history of our parish began at the beginning of the last century. In
distant 1925 during the time of early emigration of the Ukrainian
people, who because of their poverty and political situation were cast
to this far place called Minnesota, our Church was born with the
intense effort of a group of individuals who had endured great
misfortune; and Archangel Michael was designated as its Patron Saint.
The new Church strongly encouraged its members to work for the parish.
Under the leadership of the first priest, Father Michael Zaparynyuk,
various activities were initiated: Ukrainian school, a drama group, a
chorus, and others. In short time the parish became the center of
spiritual, religious, and national-cultural life. However, a
significant impetus for major growth of the parish and for the
elevation of spiritual and national life was the arrival of new
emigrants into this country after World War II and their infusion into
the parish. This emigration consisted of a highly patriotic and
nationalistically conscious group of Ukrainians, who immediately
stirred up the collective nationalistic and religious life even
more, considerably strengthening the parish to the level of the
most active orthodox center in the state. Ukrainian Independence Day
holidays were celebrated regularly here. Also, the anniversaries of
heroic feats in the struggle for Ukrainian independence were
celebrated, along with yearly parish and school holidays honoring Taras
Shevchenko and others. Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and St. Nicholas Day
events were organized for the children. New Years' celebrations, Malanka, and Zapusty,
enjoyed great popularity. Yearly picnics, bazaars, and sales of Easter
eggs significantly benefited the parish monetarily. Being a part of the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, the membership of St. Michael's
Church took an active role in helping to build the Orthodox Center in
Bound Brook, New Jersey. Money was also collected and sent for the
construction of a large Cultural Center for the main Church, and
financial aid was given for the foundation and work of the Seminary of
St. Sophia and for the erection of monuments to St. Olga and others.
more recent times, discussions began with two other Ukrainian orthodox
parishes--St. George's Church and Sts. Volodymyr and Olga Church--about
unification into a single religious community with one church building.
These were prompted by a realistic appraisal of conditions that
indicated that the membership of each of the churches was gradually
dwindling while, at the same time, the financial needs were growing.
Unfortunately, work toward unification did not bring about the
anticipated success. Later, the topic of merging came up again in all
three of the parishes and in the end resulted in the joining of two of
the parishes, St. Michael's Church and St. George's Church, in 2002.
The decision was made to retain the names of both of the Patron Saints
in the name of the combined Church, and today our parish is called St.
Michael's and St. George's Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
almost 85 years of existence, our parish has been served by the
following clergy: Protopriest Michael Zaparynyuk, Protopriest Kornyliy
Kirstyuk, Protopriest Paul Korsunovskiy, Mitred Protopriest Andrew
Kist, Protopresbyter Stephen Bilyak, Protopresbyter Dr.
Volodymyr Levitskiy, Protopresbyter Nicholas Antokhiy,
Protopresbyter Michael Kudanovych, Priest Stephen Repa, Priest Miron
Pakholok, Bishop Paisiy, and during the last 15 years by
Protopriest Evhen Kumka.
last five years Valentina Yarr has served as the President of the
Church Board. Born in the Ukraine and raised in America, thanks to her
unique perspective there is peace and harmony between parishioners who
originate from the Ukraine and those who were born in this country.
Choral singing beautifies every church service, and ours is
particularly heavenly. The
choir is in the professional hands of director, Mrs. Kira Tsarehradsky,
a musically gifted person possessing absolute pitch.
out of these meager and laconic paragraphs emerges a picture of the
difficult and titanic work of the parish community, which overcame many
hardships and obstacles on its long journey--how it grew and how it
changed generationally. Now, our present task is to preserve and to
pass on to future generations this precious pearl of our identity, our faith, and our hope.