“You are called to love, to forgive, to be salt and light in a very special way,” His Eminence Archbishop Daniel said in his homily directed at Subdeacon Valentine Olynyk, who in the presence of his wife Olia, children and brothers in the Holy Priesthood awaited the moment of sacred ordination to the Holy Deaconate. Subdeacon Valentine is a graduate of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Expounding on the words of the Gospel reading, the bishop gave the deacon his marching orders: to bring the taste and radiance of Christ to sick and infirm, to troubled married couples, to a secularized and sexualized culture.
In a prayerful two-hour liturgy on February 9, 2019 – the feast of the translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom, Vladyka Daniel ordained Subdeacon Valentine Olynyk of St. Andrew the First-Called Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church (South bound Brook, NJ) to Deaconate. About fifteen priests from local NY/NJ/PA parishes traveled to the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel of St. Sophia Seminary for the ordination service as well as for the formal observance of the Seminary's chapel feast day – the Three Holy Hierarchs.
In the presence of family members, friends, fellow parishioners, seminarians, children and guests – the Seminary chapel was full of spiritual excitement, in contrast with the wet conditions outside. A sense of awe was present with all in attendance and indeed the blessing of our Lord was upon everyone as the Grace of the Holy Spirit was called upon subdeacon Valentine.
The Divine Liturgy started with the procession that escorted Archbishop Daniel to the Three Holy Hierarchs Chapel. Subdeacon Valentine Olynyk and Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins (Church’s Vocations Director) greeted Metropolitan Antony (who was in attendance) and Vladyka Daniel at the entrance to the Seminary’s temple.
Following the Gospel readings of the day and standing before the congregation in attendance, Archbishop Daniel in his homily outlined the role of deacons in the church as not only to serve food as contained in the scriptures but serving the people food of life, which is the word of God. According to him, all clergy need to look back at the basic teachings of the Church by being involved in the works of mercy and that they should continue to preach hope for we are living in a troubled time.
“The service we are called to as deacons and priest totally differs from other services the world renders” the archbishop said. He challenged everyone in attendance to adhere to the call of holiness and to take full responsibility of living honest, just and virtuous lives because of the hostility of the current world environment and political circumstances.
Following the consecration of the Holy Gifts, in an ancient gesture, the archbishop laid his hands on the bowed head of subdeacon Valentine – prayerfully conferring the gift of the Holy Spirit. He offered a prayer of ordination, asking God to dedicate the subdeacon presented for Deaconate to the service of the Holy Church.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony greeted the newly-ordained Deacon Valentine, calling upon him to serve the Lord with love and dedication to the ministry of the Church. The metropolitan reflected upon the role of deacon Valentine’s grandfather and father, who prayerfully taught him to love and offer himself in the service of Christ and His flock.
In conclusion of the liturgical celebrations, the congregation in attendance was treated to a luncheon prepared in honor of Deacon Valentine and his family.
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan