At the request of Bishop NIKON to write a brief biography, Father Jason offers the following...
I would like to say, how humbled I am at the request of Bishop Nikon. I therefore offer the information below to give you an idea of 'Who is Rev. Jason Vansuch.'
I am the son of VRev. Eugene and Mrs. Fran Vansuch. They currently reside in Easton, PA where my mother works for an Insurance Agency and my father works at the National Chancery of The Orthodox Church in America in Syosset, New York as the Executive Director of the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards. My father is the former rector of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, PA. St. Nicholas is my home parish. I was born on July 8, 1976 in Bridgeport, CT. I was baptized into the Orthodox Faith at St. George Albanian Orthodox Church in Trumbull, CT. I spent my life within the Albanian Archdiocese for a little over 7 years. My father was also the rector of St. John's Chrysostom Albanian Orthodox Church in Center-City Philadelphia. Then we moved to Nanticoke, PA and then finally to Bethlehem, PA where I lived for about 10 years. I served in the altar and assisted my father with all of the Divine Services. I assisted with the cleaning of the church, helping at church functions, as well, as assisting with the altar boys.
While we were in Bethlehem, I attended Bethlehem Catholic High School. Upon graduation of High School, I enrolled as a Full-Time Student at Northampton County Community College. I graduated May of 1996 with an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts. In September of 1996, I enrolled as a Full-Time Seminarian at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA. in the Master of Divinity Program. Throughout my seminary education, I had the distinct honor and blessing of serving in the altar as a 'blessed' subdeacon for two years for, then, His Eminence Archbishop HERMAN. On the eve of The Feast of Archangel Michael,
November 7, 1999, I was blessed to wear the orarion and later tonsured a Reader by His Eminence on The Feast of The Entrance of The Theotokos into the Temple on November 21, 1999.
During my years in seminary, I had the distinct honor of meeting many respectful Hierarchs of Orthodox Churches in America as well as from around the world. While I was in seminary, I was blessed to work at the National Chancery of The Orthodox Church in America in Syosset, New York during the summer and winter breaks. My duties consisted of maintaining the chapel as well as maintaining the grounds. There were times when I was called upon to assist and travel with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius as his driver and subdeacon.
Upon graduation from Seminary in 1999, I was approached by Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, at the time he was Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, to take up my new position in the life of the Church as personal aide to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, a duty I had already served for three and one half years.
During my years as the assistant and Aide to Metropolitan Theodosius, I traveled with His Beatitude to many parishes around the Orthodox Church in America attending many parish celebrations and functions. In addition, I assisted His Beatitude at two All-American Councils -- Pittsburgh in 1999 and Orlando in 2002. Further, I had the distinct honor and blessing of accompanying His Beatitude on many trips abroad: to the Church of Russia on two occasions, to the Church of Japan, twice to the Church of Finland as well to archpastoral visitation to Germany.
I had the great honor of serving with many heads of Churches including His Holiness, Patriarch Alexey of Moscow and All Russia, His Eminence, Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and Finland, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and Poland, His Holiness, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia of Georgia. I was blessed to serve at the following Canonizations of two Saints: St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre in1994 and St. Raphael of Brooklyn in 2000.
Prior to his retirement, Metropolitan Theodosius bestowed upon me the Order of Saint Innocent, Bronze Class. In July of 2002, upon the retirement of Metropolitan Theodosius, I took my new responsibility as Personal Aide to His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN. I participated in and assisted with organizing the Liturgical services for The Enthronement of His Beatitude Metropolitan HERMAN in Washington, DC in September of 2002. With my new assignment, I continued my services as the assistant to the office of The Metropolitan. This consisted of not only traveling with His Beatitude to the many church functions within our own Church here in America, Canada and Mexico, but also to accompany His Beatitude on the many trips that he took to the Churches Abroad. I had the distinct honor and blessing of accompanying His Beatitude to the Church of Georgia, to the Church of The Ukraine, to the Church of Poland, to the Church of Russia. I was blessed to serve at the celebrations of the Return of The Tikhvin Icon of The Mother of God in June and July of 2004.
In the fall of 2002, I had the distinct honor of having dinner with a good friend, Katherine Moroz. Katherine, or Katia as most people call her as a shortened form of her name, and I have been close friends for about 10 or so years. We did not know that after dinner that night, we would one day be husband and wife. Katia and I were engaged on October 26, 2002.
