In Memoriam: Mitchell Zunich

With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the repose of St. Vladimir’s Seminary Trustee Emeritus Mitchell Zunich. Zunich, 93, died on the Feast of Holy Pascha, Sunday, April 19, at his home at St. Mary of the Woods Assisted Living in Avon, OH.

Zunich was born May 10, 1926 in Lorain, OH. He served with the US Army during World War II in the 357th Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division. During his service, he participated in the battles of Rhineland and Central Europe and received the European-African-Middle-Eastern Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, a WWII Victory Medal and an Occupation Medal for Germany. His division was awarded the Bronze Star and participated in the liberation of Flossenburg Concentration Camp. Zunich attended the Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor of science in accounting. He founded Mitchell Zunich & Co. Certified Public Accountants, retiring in 2001. He was active in the community, having served as an officer, president, and board member of many organizations including the Lorain Rotary Club, Lorain Salvation Army, Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, the City Bank Co., Lorain Family YMCA, Clearview School Board, and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. In the 1990s, Mitchell and his wife, Violet, helped establish a scholarship for Serbian Orthodox seminarians at St. Vladimir’s so that no young Serbian Orthodox men would be turned away from becoming priests. Zunich was a member of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Lorain, the Serbian National Federation, the Ohio Society of CPAs, and the AICPA.

"Mitch was honored to be on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees," said fellow St. Vladimir's Trustee Emeritus Brian Gerich. "He served many years as one of the four Serbian trustees along with [Trustee Emeritus] Alex Machaskee, Leon Lysaght, and myself.

"During our 1990’s Capital Campaign, I asked Mitch to join with me in establishing endowments for scholarships for Serbian Orthodox students studying to become priests. He immediately accepted, and he and his beloved wife Violet added to their endowment regularly. Mitch was pleased to know that as students graduated they were debt free as they prepared for a lifetime of serving our Lord."

"I remember Mitch as a quiet, decisive, compassionate gentleman who was a staunch supporter of our Orthodox Christian faith and a great contributor of time, talent, and treasure to St. Vladimir's Seminary," added Alex Machaskee. "He was a founding contributor to Monastery Marcha in Richfield Ohio, a decorated veteran of World War II, and a highly esteemed civic leader."

Mitchell Zunich is survived by his sons, Mitch Zunich of Cleveland and Rob (Eva) Zunich of Avon Lake; grandchildren, Neven, Dane, Rada, and Mila Zunich; and sister, Sophie Tyrin of Chicago. Zunich was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Violet M. Zunich (née Kobac) on Sept 7, 2014; infant son, Nick Zunich, in 1959; parents, Nikola & Stanka Zunich (née Kunic); brothers, Demeter, George, Nick, and Mike Zunich; and sisters, Mildred Stamatis, Dorothy Kovan, Nellie Raynovich, and Mary Zunich.

Due to restrictions on social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, private family funeral services will be held. Hieromonk Nektarije Tesanovic of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church will preside with burial to follow in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain. Memorial contributions may be made to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, 3355 Grove Ave, Lorain, OH, 44055 or St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Rd, Yonkers, NY, 10707. Arrangements are under the direction of Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway Ave, Lorain. Online condolences may be made at

May the memory of Mitchell Zunich be eternal!


(The photo and some information in this article have been reprinted from The Morning Journal.)

Orthodox Advanced Leadership Conference

Start Date
6th Annual National Orthodox Advanced Leadership Conference

The Orthodox Christian Leadership Initiative (OCLI) is pleased to announce the 6th annual Orthodox Advanced Leadership Conference, hosted once again at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. This year’s conference theme is "Money: The Gospel Changes Everything." Parish leaders and emerging leaders among the clergy and laity who serve their local parish, diocese, or Orthodox nonprofits are encouraged to attend. The conference is hybrid, allowing up to 100 people to attend in person at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY September 16-18, 2022, as well as unlimited online participation. 

