka Anna with thanks to the Almighty God, his parents and All for this special day, kind wishes and gifts and to the Hierarch’s for their blessings and attendance. 

Monday 4th December started with prayers before Rochdale’s (twinned with Lviv) Holodomor Memorial in the town’s Memorial Gardens. Then onto Yorkshire and the “Pokrova” Church Bradford to be greeted by parish Chair Wasyl Hutorny and parishioners.

After Prayers of entry and an Eternal Memory Litany and a final blessing, onto York Minister to meet with Anglican clergy an for an official tour of the historic Minster, and place where Emperor Constantine the Great was proclaimed.

Monday evening - a meal with the officers from each parish for official goodbyes and thanks, before returning our Hierarch’s home early Tuesday morning.

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