We were married at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, PA on October 3, 2004. In preparing for my new step in life and my new role in life as a husband, I had spoken with my Spiritual Father concerning beginning a new life with my wife somewhere other than Syosset, NY. I felt that I could no longer fulfill the duties and responsibilities that are called upon as The Personal Aide to the Office of The Metropolitan. It was time for someone younger and with more flexibility to come in and serve the Church and serve His Beatitude in the way that the one in that position should. I was now contemplating my future ministry within the Life of the Church.
After Katia and I settled in our new home and starting to build our new life together in the Philadelphia area, we became parishioners of SS Peter and Paul Albanian Orthodox Church in Philadelphia. We were active members there. I served in the altar assisting Fr. Stephen Siniari, our Pastor, with the Divine Services. I oversaw the decorum of the sanctuary, delivered sermons, and sang in the choir. In addition, we began to have Reader's Services on Saturday evenings, services during Great Lent, the Nativity Fast, and other services during the course of the week. I also held a weekly Adult Bible Education and Bible Study for our parishioners as well as served as the Church School Coordinator for our Church School Program. We did all of this with the blessing of the Bishop and Fr. Stephen in order to provide more opportunities for the faithful to come and pray. Katia assisted with the Russian Community in translating for them on occasions as well as leading an Orthodox Education Class in Russian. I also assisted Fr. Stephen with visiting the sick in the parish, making the meshe for Liturgy and many other functions within the life of the parish.
Throughout our time at Ss Peter and Paul’s, Katia and I begin to contemplate the next step in the life of our ministry – being humble servants in the Lord’s Vineyard as a Deacon and Diakonitsa. By the Grace of God, I was ordained to the Holy Deaconate by His Grace on Lazarus Saturday, April 23, 2005 at St. Nicholas Church in Bethlehem, PA.
Upon my ordination, I was attached and assigned to Ss Peter and Paul Albanian Orthodox Church of the Albanian Archdiocese located in Philadelphia, PA. There, I continued my work as a deacon under the guidance of our pastor, Archpriest Stephen Siniari. Along with fulfilling my responsibilities at Ss Peter and Paul’s, I served at St. John Chrysostom Church in Center-City Philadelphia assisting Archpriest Matthew Searfoorce with the Divine Services, ministering to the needs of the faithful, as well as maintaining the good order of the Altar.
As we were approaching our one-year wedding anniversary in October of 2005, Mat. Katia and I began to contemplate the next step in the life of our ministry – being humble servants in the Lord’s Vineyard as a Priest and Matushka. In preparing ourselves for this next step and with the blessing of His Grace Bishop NIKON and with the blessing of His Grace Bishop TIKOHN of the Diocese of EPA, Mat. Katia and I began to attend St. Stephen Cathedral in Philadelphia on a rotating basis between Ss Peter and Paul’s. I assisted the Cathedral Dean, Priest Victor Gorodenchuk, a close friend and former classmate of mine in seminary, with the Divine Services, maintaining the good decorum of the Altar as well as ministering to the needs of the faithful. Mat. Katia assisted with singing and reading during the Divine Services. This was good practice for both of us as we are serving a Slavic style parish here at St. Nicholas in Norwich, CT. where Mat. Katia is the Choir Director. We are both truly blessed and humbled with the experience that God has given us in our ministry in Philadelphia.
By God's Grace, both Mat. Katia and I have prepared ourselves for our new ministry in the life of the Church as a Priest and Matushka.
We are indeed humbled and honored to be called and chosen by God to be servants in His Holy Church. In addition, we are very excited for this has been my dream ever since I was a young altar boy serving with my father in the altar at the age of five. By the Grace of God, His Grace Bishop Nikon ordained me a priest on Saturday June 17 at St. Stephen Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA. Upon my ordination, I was assigned to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Norwich, CT., a parish within the Diocese of New England under the Omophorion of His Grace Bishop NIKON.
As we begin our ministry, we humbly ask for your continued love, guidance, and prayers that we may fulfill those tasks and responsibilities given to us. Thank you for this opportunity of allowing me to provide some information on my life so I may better assist you to answer the question of 'Who is Rev. Jason Vansuch.'
With love in Christ,
Rev. Jason Vansuch