Register Now

View Conference Schedule

During the conference participate in honest and candid discussions about money and stewardship, fostering gratitude with all that the Lord provides. Examine the temptations surrounding accumulation and wealth and turn to the spiritual practice of almsgiving and its place in “working out your salvation.” Focus on practices that cultivate generosity and contentment at every life stage, from childhood to retirement. Those who attend will be encouraged by the generosity the Lord inspires to help position yourself, family, parish, diocese, or nonprofit as a steward within its broader community. 

Conference Presenters

The lineup of presentations includes:

  • Dr. Andrew Geleris: “Salvific Giving:  Ministry-Centric vs. Soul-Centric Giving”
  • Fr. Aaron Warwick: “Almsgiving as Mercy Giving”
  • Fr. Robert Holet: “Biblical and Patristic Texts to Build a Framework for Our Life’s Work”
  • Fr. Patrick O’Grady: “The Tithe: A First Step in the Life of the Gospel”
  • Presvytera Stacey Dorrance: “Tempted by Accumulation”
  • Gabe Otte: “Tempted by Wealth”
  • Fr. Chad Hatfield: “The Cure of Souls and the Absence of Stewardship”
  • Hollie Benton: “Cultivating Generosity in Children”
  • Fr. Nicholas Hubbard: “Cultivating Contentment in Young Households”
  • Dean Harbry, PCC: “The Blessing of Wealth Transfer”
  • Bishop Alexis Trader: “Giving as a Transformative Spiritual Discipline”
  • Fr. Barnabas Powell:  “The Parish as Steward”

Each challenging presentation will be followed by highly-interactive discussions, case studies, or small-group work for all who attend online or in person. Receive the benefit of networking and fellowship across the Church to support the stewardship God has entrusted to your care!  Register at

Alumni Night at the All-American Council

Start Date

We invite all our beloved graduates of St Vladimir’s Seminary to join us this July for an alumni reception at the 20th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America in Baltimore, Maryland. Hear from Seminary President The Very Rev. Dr Chad Hatfield, Academic Dean Dr Ionuț-Alexandru Tudorie, and Seminarian The Rev. Dn David Galloway. Enjoy a wonderful evening of fellowship, drinks, and food with other alumni, and learn about exciting things happening at the Seminary!

RSVP to Alumni Night

The alumni event will take place Tuesday, July 19, 2022 from 8 pm–10 pm at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel, 401 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201. RSVP and let us know if we'll see you there!

Alumni Night at the All-American Council



Collaborative spirit, practical focus mark this year’s Summer Music Institute

John Michael Boyer leads session in Met. Philip Auditorium

Nearly eighty people from across the United States and Canada—and one from Norway—sang, learned, and worshipped together at this year’s Summer Music Institute, held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary June 14–18. About half of the participants took part in person on campus, with the others joining workshops, lectures, and chapel services online.

The Summer Music Institute is a wonderful and vibrant expression of true Christian community: learning and teaching, leading and serving, and earnestly working for the beauty of the Liturgy, said Institute participant Simeon Acker.

Benedict Sheehan teaching

The hybrid event, with its theme of “Music in the Service of Liturgy,” was co-hosted by the Seminary’s Institute of Sacred Arts (ISA) and the International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM). Additionally, music faculty from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological SeminaryBenedict Sheehan and Talia Maria Sheehan—were also instrumental in putting on this year’s Summer Music Institute.

“The spirit of collaboration contributed immensely to the great joy we all felt during this event,” said ISA Director Dr. Peter Bouteneff. “And significantly, some of the real movers and shakers of Orthodox church music in America over the past decades participated in the Summer Music Institute along with younger musicians in their twenties and thirties.”

Juliana Woodill leads a class

This year’s Summer Music Institute accommodated church musicians from both Slavic and Byzantine traditions and brought a practical focus to its participants. Instructors Benedict and Talia Sheehan, John Michael Boyer, and Juliana Woodill provided skills and resources to help the participants choose the best repertoire for their choir and services and maximize their choir’s talents, whatever its size and skill.

