AXIOS! Subdeacon Evan O’Neil is Ordained to Deaconate
By Subdeacon Michael Kapeluck Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan
This past weekend saw an auspicious occasion in the life of the parish of St Peter and St Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, PA - the ordination of a deacon. On Saturday, September 16th, by the Grace of God and the laying on of hands by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Subdeacon Cliff O'Neil was ordained into the order of the diaconate as Deacon Evan (Clifford) O'Neil, a graduate of St Sophia Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ.
Divine Liturgy began with the greeting of Archbishop Daniel by the pastor of the parish, Very Reverend Father Steve Repa, president of the parish’s board of administration Howard West and the parish youth. Concelebrating with Archbishop Daniel were Very Reverend Father Steve Repa of St Peter and St Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Carnegie, PA; Very Reverend Father Robert Popichak of Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Parish of Slickville, PA; and Reverend Father Paisius McGrath of St Peter and St Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Lyndora, PA; subdeacon Paul O'Neil and several seminarians from St Sophia Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ: Subdeacon mykola Zomcha, Ihor Protsak, Ivan Venhryn and Yaroslav Bilohan. Liturgical responses were song by the Paris choir led by choir director, Cynthia Mycyk.
The proceedings were truly beautiful as fellow parishioners watched the results of Deacon Evan's hard work come to fruition. As always Archbishop Daniel gave a inspiring sermon, giving fatherly advice to subdeacon Cliff and all those present to first and foremost show Christ's love to each other and to everyone we encounter.
As the seminarians led subdeacon Cliff from the back of the church to Archbishop before the Lord's Prayer, many parishioners had tears in the eyes, participating in subdeacon Cliff's anticipation and joy. The whole movement came to a crescendo as Archbishop Daniel began vesting our new Deacon, exclaiming with each piece of clothing, "Axios!" The entire choir and congregation exuberantly responded in kind, "Axios!".
The Liturgy concluded with Archbishop Daniel presenting Deacon Evan to the congregation and asking him to address the congregation. Deacon Evan gave heartfelt thanks to all who helped him come to this point of his life, especially his wife Alice who gave him the encouragement and strength to continue even during the most difficult moments.
After the Liturgy all in attendance adjourned to the beautifully decorated parish hall where everyone enjoyed fellowship and a sumptuous meal.