Bishop Mark Ordains Seminarians at Festal Liturgy

February 3, 2011 • Deborah (Malacky) BelonickHis Grace Mark with the Bozeman and Avant families.His Grace Mark with the Bozeman and Avant families.

During the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord into the Temple, The Right Reverend Mark, bishop of Baltimore and administrator of the Diocese of the South of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), ordained seminarians Dn. Photius Avant to the Holy Priesthood and James Bozeman to the Holy Diaconate. In his remarks following the service, His Grace recounted all the charateristics of the priesthood contained in the prayer for ordination—purity of heart, evangelical fervor, love of Holy Scripture, and joy in liturgical celebration—and urged the newly ordained and their families to imitate these traits.

Thus far this academic year, five of our seminarians have been ordained. A quick overview of their fascinating biographies reveals how Christ calls men of diverse backgrounds to grow into the image of the True Shepherd, in the unity of one Body.

Father Photius AvantFather Photius AvantFATHER PHOTIUS AVANT
Educational and Professional Background: B.A. Literature, University of North Texas • Secondary (grades 6–12) English Literature and Composition teacher in Texas for six years.
Student status: 3rd-year student, M.Div. program SVOTS
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Diaconate: 25 March 2010,Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Beatitude Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Priesthood: 3 February 2011, Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Mark, bishop of Baltimore and administrator of the Diocese of the South (OCA)
Current church service: Seminarian parish placement, Holy Trinity Church,Yonkers, New York, The Very Rev. Yaroslav Sudick, rector.
Biographical note: After graduating from the University of North Texas, Dn. Photius began his career as a public school teacher. His conversion to Orthodox Christianity from Roman Catholicism at the age of 23 sparked an interest in serving the Church. His wife, Carissa, is a Certified Public Accountant, and they have three children, Isaak, Genevieve, and Ian Patrick.

 

Dn. James Bozeman with Bishop MarkDn. James Bozeman with Bishop MarkDEACON JAMES BOZEMAN
Educational and Professional Background: B.S. Broadcast Communication, Toccoa Falls College • Furniture Builder for 15 years, Project Manager and Assistant to VP of Design at Habersham Furniture • Musician • Free-lance Graphic Designer
Student status:   2nd-year student, M.Div. program SVOTS
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Diaconate: 3 February 2011, Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Grace Mark, bishop of Baltimore and administrator of the Diocese of the South (OCA)
Ordination Holy Priesthood: Currently a deacon, attached to Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York
Current church service: Resident Assistant for Married Students at SVOTS Lakeside Apartments • Prior to seminary: Reader and parish council member at St. Timothy Orthodox Church, Toccoa, Georgia, The Very Rev. Jacob Kulp, rector.
Biographical note: After graduating from Toccoa Falls College, Dn. James pursued the dual life of a musician-carpenter. By accident, he discovered his aptitude for furniture building, and he then left behind his training in broadcasting to pursue furniture craft as a career. Simultaneously, the band in which he played guitar, Luxury, was able to secure a record deal with a Seattle-based record company, which led to several years spent seeking musical success. Thanks to his bandmates, Christopher Foley and his brother Lee Bozeman, he and his wife discovered the Orthodox Church. After becoming involved serving at his local parish, St. Timothy Orthodox Church in Toccoa, Georgia, Dn. James discerned a greater calling to serve the Church. Supporting him at SVOTS are his wife, Katie, and their two sons, Alex and Gabriel.

