Weekly Blog

The Martyr’s Witness 150614

St. Ivan’s E-bulletin 150614






PARISHEVENTS / ПОДІЇ у ПАРАФІЇ:  See attached Bulletin for information


            Parish feastday:Our feastday falls on Sunday, June 15, 2014.  We will have an All Night Vigil and Blessing of Water on Saturday Evening.  We will have our service on Sunday Morning, followed by the blessing of the church.  There will be a parish dinner afterwards.  We will wrap up our Church School year with a honoring our students.  As an added highlight, we will be videotaping our service and creating a DVD for the Parish.  We encourage all our faithful to attend and be part of this day.

            Youth year end windup at assiniboine park (by the pavilion): June 21 from 2-5pm

            Membership Donations:Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  As we have just concluded our Annual General Meeting, we now are in a position to accept memberships for the new year.  The recommended membership donation is $100, as per last year.  Please make your donations to Genevieve Armstrong.  If you are a new member, then please see Fr. Gene about an application form.  Please remember that we need your continued donations over and above your membership to help meet the needs of the parish.

            CAMP VESELKA: It’s almost time for Camp Veselka! All children ages 7-14 are welcome at camp July 6-19, 2014 and the deadline for camper registration is May 31.  Please see attached poster and registration form and check out our Camp Veselka video at


And, everyone is welcome to join us for Camp Veselka clean-up day on Saturday, June 21 starting at 11 am. Come enjoy some fresh air, help us get Veselka ready for the campers and we’ll end the day with a BBQ for everyone. Contact Patricia Maruschak at trishfrompeg@yahoo.com with any questions. Оселя Веселка: 7-19 липня.  Вік: від 7-14 літ.  Контакт: о. Євгена

            Peroghy Project: Next WEEK- June 19 and 20.  If you can come out, any help would be appreciated.

            Pennies from Heaven: To date we have collected $347.72 for orphans in Ukraine.

            Недільний благовіснику прикріпленні. Прошу Вас пильно прочитатиOur Sunday bulletin is attached. Please read it carefully.

            WEEKEND SERVICES: Vespers: 5:30pm; Divine Liturgy: 10:00am

            WINNIPEG HARVEST:There is a bin at the back of the CHURCH for non-perishable food items for WINNIPEG HARVEST.  Please bring an item or two when you come to church.  Thiswillbeanongoingproject. To date we have donated 139 lbs of food.Thankyou.     

            2nd edition of the ‘Dobry pastyr’ is now available at the back of the Church.  They are $40/book.

            Bishop’s Wall:  We have embraced a project to honour our Ruling Hierarchs over the years in portraits.  A professional photographer has been engaged to help us.  Currently we are seeking a donor or donors to help fund this project.  Donors will be acknowledged.  Please see Fr. Gene for details.

            PARISH MEETING:

            CLOTHES DONATIONS: We are continuing our ‘Clean out your closets for Christ’ collection project to culminate on Father’s Day.  We will be partnering with Union Gospel Mission to collect clothes for the homeless.  If you have anything in your closets that you are not using anymore, please consider donating them to this cause.  You may drop off your items at the Church on Sundays and we will make the presentation on Father’s Day.  Thank you for your support. 

            o. kOSHETZ cHOIR: SHEVCHENKO 200 RECITAL-THURSDAY JUNE 19, 2014, 7:30PM AT sTS. VLADIMIR AND OLGA CATHEDRAL ON 115 McGregor street.  $25/person.

            PROVODY SERVICES FOR 2014:  

                        pRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS CAN BE MADE WITH FR. GENE: 204-336-0996

            UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF CANADA All Canada Pilgrimage to the Historical St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Gardenton, MB:  Saturday, July 26, 2014

  1. Dontforget:




SUNDAY, JUNE 1 – DIVINE LITURGY– 10:00AM / Неділя, 1 червняБожественнаЛітургія-10: 00 ран.

THURSDAY, JUNE 5 – OBIDNYTSYA at Holy Family Personal Care Home – 10:00 ам

SATURDAY, JUNE 7 – VESPERS – 5:30PM / Вечірня – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, JUNE 8 – PENTECOST: DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM / Неділя, 8 червняПятидесятницюБожественнa літургія – 10:00 ран.

