In Memoriam: Dr. Stefanie Yova Yazge (SVOTS ’86)

Our alumna, Dr. Stefanie Yova Yazge, (M.A., Class of 1986), fell asleep in the Lord at her home in Greensburg, PA, on the morning of the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, Thursday, June 29. Wife of our alumnus Priest Anthony Yazge, who is Chair of Department of Camping for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and the Director of the Antiochian Village Camp, she is the mother of three children, Matthew, Mark, and Alexis.

Dr. Yazge contributed her time and talent to our seminary by serving as Secretary on the St. Vladimir’s Alumni Association Board from 2011–2016. She was a champion for women seminarians, publically advocating for both their theological education and their adequate campus housing. “She was a driving force, and the Alumni Board’s lead for the Women’s Dorm renovation project on campus,” said Alumnus Gregory Abdalah, who served as Chair of the Alumni Association Board during Dr. Yazge’s tenure on the board. Additionally, Dr. Yazge served on the Initiative Committee for Educational Outreach, a part of the Seminary’s 2010 Strategic Plan.

Dr. Yazge earned her Ph.D. from Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH, and a B.S. in Communications (Television/Communications) from Miami University, Oxford, OH. She most recently taught theology part-time at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, and at St. Vincent College, after serving ten years on the faculty of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, IN, as an Assistant Professor in the Theology Department. Additionally, she was a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Academy of Religion.

A published author, she wrote a number of articles, including a chapter on “St. Paula and the order of Widows” in SCV Vol. 2 of Encountering Women of Faith (2010), and gave a presentation on that same topic at the Virginia Festival of the Book, at the University of Virginia. She was a popular retreat leader as well, and among the venues at which she spoke was the “Mother Alexandra Memorial Lecture at Holy Transfiguration Monastery,” Ellwood City, PA (2012), presenting the topic: "Building Relationships or Building Walls?—Making our Communities a Haven of Salvation." 

Dr. Yazge also participated in international theological meetings, for example, the conference at the Theological Academy of Volos, Greece, sponsored by the World Council of Churches, at which 44 Orthodox women from 16 countries gathered (2008). Nationally, she served as Committee Coordinator for the annual Pan-Orthodox Clergy Wives Weekend held at the Antiochian Village, and locally, she was the choir director at St. Michael's parish in Greensburg.

A native of Akron, Ohio, she was the daughter of the late Protodeacon Paul and Silvia Yova. Her sister, Valerie, is now the Parish Administrator and Director of Music at St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Goleta, California, and her brother, Gregory, is the founder of Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Khouriya Stefanie’s husband, Fr. Anthony, and her children, Matthew, Mark, and Alexis, and her siblings, Valerie and Gregory. Memory Eternal.