“Church musicians have so many new and unique problems. But together we also have so many new and unique skills and strengths,” said Talia Maria Sheehan. “We wanted to share these skills and strengths by making a place for church musicians to learn from each other, across traditions, across generations, and across the world. But that sharing was coupled with hands-on workshops and coaching, so that participants could learn how to use those new skills and strengths! And the effect was both inspiring and encouraging!” 

Music Institute participants were also treated to three wonderful keynote lectures—which will be made available to the public at a later date—delivered by ISOCM Chairman Archpriest Ivan Moody, Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Music Hieromonk Damaskinos Olkinuora, and St. Vladimir’s Seminary Assistant Professor of Liturgical Music Dr. Harrison Russin.

Fr Ivan Moody's virtual keynote address

In keeping with the theme of “Music in the Service of Liturgy,” Fr. Ivan discussed the importance of carefully selecting music that is not only appropriate for the skill-level of a choir but also beautiful and engaging for everyone worshipping.

"If...we make decisions to enable our chanters and choir members to sing beautifully and serve the liturgy while continuing to respect traditions, both church-wide and local, we will be genuinely participating in Christ's missionary imperative of baptizing all nations,” said Fr. Ivan, who delivered his keynote lecture remotely from Portugal.

Scenes from the Summer Music Institute

The Summer Music Institute concluded with Divine Liturgy on Saturday, June 18.

Details regarding next year’s event will be announced in the coming months.

"The renewal of the Summer Music Institute shows how vibrant church music is in North America, in the OCA, and at St. Vladimir's Seminary,” said Dr. Russin. “We were happy this year to focus on making music for modern parish realities, and giving students the tools to take back to their communities. The Institute serves as a wonderful meeting space for people to sing together, exchange ideas, and support each other as we engage in singing for liturgy."

OCA Diaconal Liturgical Practicum

Start Date
Orthodox Church in America Diaconal Liturgical Practicum

The 2022 Diaconal Liturgical Practicum of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will be held June 21–24, 2022 on the campus of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. 

The four-day program will offer intense practical liturgical training for deacons and lay diaconal candidates. In addition to liturgical practice, sessions will also cover chanting and vocal technique and address teaching about the Orthodox faith. Sessions will begin Tuesday evening, June 21, and the Practicum will conclude following hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.

The Practicum is a collaboration of the OCA's Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) and St Vladimir’s Seminary, and is highly recommended by the Holy Synod for participants in the Church’s program and other diaconal formation programs.

Learn More

Questions? Email Archpriest Kirill Sokolov at

The Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) of the Orthodox Church in America is a program of theological study providing academic preparation for men who may be called to ordination to the Holy Diaconate but unable to attend a seminary. It is also designed to address specific academic and pastoral preparation of non-Orthodox clergy—who may have already earned a theological degree such as an M.Div.—who are seeking entry into the Orthodox Church and may eventually be called to holy orders. The goal of the DVP is to use a process of clergy-guided and mentored reading and studying to teach candidates a fundamental foundation of Orthodox theology and prepare them for the practical liturgical service of the Holy Diaconate.

Andrew Geleris explores 'Money & Salvation' in new book

Money & Salvation Paperback and eBook

A new book from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press, Money & Salvation: An Invitation to the Good Way, explores the deeper spiritual meaning—and necessity—of financial giving.

Buy Money & Salvation

"Today many Orthodox Christians, including bishops and priests, feel acutely uncomfortable discussing financial issues in church for a variety of valid historical and pastoral reasons," writes Money & Salvation author Dr. Andrew Geleris. 

Money & Salvation Book Cover

"In contrast to our extreme reluctance to discuss money in church, the Gospels record Jesus teaching far more frequently and intensely about the 'unspiritual' topic of finances than all the 'spiritual' topics that dominate our teaching. Why has such a stunning divergence developed between
our teaching priorities and those of the gospel?" 