MONDAY, JUNE 9 – SPIRIT DAY: DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30AM / Понеділок, 9 червняДеньсв. Духа: БожественнаЛітургія – 9:30 ран.

SATURDAY, JUNE 14 – All Night Vigil -Blessing of Water – 5:30PM / Субота, 14 червняВсенічна -освяченняводи – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, JUNE 15 – ST. JOHN THE NEW OF SUCHAVA, DIVINE LITURGY-XRAM (and Procession)– 10:00AM / Неділя, 15 червнясв. ІоаннаНовогоСучавського,БожественнаЛітургія-XRAM (іходи) – 10:00 ран.




SATURDAY, JUNE 21 – No VESPERS – 5:30PM / Субота, 21 червняНема Вечірні – 5:30 веч.                    

SUNDAY, JUNE 22 – DIVINE LITURGY-10:00AM / Неділя, 22 червняБожественнаЛітургія-10:00 ран.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24 – OBIDNYTSYA at Maples Personal Care Home – 10:00am

FRIDAY, JUNE 27/ Пятниця, 27 червняМолебеньабоАкафист- 5:30pm/веч.

SATURDAY, JUNE 28 – VESPERS – 5:30PM / Субота, 28 червняВечірня – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, JUNE 29 – DIVINE LITURGY-10:00AM / Неділя, 29 червняБожественнаЛітургія-10: 00 ран.



3. Fr. GenesWeeklyReflection:  

            Тhe following article is about a delicate subject.  We all must be sensitive but we must know what our faith teaches us as well.  The simple Orthodox stance on this matter is that we oppose assisted suicide.  The Gift of Life is given by God and we do not have the right to end it.  It is like saying to God, ‘thanks, but no thanks’.  We are not given any assurances about how our lives will transpire while we are here on earth.  Some endure great suffering, some seem to slide along with relative ease (so it seems).  Just because we must face and endure great trials, does not give us the right to say, ‘ I don’t have to take this.’  Well, technically we can say that, but there are consequences to all our actions and making the decision to end our life will also bear consequences. 

            Instead of focusing on the here and now, our faith always asks us to focus on the hereafter.  We focus on the eternal, we focus on the immortal, we look beyond the pain to the joy of the Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or sighing.  If we believe in the message of the Gospel, then for us there is no other answer to assisted suicide than NO!



With assisted suicide, context is everything 

Harvey Schipper

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Jun. 06 2014, 6:00 AM EDT


Harvey Schipper is professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.


I am an oncologist, and I am Jewish. Fortunately, at this moment, I am not terminally ill, nor do I bear an incurable disease. By virtue of my profession and my age, death, suffering and the indignity that can go with it are familiar to me.


That is my perspective. I lead with that declaration, because when it comes to the business of assisted suicide, context is everything.


The rationale for actively ending a life is always posited on the basis of ending suffering, and hence preserving dignity. At face value, this appears both straightforward and without controversy. It is not. Whose suffering? What is dignity, and is it realistic to provide some idealized form of dignity in every instance, try as we may? Who is to judge? When to decide, and when to act? Who is to act, and on what authority?


Some years ago, at a palliative-care conference in Israel, I was riveted by a panel where Anglican, Catholic and Jewish physicians discussed suffering. The ordained Anglican, a highly respected surgeon, spoke of the purifying nature of suffering and its role in preparing people for the afterlife. For him, the total relief of pain was at cross-purposes with the spiritual transit of the end of life. For me, as a Jew, this was a striking perspective, certainly far from my understanding that pain of this sort had little redeeming value. Lesson No. 1: Cultural context is important.


More recently, I was asked to see a young man dying of cancer, whose pain seemed uncontrollable. He was desperate to go home. The complex logistics of pain management and support appeared to make this impossible. What to do? We talked, initially rather guardedly, then more openly. It turned out that more than anything else, he wanted to see his dog. That was why he wanted to go home, for the absence tormented him. We arranged for the dog to make a hospital visit. The pain went away. My patient died quite comfortably in his hospital bed a few days later. Lesson No. 2: Understand the pain. You may be able to relieve it.


Almost 30 years ago, a small group of Winnipeg cancer physicians asked what was then a heretical question: Are we treating cancer, independent of the patient, or are we treating a patient who happens to have cancer? We created the “quality of life” concept, and objective measures of it. What happened to the tumour became less important than what happened to the person – physically, emotionally, socially and functionally. We broadened our understanding of our patients, and so were born the diverse range of interventions and supports we now routinely employ to more than keep people alive. We help our patients live lives. Lesson No. 3: It’s about the person, not the disease.


