Ihumen Gregory (Woolfenden) of Blessed Memory!


Ihumen Gregory (Woolfenden) of Blessed Memory!

It is with a profound depth of sadness and prayer that the Consistory Office of Public Relations of the Ukrainian Orhtodox Church of the USA prayerfully anounces that the servant of God, Ihumen Gregory (Woolfenden), pastor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox parish, New Britain, CT and professor of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary has reposed in Christ - born to eternal life - after the long and arduous struggle.

Funeral services are scheduled as follows:

December 1 - 7PM - Panakhyda at St. Mary Parish, New Britain, CT
December 2 - 10AM - Divine Liturgy at St. Mary Parish, New Britain, CT.
December 3 - 10AM - Rite of the Monastic Funeral at
St. Andrew Memorial Church, South Bound Brook, NJ.

His Eminence Archbishop Antony, President of the Consistory of our Holy Church has requested that we include Fr. Gregory in our prayers and liturgical commemorations and participate in the funeral services.

May his memory be eternal!

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who has trampled down death; You have overthrown the devil and have given Life to Your world: now give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your departed servant Ihumen Gregory, in a place of light, a place of refreshment and a place of repose, where there is no sickness, sighing nor sorrow.  As You are a Good God, Who loves mankind, pardon every sin, which he has committed, whether by word or by deed or by thought, for there is no man who lives and has not sinned.  You alone are sinless, Your Righteousness is Eternal and Your Word is Truth.  For You are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose of your newly presented servant, Ihumen Gregory, Christ our God and we give glory, together with Your Father, Who is Eternal and Your All-Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.  Amen!



Ihumen Gregory (Woolfenden), of blessed memory, pastor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Birth-Giver of God parish in New Britain, Connecticut, reposed in the Lord on Thursday, 20 November 2008 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.,  following a brief illness. Ihumen Gregory is survived by his grieving mother, Sheila Wood, who resides in England and brother, Jeffrey Woolfenden and his wife, who reside on the Island of Crete, Greece.

Ihumen Gregory was born and educated in Liverpool, England, with later work experience in London. He studied, 1970 – 1976, at the Venerable English College, Rome, while reading for degrees in Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Ordained deacon in the Roman Catholic Church 9 July 1976, and priest 16 July 1977.  Ihumen Gregory, in the secular world Fr. Graham Woolfenden, served parishes of the Liverpool Archdiocese and also worked in the Liverpool Metropolitan Tribunal, occasionally serving the Ukrainian community in Oldham, England. He graduated M.Phil at the University of Manchester, 1989, and Ph.D., 1998, at Heythrop College, University of London, thesis entitled Daily Prayer: Its Origin and Its function.

From 1989 till 2004, Ihumen Gregory lectured in Liturgy and Worship at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was a member of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oxford. He served as a member of the board of directors and Chair of the academic advisory committee, of the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge.

He was a member of numerous Learned Societies: Societas Liturgica (International), Society for Liturgical Study (Britain – Chairman, 1994 – 1998). Review Editor of Eastern Churches Journal. Member of board of Eastern Christian Publications (USA). Chairman of he Council of Fellowship of SS Alban and Sergius. Member of an international Catholic Orthodox theological consultation, The Kyivan Churches Study Group. Member of Faith and Order consultation on Baptism. Was retained as consultant on books of prayer for Oxford University Press and consultant on the Liturgical series of Ashgate Publishing. Also served as member of the Sourozh diocese committee for liturgical texts and rubrics. Ihumen Gregory’s publications include Daily Prayer in Christian Spain, Joyful Light and Daily Liturgical Prayer.

In the summer of 1996, Ihumen Gregory’s deep understanding and love of Holy Orthodoxy was culminated by his acceptance of the faith and reception into the Russian Orthodox diocese of Sourozh in England by the late Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) in 1996. He took the monastic tonsure in 2000 by the hands of Ihumen Andrew (Wade) in Turin, Italy.

In 2004 Ihumen Gregory was received into the UOC of USA. Over the next four years he lovingly served in three parishes: St. Nicholas in Monessen, PA, St. Mary’s in Lorain, OH, and St. Mary’s in New Britain, CT. He also was assistant professor of Liturgics at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary and lecturer at Yale Theological Seminary. The monk Gregory was elevated as Ihumen by the hands of Archbishop Antony at his parish of St. Mary’s in New Britain, CT in 2007.

Ihumen Gregory was known by both his spiritual children and academic colleagues as a most approachable and warm person. His many spiritual gifts were multiplied by the ability to share them freely with anyone who came into his orbit. He is deeply mourned by friends, colleagues, students and parishioners and we all will miss his boundless love for life and contagious laughter. We pray that he find rest in green pastures and hear the voice of his Lord and Maker, “Come good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in little things, enter into the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world”.

Diligently attending to his spiritual needs during the last moments upon this earth were the Reverend Fathers Bazyl Zawierucha, Stephen Masliuk, Anthony Perkins and the Rev. Deacon Anthony Szwez who served the Canon for the Departure of the Soul and the Litiya for the Departed as Ihumen Gregory slipped into the embrace of our Holy Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


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