UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Holy Virgin Parish Welcomes New Pastor!
The month of June marked a special time in the life of Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox parish of Arnold, Pennsylvania. It was at the Divine Liturgy on June 5 that the congregation officially welcomed Fr. Mark Swindle as their newly appointed pastor and welcomed Pani Matka Stephanie and their daughters, Victoria and Anna into the parish family. Fr. Mark, who was baptized in the parish of St. Michael in Hammond, Indiana, was ordained into the Holy Priesthood at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday, May 7 by His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine. Many priests and deacons that are close friends of Fr. Mark and his family, as well several members of the Pittsburgh Deanery, were in attendance for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. An overwhelming number of parishioners from Fr. Mark’s newly assigned parish of Holy Virgin were present in addition to many of parishioners of St. Vladimir.
For the past four years, Fr. Mark had been attached to St. Vladimir parish and served as their deacon. Fr. Mark is a graduate of the St. Stephen Course of Orthodox Theology (2008) and completed the requirements of the Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary Post Deaconate Program (2011.)
The parishioners of Holy Virgin Church surprised Fr. Mark, Pani Matka Stephanie, Victoria and Anna after his first Divine Liturgy with a beautiful luncheon in their honor. Holy Virgin is a unique parish in which the membership is less than 50, however the hard work and dedication of all of those who attend Holy Virgin exceed the expectations of any congregation of 150 when it comes to church attendance, maintenance and social events.
The parishioners of Holy Virgin are more than members of a church – each and every person exemplifies what it means to be members of one family in Jesus Christ. Many new and exciting projects for the parish are currently under way which include the restoration of the church bell system and an Adult Vacation Bible School Program planned later this summer.
Fr. Mark, Pani Matka Stephanie, Victoria and Anna continue to remember their former parish family of St. Vladimir and their pastor, Fr. Michael Kochis, with prayers and fond memories. The Swindle family embraces their new parish of Holy Virgin with love and prayers and look forward to working together for many more years for the glory of God.