“Assisted suicide,” is a euphemism for ending someone else’s life. Every civilized society holds life sacred. The idea of “Thou shalt not kill” echoes in every faith. The penalties for killing are severe, mitigated by an understanding of intent. Whenever we introduce a legal exception, we run into trouble. Similar arguments about relieving suffering were used by the Nazis to justify first exterminating the weakened and disabled, then the mentally ill, and then non-Aryans on the regime’s hell-bent descent into depravity. In order to execute the policy, a cohort of licensed killers was created. This, in a society once considered the world’s most sophisticated and cultured. Lesson No. 4: Assisted suicide is not a legal matter. It’s a moral one, and we can’t legislate morality.


So where does this bring me in the consideration of assisted suicide? Full circle, to my ancient role as physician. Not as medical technician, nor as the master of prognostic statistics, derived from groups somehow extrapolated to an individual. I am a member of the one profession whose essential role invokes individual life and death decisions, and acts on risks that necessarily include adverse outcomes causing pain, and suffering and death. I’m not doing my job unless I understand context, cause and possibility when it comes to suffering. That takes time, patience and experience. The responsibility is a great harbinger of humility.


Each dying patient has their own context and belief frame for their “suffering.” Each case has its own mix of causes, and things that make it worse or better. My contention is that when we fully understand what’s going on, it is rare that suffering can’t be greatly palliated. It then follows that the perceived need to end life to alleviate suffering is a very rare occurrence.


In this most intimate and delicate interaction between patient and physician, the physician also has context and values. I don’t think they can be legislated away.


For me, as a Jew and as a physician, I can give morphine to relieve pain, but not to end a life. I come down against legalizing assisted suicide as a product of my faith, culture, training and experience. Put as a dichotomy, I’m prepared that a few might suffer more than they can bear, rather than countenance in the name of some kind of generosity of spirit the active taking of a life. I know from history, and I have seen too much of the slippery slope of convenience, to find confidence in any permissive legislative process.


4. Saints and Feasts:  

Did you know that North American parishes bearing the name of St. John of Suceava were typically and primarily founded by Bukovinian settlers?  Why is this so and what were the legacies/examples offered by the life and martyrdom of St. John to our forefathers and also for us today?


Who is the Holy Great-Martyr John the New of Suceava?



The Holy Great Martyr John the New of Suceava, lived in the fourteenth century in the city of Trebizond. He was a merchant, devout and firm in his Orthodoxy, and generous to the poor.


Once, he happened to be sailing on a ship while pursuing his trading activities. The captain of the ship was not Orthodox, but got into an argument about the Faith with St. John. Having been vanquished by the saint’s words, the captain resolved to make trouble for him when they got to Cetatea Alba (Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyj). During the ship’s stay at Cetatea Alba (Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyj), the captain went to the city ruler, a fire-worshipper, and suggested that on his ship was a studious man who also desired to become a fire-worshipper.


The city ruler invited St. John to join the fire-worshippers and renounce his faith in Christ.

The saint prayed secretly, calling on the help of Him Who said, “When they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you shall speak, neither do you premeditate; but whatsoever will be given you in that hour, speak that, for it is not you that speaks, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11). And the Lord gave him the courage and understanding to counter all the claims of the impious and firmly confess himself a Christian. After this, the saint was so fiercely beaten with rods that his entire body was lacerated, and the flesh came off in pieces. The holy martyr thanked God for being found worthy to shed his blood for Him and thereby wash away his sins.

Afterwards they put him in chains and dragged him away to prison. In the morning the city ruler ordered the saint brought forth again. The martyr came before him with a bright and cheerful face. The intrepid martyr absolutely refused to deny Christ. Then they beat him again with rods, so that all his insides were laid bare.

The gathering crowd could not bear this horrible spectacle and they began to shout angrily, denouncing the governor for tormenting a defenseless man. The governor, having the beating stopped, gave orders to tie the Great Martyr to the tail of a wild horse to drag him by the legs through the streets of the city. Residents of the Jewish quarter particularly scoffed at the martyr and threw stones at him. Finally, someone took a sword and cut off his head.


