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School of Religion and Ukrainian Studies

Our school has been our fountainhead for gaining understanding of the Ukrainian language, its faith, people, history, culture and traditions. It has provided the foundation for bringing them up and has filled their souls with their faith and in the Ukrainian spirit. The realization of the value a school could bring to our children inspired the creation of the Lesia Ukrainka School for Religious and Ukrainian Studies at the Cathedral of St. Mary the Protectress in Southfield, Michigan. 

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The founders of the school were the rector of the parish Rev. Fahter Theodore P. Bilecky and teacher Olga Gachowsky. In 1955 the school opened its doors to 18 children and by the end of the year there were 38 pupils. In 1959, a kindergarten was organized by its first teacher Olena Liskiwsky. In the first years, the curriculum was modeled after the program established by the UCCA (Ukrainian Congress Committee of America) and divided into 7 grades. In the 1958-59 academic year, His Eminence Archbishop Volodymyr took the school under his guidance and registered it into the Educational Program of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. At the height of its enrollment, the school numbered 130 pupils with children ranging in age from kindergarten to the 10th grade. Fifty five years have flown by filled with classes, concerts, celebrations, dances and school holidays. 

This school remains an important institution in our parish and stimulates a rich cultural life and a renewal of spiritual understanding. There are many examples within our parish of former pupils continuing their devotion to the Ukrainian ideal and the Orthodox faith. Indeed they have continued their interests by working in the Ukrainian Orthodox League, ODUM youth programs, the cathedral choir, the parish council, Kobzarska Sich bandura summer camps, dance groups, etc. Many have actively volunteered their time or were employed in Ukraine following the renewal of independence in 1991. To name a few – Natalia Melnyczuk worked at the U.S. Embassy and at NATO in Kyiv, Vera Petrusha, Olga Liskiwsky, Marianna Liskiwsky, Dr. Luba Petrusha volunteered for camps and programs organized by UCARE, Inc. and Maria Nazarenko taught English in Poltava. 

Our school Principals were: Omelian Karanets, Paul Herman- Malinowski, Michael Smyk, John Chalawa, prof. Andriy Shashlo, Dr. Jurij Rozhin, Dr. Ivan Smereka, Dr. Ilia Wolynetz, Marianna Liskiwsky, Olga Liskiwsky, Nadia Romanchuk, Vera Petrusha, Maria Nazarenko. Teachers: Olga Gachowsky, Dora Jasinsky, Catherine Zhupinas, Omelian Karanets, Epiphania Hrynkiw, Maria Harasewych, Paul Herman- Malinowski, Olga Karpenko, Halina Kolosyuk, Olena Liskiwskyi, Marianna and Olga Liskiwskyi, Tatiana and Maria Nazarenko, Olga Kulakiwsky Michael and Apollinaria Smyk, John and Paraska Chalawa, Paul Malyar, Natalie Marushchak, Nadia Romanczuk, prof. Andriy Shashlo, Halyna Shashlo, Dr. Jurij Rozhin, Dr. Ivan and Zoya Smereka, Dr. Ilia Wolynetz, Prof. Roman Bzhesky, Danylo Mirshun, Lydia Kytasty, Lubow Jura, Halyna Milchynska- Symonenko, Alla Kot, Vera Petrusha, Svitlana Petrusha, Vera Mykolenko, Klava Kowalenko, Nadia Strychar, Ulana Parhomenko, Svitlana Rohowyk. 

Music and singing teachers: Ivan T. Kytasty, Peter Kytasty, Hryhory Nazarenko, Evhen Ciura, Lubow Samarska, Irina Shamray, Irene Smyk, Michael Serdiuk, Anatoly Murha. Dance teachers: Motria Makar, Halyna Prytula, Lisa Hryzodub, Svetlana (Kot) Leheta and Tatiana Illyashevych.

