While coordination the Charitable Aid of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA directed towards the people of Ukraine, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel traveled to Lodz, Poland on February 3, 2023 in order to meet with His Grace Bishop Afanasiy of Lodz and Posnan Diocese of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
In a friendly setting, both hierarchs held a brotherly meeting at the Chancery offices of Diocese in Lodz. Hosting the archbishop of the UOC of the USA, bishop Afanasiy presented a brief historical overview of the Diocesan ministry, while stressing the historical need to minister to the refugees from Ukraine that have arrived in Poland, especially the canonical boundaries of the Diocese, since the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel shared with bishop Afanasiy the most up-to-date information about the charitable and spiritual outreach of the UOC of the USA and Diaspora, mentioning that since the beginning of the Russian on slaughter, 25 new parishes were opened in Germany and several others in Norway and other parts of Western Europe. Both hierarchs expressed concern over the tragic loss of life in Ukraine and the forced immigration of refugees to Western Europe, Canada and the United States. Archbishop Daniel stressed: “…while the war continues and millions of people are left without homes and daily means for survival, the Church must be the voice of the suffering, thus fulfilling her spiritual and moral mission – serving those that are distressed, struggling and in need.”
Looking through the pages of history of the Holy Orthodox Church in Western Europe and the United States of America, both hierarchs agreed that history has a tendency to repeat herself – as generations of immigrants of previous centuries left their ancestral homelands and established the faith communities thorough out Europe and Americas; these days, as a Church - we are facing a new responsibility – finding new, constructive and responsible ways to care for the People of God with Love and Compassion.
The hierarchs held a conversation about the most recent developments in the life of the world-wide Orthodox Church and reflected upon the ways of constructive dialogue and not of the destructive exclusion.
In conclusion of the meeting, commemorative gifts were exchanges by the bishops of the Church, inviting each other to further cooperation between both Churches.
On Sunday, February 5, 2023, with the blessing and sincere welcome of bishop Afanasiy, Archbishop Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish Orthodox parish in Czestochowa. Welcoming the bishop of the UOC of the USA into the parish temple, Rev. Fr. Martin Bielawski – pastor of the parish community, expressed most sincere sentiments of prayerful respect and love as the faithful and their pastor presented Vladyka Daniel with a copy of the ancient miracle-working icon of the Birth-Giver of God of Czestochowa.
Responding to the welcome remarks, archbishop Daniel thanked the local hierarch of the Lodz-Posnan Diocese of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church – His Grace Bishop Afanasiy and the pastor of the community for their kindness and hospitality. Vladyka Daniel spoke in Ukrainian language with about 100 refugees from Ukraine, present at the service, whose prayers are united with the world-wide Ukrainian community for peace and stability in Ukraine.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel served a Moleben service in front of the icon of the Mother of God of Czestochowa, uttering prayers for Ukraine and those in need of both physical and spiritual healing.
Later in the afternoon, Vladyka Daniel united in the Holy Mystery of Matrimony the fourth-year student of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Andrii Vatrych and Anna Hirniak. While most of the extended family were not able to join the wedding celebration, the parents and the closest friends and relatives arrived from different parts of Europe and Ukraine in order to witness and lift in prayers the newlyweds.
Archbishop Daniel’s pastoral visit to Lodz-Posnan Diocese of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church concluded on Monday, February 6, 2023 as he departs for Munich, Germany in order to oversee the purchase and transfer of 4 additional advanced medical ambulances to Ukraine.