St. John’s body with his severed head lay there until evening, and none of the Christians dared to take him away. By night a luminous pillar was seen over him, and a multitude of burning lamps. Three light-bearing men sang Psalms and censed the body of the saint. One of the Jews, thinking that these were Christians coming to take up the remains of the martyr, grabbed a bow and tried to shoot an arrow at them, but he was restrained by the invisible power of God, and became rigid.


In the morning the vision vanished, but the archer continued to stand motionless. Having told the gathering inhabitants of the city about the vision and what was done to him by the command of God, he was freed from his invisible bonds. Having learned about the occurrence, the ruler gave permission to bury the body of the martyr in the local church. St. John was martyred sometime between the years 1330 and 1340.


The captain who had betrayed St. John repented of his deed, and decided secretly to convey the relics to his own country, but the saint appeared in a dream to the priest of the church, and prevented this. After seventy years the relics were transferred to Suceava, the capital of the Moldo-Valachian principality, and placed in the cathedral church.  


            Another detail from the life of St. John the New: “The angels of the Lord do not want to be worshipped. When an angel showed St. John the new Paradise in Heaven with all its marvels, St. John fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. But the angel did not allow that, saying: Do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God (Rev. 22:8-9). Yea, we worship God alone.”

On the appearance of St. John after his martyrdom and his Holy Relics: “An Orthodox priest in the city saw the New Martyr in a dream. John asked him to bring his body to the Church. There the Holy Relics remained for many years until the Ruler (Voievod) of Moldova Alexander the Good (Alexandru cel Bun) at the request of Metropolitan Joseph brought them to his capital city of Suceava on the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, June 24, 1402. We may note the coincidence of the names and the martyr’s heroism of both these great followers of Christ.


In 1685 the Relics of St. John were taken by the Polish King Jan Sobieski to Stryy in Ukraine. They were later transferred to the Basilian Monastery in Zhovkva, also in Halychyna. The Austrian Emperor Joseph II returned them to Suceava in 1783. The Monastery that bears his name was the site of huge pilgrimages on the day of commemorating his martyrdom. Many people came from Bukovyna.


There are Orthodox parishes in Canada founded by Bukovynians which bear his name. Among them is the Parish of St. John Suchavsky in Lachine, PQ, which is currently in the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.  There is also the parish of St. John of Suchava in Andrew, Alberta.  There is also our Cathedral of St. Ivan Suchavsky in Winnipeg, which has, since its founding, always been in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in North America. Since 1995 it has been one of the distinguished parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada which established communion with the Patriarchate in 1990. The Ladies Society of the Parish has as its patron the renowned Ukrainian writer from Bukovyna, Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, who participated in the pilgrimages to Suceava.


It was the martyrdom of St. John rather than his eloquence or his status as merchant that kept him alive in the memory of his brothers and sisters in the Church. This was no tragedy but a heroic and victorious event in which John of Trebizond and later Suceava offered his life as an example of faithfulness and love to the One Who offered His life for all. His feastday is celebrated on June 2/15.


Through the prayers of the Holy Great-martyr St. John the New of Suceava, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.



You have filled your life with good deeds, charitable acts and sincere prayer, O martyr; and you worthily prepared yourself for suffering.  You put to shame the wickedness of sinners; you were appointed as a mighty force of the church, and the praise of Christians, O Ivan of eternal memory.



Appearing as a bright star, you announced the Sun-Christ with your rays, O Martyr Ivan.  You extinguished the fires of falsehood, and gave us the Divine Light by unceasingly beseeching God for us.


For more information:

Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Ivan Suchavsky

939 Main Street   Winnipeg, MB R2W 3P2

Tel: (204) 942-3655

Email: sisuoc3@mymts.net

This week’s Scripture question: (answer next week)

True or false?  There are more than ten miracles recorded in the New Testament linked to St. Paul. (Acts 28:8)


This week’s Scripture fact:

A key aspect of the nature of God in the Old Testament is that He speaks directly to His people.  The importance of this is that He reveals Himself as a God who desires meaningful relationships and is superior to other gods who cannot speak (see Jeremiah 10:5)


Last week’s answer:  What three disciples of Jesus witnessed his transfiguration?

Peter, James and John.



See you in Church!

Спаси Вас Господи!                                   May the Lord Save You!

о. Євген                                                                             Fr. Gene