Difference between revisions of "Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk"

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Matfei may be spelt Matthew.  
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Matfei may be spelt Matvei, Matthew.  
  
 
Stadniuk may be spelt Stadnyuk.  
 
Stadniuk may be spelt Stadnyuk.  
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   courses, lived hard, in hunger and cold, huddling in abandoned houses, where sometimes there was no glass in  
 
   courses, lived hard, in hunger and cold, huddling in abandoned houses, where sometimes there was no glass in  
 
   the windows, but we studied with great enthusiasm and zeal.  
 
   the windows, but we studied with great enthusiasm and zeal.  
The rector of the courses, Archimandrite Veniamin (Novitsky), the future Archbishop of [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheboksary Cheboksary] and [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuvashia Chuvash], cared for his children in a fatherly manner and, as best he could, he supported them.  Matfei studied in the pastoral courses for two years. After graduation, he became a psalm-reader.  He remained at the lavra through the deportations of 1943, until the end of the war.   
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The rector of the courses, Archimandrite Veniamin (Novitsky), the future Archbishop of [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheboksary Cheboksary] and [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuvashia Chuvash], cared for his children in a fatherly manner and, as best he could, he supported them.  Matfei studied in the pastoral courses for 2 years. After graduation, he became a psalm-reader.  He remained at the lavra through the deportations of 1943, until the end of the war.   
  
 
'''Ordinations'''
 
'''Ordinations'''
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On 10 March, 1945, Matfei Stadniuk was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by Bishop Job (Kresovich †1977), Bishop of Kremenets.  He was 19 years old.   
 
On 10 March, 1945, Matfei Stadniuk was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by Bishop Job (Kresovich †1977), Bishop of Kremenets.  He was 19 years old.   
  
Ten months later, on 4 January, 1946, at the [http://bukovyna.ucoz.com/index/descent_of_the_holy_spirit_cathedral/0-112 Holy Spirit Cathedral] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernivtsi Chernivtsi], Bishop Theodosius (Koverninsky †1980), Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovina ordained him to the Holy Priesthood.  
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Ten months later, on 4 January, 1946, at the [http://bukovyna.ucoz.com/index/descent_of_the_holy_spirit_cathedral/0-112 Holy Spirit Cathedral] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernivtsi Chernivtsi], Bishop Theodosius (Koverninsky †1980), Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, ordained him to the Holy Priesthood.  
  
 
'''Pastoral service'''
 
'''Pastoral service'''
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   picturesque places in the Carpathians.  Since I was alone, I had to serve literally day and night.  Sometimes,  
 
   picturesque places in the Carpathians.  Since I was alone, I had to serve literally day and night.  Sometimes,  
 
   you would go to the temple in the very early morning, and you’d come back at four p.m.  On Pascha, I visited  
 
   you would go to the temple in the very early morning, and you’d come back at four p.m.  On Pascha, I visited  
   every village in turn : in one Temple you will serve matins, in another the Divine Liturgy, and in the third  
+
   every village in turn : in one Temple you would serve matins, in another the Divine Liturgy, and in the third  
   you can only repeat Bright Week Matins and bless Paschal breads and cheeses.  There was no transportation, but
+
   you could only repeat Bright Week Matins and bless Paschal breads and cheeses.  There was no transportation,  
   I got on horseback somehow.  The first years of priestly service, of course, were difficult, but for me the
+
   but I got on horseback somehow.  The first years of priestly service, of course, were difficult, but for me  
   memories of them are very joyful, because I was doing my service with love and joy.  The parishioners loved
+
   the memories of them are very joyful, because I was doing my service with love and joy.  The parishioners  
   me, and with them I had very good relations.   
+
   loved me, and with them I had very good relations.   
  
 
At 20 years of age, the young priest was entrusted with the responsible obedience of serving as the regional dean : new care was added to the pastoral work.  He recalled that  
 
At 20 years of age, the young priest was entrusted with the responsible obedience of serving as the regional dean : new care was added to the pastoral work.  He recalled that  
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Then, in 1949, with the blessing of Archbishop Andrew (Sukhenko) of Chernivtsi, the village priest Matfei Stadniuk entered the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Moscow_Theological_Academy_and_Seminary Moscow Theological Seminary].  He was immediately admitted to the third year.  It was during this year that the seminary and the academy were permitted to return to their original buildings at the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Trinity-St._Sergius_Lavra Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Lavra] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergiyev_Posad Sergiev Posad] (at that time called Zagorsk).   
 
