Five Seminarians Ordained to Holy Orders in May

May 2014 • Ordinations • Danbury, CT and Yonkers, NY 

In a fitting culmination to the 2013–2014 Academic Year, five St. Vladimir's seminarians in the Master of Divinity program were ordained to the Holy Diaconate and the Holy Priesthood in the month of May. (Photo credits: Rami Dahdal, Leanne Parrott Photography)

Dn. Gabriel and Shamassy GabriellaDn. Gabriel and Shamassy Gabriella

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Deacon Gabriel Tannous, Amman, Jordan and Spring, TX

Student status  Third Year, Antiochian Archdiocese of North America

Ordination  Holy Diaconate, May 11 2014, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Danbury, CT., by The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas (Ozone), auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn  of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, assisted by the parish rector and SVOTS alumnus, The Very Rev. Fr. George Alberts

Educational and Professional Background  Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, May 2006: Bachelor of Arts in International Politics, Minors in Business and Middle Eastern Studies; sales executive; employee for his father’s business

Biographical note  One of 6 children, Dn. Gabriel was born as “Jabra” in Amman, Jordan, and moved with his family to the U.S. as a child. His parents grew up as Palestinian refugees in Amman, Jordan, after their parents fled Palestine following World War II.

In the 2013–2014 school year, Dn. Gabriel has served the community of St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church in Poughkeepsie, NY, with The Very Rev. Hisham Nimri. He married Gabriella Mobayed of Sugarland, TX on June 16th, 2013 In St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church in Spring, TX, and has participated as a member of the Student Council during the 2013–2014 school year. This summer, he will be an assistant to Bishop Nicholas, who works at the Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

As a 14 year old at St. Philip Orthodox Church in Souderton, PA, my priest Fr. Boniface Black suggested that I consider the priesthood. The thought never escaped my mind, and eventually penetrated my heart one evening many years later in my Houston parish, when I noticed that I was closer to the age of my priest Fr. Anthony Baba, than I was to the age of the altar boys!

Fr. Kyle, Mat. Leanne, and SophieFr. Kyle, Mat. Leanne, and Sophie 

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Father Kyle Parrott, Calgary, Alberta

Student status Class of 2014, Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Ordination  Holy Priesthood, May 25, 2014, Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, NY, by His Grace The Right Rev. Michael, bishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (OCA), with SVOTS Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, The Rev. David Cowan, The Rev. Dr. David Meyzinski, and Protodeacon John Eby assisting

Educational and Professional Background  Bachelor of Arts in History and Minor Greek and Roman Studies: University of Calgary; sales and marketing 

Biographical note  Father Kyle spent his early years in the Anglican church before becoming active in several Evangelical churches. His interest in missions led him to participate in short–term outreach in Grenada (in the Caribbean) and in Uruguay. He has been serving at the Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers, NY (Orthodox Church in America) under the guidance of Rector The Rev. David Cowan. The Parrotts' daughter Sophia was born in 2011 at the beginning of Dn. Kyle's studies. Matushka Leanne is a gifted photographer and has chronicled many events for the St. Vladimir's Website.

It was my university studies that caused me to question my own Christian tradition and to look at other churches. Eventually my inquiries led to my entry into the Orthodox Church, along with Leanne, the young woman I married in 2008. After our wedding, we embraced parish life at Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut Church in Calgary; I served as a Reader and Mat. Leanne directed the choir, and we both taught Church School. During a time of personal reevaluation we decided to "take the plunge" and come to St. Vladimir's Seminary. 

Dn. Joshua, Mat. Heather, and TabithaDn. Joshua, Mat. Heather, and Tabitha 

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Deacon Joshua Trant, Dallas, TX

Student status   Third Year, Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Ordination  Holy Diaconate, May 29, 2014, The Ascension of our Lord, in Three Hierarchs Chapel at St. Vladimir's Seminary by His Beatitude The Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Educational and Professional Background B.A. in Intercultural Studies from Houghton College, 1999–2003; Language Surveyor, Wycliffe Bible Translators, 2005–2006 (South Asia); Eighth Grade English teacher, 2009–2012

Biographical note   Before attending seminary, Joshua worked as a field linguist for Wycliffe Bible Translators in South Asia and then as an eighth grade English teacher in Dallas, Texas. While living and working in Dallas, Joshua and his wife Heather attended the St. Seraphim Cathedral. In August 2013, The Trants welcomed the newest member of their family, Tabitha.

An elderly deacon once told me, "It's only after you receive the grace of the Holy Spirit that you are pronounced worthy." Life in the Church is like that: the Spirit acts in our life, and we are made worthy to receive. Thankfully, we never begin our ministry alone; the Spirit always precedes us, making our paths straight and our ministry fruitful.

I have felt the support of the faculty, clergy, and especially my confessor these past two years at St. Vladimir's. Not a blind support, as if ordination had always been a foregone conclusion, but rather exhortation stemming from a desire to see one who felt God's calling persist along a difficult, but ultimately joyful, path. 

 Fr. Alessandro, Mat. Anna, and LucaFr. Alessandro, Mat. Anna, and Luca

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Father Alessandro Margheritino, Palermo, Italy and Columbus, OH

Student status  Class of 2014, Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Ordination  Holy Priesthood, May 29, 2014, The Ascension of our Lord, in Three Hierarchs Chapel at St. Vladimir's Seminary by His Beatitude The Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Educational and Professional Background  B.A. in International Relations – Political Science from the University of Palermo, Italy; Short-term missions with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Albania, Kenya, and Louisiana

Biographical note  Born and raised in Palermo, Italy, Fr. Alessandro hails from Ohio, where he is a faithful member of St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church (OCA) in Columbus with rector The Rev. Matthew Moriak. He has served as the president of Student Council and is married to Anna, an iconographer originally from Moscow, Russia. Father Alessandro and Anna recently became the proud parents of their first son, Luca Aleksandrovich, born at the beginning of April. He will return next fall as a Th.M. student when he plans to write his thesis on the concept of oikonomia in the canonical tradition. He has been ministering at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in New Haven, CT this school year.

St. Vladimir's forms us with theological, liturgical and pastoral training. But no matter how "prepared" you might feel, when led to the Altar through the Holy Doors, standing before the Holy Gifts for the first time, you feel a great sense of unworthiness. Then you realize more than ever that it is only with God's grace and the prayers of the faithful that you can begin your ministry. 

 Dn. Theodor, Mat. Hanne, and SimonDn. Theodor, Mat. Hanne, and Simon

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Deacon Theodor Svane, Bergen, Norway

Student status  Third Year, Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarch

Ordination  Holy Diaconate, June 1, 2014, Three Hierarchs Chapel at St. Vladimir's Seminary, by Archbishop Job of Telmessos, with chapel clergy assisting

Educational and Professional Background  Bachelor of Civil Engineering: Bergen University College, Norway; Bachelor of Christian Studies: NLA University College, Norway; Master of Christian Studies: NLA University College, Norway; Work experience as Consulting Civil Engineer in Norway

Biographical note  Before coming to the U.S. and St. Vladimir's, Dn. Theodor worked for several years as a Consulting Civil Engineer in a major consulting firm in Bergen Norway. He has been married to Hanne Louise for 11 years this June and together they have one son, Simon Johan. They plan to go back to Norway to do missionary work after finishing their stay in the U.S.