Reposes In The Lord
His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko), Johnstown, primate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), reposed in the Lord Sunday, March 13, 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Born Feb. 23, 1936, to Anna (Totin) and Andrew Smisko. Metropolitan Nicholas is survived by brothers, George, and wife, Rosemary; and Michael, and wife, Maryann; nieces, RoseAnn and Melissa; and great-nephew, Hudson.
A priestly vocation from St. John the Baptist Church, Perth Amboy, N.J., after graduating from Perth Amboy High School, he entered Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown to study for the Holy Priesthood. Upon graduation, he was ordained Jan. 11, 1959, by Bishop Orestes in Perth Amboy, N.J. His first pastorate was at SS. Peter & Paul Church, Windber, where he served until 1962.
A new phase of his life began when he embarked on a year’s study at the renowned Patriarchal Theological Academy at Halki, Constantinople. During his stay in the city, the young priest was assigned by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras to serve the spiritual needs of the large Slavic Orthodox community in the Galata section of Istanbul. He also traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, visiting the sacred sites of the Holy Land and living for a time on Mount Athos, the ancient monastic center of the Orthodox Church.
Upon his return to the United States, he resumed his studies at the University of Youngstown, Ohio, and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He was then assigned as Prefect of Discipline at Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, and served several parishes in the Johnstown area, before relocating in 1971 to New York City, where he served as pastor of St. Nicholas Church.
He was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite in 1976, and was elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as Auxiliary Bishop for the Ukrainian Orthodox Diocese of America and was consecrated as Bishop on March 13, 1983. Following the death of Bishop John (Martin) in September of 1984, Bishop Nicholas was chosen as the third ruling hierarch of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese and was enthroned in Christ the Saviour Cathedral by His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos on April 19, 1985. He was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Nov. 24, 1997.
During his many years of service to Christ and His Holy Church, His Eminence has proven to be a worthy laborer in the Vineyard of the Lord. In recognition for his labors, he was the recipient of the SS. Cyril & Methodius Award, given by the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia, the St. Sava Award from Patriarch Pavel of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Holy Cross School of Theology.
His Eminence has been noted for his love for his flock and the liturgical services of the church, and his devotion to the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was well-respected in Orthodox and Ecumenical circles as being a promoter of peace and mutual understanding amongst all Christ-loving people. True to his patron Saint, Nicholas the wonderworker, His Eminence was perhaps best known and respected for his pastoral sensitivity, generosity of spirit and compassion for the sick and suffering and the less fortunate. In the words of St. Paul: He fought the good fight, he finished the course, and he kept the faith. May his memory be eternal!
His Eminence will lie in state from 1 p.m. Wednesday until the time of Panachida service at 7 p.m. and from 10 a.m. Thursday until time of Parastas at 7 p.m. at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, 300 Garfield St., where funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday. Viewing and committal will both be held in Perth Amboy, N.J.
Because of the Lenten season, flowers will not be accepted in the cathedral. In lieu of flowers, because of his love and concern for the clergy, donations may be made to Priests’ Pension Fund, c/o ACROD, 312 Garfield St., Johnstown, Pa. 15906. Moskal Funeral Home, West End, is in charge of arrangements. For more information, you may visit www.metropolitan.acrod.org or www.acrod.org.