The parish feast in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
July 16, 2023
“We, as a parish community, must draw strength from the example of Peter and Paul”: Bishop Mykola Bychok during the parish feast at the Cathedral Church.
On Sunday, July 16th, the celebration of the parish feast took place at the Cathedral of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul. The festivities began with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, led by Bishop Mykola Bychok, in the presence of the clergy and deacons of the Eparchy of Melbourne. A large number of parishioners and guests from various corners of the eparchy gathered for the celebration.
During his sermon, Bishop Mykola greeted all the faithful in attendance and emphasized the importance of the life examples set by the Saints apostles Peter and Paul, who became steadfast pillars of faith and obedience to God.
“With joy and great grace,” the bishop stated in his sermon, “we have gathered today, united by faith and love, to celebrate our parish feast at the Cathedral of the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul. This day opens up an opportunity for us to once again remember the life journey of the two great saints — Peter and Paul, who, through their actions and example of obedience to Christ, became faithful servants of God.”
The bishop talked about the icon of the saint apostles, depicted in the sanctuary and on the tetrapod. On it, Apostle Peter holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, which were handed to him by Christ, and Apostle Paul holds the Holy Scriptures. Then the bishop spoke about the life journey of the saints servants of God: “Peter, the first among the apostles, received the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. He was the one who stood at the head of the Church, proclaiming Jesus Christ and preaching the Gospel. His life was an example of obedience and faithfulness to God, but it also carried our human imperfections. We remember how he betrayed his Teacher, but through the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, he was accepted again and was able to serve the Church until his last days.”
“Paul,” the bishop continued, “another great apostle, initially known as Saul, was a great persecutor of Christ and His Church. But at one moment, Jesus called out to him, ‘Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ and then his conversion took place — Jesus chose Paul to carry the Gospel to the whole world. His subsequent sufferings and victories became an example for us, showing that even in the most difficult circumstances, we can be strong in Christ. Paul experienced persecution and torment, but he never betrayed his faith. His writings became one of the most important sources of faith and inspiration for our spiritual growth.”
In conclusion, Bishop Mykola added, “As a parish community, we must draw strength from the example of Peter and Paul. May their obedience to God and love for the Church become our challenge and guide in our everyday lives. May our faith be as strong as a rock, and our love be devoted and unyielding.”
At the end of the liturgy, the bishop thanked all those present and congratulated Bishop Peter Stasiuk, the Bishop Emeritus of the Eparchy of Melbourne, on his 80th birthday. The hierarch expressed gratitude to Bishop Peter for his fruitful work and wished him God’s grace, strength, and fortitude for his future endeavors.
After the prayer, the parishioners and guests gathered in the parish hall named after Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, where a solemn celebration took place. The celebration included many greetings, songs, and joyful moments because “we are a family in Christ.”