Another source of pride for the church is its replica of the Shroud of Turin
– the cloth Jesus was said to have been buried in – which the Philly archbishop
brought to his archeparchy in the late 2000s from Italy.
EVEN IF you’ve never heard of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northern Liberties, chances are you’ve seen it: Its signature golden dome is easy to pick out on the city’s skyline.
Northern Liberties is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The assumption above is that if you are reading philly.com your live in Philly.
But the church is much more than a pretty facade – it’s one of four major hubs for the Ukrainian Catholic faith in America.
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Rev. Ivan Demkiv, who’s steered the congregation for more than a decade, explained what happens beneath the church’s brilliant dome. (Full disclosure: Demkiv is the father of one of this reporter’s college friends.)
Who we are: Demkiv oversees a congregation of about 300 families, some of the roughly 20,000 cultural Ukrainians who live in the greater Philadelphia area.
[ . . . ]
Where we worship: Immaculate Conception’s flock gathers in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a massive edifice built in the Byzantine tradition – it’s modeled after the Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul, according to Demkiv.
The structure was built from 1963 to 1966 on Franklin Street near 8th Street. Though its iconic dome – covered in gold-infused Venetian glass tiles – is its claim to fame, the cathedral’s interior is even more magnificent, featuring rich, colorful mosaics of biblical scenes and hand-painted icons of the faith’s saints and prophets.
[ . . . ]
What we believe: Immaculate Conception is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which follows the Eastern Rite of the Catholic faith. In Roman Catholic parlance, the Vatican and the Ukrainian Catholic Church are said to be in "full communion" – meaning the Ukrainian branch is a member of the larger whole, but with its own distinct cultural identity.
The beliefs are the same, but the way they worship differs slightly. For example, Ukrainian Catholics read from the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom during services, instead of the Bible. Their churches feature painted icons (detailed portraits of holy figures) instead of the statues commonly found in Roman Catholic churches. And their hymns don’t have musical accompaniment – choirs and churchgoers sing without organs or other instruments.
[ . . . ]
Another source of pride for the church is its replica of the Shroud of Turin – the cloth Jesus was said to have been buried in – which the Philly archbishop brought to his archeparchy in the late 2000s from Italy.
[ . . . ]
God is . . . "Infinite power. Through him everything came to be," Demkiv said. "It doesn’t matter your faith, everyone can feel his guidance in their lives."