 

Fr. Maximus Cabey with Metropolitan JonahFr. Maximus Cabey with Metropolitan JonahFATHER MAXIMUS CABEY
Educational and Professional Background: B.A. in Theology and Mental Health and Human Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville • Teacher of religion and psychology at the high school level in Kalamazoo, Michigan • High School Youth ministry, 4 years • Marketing/Trade show coordinator, small manufacturing company in Michigan • Personal Injury Adjuster and Total Loss Auto Claims Adjuster for State Farm Insurance
Student status: 3rd-year student, M.Div. program SVOTS
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Diaconate: 20 February 2010, Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Beatitude Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Priesthood: 14 September 2010, Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Beatitude Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Current church service: Seminarian parish placement at Holy Transfiguration Church, New Haven, Connecticut, The Very Rev. Michael Westerberg, rector
Biographical note: Raised as a Roman Catholic and originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Fr. Maximus immigrated to the U.S. in 1988. Always sensing a call to be a pastor and teacher, he has been involve d in pastoral ministry in one form or another for the past 23 years. After becoming an Orthodox Christian and marrying, Fr. Maximus felt a renewal of Christ’s call for him to be a pastor and teacher. After three years of prayer and planning, Fr. Maximus and his wife, Photini, moved from Michigan to New York where he enrolled at the Seminary. Mat. Photini works as a customer service representative for a company in nearby Elmsford, New York.

 

DEACON JOHN W. CULBREATDn. John Culbreath-FrazierDn. John Culbreath-FrazierH-FRAZIER
Educational and Professional B ackground:  B.A. in Pyschology and Certificate of Family Ministry at Lenoir-Rhyne College (University) in Hickory, North Carolina • Attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary • Various Human Services jobs, including Teacher/Counselor at Sipe's Orchard Home in Conover, North Carolina, and Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk, North Carolina
Student status: 3rd-year, M.Div. program SVOTS
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Diaconate: 14 September 2010, Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, New York, by His Beatitude Jonah, primate of the Orthod ox Church in America (OCA)
Ordination Holy Priesthood: Currently a deacon, attached to Three Hierarchs Chapel, St. Vladimir's Seminary• By the Grace of God, to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood 12 March 2011, by His Grace Seraphim Sigrist, former bishop of Sendai (OCA)
Current church service: Seminarian parish placement at St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church, Wappingers Falls, New York, The Very Rev. Alexis Vinogradov, rector and The Rev. Dr. Michael Plekon • SVOTS Community Church School & Kids' Cafe Coordinator.
Biographical note: Dn. John was born and raised in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He met his wife, Mandy, at Lenoir-Rhyne, through their membership in the Church and because of their mutual interest in community service. Dn. John was received into the Orthodox Church at Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He completed a Clinical Pastoral Education internship and is pursuing CPE residency to be a full-time hospital chaplain.

 

FAFr. Michael SakranFr. Michael SakranTHER MICHAEL SAKRAN
Educational and Professional Background: B.A. History and Religious Studies, University of Houston • Diploma in Orthodox Theology, St. Stephen’s Course • U.S. Marine Corps 1998–2002 • Mortgage Loan Officer 2002–2005
Student status: 3rd-year, M.Div. program SVOTS
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA)
Ordination Holy Diaconate: 13 November 2009, St. George Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas, by His Grace Basil, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (AOCANA)
Ordination Holy Priesthood: 12 November 2010 at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas, by His Grace Basil, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (AOCANA)
Current church service: Seminarian parish placement at St. John the Forerunner Antiochian Orthodox Church, Levittown, New York, The Rev. George Makhlouf, rector
Biographical note: After completing one semester of college, Fr. Michael enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was eventually stationed in Quantico, Virginia. Having served honorably for four years, he was discharged in 2002 from active duty. While finishing up his history degree at the University of Houston, two providential events occurred: he discerned a call to the ordained ministry and he met his future wife, Melanie (Moore). After college, Fr. Michael worked as the full-time youth director at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas, before enrolling at St. Vladimir’s. Fr. Michael and Kh. Melanie are blessed with twin sons, Michael and Gabriel. At the Seminary, Dn. Michael not only actively participates in the Byzantine choir, but in his spare time, he teaches a martial arts class to some of the children on campus.

View a gallery of photos of the ordinations of Fr. Photius and Dn. James (Photos: Deborah Belonick)

View a slideshow of the ordinations of Fr. Photius and Dn. James (Slideshow: Tatiana Hoff)