It will take me some time to write this page. So please be patient.

My church life can probably be divided into Roman Catholic, Byzantine Rite Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox. But such a division would be artificial since once I was exposed to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, my life as a Western Rite Catholic did change to a certain extent.

Roman Catholic, Western Rite

From the fourth grade through high school I was more or less considered a member of St. Martin Catholic Church because I went to the school. I did not always go to Mass there. However, at the time I did not have a concept of belonging to a parish. I generally went to Mass at St. Gabriel when I lived near Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church, and at St. Aloysius or Holy Redeemer when I lived near downtown. Both churches were about the same distance from where I lived during high school. If I attended daily Mass, it was always at St. Aloysius because the time was more appropriate for my life style at the time. I would attend Holy Redeemer because they had high Mass. Some times I would walk down to St. Patrick for a solemn High Mass.

Often I would pass St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church in the evening and the priests would be outside enjoying the weather. In residence there was Bishop John McNamara and I got to know him.

As a Western Rite Catholic, I was never involved in a parish life. When I was in college, I belonged to the Sodality at college during my first year but dropped out of that and the altar servers in my second year. In my third year I rarely attended Mass. Much of this was due to Vatican II but some of it was due to the Cathlicism was being fed to us and I did not accept it and I still do not accept that method today. It was during this time that I began to reject the infallability of the Bishop of Rome and also the concept of mortal sin. I had no problem with murder being a mortal sin, but eating meat on Friday? Give me a break! God loves us so much that He died for us and then will condemn us to hell for all eternity because we had meat on a Friday?

Byzantine Rite Catholic

When I left college, I became a member of St. Gregory Byzantine Rite Catholic Church and in time officially changed rites. In time I considered myself to be Orthodox under Rome. Now, I know that many Orthodox people have a problem with this, but these people have never been in our situation. Politically I was under Rome, but I did not accept many of the doctrines that Rome was promulgating.

After I got married, I moved to New Hampshire, God's country. I loved it there. I attended both St. Joseph Melkite Catholic Church in Lawrence MA and Our Lady of the Cedars in Manchester NH. I think that we considered the former our parish. Ruth taught church school there.

While living in New Hampshire I had the opportunity of getting to know some wonderful people. One of them was Fr. Fred Saato, a Melkite Catholic priest who was at my ordination. He also came to my college graduation party. One of the women at the party was after him until somebody told her that he is a Catholic priest.

Another person was Archbishop Joseph Tawill. He was a very gentle man and I think loved by all. During a pastoral visit a woman told me that her father was in the hospital and that afternoon he went to the hospital to visit her.

Ruth left me the year that I graduated from college. Finding a decent job was almost impossible since I had a college degree but was completing with people with doctorate degrees for many entry level jobs. Eventually I entered the United States Air Force.

Eastern Orthodox

Once I entered the Air Force, I considered myself to be Orthodox. On Sundays during the first three weeks of Basic Training, which I usually call "Basic Harassment," we had to go to service and it had to be either Catholic or Protestant. We had no choice. So I went to the Catholic service, but I did not feel as if I were at church. On the third week I complained to the chapel guide that I wanted to go to the Orthodox service and he advised me to ask the chaplain who was outside and I did. He replied, "I see no reason why not" and I was on my way.

When I got to the chapel, I told Captain Gregory Pelesh, Chaplain, that I was then Byzantine Rite Catholic and wanted to be Orthodox. Three weeks later he officially received me into the Church.

Whenever possible, I sang in the choir. I also took many photographs for my parish. Finally in February 1982 I returned to Washington DC.

First I attended St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church, just five minutes by foot from where I lived. But because of their policy of infrequent Communion, I then started going to St. Nicholas Cathedral. I was immediately accepted by the congregation and when I needed to find two sponsors in order to become a member of the parish, it took me less than five minutes.

One Sunday morning I was talking with Subdeacon Larry and told him that I wanted to learn how to serve so that I can fill in when needed. As we were yet talking, somebody came down and said, "Larry, we have a bishop, two priests, a deacon, and no altar servers." Larry told me, "Grab a robe and let's go." I did not know that I was supposed to get a blessing to serve. I just followed directions.

The people in the parish loved it and from that time until my ordination, I was an altar server. On Sunday 7 December 1986 I was tonsured a reader by Metropolitan THEODOSIUS.

On my birthday, 19 July, in 1989 I received my acceptance letter from St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary and in September I started my MDiv program at there. I was also in the Air Force Reserves and my military job was chapel manager. After receiving the letter, I went to Henry Sawchuk, president of St. Nicholas Cathedral, and told him that I will be attending the seminary and I would appreciate any help that the parish can give me. The parish paid $1,000 a semester for three years for my education.

Upon graduation, I had no place to go and no money. So the seminary allowed me to stay there for a year in order to get myself together.

The following year I moved to Baltimore. I belonged to St. Andrew Orthodox Church for about ten years and eventually came over to Holy Trinity. When Bishop MERCURIUS learned that he had a seminary graduate in the parish, he told Fr. Michael Clancy to have me petition for ordination and I did.

In time I was ordained a deacon. Bishop THOMAS deserves some of the credit for this and so does Fr. Theodoros of St. Mary Antiochian Church.

Shortly before my ordination Beth was in Italy and Anna was in Ireland. Both were at the ordination and his was such a source of joy for me. Anna and I were classmates in the seminary and Beth was like family. Teresa had planned to take a train from New York to Washington DC for my ordination. Some people thought that it would take place in Washington DC. I refer to Washington's St. Nicholas Cathedral as "my cathedral" since every Bishop is supposed to have a cathedral.

Shortly after my ordination we had a diocesan convocation in Detroit which I attended. I again return for a conference of the Saint Moses Society. I also attended Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry convocations in Saint Louis, Toronto, and Minneapolis. A parish in St. Louis MO brought me out to meet with a black minister who is thinking about becoming Orthodox and bringing his parish with him.

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