On 22 June, on the day of UCU’s commencement ceremonies, a solemn Liturgy was celebrated at the University Church of the Holy Wisdom of God. Afterwards, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, Archbishop of Philadelphia and President of UCU, presided at a ceremony dedicating sculptures on the square in front of the church.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak blesses the sculpture called “He took.”

 

 

 

The six sculptures symbolize the six gestures which a priest makes when he prays at the blessing of the holy gifts during the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: Jesus “took bread into His holy, most pure and immaculate hands, gave thanks, blessed, sanctified and broke it; He gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying.”

More information is available about the sculptures in the Ukrainian language here: https://spiritual.ucu.edu.ua/sculpture/.

Fr. Nazariy Mysyakovskyi blesses the sculpture called “He blessed.”

 

 

 

“Six phrases – He took, he gave thanks, he blessed, he sanctified, he broke, he gave. And six gestures. These are the six stages of our life, for in the Eucharist bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, so that you and I will be changed, so that, receiving God’s Body and Blood, we will be changed in our entirety. These six sculptures are six gestures of Christ. May they help us be assured that Christ is transforming us,” said Archbishop Borys Gudziak, who had the idea that inspired this project.

This monumental composition in stone was created by sculptor Volodymyr Semkiv, who worked almost nine years on the project. During the ceremonies, Archbishop Borys Gudziak presented the artist with a certificate of thanks for turning this thought into reality.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak presents a certificate of thanks to sculptor Volodymyr Semkiv

 

 

 

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The group of sculptures creates a symbolic spatial circle. Proceeding through the hands, reading the explanations, the person returns to point from which he or she began, the church doors.

“My main idea,” explained sculptor Volodymyr Semkiv, “was to create a modern composition opposed to post-Soviet monumental sculpture. Despite the large size of the stones themselves, I tried to make them intimate, personal. I wanted to give them some mystery, so that only one on one could the person reflect on them and hear his or her own thoughts. For the sculptor, the greatest award is when his work leads a person to stop and think. And when I see how they step on the grass here and how children run around the stones, I understand that the plan is working,” said sculptor Volodymyr Semkiv.

The sculpture called “He gave thanks”

 

 

 

 

 

UCU’s president called all to come to the stones more often, to become aware of their transformation and to look for answers to difficult questions: “When we doubt who we are, our temptations become more difficult and our resilience shows cracks. But when we understand that we are accepted and sanctified by God, then we can witness, endure, and overcome everything. God wants us to stand up straight and, without fear, look forward.”

Prayer together before the blessing of the sculptures

 

 

 

The sculpture called “He blessed”