Ordination of Deacon Philip J. Harendza to the Holy Priesthood
By Rev. Fr. Ivan Synevsky
In the life of the Church we celebrate many feasts and saints that repeat every year. But there are unique events that do not repeat, those would be the Holy Mysteries of the church like Baptism, Chrismation, Matrimony, Unction, Funeral and Ordination. Among above mentioned Holy Mysteries Ordination is even more special because it can only be done by a bishop.
Such a special day was at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Johnson City, NY on December 10, 2016 when His Grace Archbishop-Elect Daniel came to complete the Holy Mystery of Orders by Laying on hands on Dn. Philip Harendza and select him for the Holy Priesthood.
The day started with Vespers Service on Friday and continued on Saturday with the Divine Liturgy with Ordination. For this great celebration came many parishioners, guests and clergy from different places that filled the church.
Traditional Ukrainian Greeting took place just before the Liturgy Service. With fresh flowers and big smiles Jr. UOL greeted His Grace and received his blessing. Next Brian Baxendale, Parish Council President welcomed Vladyka Daniel with bread and salt on Ukrainian Embroidered Rushnyk (Towel). Then Fr. Ivan Synevskyy, pastor of the parish together with other clergy asked Archbishop-Elect Daniel to pray for this parish their families but especially for “priest-elect” Philip and his family. Among the clergy were Protopresbyter Myron Oryhon, V. Rev. Fr. Basyl Zawierucha (Northampton, PA), V. Rev. Fr. Zinoviy Zharsky (Trenton, NJ), V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins (Allentown, PA), Rev. Fr. Vasyl Dovgan (Troy, NY), Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas (South Plainfield, NJ), Archdeacon Vasyl (Woonsocket, RI), Dn. James Cairns (Carteret, NJ), Dn. Paul Cherkas (Woonsocket, RI) and our own Deacon Philip.
The Divine Liturgy was filled with melodious hymns from choir directed by Melodye Onysko. After Gospel Reading of the day His Grace delivered very inspired and spiritually uplifting sermon during which he reflected on his own ordination, brought other examples of the priesthood. This inspired not only clergy ranks but also all present who tried to grasp the picture of priesthood – its true meaning and place in our communities. Vladyka stated that “... perhaps, the greatest joy in the life of a bishop is to ordain to Christ’s Holy Priesthood one of his students, to grant him the privilege and the experience of serving the Lord and His flock… Deacon Philip, in a few short moments you will be called to a ministry of Broken Bread, the ministry of healing and feeding, the ministry of blessing and of self-sacrifice… Serve the people a their pastor, not as a ruler; serve your people with love and never with judgment; offer yourself unconditionally, just the way the Lord taught us to live…”
During the Great Entrance Deacon James and Deacon Paul lead Deacon Philip with large veil (Aer) over the head to the front of the church. After the entrance Deacon Philip was guided to the altar with prostrations on the way. The last prostration was done before the Royal Doors and from this moment priests took over Dn. Philip for the “liturgical dance” three times around the altar. During the ordination moment clergy, choir and people all together were chanting responses to the Litany - “Lord, have mercy” which made everyone participate in the Holy Mystery. Everyone then confirmed after Vladyka Daniel with words “Axios! Worthy! Гідний!” as each new peace of priestly vestments was put on newly ordained Priest Philip. On top of the vestments was put on pectoral cross as a sign of Christ’s ministry the new priest is about to carry for the rest of his life.
During the Lord’s prayer Fr. Philip held the Lamb of God (Holy Bread) in his hands behind the altar as the first steps of guarding the Body of Christ. Priest Philip was the first to receive Holy Communion and for the first time distributed Communion to the people.
The service followed by blessings, greetings and pictures and brought the second part of the day with the Festal Luncheon provided by the Sisterhood.
Fr. Philip extended his great appreciation to many people including his family, Fr. Zinoviy - for planting the seed to go to the Seminary, his professors and classmates for helping through the years, as well as to the Sisterhood, Social Club and Parish for support.
May God bless the newly-ordained Fr. Philip in his ministry! Axios! Worthy! Гідний!