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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

  • Saints of the Day
  • Readings
Wednesday , February 19, 2020
(Julian calendar:
Wednesday , February 6, 2020)

Martyr Dorothea
Afterfeast of the Meeting of our Lord.
Ven. Bucolus, bishop of Smyrna (ca. 100).
Virgin-martyr Dorothea, and with her Martyrs Christina and Callista, sisters, and Theophilus, at Caesarea in Cappadocia (288-300).
Virgin-martyr Fausta, and with her Martyrs Evilasius and Maximus, at Cyzicus (ca. 305-311).
Martyr Julian of Emesa (312).
Virgin-martyrs Martha and Mary, and their brother Martyr Lycarion, in Egypt.
Venn. Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet, monks of Palestine (6th c.).
St. Photius, patriarch of Constantinople (891).

Apostle: 1Jn. 3:21–4:6
Gospel: Mrk. 14:43–15:1

Wednesday , February 19, 2020
(Julian calendar:
Wednesday , February 6, 2020)

Mrk. 14:43–15:1
43 And straightway, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
44 Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely.
45 And when he was come, straightway he came to him, and saith, Rabbi; and kissed him.
46 And they laid hands on him, and took him.
47 But a certain one of them that stood by drew his sword, and smote the servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear.
48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me?
49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled.
50 And they all left him, and fled.
51 And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over [his] naked [body]: and they lay hold on him;
52 but he left the linen cloth, and fled naked.
53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
54 And Peter had followed him afar off, even within, into the court of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers, and warming himself in the light [of the fire].
55 Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found it not.
56 For many bare false witness against him, and their witness agreed not together.
57 And there stood up certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,
58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.
59 And not even so did their witness agree together.
60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.
63 And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses?
64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of death.
65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands.
66 And as Peter was beneath in the court, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest;
67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and saith, Thou also wast with the Nazarene, [even] Jesus.
68 But he denied, saying, I neither know, nor understand what thou sayest: and he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
69 And the maid saw him, and began again to say to them that stood by, This is [one] of them.
70 But he again denied it. And after a little while again they that stood by said to Peter, of a truth thou art [one] of them; for thou art a Galilaean.
71 But he began to curse, and to swear, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
72 And straightway the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word, how that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Chapter: 15

1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate.

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