Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ukrainian ladies have been busy

      North Port Chapter 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, commonly known as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies), headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, held its traditional post-holiday get-together with spouses or significant others last week at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish Center. Members and their guests sat at tables decorated with Ukrainian Christmas attributes, including the “didukh” (a sheaf of different grains, symbolizing wealth — the Ukrainian take on a Christmas tree), and enjoyed delicacies prepared by the volunteer members. In addition to singing carols and “shchedivky” (popular holiday songs other than carols), the members were greeted by the male choir with traditional special holiday and new year’s greetings and well wishes.

    After the very successful get-together, groups of UNWLA members began their traditional home visits of local community members, singing carols and delivering traditional holiday and new year wishes. Our home was visited just as my wife Katrusia got in the car to go to an appointment with her ankle and foot
specialist. The carolers, without hesitation, sang the carols and delivered their greetings in our garage, for which we are very thankful.

    At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Chapter 56 will hold its annual general meeting at the Parish Center of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, 1078

N. Biscayne Drive, North Port. Larissa Shpon of Warm Mineral Springs, the chapter’s correspondence secretary, reminds members that the meeting will be conducted strictly according to the parliamentary procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order, and the UNWLA constitution. Additionally, she notes that membership dues must be paid this month.

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    St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known as the “Oseredok”), having had a very successful traditional “Svyata Vecherya” (Holy Supper) on Jan. 6, will hold a dinner known as “Holodna Kutya” with a special program at 6 p.m. Saturday at the
Oseredok, following the Vespers at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church, which will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets, at $15 per person, should be ordered from Halya Lisnyczyj at 941-429-2350 or Maria Nikitin at 941-423-1092. All are invited.

    Sunday will be the Feast of Theophany, in honor of Jesus Christ’s baptism by St. John the Baptizer in the River Jordan. The traditional blessings of the waters, in commemoration of this event, will be taking place at both Ukrainian churches after the conclusion of the Sunday divine liturgies.

    From the early years of Christianity, the water consecrated on the day of Epiphany, known as “Jordan Water,” was treated with great reverence and believed to have miraculous and healing powers by Ukrainians and followers of other churches of Eastern tradition. In Ukraine, the faithful would sprinkle the Jordan water on all their buildings and the entire property to chase away “evil forces.” This water is kept in homes for an entire year, until the following year’s blessing, and used to alleviate illnesses.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at 

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

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