UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
AXIOS! HE IS WORTHY!
Saturday, June 25, 2011, was a beautiful sunny day and one could hear in the background the bells of St. George Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Yardville, NJ, begin to chime, letting the congregation and visiting clergy know that His Eminence Archbishop Antony is coming and that the hierarchal divine liturgy was about to begin. Upon entering the church, His Eminence was greeted by V. Rev. Petro Levko, parish rector and Wasyl Dereka, parish board president. This pastoral visit was a special one to ordain Subdeacon Nicholas Zachary, whose childhood was spent as an altar boy at St. George, to the Holy Diaconate.
This festive day marked the sixth ordination at St. George, during the parish’s 56 year history. After the Anaphora and consecration of the Holy Gifts, Subdeacons Andrij Matlak and Francis Rella led Subdeacon Nicholas forward to Deacon James Cairns, who led the candidate around in veneration of the Holy Altar and to the Archbishop. The Archbishop began the ordination with the prayer for Divine Grace “which always heals what is infirm and completes what is lacking,” elevating Subdeacon Nicholas through the laying-on of hands to the Holy Diaconate. In his sermon, His Eminence preached about the unique vocation of the Holy Diaconate and how he remembers Fr. Deacon Nicholas as a young altar server more than 25 years ago and how Nicholas’ life was always dedicated to Christ and His Church and expressed gratitude to God that the new Deacon was faithful enough to turn away from the “world” and to respond to the call of God to His priesthood. He reminded Deacon Nicholas that his was an office of service – to God and to fellow man – and that life must be one of continuous prayer and worthy of emulation by those he serves.
The Archbishop also spoke to Deacon Nicholas’ wife, Julia, stressing her importance to the spiritual direction her husband had followed in responding to God’s call. He reminded her about the difficulties and the pitfalls that will arise throughout his service and that she can be the most important person in his life when they do. She will find it necessary to be his confidant, his comforter and partner in witnessing Christ to all. When Deacon Nicholas is eventually ordained as a priest, a special prayer will be said for her seeking God’s blessings upon her as she supports her husband’s ministry.
His Eminence was joined at the holy altar by visiting clergy, Protopresbyter Taras Chubenko of St. Demetrius Cathedral in Carteret, NJ, V. Rev. Stephen Hutnick of Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Wilmington, DE, V. Rev. Timothy Tomson of St. Mary Parish of McKees Rocks, PA, Rev. Ivan Lymar of Holy Trinity Parish in Trenton, NJ, Rev. Ivan Synevskyy of the Nativity of the Virgin Parish in South Plainfield, NJ, Fr. Deacon James Cairns of St. Demetrius Cathedral, Subdeacons Andriy Matlak and Francis Rella and Cantor Tony Prousalis of Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Richmond, VA.
Fr. Deacon Nicholas was born and raised in Hamilton Square, New Jersey. He began his church life at a very young age by assisting in the altar when he was six years old. His spiritual Fathers V. Rev Mykola Haleta of blessed memory and Fr. Constantine Dombalis former Dean of the Greek Cathedral in Richmond left a lasting impression on him and a love for the church and in serving Christ. Fr. Deacon Nicholas is a graduate of Trenton State College, the St. Stephen’s Course of Orthodox Theology and the Post-Graduate Course of Theological Education at St. Sophia’s Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary and currently resides with his wife Panimatka Julia in Richmond, VA.
Deacon Nicholas reflected upon his ordination day during a luncheon in the parish hall following Divine Liturgy. He stated that we are called serve and labor in the vineyard of the Lord and though we are not worthy of God’s Grace, through Christ’s love for us the Divine Grace “which heals what is infirm and completes what is lacking” we are sent into the world to work miracles as we touch the lives of those entrusted to our spiritual care. He thanked the Archbishop, his mother Nina, his wife Julia and all the clergy, faithful, family members and friends present for their presence and asked for their daily prayers in his behalf.
V. Rev. Fr. Petro Levko, Parish Priest of St. George Parish, greeted Deacon Nicholas and his wife expressing the joy of his parish family at the ordination of one of its own children. He echoed the words of the Archbishop prior to Liturgy about how important this day is for the parishioners who nourished Nicholas and raised him in the Faith. Each of the other clergy present rose to congratulate Deacon Nicholas and assured him of their prayers, sharing their own personal knowledge of him and moments they will always remember about his path to this day. The Deacon will continue to reside in Virginia and will serve as a Deacon in several of our parishes along with the Greek Cathedral in Richmond, VA, which has been an important spiritual home for him and his family for the past several years.