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Fr Steven Belonick, blessed repose

7 Aug
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Archpriest Steven John Belonick reposed in the Lord Jesus Christ on August 7, 2019, after an extended illness, acute myeloid leukemia. He was 67 years old.Born October 7, 1951, and raised in New Britain, CT, he was the only son of Steven and Ann (née Kochanowsky) Belonick. He was a graduate of Laurel Crest Preparatory School (1969), and he earned degrees at the University of Connecticut (B.A. in Biology, 1974) and at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY (M.Div., 1977). He also completed a two-year program in pastoral counseling at Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center, Syracuse, NY (Certificate, 1992).

On September 3, 1978, he married Deborah Malacky, also a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, who became his lifelong partner and support in ministry. Father Steven was ordained to the diaconate, March 25, 1979, by His Grace Boris (Geeza), bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America (OCA); he was ordained to the priesthood, May 19, 1979, by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor), administrator of the OCA. Both ordinations took place in Three Hierarchs Chapel at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Prior to his ordination Father Steven had been inspired to become a pastor by meditating upon his favorite Bible passage, John 21:15–17, in which the Lord instructs his disciple Peter, who professes his steadfast love for Him, to “feed My sheep.” Taking guidance from that passage and seeking to fulfill the Lord’s directive to the best of his ability, Father Steven served three parishes of the OCA as their pastor and shepherd, with zealous love for each flock: The Orthodox Christian Church of the Holy Transfiguration, Pearl River, NY (1979–1983); Dormition of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Binghamton, NY (1983–2000); and Holy Ghost Russian Orthodox Church, Bridgeport, CT (2013–2017).

Additionally Father Steven became a beloved pastor and trusted confessor for many students attending St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, where he worked in various capacities from 2000–2013: Director of Recruitment and Alumni and Public Relations; Dean of Students; and Chaplain. As a final testimony to his dedication in shepherding souls, he availed himself even to the aides, nurses, and hospital workers who sought his pastoral wisdom occasionally, taking an interest in their joys and sorrows and lending a listening ear.

Besides his pastoral work, Father Steven served as co-founder and co-editor, along with his wife, Deborah, of Jacob’s Well, the official publication of the Diocese of NY and NJ, OCA. He also served in a volunteer capacity on various committees and in various departments under the central administration of the OCA: the Department of Lay Ministry, the Department of Pastoral Life and Ministry, the Liturgical Commission, and the Ethics Commission. As well, also within the central church, he chaired a task force to develop a professional assistance program for clergy and their families and for full-time church workers. Additionally he was involved in an initial study of the OCA to address issues of clergy sexual misconduct. He also acted as co-editor for a very popular book filled with Lenten meditations, A Journey through Great Lent.

As Father Steven passes from death to eternal life, he leaves behind on earth his beloved family: his wife, Deborah; his two sons, Paul (Alexandra) and Daniel (Jennifer Mary), and his grandson, Steven Leland; his sister, Cynthia (Salvatore); and his father, Steven, along with in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, and an uncle that was part of his household growing up, John Kochanowski.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Adzima Funeral Home, Stratford, CT. Calling hours and services will take place at St. Dimitrie Orthodox Church, 504 Sport Hill Road, Easton, CT. Burial will take place at St. Tikhon‘s Monastery Cemetery, St. Tikhon‘ s Road, South Canaan, PA, beginning with a short Panikhida. A light repast will follow. Dates and times will be posted as they are received.

Father Steven expresses his great thanks to all his caretakers: Dr. David Witt, his oncologist and Susanna Cronmiller, APRN, along with all the nurses and aides on the 7th floor oncology unit at Bridgeport Hospital; his family members who undertook the loving task of caring for him during time spent at home in hospice: his sister, Cynthia; his two cousins, Barbara Selarz and Kathleen Santa Maria; and his wife and sons. Additionally he is grateful for pastoral care provided by fellow clergy, especially His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the OCA, Fr. John Jillions, Fr. Steven Voytovich, his current father confessor, Fr. Adrian Budica and the Spiritual Care Unit at Bridgeport Hospital, and Fr. Michael Westerberg. In particular he is indebted to Fr. Paul Lazor who served as his father confessor and mentor for decades, and with whom he developed a lasting bond of friendship. He also thanks his in-laws Barry and Libby Taylor, and all other friends and family members for their love, support, and encouragement during his long illness.

Because he had suffered and understood the devastating effects of cancer, and because of his gentle care for the children under his pastoral guidance over the years, it was Father Steven’s wish that donations in his memory be made to St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, 800-822-6344.

May Father Steven’s memory be eternal!

(courtesy of the OCA website)

 

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Fr Steven at his retirement dinner in 2017.