Then, in 1949, with the blessing of Archbishop Andrew (Sukhenko) of Chernivtsi, the village priest Matfei Stadniuk entered the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Moscow_Theological_Academy_and_Seminary Moscow Theological Seminary].  He was immediately admitted to the third year.  It was during this year that the seminary and the academy were permitted to return to their original buildings at the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Trinity-St._Sergius_Lavra Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Lavra] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergiyev_Posad Sergiev Posad] (at that time called Zagorsk).   
  
During this period of his life, Father Matfei came into contact with the life of Orthodox Moscow, and he got acquainted with her church customs.   Especially memorable was his first visit to the Holy Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius, which was just then beginning to revive.   
+
During this period of his life, Father Matfei came into contact with the life of Orthodox Moscow, and he got acquainted with her church customs. Especially memorable was his first visit to the Holy Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius, which was just then beginning to revive.   
  
Amongst the seminary fellow students and teachers of Father Matfei were people whose names can be inscribed into the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the future professors :
+
Amongst the seminary fellow students and teachers of Father Matfei were people whose names can be inscribed into the history of the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Russia Russian Orthodox Church including the future professors :
 
   K M Komarov ; Archpriest Alexei Ostapov ; K E Skurat.  
 
   K M Komarov ; Archpriest Alexei Ostapov ; K E Skurat.  
Father Matfei later recalled that his experience was wonderful, and that his fellow students actively remember one another and try to meet.  However, in increasing age, meeting becomes more rare.  Nevertheless, the memory of their professors has been engraved in their hearts.  At the time they began to learn, the Spiritual Schools had only just re-opened.  Both the students and the teachers would come to classes poorly dressed, sometimes in quilted jackets.  Many of the professors had just been returned from prison in those years.  Perhaps it can be understood with what trepidation and reverence these people taught the Word of God.   
+
Father Matfei later recalled that his experience was wonderful, and that his fellow students still actively remember one another and they try to meet.  However, in increasing age, meeting becomes more rare.  Nevertheless, the memory of their professors has been engraved in their hearts.  At the time they began to learn, the Spiritual Schools had only just re-opened.  Both the students and the teachers would come to classes poorly dressed, sometimes in quilted jackets.  Many of the professors had just been returned from prison in those years.  Perhaps it can be understood with what trepidation and reverence these people taught the Word of God.   
  
 
Their mentors were the famous Moscow pastors :  
 
Their mentors were the famous Moscow pastors :  
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When Father Matfei began his studies, the rector of Moscow Spiritual Schools was the Archpriest Alexander Smirnov. Vladimir Vertogradov replaced him, and then the Archpriest Constantine Ruzhitsky.  
 
When Father Matfei began his studies, the rector of Moscow Spiritual Schools was the Archpriest Alexander Smirnov. Vladimir Vertogradov replaced him, and then the Archpriest Constantine Ruzhitsky.  
  
Afterward he finished the seminary, Matfei was sent to the Moscow Theological Academy, from which he graduated in 1955. [[Patriarch Alexei I (Simansky)]] treated the pupils of the Spiritual Schools with special love and respect.  During his studies at the Academy, Father Matthew Stadniuk was well acquainted with the patriarch.   
+
After he had completed the seminary course, Father Matfei was sent to the Moscow Theological Academy, from which he graduated in 1955. [[Patriarch Alexei I (Simansky)]] treated the pupils of the Spiritual Schools with special love and respect.  During his studies at the Academy, Father Matthew Stadniuk was well acquainted with the patriarch.   
  
 
'''Further pastoral service'''
 
'''Further pastoral service'''
  
In 1955, in accordance with the archpastor’s blessing, the young priest Matfei Stadniuk, having finished his studies, was sent to serve amongst the clergy of the Moscow [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Church_of_Saint_Peter_and_Paul_in_Lefortovo_09.jpg Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefortovo_District Lefortovo].  There, he later would later serve for 25 years.  He served as the fourth priest, along with the Archpriests Dimitry Tsvetkov, Vonifaty Sokolov and Pavel Korablev.  However, Father Dimitri’s father soon died and in 1959, he was appointed to serve as the rector of the parish, although in addition to him there were old and very deserving priests who also served.   
+
In 1955, in accordance with the archpastor’s blessing, the young priest Matfei Stadniuk, having finished his studies, was sent to serve amongst the clergy of the Moscow [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Church_of_Saint_Peter_and_Paul_in_Lefortovo_09.jpg Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul] in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefortovo_District Lefortovo].  There, he later would later serve for 25 years.  He served as the fourth priest, along with the Archpriests Dimitry Tsvetkov (rector), Vonifaty Sokolov and Pavel Korablev.  However, Father Dimitri’s father soon died.  Thus, in 1959, Father Matfei was assigned to serve as the rector of the parish in his place, although in addition to him there were old and very deserving priests who also served.   
  