This book is an effort to describe why restoring a soul-centric scriptural and patristic phronema to the Church is important and what it might look like. Geleris has included with each chapter a series of discussion questions designed for book clubs, family reading, and church small groups.

Buy a copy online at or by calling 1-800-204-BOOK (2665).

Andrew Geleris, M.D., is a neurologist in Southern California and a member of St. Raphael of Brooklyn
Antiochian Orthodox Church in Palm Desert. He also serves on the boards of FOCUS North America
and the Orthodox Christian Leadership Initiative.

Alumna Katherine Karam McCray recognized for research on disability and Orthodox ethics

Katherine Karam McCray

Saint Vladimir’s Seminary (SVOTS) Alumna Katherine Karam McCray is representing Eastern Orthodoxy in the field of disability theology. As recognition of her promising scholarship into Orthodox Christian ethics and disability, McCray has been awarded two prestigious—and highly competitive—dissertation fellowships for the upcoming year: the NEH Dissertation Fellowship at Fordham University and the Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship.

McCray graduated from St. Vladimir’s Seminary with a Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree in 2014. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, in religious ethics.

“I’m very proud to be representing Eastern Christianity in unexpected spaces,” said McCray, adding, “Many Christian ethicists overlook the robust Eastern moral tradition, and we have rich alternatives to contribute to conversations about human nature and responsibility.”

McCray’s dissertation investigates how the development of individual autonomy in early modern Christianity disenfranchised persons with disabilities and presents alternative models for autonomy from Eastern Orthodox anthropology.

“Most Orthodox work on ethics, particularly virtue ethics, positions our tradition as lacking, as though we are late to the game of asking difficult questions. I believe this puts young Orthodox scholars on the backfoot, obligating us to compare and contrast with Western models instead of representing what Orthodoxy offers from inside our own contexts. I hope my work on disability serves as a milestone. Orthodox ethics is not a new field, and we are continuing to make important ongoing contributions to modern discourse.”

McCray is making other academic contributions on the topic of disability in addition to her dissertation. She has presented two papers at the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCAMPR), one about bipolar disorder and another about complex-PTSD, both with attention to how the community can provide support. Most recently, she penned a forthcoming book chapter on Orthodox anthropology and disability for the Templeton Foundation grant, Science and Orthodoxy Around the World (SOW), entitled “Dependency as Ontology.” Other SVOTS faculty members contributing to this project include Dr. Peter Bouteneff and Dr. Ana Iltis.

McCray's discussion with Bp John and Dr Rossi

McCray also serves on the Mental Health Task Force of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops and contributed research for the new Peace of Mind Training Pilot Program, which offers training in Mental Health First Aid to clergy and community leaders with an Orthodox theological approach. Together with St. Vladimir’s own Dr. Albert Rossi, McCray speaks with fellow SVOTS graduate Bp. John (Abdalah) about Orthodox approaches to mental health care in the video series Mental Health and Orthodox Christianity.

“I think that the area Kate is working on is unfortunately neglected, and so I commend her on her scholarship and promising academic career,” said St. Vladimir’s Academic Dean Dr. Ionuţ-Alexandru Tudorie.

The entire St. Vladimir’s Seminary community congratulates Katherine Karam McCray on her two fellowship awards! May God grant her many fruitful years in her scholarly ministry!

Effective Christian Ministry hosts training on campus

Effective Christian Ministry cohort training group at Three Hierarchs Chapel

Effective Christian Ministry held its cohort training on the campus of St. Vladimir's Seminary from June 4–8, 2022. 

Effective Christian Ministry (ECM) is a program offered through Y2AM, the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. ECM offers training and resources for individuals and parishes to help them transform their youth ministry. The event at St Vladimir's was part of ECM's intensive nine-month Cohort Program.

