His Eminence Archbishop Daniel traveled to Munich, Germany in order to preside over the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Holy Priesthood of Very. Rev. Fr. Valentyn Smoktunowicz, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Munich, Germany. The prayerful celebration took place over the weekend of 10-12 January, 2020. Clergy from various parts of Germany, Belgium, Ukraine and Poland arrived Munich in order to honor Fr. Velentyn on his anniversary. The event brought together members of all parish organizations, representatives of the Ukrainian Diplomatic community and Diaspora, as well as guests from Poland and Ukraine, all of whom participated in the Holy Eucharist.
Welcoming Archbishop Daniel to the temple for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist – true Thanksgiving, representatives of the local community asked the hierarch to remember in his prayers their pastor, who 30 years to date was ordained at Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish – a location, where years ago was established the housing for the Displaced Persons, following the World War II.
During the homily Vladyka Daniel vividly described the origins of Fr. Valentyn’s vocation and drew particular attention to the importance of the priesthood as a gift from Christ for the Church community. The Priesthood of Fr. Smoktunowicz is notably associated with Sts Peter and Paul Parish where he has served for over thirty years, first as a deacon and assistant pastor, and after a few years as its pastor. It is no wonder that the parish community became like a second family for Fr. Valentyn, whose members gathered in great numbers at the ceremony on the day of celebration. Their esteem became evident particularly toward the end of the Liturgy when all communities, associations and parish organizations, visitors and clergy, if even in a few words, expressed their gratitude for the years they spent together with Fr. Valentyn, for his friendship and his pastoral care.
Following the sermon and the Litany of Fervent Supplications, Archbishop Daniel led a very emotional Memorial Service for the fallen passengers and crew of the UIA Flight 752, that was shot down by Iranian Military, thus tragically killing 176 people. Vladyka called it a tragedy and compared it to the act of terror – as numerous children, parents, husbands and wives were left without their loved ones due to the careless act of the perpetrators of the air catastrophe.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel spoke on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, and presented Fr. Valentyn with a medal of Christ the Savior – one of the original medals that was established by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora, honoring individual clergy and parishioners for the their dedication to the ministry of the Church in Diaspora.
Consul General of Ukraine in Munich Yurij Yarmilko and his wife Lubov greeted Fr. Valentyn on behalf of the Ukrainian diplomats and presented him with a memorable gift.
After the Liturgy, everyone went to the local Bavarian restaurant to continue celebration of the jubilee and to take commemorative photographs with Fr. Valentyn. Everyone enjoyed the evening which was additionally serenaded with music on the harmonica by Perlyna Female Vocal Group that treated everyone in attendance to a wreath of musical Christmas carols. The jubilee celebration lasted late into the evening and left many warm memories in the hearts of both parishioners and guests.
Photos by Anastasia Smoktunowicz