Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Axios... Axios... Axios.....

I've already mentioned this in passing, but two weeks back, I was privileged to be present at the ordination of Fr John Bura as an auxiliary bishop of the archeparchy of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians. I was going to write about the daylong event -- the Divine Liturgy of ordination stretched across four hours -- but it'd be too much to chronicle. Suffice it to say, it was amazing, as my time with our Eastern contingent always is.

I get the perception, more than just sometimes, that Latin Catholics here in the States often seem remarkably self-absorbed. The result is that, both here and elsewhere, the Oriental Churches in communion with Rome get short shrift when it comes to what they bring to the table in terms of their experience, ecclesiology and, most of all, their testimony of witness. The Ukrainians, in particular, suffered great trials and persecutions to keep their church alive -- and it shows in their fervor, close-knit community and recognition of those things which are really important in the life of faith. Combine that with the omnisensual splendor of the Divine Liturgy and you have an amazing experience of Catholicism.

While you won't be able to smell the incense, feel the heat of the blessing candles, or hear the chants of "Axios" ("worthy" -- with which the bishop-elect is acclaimed) and "Mnohaya Lita" ("many years" -- used in the petitions for the living) which marked Bishop Bura's ordination, the Philadelphia metropolia has posted a very comprehensive photo album of the event on its website.

Notably, as opposed to prior UGCC functions, the Latin prelates in attendance wore Mass vestments.... When, in the past, they'd show up in choir, they'd either fall asleep or leave before it was over.

The change had the desired effect -- this time, all stayed the whole liturgy long. I would've noticed if they didn't.

At center stage for this ordination, of course, was Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev, the Ukrainians' major archbishop. (You can see him in the above photo at bottom center.) So I'm told, The Tablet's interview with Cardinal Husar -- as executed by your humble scribe -- will be running in this weekend's paper.