"We’ve spent years refining and articulating a Christ-centered, Kingdom-oriented vision for ministry," said Steven Christoforou, the director of Y2AM. "It’s the vision these ECM Coaches are carrying forward. They’re such a blessing to the Church. And can be such a blessing to your parish."

To learn more and apply for the 2022–2023 Cohort, visit the Effective Christian Ministry website.


SVS/ISOCM Summer Music Institute

Start Date

Saint Vladimir's Seminary and the International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) are pleased to present, by God's grace, the Summer Music Institute! Join us in person June 14–18, 2022 on the campus of St. Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, NY (*online audit option also available). 

Learn More

Summer Music Institute 2022: Music in the Service of Liturgy

The Summer Music Institute is bringing together church musicians of all skill levels—from beginners to professionals—for hands-on workshops, lectures, and liturgical services. Singers, conductors, and composers will engage in sessions with internationally-recognized faculty. This Institute accommodates both Slavic and Byzantine liturgical musical traditions and will provide skills and resources for adapting four-part music to a small choir, as well as adapting chant for a large choir. You'll focus on:

  • Choosing repertoire that’s right for your services and your choir
  • Maximizing your choir’s talents, whatever its size and skill

The week will culminate with two Divine Liturgies which will integrate Slavic and Byzantine musical traditions and feature large and small choirs.

We will be in person, singing together and in fellowship. We also offer a virtual audit option, with dedicated instruction for off-site participants.

The Summer Music Institute is hosted by the Institute of Sacred Arts at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the International Society for Orthodox Church Music.

ISA Logo

About the ISA
The Institute of Sacred Arts (ISA) at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary explores the intersection of human creativity and holiness. With a theology that is holistic, and a liturgy that unites multiple artistic disciplines and all the human senses, the Orthodox Christian tradition is ripe for the exploration and celebration of the sacred arts. Since its founding in 1938, St. Vladimir’s Seminary has fostered the study of icons, music and liturgy. The Institute of Sacred Arts serves to extend the seminary’s mission in exploring the mutual relationship between theology and the arts by: contributing to the work of people and institutions that practice and reflect on the sacred arts; engaging people and institutions of all backgrounds with Orthodox artistic tradition; inspiring wider public interest in spirituality and the arts.


About the ISOCM
The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) was founded by an international group of musicians and scholars on 18th June 2005, following the First International Conference on Orthodox Church Music, “The Traditions of Orthodox Music”, held at the University of Joensuu, June 13–19, 2005, and with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and all Finland. The ISOCM was founded to provide researchers, composers, singers, and students with opportunities to meet, share experiences and scores, and to participate in conferences worldwide, and the organization continues to look for ways to reinforce the unity of Orthodoxy in tangible ways for those living in modern society. Membership in ISOCM is open to anyone within any national church or jurisdiction.

St Eleazar Fills His Cups is latest children's book from SVS Press

St Eleazar Fills His Cups Book Cover

A new children's board book from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) Press tells the story of a Russian hermit who has to solve a problem: he has run out of food! In the end, and with a little help from some friendly fishermen, he manages to fill his cups.

Saint Eleazar Fills His Cups is the latest children's title from author Melinda Johnson and illustrator Kristina Tartara. The pair previously teamed up to produce Saint Ia Rides a Leaf  (SVS Press, 2020).

Buy a copy online at or by calling 1-800-204-BOOK (2665).

Buy Saint Eleazar Fills His Cups

St Eleazar Book Cover in 3D image



About the Author and Illustrator:

Melinda Johnson is an Orthodox Christian, wife, and mother. She loves writing for children and has authored several books, including the Sam and Saucer series and Saint Ia Rides a Leaf. 

Kristina Tartara is an Orthodox mother, children's book author, and illustrator. She has illustrated several books and also created the board books, What Do You See at LiturgyWhat Can I Do at Divine Liturgy, and Saint Ia Rides a Leaf.

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