Saturday, February 28th 1981 was definitelly a solemn day for our church in Canada. That day apostolic pronuncio Angelo Palmas enthroned bishop Michael Rusnak, CSsR as the first bishop of the newly created Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius ofr Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada.
Magnificent ceremony took place at St. Nicholas church at the corner of Bellwoods Avenue and Queen Street West. Hierarchical liturgy with Enthronement started at four in the afternoon. Main burden of the preparations laid on the shoulders of Fr. Richard Boyle, assisted with many parishioners from all around the Eparchy.
Liturgy was preceeded by the procession of parochial communities, youth in national costumes, carrying banners, both national and religious, and clergy. Procession started quarter to four from nearby church led by our altar servers, followed by approximately 200 kids, youth and members of dancing groups. Those carried sixteen falgs, representing Canada, Slovakia and the pope. Youth group from Shaw Street carried banners of apostles and saints . This part of he procession was concluded by religious, seminarians and clergy.
After the banners of Ss. Cyril and Methodius were walking kids with flowers and icons of Our Lord and Our Lady, and afterwards two subdeacons holding ripidions. Then concelebrating priests and bishops. At the very end were bishops Borecky and Rusnak, metropolitans of USA and Canada and apostolic pronuncio. Procession was concluded by knights of Malt and Alhambra.
Concelebrating priests included pastors of the eparchial parishes along with Fr. Vincent Danco, SJ and Michael Lacko, SJ from Rome, who helped a lot with creation of this Eparchy.
After the arrival of the church were bishops traditionaly welcomed with bread and salt by Mrs. Ann Belas and John Telepčák, representing the founders of the cathedral at Shaw Street. After short speech from kyr Borecky were the rites of Canonical erection of the Eparchy and Ethronement of bishop Michael, presided by apostolic pronuncio. Papal decrees were announced in English by Fr. Boyle, who served aslo as Master of Ceremonies and in Slovak by Fr. Lacko, SJ. Gospel at the liturgy was chanted by Fr. Fuga and sermons were delivered by bishop Grutka from Gary, Indiana and bishop Rusnak respectively.
Totally, there were approximately 1800 people present at thie memorable day. A movie AXIOS was recorded from the event.
Festive banquet started at 6.30 PM, and food was served for approximately 600 people.
Everyone was looking and longing for bright future.
May God grant many years to all those, who sacrifice their lives in order to spread His Kingdom here on he earth!
Photo Credits: Maria magazine, May 1981.