For the second time in the month of January, the doors of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ welcomed numerous visitors who traveled long distances to participate and witness the ordinations of the graduating seminarians of the Seminary to various degrees of Priesthood.
The Saturday morning of January 25, 2020, a day of prayerful remembrance of Holy Martyr Tatiana, gathered clergy, seminarians and the faithful of the Church at the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of St. Sophia Seminary for the ordination of Deacon Sviatoslav Hot to the Holy Priesthood.
With the blessing of the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of Consistory of the UOC of the USA – His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, surrounded by a dozen of priests of the Metropolia ordained Deacon Sviatoslav to the Priesthood.
Trembling in the fear of God, after the Great Entrance, Deacon Sviatosalv was brought forth to the Royal Doors by Deacon Valentyn Olynyk - where serving clergy presented him as a worthy candidate in front of Vladyka Daniel. With the laying of his hands Archbishop Daniel passed the Grace of the Holy Spirit through the Apostolic Succession.
It was memorable and moving to see the students of the local St. Andrew School of Ukrainian Language and Religion to participate in the services.
Unfortunately, parents of Fr. Sviatoslav were not able to physically witness the ordination of their son; however, due to the technological abilities of the modern age, the entire family joined the faithful of the Church via video recording link from Ukraine.
As the prayerful AXIOS was proclaimed by Archbishop Daniel, entire chapel responded first by the voice of the clergy and then joined by the faithful; - a new priest of the Holy Orthodox Church was welcomed and warmly received.
The seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary served and led the congregation in prayerful chanting of Divine Liturgy and ordination service.
In his sermon, addressing newly ordained priest Sviatoslav, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel reflected upon priest’s life and ministry, stating: “…Beloved brother in the Lord, Deacon Sviatosalv: today is a special day in your life and the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. The whole Metropolia family would like to salute, pray and expect great things of you. From this moment on you are called to try even harder so that every day of your life will be a closer step to Christ and closer to your brothers and sisters, who shall be entrusted into your spiritual care…
You are about to be given one of the greatest gifts of your lives. It's a gift that will test you to the very limits of your humanity. It's privilege few others in our society can understand. It's a sacred responsibility that – if you are truly called to it - will not burden you, but set you free in ways you cannot possibly imagine.
The rewards of priesthood are not material. They are certainly not financial. The deep satisfaction is to know that at a given moment, in the life of a particular person or community, you are the incarnation of Christ to them. You are the love of God made real. You changed their darkness into light through the grace of God working in you. There will be no rewards greater than these, at least not in this world.
Take this gift and be an icon of Christ to us all. Be the love of God that people long to have in their lives. Be a pastor and a prophet not only to your local community, but to the world and all the people that still long for fulfillment, justice and peace…
Remember it is not your authority you carry but that of Christ himself. Remember, you are not the Savior – but you lead people to Him. Do no harm in His name. And above all else have courage: courage to build up, courage to draw the circle wide, courage to resist your own fears, courage to let the grace of God flow freely in you. My prayer is that your ministry may set you and all of us free, and that your dreams always lead you safely home, into the Heavenly Presence of our Savior.”
As the Divine Liturgy came to conclusion, a prayer was offered for the wife of Fr. Sviatoslav – pani-matka Victoria, that she may be able to help her husband to carry the sacred responsibilities of the Holy Priesthood.
The liturgy concluded with greetings from His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and the newly ordained Father Sviatoslav, who addressed the faithful and clergy present.