OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, OH [DOM] – Welcoming His Eminence formally for the first time, the faithful of Saint Innocent Church greeted Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest for his weekend visit. His Eminence was greeted by a full church, receiving the customary bread and salt.
On Saturday, December 17, the Feast of the Prophet Daniel, His Eminence met with catechumens and inquirers who were eager to learn of his own background and embrace of the Orthodox Christian Faith. Later that evening, Great Vespers was served by Priest Peter Simko, Rector, and Protodeacons, Michael Timko and Joseph Carter. The choir chanted the stichera in honor of the Holy Fathers, which are commemorated the Sunday before Christmas. At the end of the service His Eminence gave a word to the faithful, speaking of the importance of remaining hospitable to all those seeking the Truth of God. A Nativity concert was then performed by a Pan-Orthodox choir offering carols and hymnography of the Nativity season.
On Sunday, December 18, His Eminence presided over the divine services and was joined by Archpriest John Zdinak, Priest Peter Simko, Protodeacons Michael and Joseph. After the Gospel, His Eminence spoke of the generations leading to Christ, and of the obligation to carry the Gospel into the world, a world full of souls who are sometimes just as broken as many of our Lord’s ancestors. At its conclusion, a diocesan gramota was awarded to Mrs. Joni Barnish for helping to establish the parish almost forty years ago. His Eminence was presented with flowers and a gift from the parish, and expressed his love for all the clergy and faithful of Olmsted Township. A luncheon followed the Liturgy and parish-wide photograph, and His Eminence had the opportunity to interact with even more of his flock, all of whom were grateful for his presence and look forward to his next visit.