UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Deacon Andriy Matlak’s Ordination to the Holy Priesthood
By Subdeacon Vasyl Pasakas and Oksana Mahlay
On Wednesday, the 9th of January 2013, His Eminence Metropolitan-Elect Antony, His Grace Bishop Daniel, clergy, faithful, relatives, choir members, and seminarians gathered together at St. Andrew Memorial Church to witness Deacon Andriy Matlak’s ordination to the Holy Priesthood of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Deacon Andriy started his journey to the Holy Priesthood years ago back in his home of Ukraine before entering St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ in 2007. After a long and dedicated preparation, seminarian Andriy was tonsured a subdeacon in 2009, taking his first steps towards the Holy Priesthood. On Saturday, the 27th of October, 2012 he was ordained as a deacon through the laying on of hands of His Grace Bishop Daniel.
The Divine Liturgy began with the bringing forth of the relics of Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen—the saint commemorated by the Church on this holy feast day. He was the first martyr stoned for the Faith of Christ.
The Divine Liturgy proceeded with the deacon Andriy leading the congregation with the litanies as a deacon for the last time.
In his sermon His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy and President of Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA stated:
“Deacon Andriy you are called to a sacramental ministry that is centered in the Holy Mystery of Eucharist; centered in the Bread of Life... The Eucharist calls us to communion, that is, to community. We gather at the same table as family, representing the family of God. We are family because we are God’s, marked as Christ’s own forever… The Eucharist calls us to community. We gather at the Table as family, God’s family... But the Eucharist also sends us to be the broken body of Christ in the world.
Just as Jesus allowed himself to be broken, to be given to us as food, we too must break, we must share with each other... Deacon, you have been called to a ministry of broken bread. You will break the bread regularly and, with all the body of Christ, you already are the broken body of Christ in the world…
Deacon Andriy, you are called to serve the broken body of Christ and you minister as the broken body of Christ in the world. “Now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).”
Trembling in the fear of God and with tears in his eyes, after the Great Entrance, Deacon Andriy was brought forth to the Royal Doors by his fellow classmates of Saint Sophia Seminary—subdeacons Vasyl Pasakas and Ivan Chopko—where serving clergy presented him as a worthy candidate in front of His Grace Bishop Daniel. With the laying of his hands Bishop Daniel passed the Grace of the Holy Spirit through the Apostolic Succession.
As all those gathered exclaimed in unison AXIOS the newly ordained was found worthy of being vested in priestly garments in following order: sticharion, epitrachelion, belt, cuffs, phelonion, cross and sluzhebnyk (prayer book). Immediately following this Father Andriy stepped aside from the altar to be greeted by his parents (who live in Ukraine) and were listening to the Liturgy via technological device because of their inability to be present physically at the service.
Being ordained to the Holy Priesthood means that you act in the Name of Christ - as Christ Himself. You are the Christ to people and they come for confession as they would to Christ, and receive Holy Communion from priest’s hands as they would from Christ’s. This is what Fr. Andriy was found worthy of in his congregation. Now he is Christ to the faithful and to those who are in need to be brought to salvation.
The Liturgy was followed at the seminary building by luncheon for all those in attendance prepared by the Seminary chef Pani Maria Morozovska with the assistance of pani-matkas of seminary students.