At the same time, Father Matfei was assigned to serve as the secretary of the Educational Council of the Moscow Theological Schools. In addition, he was sent to the patriarchate offices, where he helped the protopresbyter Nikolai Kolchitsky.  
+
At the same time, Father Matfei was assigned to serve as the secretary of the Educational Council of the Moscow Theological Schools. In addition, he was sent to the patriarchate offices, where he helped the Protopresbyter Nikolai Kolchitsky.
  
 
In 1962, he accompanied [https://orthodoxwiki.org/John_(Wendland)_of_New_York_and_the_Aleutians Archbishop John (Wendland)] on a trip to the United States of America, which lasted for 2 months.  
 
In 1962, he accompanied [https://orthodoxwiki.org/John_(Wendland)_of_New_York_and_the_Aleutians Archbishop John (Wendland)] on a trip to the United States of America, which lasted for 2 months.  
  
On 6 April, 1964, by the blessing and direction of Patriarch Alexy I, the priest Matfei Stadniuk was seconded to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt Egypt], where he served for 3 ½ years under obedience to the rector of the Russian Church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria Alexandria].  Wanting to improve his knowledge in English, which was necessary for full pastoral activity abroad, he graduated from a special language school there, and he also did a lot of study on his own.  From Alexandria, Father Matthew often travelled to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odessa Odessa], where there was a “podvoriye” (Representation Church, “[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metochion Metochion]”) of the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Alexandria Patriarchate of Alexandria].  There, in Odessa, in the [http://orthodox-world.org/en/i/17001/Holy_Assumption_Orthodox_Monastery_Odessa Holy Dormition Monastery] was the summer residence of the First Hierarch (patriarch) of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Father Matthew visited the primate, and he reported about the state of affairs in the Alexandrian Church, about whose life the patriarch was always very keenly interested.  Father Matfei always kept these precious moments of communication with the patriarch in his memory.   
+
On 6 April, 1964, by the blessing and direction of Patriarch Alexy I, the priest Matfei Stadniuk was given the obedience to travel to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt Egypt], where he served for 3 ½ years under obedience to the rector of the Russian Church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria Alexandria].  Wanting to improve his knowledge in English, which was necessary for full pastoral activity abroad, he graduated from a special language school there, and he also did a lot of study on his own.  From Alexandria, Father Matfei often travelled to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odessa Odessa], where there was a “podvoriye” (Representation Church, “[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metochion Metochion]”) of the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Alexandria Patriarchate of Alexandria].  There, in Odessa, in the [http://orthodox-world.org/en/i/17001/Holy_Assumption_Orthodox_Monastery_Odessa Holy Dormition Monastery] was the summer residence of the First Hierarch (patriarch) of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Father Matfei visited the primate, and he reported about the state of affairs in the Alexandrian Church, about whose life the patriarch was always very keenly interested.  Father Matfei always kept these precious moments of communication with the patriarch in his memory.   
  
 
Then, just before the Great [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Pascha Feast-day of Pascha], the soviet authorities issued a decree stating that Paschal breads and cheese could not be blessed on the streets, nor within the parish’s fence, but only in the Temple itself.  He and others had never seen anything like this before, that there would be in the Temple people with Paschal foods.  The priest was instructed to sprinkle them, nevertheless.  Because of the crowd, it was impossible even to put up a separate table for this.  As a result, there was a mess as many foods began to fall to the floor.  This left a very bitter memory.  The people were very indignant at these innovations, and the next year the authorities again permitted the blessing of the Paschal foods on the street as before.   
 
Then, just before the Great [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Pascha Feast-day of Pascha], the soviet authorities issued a decree stating that Paschal breads and cheese could not be blessed on the streets, nor within the parish’s fence, but only in the Temple itself.  He and others had never seen anything like this before, that there would be in the Temple people with Paschal foods.  The priest was instructed to sprinkle them, nevertheless.  Because of the crowd, it was impossible even to put up a separate table for this.  As a result, there was a mess as many foods began to fall to the floor.  This left a very bitter memory.  The people were very indignant at these innovations, and the next year the authorities again permitted the blessing of the Paschal foods on the street as before.   
  
