St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Congregation was elevated to the status of “Sobor” in 2018. What does this mean? In the Orthodox Church there are various designations for places of worship and their associated communities. In North America and elsewhere, most Orthodox communities begin their formation by meeting for worship in irregular and various places – in community halls, private homes, rented facilities from other Christian groups, etc. At this point of their genesis, these Orthodox communities normally bear the status of “Mission Congregation” or “Mission Community”.
As the community grows, matures and establishes itself more fully, and upon demonstrating definite congregational stability and governance, and especially after a permanent place of worship (a church) has been either purchased or constructed, the status of this community changes to that of “congregation”, “church” or “parish”. This is the most common form of community status in the Orthodox Church.
Some local communities in larger cities eventually go on to become elevated to the status of “Cathedral” parishes. A “Cathedral” church is the main church of the Eparchy, where the ruling Bishop typically presides at important Liturgies. The Cathedral church is located in the administrative city of the Eparchy. A “Cathedral” gets its name from the presence in the church of the Bishop’s chair (throne). This chair is traditionally called the “cathedra” (a Greek word meaning “chair” or “throne”). The Bishop sits on this “cathedra” when presiding over Hierarchal Divine Services. Auxiliary Cathedrals may be located in other cities of the Eparchy. In such cases the Eparchial Bishop’s assistant Bishop is centered in these cities.
In the Orthodox Church, especially in the Slavic tradition, there are two types of Cathedral parishes – “Cathedral’nyj Sobors” and regular “Sobors”. As mentioned above, the “Cathedral – Cathedral’nyj Sobor” is the Eparchial or Auxiliary Bishop’s main church where he is centered and serves most often. On the other hand, regular Sobors (where the Bishop is not normally centered), are churches in communities which have been designated with this special status in recognition of that community’s notable achievements in promoting the faith, appropriate architectural adherence, as well as other determining factors.
Our congregation, St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor, is honoured to have its Temple and community elevated to the status of “Sobor” by the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada in consultation with the Consistory of the UOCC. We pray that our Sobor Congregation will continue to lead its faithful in constant glorification of our Risen Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ and unto the eternal salvation of their souls!