Diocesan Priest Wives Celebrate Patronal Feast Day

JOHNSTOWN, PA -- Many years ago, His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas, in recognition of the pivotal role our Diocesan priest wives (Panis) play in the life of the Church, placed them under the spiritual protection of  St. Sophia and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love.  Click Here to Learn About these Saints.  Today, on the feast of St. Sophia, we pay tribute to our faithful Panis who labor along side of their husbands in serving the faithful of our diocesan parishes.

On this day, it is fitting that we reprint a short reflection written by His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas, of Thrice-Blessed Memory, about the blessed role and vocation of Priest Wives in the Church.

It is essential that we show our love and support to our Diocesan clergy wives, whose service, all too often, has not been adequately recognized. The work of these pious women in the ministry of the Orthodox Church and this Diocese often goes unnoticed: but all the same, it is a work that is of incalculable benefit.

Pani's are said to have a task that is great in responsibility but low in authority. They serve piously and humbly, frequently shunning the limelight so that the focus could be on the Church and the parishioners. They are sources of compassion, wisdom, good counsel, and are of enormous support and companionship for their spouse, the priest.

I ask you to consider the following supportive measures that every parish can put into practice:

Ensure that the Pani is able to enter Divine Services in quiet prayer, without having to discuss parish concerns before Liturgy.

Direct questions and concerns about the parish and the Orthodox Faith to the priest, not his Pani.

Remember that the first priority of the Pani is to be a wife to her husband and a mother to her children.

Resist the temptation to express critical comments about other people or situations to the Pani.

Pani's are happy to serve the parish, but in their own way. Some are great cooks. Some are great musicians. Some are great organizers. None of them are perfect, but they are each beautiful in their own right.

Do not expect the Pani to divulge confidential information about other people or parish concerns.

Respect the fact that Pani's are not to involve themselves in so-called "parish politics," or to become overly involved in activities that might detract from their primary vocation, which is to care for the priest and family.

Finally, thank God for the Pani, and pray for her to grow in her faith. Encourage her and support her in her very difficult task. Her husband was called to the priesthood. She is called, like Ruth, to follow him.



September 29, 2007