In Memoriam: Archpriest Peter Pawlack

WARREN, OH [DOM Communications] – Today, April 19, 2021, the Very Reverend Archpriest Peter Pawlack fell asleep in the Lord.

Father Peter was born in Mayfield, PA the son of the late Julia (Hadginske) and Peter J. Pawlack. A younger sister and only sibling recently fell asleep in the Lord.

He graduated from (Eastside) New Jersey High School. He attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and subsequently transferred to Rider College (now Rider University) in Lawrenceville, NJ to continue his undergraduate studies. He received his undergraduate degree in Commerce and Industrial Management from Rider College. In the fall of 1962 he entered St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY.

In June of 1964 he and the former Barbara Rugala were married by the late V. Rev. Dimitri Ressetar, Rt. Rev. John Meyendorff and Very Rev. Paul Shafran in St. John’s Orthodox Church, Mayfield, PA.

On October 10,1964 Fr. Peter was ordained to the Holy Deaconate in St. Vladimir’s Seminary Chapel by the late Archbishop of San Francisco. Four months later on February 15th he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary in New York City by the late Archbishop Ireney of Boston. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in the spring of 1965 he was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Waterbury, CT.

While serving as pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Fr. Peter advocated the use of the English language in an era when Church Slavonic was still quite prevalent. He served as Spiritual Advisor to the Atlantic District Eastern Orthodox Christian Education Association and the Atlantic District FROC, Secretary of the Diocese of New England and University Chaplain for the New England Diocese.

He returned to St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 1967-68 and completed requirements for the Master of Divinity degree which was awarded in May of 1968.

In June of 1968, Fr. Peter was assigned to St. John the Baptist Church, Warren, Ohio where he served as pastor for 38 years.

During his pastorate at St. John’s Church, Fr. Peter has served as: Chairman of the Department of Church School Programs for the Chicago-Minneapolis Diocese, Member of the Midwest Diocesan Council, Member of St. Joseph Hospital’s Pastoral Advisory Council, Member of the Warren Police/Clergy Crisis Intervention Team and Vice-President of the Warren Clergy Association.

He has served as Secretary of the OCA Pension Board, Chairman of the Cleveland Deanery Publications Committee and was a member of the Howland Clergy Association.

Fr. Peter was elevated to Archpriest in 1977 and awarded the Jeweled Cross by the Synod of Bishops in 1990.

Prior to his retirement Fr. Peter served as Dean of the Ohio Deanery from 2004 to 2006. He retired from St. John the Baptist Church in August of 2006. During his retirement years he was a substitute priest as needed in parishes of the Ohio Deanery and for the last six years served Sunday Liturgy at the Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara of 56 years, two sons, Peter III and Gregory (Ruth Ann Bowers) and two grandchildren. His parents and only sister preceded him in death.

Fr. Peter’s earthly body will be received at Holy Transfiguration Monastery on Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. where he will lie in state in the monastery chapel until his burial on Friday.

Public services and visitation times begin Wednesday, April 21, with Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at 10:00 a.m., with visitations until 2:00 p.m. On Thursday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., a Panikhida will be served by the clergy, choir and faithful of St. John Orthodox Church (Warren, OH), with visitations until 8:00 p.m.

The Pre-sanctified Liturgy will be served Friday, April 23, at 9:00 a.m. with the funeral service and committal beginning at Noon.

Clergy and faithful who wish to attend any of the services are asked to call the monastery to make a reservation, (724) 758-4002. Attendance will be limited due to Covid restrictions. Masks and distancing will be required. All services will be streamed on the monastery YouTube channel, EllwoodCityChapel.

Final arrangements are by Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel,1884 North Road, Warren, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations to be sent to the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, 321 Monastery Lane, Ellwood City PA 16117.

May Father Peter’s memory be eternal.

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