UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PBLIC RELATIONS
New Semester Begins At St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary
by Fr. Andriy Matlak, Deacon Vasyl Dovgan, Subdeacons Philip Harendza and Vasyl Pasakas
South Bound Brook, NJ: On Monday, January 21, 2013 St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA opened its doors for the Spring Academic Semester "with great anticipation for a blessed and prosperous school year with new faculty and students," according to Very Rev. Fr. Bazyl Zawierucha, Provost of the Church’s Theological School.
The doors to St. Sophia Seminary opened this semester to welcome 11 seminarians for the new academic year.
“We are completely full,” said Bishop Daniel, Dean of Students of the Seminary. “It is true that we could accommodate more students but the public areas of the seminary building, including the chapel and dining room, cannot accommodate more seminarians – it is a nice problem to have… The strength of our seminary program depends in large part on the generosity, wisdom and experience of our faculty and students,” said Bishop Daniel. “I am grateful for their willingness to serve in the Name of our Lord.”
For some of the seminarians it is the beginning of a great new journey toward the Holy Priesthood (there are additional three students-seminarians that have arrived from Ukraine to begin their Theological training at St. Sophia’s this year: Seminarians Volodymyr Sukanets, Fr. Vasyl Dmytryshyn and Volodymyr Yavorskyi). Others continue to test their vocation (Subdeacons Adrian Mazur, Ivan Chopko, Yurii Andreiko, Ioan Mazur), and carry on with their studies. As for us, the graduating class (Rev. Fr. Andriy Matlak, Deacon Vasyl Dovgan, Subdeacon Vasyl Pasakas, Subdeacon Philip Harendza), it is our final semester and we look forward to the pastoral ministry/service in the Name of Christ among the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
The semester began early Monday morning with Divine Liturgy, served by His Grace Bishop Daniel, concelebrating with our new seminarian Fr. Vasyl Dmytryshyn and graduating seminarian Deacon Vasyl Dovgan. In his sermon, Vladyka Daniel reflected on the example of Christ preparing His followers to be true Disciples, teaching the Word of Truth, so that we can apply this message to our ministry.
The seminary is the place where we are testing our vocation and it is not an easy task. It is the place where we gain spiritual, physical and mental understanding of what the Holy Priesthood is all about. The Priesthood is not a profession it is a way of life and seminary prepares us for it.
For us, five years of Theological Education seemed to be a long period of time however, with our challenging schedule it has passed by quickly. There are a lot of challenges in seminary life but by the Grace of God this leg of our journey is coming to its end. The years of formal education have almost finished and the time has come to apply that knowledge in the world. With all the knowledge that seminary gave us it is still fearful because of the responsibilities that will be laid upon us. We believe that only through the Grace of God and prayers of the faithful we will persevere in ministering the Word of God.
Our 2013 graduating class prays that Our Savior will help us to be a true example for new generation of seminarians, give them strength to go through difficulties and make us worthy servants in His Holy Vineyard – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.