Around the Temple, there are high-rise buildings, and on the rooves of these buildings, cameras had been installed in order to record on the tape all those who come to have their foods blessed.  On the Great and Holy Saturday, an authorised representative of the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_for_Religious_Affairs Council for Religious Affairs] arrived in the Temple.  On this day, apparently, he went to many Temples and he observe how everything was done.  There, all was in order, and there were no violations.  Nevertheless, the people did not worry, and they did not pay attention to the cameras.  Father Matfei then asked the commissioner to allow him to serve with one of the old priests — the Archpriest Vonifata Sokolov, whom the Orthodox Muscovites revered as an ascetic of a high spiritual life.  The commissioner allowed it.  At that time it was believed that the commissioner did them all a great favour.  Father Matfei understood the necessity to pay tribute to the parishioners.  The people understood the position of the Church and the position of the clergy, and they always came to meet us.  Even when Father Matfei was constantly serving abroad, he often visited his Temple on the greater holy days.  He found that worship, and communication with the flock gave him the strength and courage to carry on his service.  
+
Round about the Temple, there are high-rise buildings, and on the rooves of these buildings, cameras had been installed in order to record on tape all those who were coming to have their foods blessed.  On the Great and Holy Saturday, an authorised representative of the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_for_Religious_Affairs Council for Religious Affairs] arrived in the Temple.  On this day, apparently, he went to many Temples and he observed how everything was done.  There, all was in order, and there were no violations.  Nevertheless, the people did not worry, and they did not pay attention to the cameras.  Father Matfei then asked the commissioner to allow him to serve with one of the old priests — the Archpriest Vonifata Sokolov, whom the Orthodox Muscovites revered as an ascetic of a high spiritual life.  The commissioner allowed it.  At that time it was believed that the commissioner did them all a great favour.  Father Matfei understood the necessity to pay tribute to the parishioners.  The people understood the position of the Church and the position of the clergy, and they always came to meet us.  Even when Father Matfei was constantly serving abroad, he often visited his Temple on the greater holy days.  He found that worship, and communication with the flock gave him the strength and courage to carry on his service.  
  
Six months after his return from Alexandria, on 23 January, 1968, Father Matfei was sent to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City New York] in the USA , in order to serve as the secretary of the Patriarchal Exarch of the North and South America, Archbishop of New York and Aleutians, [[Archbishop Jonathan (Kopolovich) |Jonathan (Kopolovich)]].  He found this period of service interesting.  Because of his time of service (both in Moscow and in New York), he would no doubt have had renewed contacts with Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk), who by then lived in Edmonton, Alberta, and who reposed in Christ later in 1968.   
+
Six months after his return from Alexandria, on 23 January, 1968, Father Matfei was sent to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City New York] in the USA , in order to serve as the secretary of the Patriarchal Exarch of North and South America, Archbishop of New York and the Aleutians, [[Archbishop Jonathan (Kopolovich) |Jonathan (Kopolovich)]].  He found this period of service interesting.  Because of his time of service (both in Moscow and in New York), he would no doubt have had renewed contacts with Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk), who by then lived in Edmonton, Alberta, and who reposed in Christ later in 1968.   
  
