January 27th, 2023 will go down in history as the first time in recent history a liturgical Aprakos Gospel is available in the Ukrainian language. A presentation was held at the Stauropegium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine to announce the completion of this magnificent work. This is the first Aprakos Gospel in Ukrainian in several centuries, a new, improved translation from Greek, published in the Orthodox circles for liturgical use, by the example of the Greek liturgical tradition, reports the Stauropegium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine.
According to the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine, Bishop Michael of Koman, the Aprakos Gospel is currently used in Greek-speaking Local Churches, therefore the publication of the Aprakos in Ukrainian is intended to introduce Orthodox Ukrainians to this structure of the liturgical text.
The Aprakos Gospel is a kind of Gospel or Acts of the Apostles book, otherwise known as weekly or service Gospel (Acts). In Aprakoses, the text is organized not in the natural order of books, but along with the weekly church readings starting from Holy Week (Pascha) as used in the Orthodox Church. In particular, the text of Aprakos-Gospels begins with the first chapter of Gospel according to John (In the beginning was the Word...), whereas regular Gospels (Tetra-Gospels) begin with the Gospel according to Matthew (The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David...).
The presentation was attended by representatives of various Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine was represented by Metropolitan Oleksandr Drabynko of Pereyaslav and Vishneve and Candidate of Theology Protodeacon Vasyl Didora, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – by the first vice-rector of the Kyiv Academy and Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archpriest Serhiy Yushchyk.
While not able to personally attend the unveiling of the Aprakas, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, with the blessing of Metropolitan Antony, Ruling Hierarch of the UOC of the USA, joined the gathering via livestream. His Eminence expressed his joy at the UOC of the USA being able to assist in this wonderful undertaking that will be used by Ukrainians throughout the world – the military personnel defending Ukraine on the frontlines, the faithful in praying in their homes, those in churches throughout Ukraine, and those who find themselves dispersed around the world.
Through the generosity of the faithful of the UOC of the USA, funds were made available to print and distribute 1,000 copies free-of-charge to the chaplains to minister to the men and women in the battlefield, as well as for the internally displaced persons, refugees, and faithful who are in need of spiritual support. Part of the first edition has already been reserved as charitable assistance for the chaplains of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and will be handed over to the head of the military chaplaincy service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Oleksiy Tereshchuk.
His Eminence explained how he had recently traveled to Norway, Poland, and Germany to meet with wounded servicemen from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as with refugees who left Ukraine and trying to grasp the situation in their homeland. These people are wounded physically and spiritually and in need of medical care, and spiritual care. Refugees today find themselves dispersed like leaves on the wind, landing in foreign lands where they do not speak the language, understand the customs, and are anxious daily for their loved ones left behind, and for those who are with them in an uncertain and unfamiliar world. These people crave to worship God and call to Him in their own language – not Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic, but, in Ukrainian – the language of their hearts and souls.
Therefore, the printing of this book is invaluable in granting solace and comfort to the lost, the injured, the frightened, and all who seek to come nearer to the Lord. That is why the very Gospel that is now published, thanks to our joint cooperation of the Stavropygia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, will make it possible to convey the word of God's Grace and grant a sense of peace and comfort to the faithful who read from it.
Archbishop concluded by thanking all those involved in the development of this Aprakas, and assured all those in Ukraine of the Diaspora’s commitment to assist them in any way possible – providing humanitarian aid, medical supplies, emergency vehicles, nutritional supplies, and spiritual nourishment. He expressed the feelings of many who find themselves outside the borders of Ukraine, who suffer along with their brothers and sisters who are in the homeland. It is difficult to watch from a distance, and not be able to physically run up to assist someone. However, we keep our Ukrainian brethren in our prayers and are committed in continuing to provide humanitarian aid.
Due to the fact that the volume of the first edition is not able to cover everyone’s needs, Bishop Michael also presented a free electronic version of the book in EPUB format. The electronic variant of the Aprakos Gospel has interactive content and interactive links in the text. In electronic format, the book can be read on all types of gadgets once software for reading eBooks is installed.
Photos by Stavropegia of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kyiv, Ukraine