In 2003, the school was revived and strengthened with the help of its graduates and the guidance of the parish’s Cultural and Educational chair and the help of the newly elected head of the Parents Committee – Andriy Smyk. A library was created and organized by M. Nevenhlowsky – there are over 2,500 books and magazines found there. Marianna Liskiwsky acted as the administrator of the school and was followed in this role by Olga Liskiwsky, Vera Petrusha and Maria Nazarenko. Along with the work of the teachers, the Parents Committee has always played an integral part in the development of the school – fundraising, organizing, cleaning to make sure the school continues to survive and grow. 

In recent years, our teaching staff has been augmented by teachers who have recently settled in this country from Ukraine. Over the last few years, the staff included: Bohdan Romanchyshyn, Halina Semets, Yuliana Sirman Felling, Julia Kuch-Ksenos, Andrij Zaritsky, Alexander Oleksienko, Nadia Pacholiuk Pinto, Victoria Volyaniuk, Elizabeth Symonenko, Lubow Lazurko, Halina Yalowenko, Vita Lukaschuk, Maria Nevenhlovska (librarian), Tatiana Illyashevych, Larissa Blysniuk, Marta Birko, Sofia Korostetska and Ludmila Adler. 

Currently, the Director of school is Viktoriya Volyanuk and there are 30 pupils registered, many of whom are children of our graduates or those of the new immigrants. The chairman of the Parents’ Committee is Andrij Zahajko who will be guiding the committee in organizing various programs throughout the school year – performances at the Pokrova Feast Day, St. Nicholas Program, Malanka Dance, Poetry Readings, Shevchenko Program and Mothers’ Day. 

The mission of our school was, is and always will be to provide an organized educational program for our youngsters to grow in the Ukrainian national spirit! They benefit greatly from the rich and varied programs presented to them – they continue to build their self confidence as evidenced in their performances on stage. 

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the parents, for their care and hard work in supporting the school. We as teachers and administrators are inspired by our pupils and continue to work in teaching the Ukrainian language, its culture, history, traditions and the Orthodox faith. While we mark the 60th anniversary of our parish community, we hope that the cheerful clamor of children’s voices continue to be heard in our school. 

 

Viktoriya Volyanuk Former Director of School 

(based on an article written by P. Chalava)

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  Church Calendar

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Monday , April 19, 2021
(Julian calendar:
Monday , April 6, 2021)

Sts. Methodius and Ciril

Sixth Week of the Great Lent.   

St. Eutychius, patriarch of Constantinople (582).
St. Platonida (Platonis) of Nisibis (308).
120 Martyrs of Persia (345).
Martyrs Jeremiah and Archilias the Presbyter.
St. Methodius, Equal-to-the-Apostles, enlightener of the Slavs (885).

6th hour: Is. 48:17–49:4
Vespers: Gen. 27:1-41; Prov. 19:16-25

Monday , April 19, 2021
(Julian calendar:
Monday , April 6, 2021)

Gen. 27:1-41; Prov. 19:16-25
1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said unto him, My son. And he said unto him, Here am I.
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death.
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison.
4 And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat. That my soul may bless thee before I die.
5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
7 Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless thee before Jehovah before my death.
8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats. And I will make them savory food for thy father, such as he loveth.
10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death.
11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.
12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver. And I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son. Only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother. And his mother made savory food, such as his father loved.
15 And Rebekah took the goodly garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son.
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck.
17 And she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father. And he said, Here am I. Who art thou, my son?
19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because Jehovah thy God sent me good speed.
21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father. And he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands. So he blessed him.
24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat. And he brought him wine, and he drank.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
27 And he came near, and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son Is as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed.
28 And God five thee of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and new wine.
29 Let peoples serve thee, And nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, And blessed be every one that blesseth thee.
30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
31 And he also made savory food, and brought it unto his father. And he said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.
32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy first-born, Esau.
33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? Yea, [and] he shall be blessed.
34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
35 And he said, Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing.
36 And he said, Is not he rightly name Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two time. He took away my birthright. And, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants. And with grain and new wine have I sustained him. And what then shall I do for thee, my son?
38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be thy dwelling, And of the dew of heaven from above.
40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother. And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt break loose, That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck.
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then will I slay my brother Jacob.

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