Alumnus Dn. Stefan Djoric ordained to the priesthood

Pradeep Hatcher

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVOTS) Alumnus Dn. Stefan Djoric was ordained to the holy priesthood. His Grace Bishop Irinej, a fellow SVOTS alumnus (’82), presided over Sunday’s Divine Liturgy and ordination at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in Steubenville, Ohio.

“When I was in elementary school, I used to think that serving others is a kind of burden….,” said Fr. Stefan as he delivered the sermon Sunday.  “When I was in high school…I read an amazing work by Nikolaj Velimirović, called Prayers by the Lake….In one of those prayers, Nicholai wrote that God is always young because he serves others!”

“God’s joy is to serve others, and we all recall the words of the gospel that the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve others!”

Father Stefan, who was born and raised in Serbia, obtained a B.A. in Theology at the University of Belgrade before coming to study at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. At SVOTS, he obtained an M.A. in 2018 and a Th.M. in 2019.

Fr. Stefan is also connected to the Seminary’s history through his wife, Popadija Marina (née Thetford). Popadija Marina is the granddaughter of Fr. Thomas Hopko and the great granddaughter of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Her father, Gregory Thetford, is an alumnus of the Seminary ('85), and her brother, John Thetford, is currently a seminarian at St. Vladimir’s.

After the ordination Sunday, yet another connection to the Seminary made for a touching moment for Fr. Stefan. 

"At the lunch that followed the ordination, His Grace gave me a pair of cuff links that belonged to our beloved Protodeacon Gregory Hatrak [+2017],” he shared. “I was incredibly happy, especially because I wore Protodeacon’s vestments during Lent every time I served as a deacon at St. Vlad’s."

Father Stefan has been assigned to serve Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church, Steubenville, succeeding Fr. Rade Merick, another Seminary alumnus ('79), who recently retired.

The St. Vladimir’s Seminary community wishes Fr. Stefan and Popadija Marina many years!

Some information for this article and photos have been reprinted from the website of the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.