He reported that in those days, in the USA, there were many representatives of the first wave of [https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/polish2.html emigration] from Russia and Ukraine.  They were by then old people with whom the bishop and he could talk about their Motherland, and they understood one another.  The priests of the Moscow Patriarchate were perceived abroad in different ways (often because of various politics).  However, Father Matfei did not meet a single person who has treated him in a sharply negative way.  Everyone seemed to understand the position of the Church and the clergy in the Soviet state.  Their former compatriots, with whom Father Matfei happened to communicate there, had suffered difficult fates, and they had had to see and experience a lot.  Most of those people had since then passed on to eternity, but Father Matfei continued always to remember them and to pray for them.  During this period, from 10 April, 1970 to 7 August, 1973, he served as the rector of [https://orthodoxwiki.org/St._Nicholas_Cathedral_(New_York,_New_York) Saint Nicholas Cathedral] in New York.  This was just after the granting of [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocephaly autocephaly] by the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Russia Russian Orthodox Church] to the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Church_in_America Orthodox Church in America] (a matter in which he had been involved earlier), and he had many warm contacts with the clergy of this new sister-Church.  After his return to Moscow, he continued to be remembered well by people with whom he came in contact, and with whom he worked.  This includeded [[Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor)]], [https://oca.org/holy-synod/past-primates/herman-swaiko Metropolitan Herman (Swaiko)], the [http://churchofourladyofkazan.org/clergy/ Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky], [[Protodeacon Peter and Matushka Nadezhda Svetlovsky]], [https://oca.org/about/boards-offices-commissions/external-affairs Constantine Kallaur], and many others.   
+
He reported that in those days, in the USA, there were many representatives of the first wave of [https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/polish2.html emigration] from Russia and Ukraine.  They were by then old people with whom the bishop and he could talk about their Motherland, and they understood one another.  The priests of the Moscow Patriarchate were perceived abroad in different ways (often because of various politics).  However, Father Matfei did not meet a single person who has treated him in a sharply negative way.  Everyone seemed to understand the position of the Church and the clergy in the Soviet state.  Their former compatriots, with whom Father Matfei happened to communicate there, had suffered difficult fates, and they had had to see and experience a lot.  Most of those people had since then passed on to eternity, but Father Matfei continued always to remember them and to pray for them.  During this period, from 10 April, 1970 to 7 August, 1973, he served as the rector of [https://orthodoxwiki.org/St._Nicholas_Cathedral_(New_York,_New_York) Saint Nicholas Cathedral] in New York.  This was just after the granting of [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocephaly autocephaly] by the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Russia Russian Orthodox Church] to the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Church_in_America Orthodox Church in America] (a matter in which he had been involved earlier), and he had many warm contacts with the clergy of this new sister-Church.  After his return to Moscow, he continued to be remembered well by people with whom he came in contact, and with whom he worked.  This included [[Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor)]], [https://oca.org/holy-synod/past-primates/herman-swaiko Metropolitan Herman (Swaiko)], the [http://churchofourladyofkazan.org/clergy/ Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky], [[Protodeacon Peter and Matushka Nadezhda Svetlovsky]], [https://oca.org/about/boards-offices-commissions/external-affairs Constantine Kallaur], and many others.   
  
 
On 15 July, 1973, Father Matfei Stadniuk was appointed to serve as the secretary of [[Patriarch Pimen (Izvekov)]], and as Deputy Chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Thus, he returned to Moscow.  
 
On 15 July, 1973, Father Matfei Stadniuk was appointed to serve as the secretary of [[Patriarch Pimen (Izvekov)]], and as Deputy Chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Thus, he returned to Moscow.  
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In 1988, Father Matfei launched the first public project of voluntary service by Church members since the Soviet power had launched its war on religion.  
 
In 1988, Father Matfei launched the first public project of voluntary service by Church members since the Soviet power had launched its war on religion.  
  
After the repose in Christ of Patriarch Pimen on 3 May, 1990, the Protopresbyter Matthew Stadnyuk continued his obedience as the secretary to [[Patriarch Aleksey II (Ridiger)]].  Father Matfei would recall with special warmth the last decade of his work next to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.  According to his testimony, during all this time there was not a single case in which the patriarch had at least in some manner expressed any dissatisfaction with his work.  Father Matfei did not believe that he was such a good employee that he could not somehow be dissatisfactory, but he could not recall any such case.  He said that he had the best memories about those years.  He said that being close to the patriarch is, of course, a great responsibility, but it is also a great joy.  He said that the patriarch treated all his employees with paternal attention ; he was interested in their lives ; he always congratulated them all on the holy days of the Church holidays, and on personal significant dates.  He said that not only he, but everyone who worked in the patriarchate with him, invariably felt sincere participation and care from the patriarch.  
+
After the repose in Christ of Patriarch Pimen on 3 May, 1990, the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadnyuk continued his obedience as the secretary to [[Patriarch Aleksey II (Ridiger)]].  Father Matfei would recall with special warmth the last decade of his work next to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.  According to his testimony, during all this time there was not a single case in which the patriarch had at least in some manner expressed any dissatisfaction with his work.  Father Matfei did not believe that he was such a good employee that he could not somehow be dissatisfactory, but he could not recall any such case.  In reflection, he commented that he had the best memories about those years.  He recalled that the patriarch treated all his employees with paternal attention ; the he was interested in their lives ; the he always congratulated them all on the feast-days of the Church, and on personal significant dates.  Father Matfei added that not only he, but everyone who worked in the patriarchate with him, invariably felt sincere participation and care from the patriarch. Father Matfei said that being close to the patriarch is, of course, a great responsibility, but it is also a great joy.  It seems that everyone who has known Protopresbyter Matfei Stadnyuk, and especially Orthodox Muscovites, would unanimously agree with these words about the patriarch. 
  
 
Until 11 October, 1996, Father Matfei served as chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.
 
