Anniversaries are important occasions for remembrance and for recognizing our need for healing. The 19th anniversary of the attack on the people of the United States of 09/11/2001 was prayerfully observed at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ on Friday, September 11, 2020.
The Spiritual Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ is a prayerful memorial itself to the numerous victims of atrocities to Ukrainians throughout the world. The clergy and faithful of the Metropolia Center often gather together to pray for the victims of unjust wars, conflicts and invasion attacks that have taken place in the ancestral Ukraine and in the US.
Nineteen years ago today, the steps of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church were covered in the lit candles. Those memorial lights were brought and placed in front of the church by the local residents of South Bound Brook/Somerset, NJ. However, 19 years later, a new generation of Ukrainian-Americans has grown. Our children learn about the Terrorist Attack of 9/11 from their textbooks and documentaries. That is why, the spiritual leadership of the Church continues to organize annual Memorial Services at the church in memory of the lost victims of 9/11.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, on September 11, 2020, the day of commemoration of the beheading of Holy Prophet John the Baptist, the faithful of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ gathered for Divine services led by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel and Very Rev. Fr. Yuriy Siwko, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas and Rev. Fr. Sviatoslav Hot in order to commemorate the lost victims of September 11, 2001 tragedy and pray for the those that continue to live their lives in the post 9/11 environment.
Speaking prior and after the service, Vladyka Daniel reflected on the Gospel narrative for the day, but he also shared with those in attendance the prayerful memories of the very first Orthodox Memorial services at Ground Zero in 2001, which were led by His Eminence Metropolitan (Archbishop) Antony on behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
“Today's prayer service provides a small way for our church family to never forget the tragic events of 9/11,’’ said Archbishop Daniel. “A day which has forever changed not only our nation, but our world. Through prayer, we can hopefully memorialize those who lost their lives, provide some sort of comfort to their families, and to remind all that through prayer we can overcome violence and hate.’’
Reflecting on the tragedy and sharing the sentiments of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Archbishop Daniel stated: “… Nineteen years after the still almost incomprehensible terrorist attack upon our nation on 9/11/01 the emotion and horror still weigh heavily upon each and every citizen of our United States of America. We still hear daily references to some aspect of a moment in history that forever changed the course of American life. Sometimes the references relate to positive consequences of an evil act, but more often we are further offended by the negative side effects of man’s ability to hurt and destroy his fellow man…
We offer the first prayer we shared with you nineteen years ago as a guide for your personal prayer: "Lord God, Lover of Mankind, bless our God-protected nation, the United States of America, and forgive those who hate and wrong us. Do good to those who do good and grant all our people safety, health, salvation and eternal life. Visit those who continue to suffer from the terrorist attack upon our nation and heal them. Guide those in our armed forces; in our fire, police and rescue services and in our government. Upon those who have asked us, unworthy though we are, to pray for them, have mercy.
Remember our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have fallen asleep in the Lord under the most horrific of circumstances and grant them rest where the light of Your Face shines in a place where there is no more pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering. May their memory be eternal before Your Throne.
Remember us, O Lord, your humble, sinful and unworthy servants and enlighten our minds with the light of Your Knowledge and guide us in the way of your Commandments, through the prayers of our Most-Pure Lady, the Birth-Giver of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, and of all Your Saints, for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen."
The liturgical services of the day served those in attendance as a reminder that even though the attacks of 9/11 are far behind us, the lives lost will never be forgotten… Memory Eternal!