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At the Sunday Divine Liturgy of November 1st, 2009, the parish of the Great Martyr, St. George the Victorious gave honour to Mr. Josafat Nakonecznyj, who had served the parish as cantor for over 58 years. Due to failing health Mr. Nakonecznyj was unable to attend the service, but on the following day, he was visited by parish clergy and members of the parish and presented with an icon and a certificate of appreciation for his many years of dedicated service. Mr. Nakonecznyj accepted these honours with humility and tears. Following the presentation, prayers for his health were sung at his bedside and a card was given to him, bearing the names of many parishioners who passed on their good wishes.
Mr. Josafat Nakonecznyj came to Canada shortly after World War II, having spent several years in a Ukrainian camp in Germany, where he had an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills. As a new immigrant in Oshawa he joined the parish of the Great Martyr, St. George the Victorious, where he was approached to help the dyak (cantor) with liturgical services. Mr. Nakonecznyj accepted this invitation with joy and anticipation. During his boyhood years in Ukraine, he had always stayed close to the church and had hoped to study for the priesthood. Unfortunately the war had ruined his chances of pursuing his hopes. Gifted with a strong melodious voice, a disciplined nature and a passion for details, he was well suited for service as a dyak. Eventually he became the head cantor at St. George Church. He learned the rubrics and melodies so well that he often found himself instructing the priests who served at St. George Church. When his health began to fail him, he still made every effort to come to church, having long ago realized that it was this service that made him feel truly alive. At the age of 94 his amazingly strong voice could still be heard at weekday and Sunday liturgies. And those days when he could not attend the church, all he had to do was close his eyes and see himself, standing at the cantors' bench, facing the iconostas, singing as he had always done.