Until 11 October, 1996, Father Matfei served as chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.
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Father Matfei remained in his obedience as secretary to Patriarch Aleksey II until 2000.  Then, in May, 2000, after an illness, Father Matthew submitted a petition to be released from his duties as secretary to the patriarch.  Satisfied with the reasons for this petition, Patriarch Aleksey II expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk for his many years of work.  He  added :
 
Father Matfei remained in his obedience as secretary to Patriarch Aleksey II until 2000.  Then, in May, 2000, after an illness, Father Matthew submitted a petition to be released from his duties as secretary to the patriarch.  Satisfied with the reasons for this petition, Patriarch Aleksey II expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk for his many years of work.  He  added :
 
   I accept this decision regretfully, but I know that your health requires reduced responsibilities.  I  
 
   I accept this decision regretfully, but I know that your health requires reduced responsibilities.  I  
   sincerely wish you, dear Father Matthew, to cherish your health and to preserve yourself as a pastor and  
+
   sincerely wish you, dear Father Matfei, to cherish your health and to preserve yourself as a pastor and  
 
   rector of the cathedral for many years.  
 
   rector of the cathedral for many years.  
It seems that everyone who has known Protopresbyter Matthew Stadnyuk, and especially Orthodox Muscovites, would unanimously agree with these words about the patriarch.
 
  
 
By the decree of [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Kyrill_(Gundyayev)_of_Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev)] of 24 March, 2013, the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk was assigned to be the Honourary Rector (equivalent of Rector [https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/emeritus Emeritus]) of the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow.   
 
By the decree of [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Kyrill_(Gundyayev)_of_Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev)] of 24 March, 2013, the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk was assigned to be the Honourary Rector (equivalent of Rector [https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/emeritus Emeritus]) of the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow.   

Revision as of 17:43, 16 November 2017

Protopresbyter M Stadniuk.jpg

Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk


Matfei may be spelt Matvei, Matthew.

Stadniuk may be spelt Stadnyuk.


Matfei Stadniuk was born to Anna Demyanovna Stadniuk on 22 September, 1925, in the village of Zalessi, in the Kremenets County of the Ternopil Oblast. The village is located 8 kilometres distant from the Pochaiv Uspensky (Dormition) Lavra in Western Ukraine. This particular village is famous for the fact that about 150 young villagers devoted themselves to the priesthood. This fact is attributed to the presence and activity of the spiritual fathers in the nearby monastery, as well as to the many relics and wonder-working icons in the lavra.

Throughout his childhood, Matthew’s mother took him and her other children to the Uspensky Lavra in Pochaiv for Divine Services. Of the 4 sons of Anna Demyanovna, 3 became clergymen, and the fourth died during the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

From the age of 10 years, Matfei he began to serve in the Altar in the lavra. Just before this time, Archimandrite Panteleimon (Rudyk) had been assigned to be the Vicar-Abbot (“namestnik”) of the Pochaiv Dormition Lavra, and in 1934, he opened a theological school with a 6-month course for the monks at the Pochaiv Dormition Lavra. World War II began on 1 September, 1939, and western Ukraine soon became a soviet territory. At this time, great pressure was exerted by the soviet communists against the monastery, and the monastic population was greatly reduced. Archimandrite Panteleimon soon was ordained to the Holy Episcopate, and he served in Kyiv during the war, but he was then forced into exile at the end.

On 22 June, 1941, the Nazi German Army invaded Ukraine. It eventually occupied Ukraine and beyond, and for the years of the Great Patriotic War, Matfei lived in occupied territory. It is noteworthy that his compatriot, Andrey Mazur (later the Archdeacon of Patriarch Aleksey II (Ridiger)) grew up in a house in Novi Kokorev, only 3 km away from his home.

Education

In 1942, at the age of 16, Matfei enrolled in pastoral courses at the Pochaiv Lavra. The time was difficult. Ukraine was under German occupation and the situation of believers was very difficult. Matfei would later relate :

 We all knew that, since people were demonstrating their external loyalty to the Orthodox Church, the Germans 
 in fact did not hesitate in any way to interfere actively in its affairs, as they sought to pursue their 
 policies. They killed Metropolitan Alexy (Gromadsky), who was a supporter of the preservation of the canonical 
 unity of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine with the Moscow Patriarchate.  We, the students of the pastoral 
 courses, lived hard, in hunger and cold, huddling in abandoned houses, where sometimes there was no glass in 
 the windows, but we studied with great enthusiasm and zeal. 

