Seminarian Community Prays for Repose of Metropolitan Nicholas

The spiritual leader of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A., Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko), reposed in the Lord on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 13th, 2011. He was 75 years old.

funeral of metropolitan nicholasThe relationship between Metropolitan Nicholas and the Byzantine Catholic Seminary has deep roots. He worked patiently to heal division between Christians, and he worked with particular sensitivity to heal division between Christians of common Carpatho-Russian heritage and tradition. Part of that work was his ongoing personal friendship with the Seminary and its Staff.

Those who remember the first time he attended Vespers at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, remember well that even the chapel bells gave more than their usual glory to God in celebration of the occasion. Due to some electrical malfunction or perhaps the hand of God, when they began to peal, no one could stop them for nearly an hour. This is one story among many now heard in the Seminary halls as the community remembers and mourns the passing of Metropolitan Nicholas.

funeral of metropolitan nicholasKeenly feeling the loss of this special friend, the seminary faculty, staff, seminarians and students, together with the Consultors of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, gathered after lunch on Monday, March 14, to offer their prayers to God for the departed Metropolitan Nicholas and to remember him fondly.  Using a censor that he had given the Seminary, Very Rev. Eugene P. Yackanich, Administrator of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, led the heartfelt Panachida Service for the repose, forgiveness, and eternal life of Metropolitan Nicholas.

Fr. Eugene and Fr. John G. Petro, rector of the Seminary, offered some remembrances. Fr. John reminded the community that Metropolitan Nicholas had given this censor to the Seminary on the occasion of the visit of the seminarians from Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown. Metropolitan Nicholas remarked at the time that “this censor should be a sign of our common prayer rising to God.” On this day, at his passing, a common prayer rises to God for him.

As the Panachida ended, the chapel bells tolled again for Metropolitan Nicholas – this time more slowly.

In blessed repose, grant, O Lord, eternal rest and peaceful repose to your departed servant, Metropolitan Nicholas, and remember him forever.

John Russell
MAT Student in Theology

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