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Father Stephen with nurses from Griffin Hospital

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Fr Steven teaching the church school students at summer camp. 2016

Annual Picnic

7 Jul

Fr John served his first Divine Liturgy at Holy Ghost’s park grounds in Shelton on Sunday, June 30th.  It was a beautiful day filled with delicious food and great fellowship.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this picnic another success!

 

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Christ is Risen!

28 Apr

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior‟s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

PASCHAL SERMON OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

 

Surprise Visit from Metropolitan Tikhon

25 Mar

Holy Ghost Church had a surprise visit from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon yesterday. Met Tikhon was on his way back from Boston where he was visiting His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon, who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. With Abp Nikon’s blessing, His Beatitude stopped in Bridgeport to attend the Divine Liturgy for the Second Sunday of Great Lent. At the end of the Liturgy he spoke briefly about his family history in New England (his ancestors go back to the 1620’s in Massachusetts) and encouraged everyone to find ways to integrate their Orthodox faith and their family backgrounds, wherever they come from. Orthodox Christianity is not just for people of “Eastern” origins! He held the Cross for parishioners to venerate and then after the Liturgy he had a tour of the church and saw its famous coronation bells and iconostasis, donated by Tsar Nicholas II in 1898. Rich Jankura led us up the into the bellower and explained the history. His Beatitude also saw the street ministry group in action preparing meatball sandwiches for the homeless. Later  Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr John visited Fr Steven Belonick (and Mat Deb) in Bridgeport Hospital. What an unexpected blessing it was to have His Beatitude visit us. May God grant him many years. Eis polla eti Despota!

 

Great Lent Schedule

10 Mar

Schedule of Services for Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha 2019
Fr John will generally be available to hear Confessions 1 hour before mid-week services
and on Saturdays after Vespers (but check the schedule).

Holy Week and Pascha

 

Great and Holy Monday, April 22, 2019 – 7:00 pm
Bridegroom Matins, St George, Trumbull
Great and Holy Tuesday, April 23, 2019  – 5:00 pm Confessions
6:00 pm Bridegroom Matins

Great and Holy Wednesday, April 24, 2019  –  5:00 pm Confessions

6:00 pm Bridegroom Matins and Anointing

Great and Holy Thursday, April 25, 2019 –  9:00 am Vesperal Liturgy

6:00 pm Matins and 12 Passion Gospels

Great and Holy Friday April 26, 2019 –  2:00 pm Vespers with Burial of the Lord
6:00 pm Matins of Lamentations

Great and Holy Saturday April 27, 2019  –  9:00 am Vesperal Liturgy with Readings
Paschal Midnight Service 11:00 pm Nocturnes, Procession, Matins and Divine Liturgy of Pascha

Holy Pascha, April 28, 2019 –  12:00 pm Vespers of Pascha

Blessing of Easter Baskets will take place on Holy Saturday morning after the Divine
Liturgy; after the midnight Liturgy on Pascha night; and after Paschal Vespers.

Thank you to St George!

6 Jan

This Sunday the parishes of Holy Ghost and St George came together for divine liturgy.  The Feast of Theophany was held at St George in Trumbull with Fr John Jillions presiding.  Parishoners of Holy Ghost were kindly welcomed by the members of St George.  A notable sermon was given by Fr John that recalled of the history of the two churches coming together in the past.  Thank you St George for a memorable liturgy!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

25 Dec

St Nicholas Sacks

4 Dec

This past Sunday the Holy Ghost community came together to fill 50 “St Nicholas Sacks” provided by FOCUS, for those in need in the surrounding towns.  Items such as toothpaste, tissues, and washcloths were stuffed in reusable canvas totes.  Church school children provided cards and parishoners donated items for the sacks.  The totes will be distributed in the coming weeks before Christmas.  Thank you to young and old who helped!

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St Nicholas Sacks

28 Oct

This Christmas season, Holy Ghost Church will partner with FOCUS North America, an Orthodox organization, aimed at providing action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities, and deliver “St Nicholas Sacks.”     Sacks will be filled with various hygiene essentials such as toothpaste, tissues, and deodorant, as well as toys and games.  Fifty sacks will be assembled and delivered to those in need in the surrounding communities.  All are welcomed to contribute and participate in this first partnership with FOCUS.  We look forward to spreading some cheer to those in need!

25th Annual Benefit Banquet

29 Aug

The 25th Annual FORCC Benefit Banquet will be held on Sunday, October 7th at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, Park Ave., Bridgeport beginning at 1:00 P.M.  This year’s speaker is Father (Dr.) George Parsenios.  Father George is a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. The title of his presentation will be “Holy Tradition & the Greatest Commandment:  Everyday Life & Our Orthodox Faith”.  For tickets, see Rich or Mary Ann Kendall, our FORCC representatives. (Tickets are not available at the door.)

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