The rector of the courses, Archimandrite Veniamin (Novitsky), the future Archbishop of Cheboksary and Chuvash, cared for his children in a fatherly manner and, as best he could, he supported them. Matfei studied in the pastoral courses for 2 years. After graduation, he became a psalm-reader. He remained at the lavra through the deportations of 1943, until the end of the war.

Ordinations

On 10 March, 1945, Matfei Stadniuk was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by Bishop Job (Kresovich †1977), Bishop of Kremenets. He was 19 years old.

Ten months later, on 4 January, 1946, at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Chernivtsi, Bishop Theodosius (Koverninsky †1980), Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, ordained him to the Holy Priesthood.

Pastoral service

His first parish was an ancient wooden church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains, 60 km from the nearest railway. The young priest, because of the great lack of clergy, had to perform services in 4 neighbouring Temples. These were demanding and extraordinary times.

 I walked all day, I even had to spend the night on the road.  I was young, and the distances did not frighten 
 me, it seemed that it was not very far.  In addition to my parish, it was necessary to serve in the temples of 
 4 more villages, where there were no priests.  I remember that these villages were located in very beautiful, 
 picturesque places in the Carpathians.  Since I was alone, I had to serve literally day and night.  Sometimes, 
 you would go to the temple in the very early morning, and you’d come back at four p.m.  On Pascha, I visited 
 every village in turn : in one Temple you would serve matins, in another the Divine Liturgy, and in the third 
 you could only repeat Bright Week Matins and bless Paschal breads and cheeses.  There was no transportation, 
 but I got on horseback somehow.  The first years of priestly service, of course, were difficult, but for me 
 the memories of them are very joyful, because I was doing my service with love and joy.  The parishioners 
 loved me, and with them I had very good relations.  

At 20 years of age, the young priest was entrusted with the responsible obedience of serving as the regional dean : new care was added to the pastoral work. He recalled that

 when meetings of the clergy were held in our deanery, we all came to them on foot, covering many kilometres.  
 Often I walked 40 km a day, but for me it was not difficult.  When the deans from the whole diocese gathered, 
 and these were all mature people, men with long experience, at first I felt uncomfortable.  The ruling bishop 
 treated me very well, with respect, and yet I, as a dean, had no experience of administrative activity.  I did 
 only what I thought it was necessary to do for the Church. 

A year later, Father Matfei was transferred to another village near the city of Chernivtsi. With God’s help, all obstacles were overcome.

Further education

Then, in 1949, with the blessing of Archbishop Andrew (Sukhenko) of Chernivtsi, the village priest Matfei Stadniuk entered the Moscow Theological Seminary. He was immediately admitted to the third year. It was during this year that the seminary and the academy were permitted to return to their original buildings at the Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad (at that time called Zagorsk).

During this period of his life, Father Matfei came into contact with the life of Orthodox Moscow, and he got acquainted with her church customs. Especially memorable was his first visit to the Holy Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius, which was just then beginning to revive.

Amongst the seminary fellow students and teachers of Father Matfei were people whose names can be inscribed into the history of the [https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Russia Russian Orthodox Church including the future professors :

 K M Komarov ; Archpriest Alexei Ostapov ; K E Skurat. 

Father Matfei later recalled that his experience was wonderful, and that his fellow students still actively remember one another and they try to meet. However, in increasing age, meeting becomes more rare. Nevertheless, the memory of their professors has been engraved in their hearts. At the time they began to learn, the Spiritual Schools had only just re-opened. Both the students and the teachers would come to classes poorly dressed, sometimes in quilted jackets. Many of the professors had just been returned from prison in those years. Perhaps it can be understood with what trepidation and reverence these people taught the Word of God.

Their mentors were the famous Moscow pastors :

 the Archpriests Dimitry Bogolyubov ; Tikhon Popov ; Sergius Savinsky ; Vsevolod Shpiller ; Alexander Smirnov ; 
 Alexander Vetelev ; and the professors Nikolai Doktusov ; Alexei Ivanov ; Nikolai Lebedev ; Nikolai Muraviev.  

When Father Matfei began his studies, the rector of Moscow Spiritual Schools was the Archpriest Alexander Smirnov. Vladimir Vertogradov replaced him, and then the Archpriest Constantine Ruzhitsky.

After he had completed the seminary course, Father Matfei was sent to the Moscow Theological Academy, from which he graduated in 1955. Patriarch Alexei I (Simansky) treated the pupils of the Spiritual Schools with special love and respect. During his studies at the Academy, Father Matthew Stadniuk was well acquainted with the patriarch.

