Alumnus Archpriest Kirill Sokolov Leads 11th Annual Diaconal Practicum

Mat. Deborah Belonick

The Sokolov family on the day of Fr. Kirill’s ordinationThe Sokolov family on the day of Fr. Kirill’s ordinationLike many of our alumni, Archpriest Kirill Sokolov (M.Div. 2007) holds down a full-time job while contributing hundreds of hours per year to church service. Weekends and church holy days he’s serving as Associate Priest at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco; but during weekdays, students call him “Dr. Sokolov” in his role as director of Technology & 21st Century Learning at San Francisco Day School.

Additionally, this summer, his time will be split between professional job duties and church ministry: he’ll be working as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Education, teaching a seminar for masters and doctoral education students titled, "Coding for Educators”; and he’s coordinating the 11th Annual Diaconal Practicum on our campus, June 25–28.

Speaking about this year’s Practicum, Fr. Kirill remarked: “It’s such a blessing to gather deacons and diaconal candidates from all over North America to be with each other at St. Vladimir’s.  We are strengthened by the number of Divine Liturgy we serve together, and we get to develop—in a small way—the kind camaraderie and fellowship that will nourish the ministries of these deacons.”

Father Kirill is actually the designer of the diaconal practicum, which is part of the Diaconal Vocations Program (DVP) of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). The goal of the DVP is to use a process of clergy-guided and mentored reading and studying to teach candidates a foundation of Orthodox theology and to prepare them for the practical liturgical service of the Holy Diaconate.

Father Kirill was himself ordained to the Holy Diaconate in 2004, in our Seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel. He had come from his home in California to St. Vladimir’s at the behest of Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, to bring his technology skills to the Seminary. As Fr. Thomas predicted, Kirill worked with the seminary’s systems, took divinity classes, and eventually met his future wife, Sophia. Sophia, a native of Nevada, was baptized while studying at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and she too had come to St. Vladimir’s to study theology.

The Holy Synod of Bishops elevated Deacon Kirill to the dignity of Protodeacon in 2007, and in 2009, to the office of Archdeacon of the OCA. By 2009 Archdeacon Kirill and Matushka Sophia had both graduated from the Seminary, and he served as an administrator and lecturer at the Seminary, while Sophia regularly directed the chapel choirs and taught church school and adult education classes.

Fr. Kirill is pictured here with the group and His Eminence the Most Reverend Michael, archbishop of New York (OCA), and seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield (photo: Alexandru Popovici)Fr. Kirill is pictured here with the group and His Eminence the Most Reverend Michael, archbishop of New York (OCA), and seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield (photo: Alexandru Popovici)In 2010 Archdeacon Kirill, Matushka Sophia, and their sons, Nicholas and Gregory, moved back to the Bay Area to be closer to family. In 2011 the Sokolovs’ daughter, Juliana, was born (“making our family and the world a more beautiful place” noted Fr. Kirill). Father Kirill noted that during his years in the Bay Area, he had been “honored to continue serving as a deacon with Archbishop Benjamin and throughout the Diocese of the West, especially at Holy Trinity and in the inspiring nearby parishes of St. Nicholas in San Anselmo and Protection of the Virgin in Santa Rosa.”

On Bright Saturday, April 22, 2017, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin ordained Archdeacon Kirill to the Holy Priesthood at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA. The historic cathedral was filled with worshippers from the parish and the diocese, and beyond, for the Paschal Divine Liturgy, including our seminary President Archpriest Chad Hatfield.

In his address to the newly ordained Archpriest Kirill and his wife, Matushka Sophia, His Eminence spoke about the centrality of love for one’s flock in priestly service. His Eminence noted that Fr. Kirill is the second “native son” of the Cathedral to be ordained to the priesthood (the first having been St. Sebastian of Jackson and San Francisco). Father Kirill was vested in the paschal vestments worn by his father, Archpriest Victor (Dean of Holy Trinity from 1991 until his repose in 2006), who had also been ordained on Bright Saturday.

His Eminence has indicated his intention to assign Fr. Kirill as Dean of Holy Trinity in 2018, succeeding long-serving current Dean, Archpriest John Takahashi, another SVOTS alumnus.