Bishop Paul presides at 50th Anniversary of Christ the Saviour Church, Byesville, OH
BYESVILLE, OH [MW Diocese Communications] — In 1967, the faithful of Saint Michael Church, Robins, OH and Saints Peter and Paul Church, Lore City, OH combined to start a new parish in Byesville, OH: Christ the Saviour Church. The parish celebrated its 50th anniversary and over 100 years of Orthodoxy in Guernsey County with a visit from His Grace, Bishop Paul on May 19-21.
Visitors came from as far away as New Hampshire to attend the services and events, which commenced with the celebration of a Panikhida for the departed of the last 100 years on Friday, May 19. Before Saturday evening’s Great Vesper service, Bishop Paul and the parish faithful engaged in an inspiring, hopeful discussion about the parish’s future.
On the Sunday of the Blind Man, May 21, Bishop Paul celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, during which the first ordinations in Christ the Saviour’s half-century history were held. John Fedorko was tonsured to the order of Reader, while Reader Gary Vaselenak was ordained to the Subdiaconate. Bishop Paul also awarded the kamilavka to Priest Benjamin Johnson, Priest-in-Charge. He then presented a special gramota to the entire membership of Christ the Saviour parish in recognition of their anniversary.
Bp. Paul awards a grammota to the faithful of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church. Pictured: Subdn. Timothy Nixon, Fr. Daniel Rentel, Fr. Stephen Frase, (and Fr. Benjamin Johnson,Johnny Barba, Bishop Paul, Subdn. Gary Vaselenak, Reader John Fedorko, Brendan Larrison, Dn. Luke Uhrin, Evan Degenhart, Alexander Johnson, Sebastian Johnson).
Concelebrating with Bishop Paul and Father Benjamin were Archpriest Daniel Rentel, Priest Stephen Frase, Deacon Luke Uhrin and Subdeacon Timothy Nixon. Faithful and friends who had moved elsewhere over the years also returned for the joyous anniversary celebration.
“The common description of Christ the Saviour is that ‘it’s dead,’” Bishop Paul related in his words of encouragement to the faithful. “But you’re still here, and you’re not in any danger of having your doors closed.” He encouraged the faithful to cultivate a sense of being “cut to the heart” so that they will always put Christ first in their lives.
On Sunday afternoon, the anniversary banquet was held at Southgate Hotel, Cambridge, OH. Bishop Paul; Fathers Daniel, Stephen, and Benjamin; and John Fedorko spoke about the sacrifices of their immigrant forebears, the parish’s positive present situation, and their hopes for the parish’s bright future. John Fedorko called up some of the parish’s young people, who may be present at the church’s 100th anniversary. One of them, Muskingum University pre-med student Johnny Barba, also spoke on what the church had meant in his young life and how it equipped him with the proper care and flexibility to serve others in the medical profession.