On a beautiful Tuesday morning, the 12th day of February 2013, the seminarians of Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary were preparing for a special day: their brother in Christ, Deacon Vasyl Dovgan was about to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace Bishop Daniel. Clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered together at Three Holy Hierarchs Seminary Chapel to participate and witness the Holy Mystery of Holy Orders.
The ordination took place on the Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom which is the patron feast day of the Seminary Chapel. It also happened to be Deacon Vasyl’s Name day and Birthday which added to this special celebration.
His Grace Bishop Daniel was greeted by the provost of St. Sophia Seminary - Very Reverend Bazyl Zawierucha along with thirteen other clergymen who concelebrated: V. Rev. Myron Oryhon, V. Rev. Yurij Siwko, V. Rev. Stephen Hutnick, V. Rev. Petro Levko, V. Rev. John Haluszczak, V. Rev. Todor Mazur, Rev. Harry Linsinbigler, Rev. Victor Wronskyj, Rev. Anthony Perkins, Rev. Ivan Synevskyy, and seminarians Rev. Vasyl Dmytryshyn and Rev. Andriy Matlak.
Responses were sung by the members of the St. Andrew’s Memorial Church choir along with the student body of St. Sophia Seminary.
From the beginning the celebration, the Liturgy was full of emotions from His Grace Bishop Daniel and Deacon Vasyl because of the realization of this event.
After the reading of the Holy Gospel Bishop Daniel began to preach to the faithful the importance of giving Grace to people and expecting nothing in return. Vladyka focused on how the Grace of the Holy Spirit that was bestowed to him, is also bestowed, through the laying on of his hands, to Deacon Vasyl. He said, “It is the greatest responsibility for him. As Bishop, he can do no more than be that vessel for the Holy Spirit.” Bishop Daniel, in his sermon, also reflected on Vasyl’s personal journey to Tuesday's celebration.
This journey to Tuesday's ordination began years ago when Deacon Vasyl began his theological studies in Ukraine. Six years ago, Deacon Vasyl joined the seminary here in South Bound Brook, where his studies continually brought him closer to being found worthy of the Holy Priesthood.
After the Cherubimik Hymn and the Great Entrance, time came for the ordination. Deacon Vasyl was brought forth by his fellow brothers in Christ Subdeacons Yurii Andreiko and Ioan Mazur. Bowing down before Christ three times, DeaconVasyl humbly presented himself before Bishop Daniel for the laying of the hands. Through the laying of the hands and the prayers of ordination, the same grace of the Holy Spirit came upon him as it did on the day of Pentecost in the presence of the Apostles. In unison, the congregation too found Deacon Vasyl worthy, repeating after the clergy: Axios!
As Fr. Vasyl prepared himself for this day, his wife Pani-matka Ilona stood faithfully beside him supporting him.
The liturgy concluded with greetings from His Grace Bishop Daniel and the newly ordained Father Vasyl addressed the faithful and clergy present. The new priest was grateful to his ordaining bishop, that he now follows the Apostolic succession, and can participate in the same priesthood as his departed father who once wanted to witness his son serving alongside him in the altar.
After the liturgy, the clergy and guests were able to greet the newly ordained Father and his Pani Dobrodika during a luncheon prepared at the Seminary.