Further pastoral service

In 1955, in accordance with the archpastor’s blessing, the young priest Matfei Stadniuk, having finished his studies, was sent to serve amongst the clergy of the Moscow Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Lefortovo. There, he later would later serve for 25 years. He served as the fourth priest, along with the Archpriests Dimitry Tsvetkov (rector), Vonifaty Sokolov and Pavel Korablev. However, Father Dimitri’s father soon died. Thus, in 1959, Father Matfei was assigned to serve as the rector of the parish in his place, although in addition to him there were old and very deserving priests who also served.

At the same time, Father Matfei was assigned to serve as the secretary of the Educational Council of the Moscow Theological Schools. In addition, he was sent to the patriarchate offices, where he helped the Protopresbyter Nikolai Kolchitsky.

In 1962, he accompanied Archbishop John (Wendland) on a trip to the United States of America, which lasted for 2 months.

On 6 April, 1964, by the blessing and direction of Patriarch Alexy I, the priest Matfei Stadniuk was given the obedience to travel to Egypt, where he served for 3 ½ years under obedience to the rector of the Russian Church of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Alexandria. Wanting to improve his knowledge in English, which was necessary for full pastoral activity abroad, he graduated from a special language school there, and he also did a lot of study on his own. From Alexandria, Father Matfei often travelled to Odessa, where there was a “podvoriye” (Representation Church, “Metochion”) of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. There, in Odessa, in the Holy Dormition Monastery was the summer residence of the First Hierarch (patriarch) of the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Matfei visited the primate, and he reported about the state of affairs in the Alexandrian Church, about whose life the patriarch was always very keenly interested. Father Matfei always kept these precious moments of communication with the patriarch in his memory.

Then, just before the Great Feast-day of Pascha, the soviet authorities issued a decree stating that Paschal breads and cheese could not be blessed on the streets, nor within the parish’s fence, but only in the Temple itself. He and others had never seen anything like this before, that there would be in the Temple people with Paschal foods. The priest was instructed to sprinkle them, nevertheless. Because of the crowd, it was impossible even to put up a separate table for this. As a result, there was a mess as many foods began to fall to the floor. This left a very bitter memory. The people were very indignant at these innovations, and the next year the authorities again permitted the blessing of the Paschal foods on the street as before.

Round about the Temple, there are high-rise buildings, and on the rooves of these buildings, cameras had been installed in order to record on tape all those who were coming to have their foods blessed. On the Great and Holy Saturday, an authorised representative of the Council for Religious Affairs arrived in the Temple. On this day, apparently, he went to many Temples and he observed how everything was done. There, all was in order, and there were no violations. Nevertheless, the people did not worry, and they did not pay attention to the cameras. Father Matfei then asked the commissioner to allow him to serve with one of the old priests — the Archpriest Vonifata Sokolov, whom the Orthodox Muscovites revered as an ascetic of a high spiritual life. The commissioner allowed it. At that time it was believed that the commissioner did them all a great favour. Father Matfei understood the necessity to pay tribute to the parishioners. The people understood the position of the Church and the position of the clergy, and they always came to meet us. Even when Father Matfei was constantly serving abroad, he often visited his Temple on the greater holy days. He found that worship, and communication with the flock gave him the strength and courage to carry on his service.

Six months after his return from Alexandria, on 23 January, 1968, Father Matfei was sent to New York in the USA , in order to serve as the secretary of the Patriarchal Exarch of North and South America, Archbishop of New York and the Aleutians, Jonathan (Kopolovich). He found this period of service interesting. Because of his time of service (both in Moscow and in New York), he would no doubt have had renewed contacts with Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk), who by then lived in Edmonton, Alberta, and who reposed in Christ later in 1968.

He reported that in those days, in the USA, there were many representatives of the first wave of emigration from Russia and Ukraine. They were by then old people with whom the bishop and he could talk about their Motherland, and they understood one another. The priests of the Moscow Patriarchate were perceived abroad in different ways (often because of various politics). However, Father Matfei did not meet a single person who has treated him in a sharply negative way. Everyone seemed to understand the position of the Church and the clergy in the Soviet state. Their former compatriots, with whom Father Matfei happened to communicate there, had suffered difficult fates, and they had had to see and experience a lot. Most of those people had since then passed on to eternity, but Father Matfei continued always to remember them and to pray for them. During this period, from 10 April, 1970 to 7 August, 1973, he served as the rector of Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York. This was just after the granting of autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church in America (a matter in which he had been involved earlier), and he had many warm contacts with the clergy of this new sister-Church. After his return to Moscow, he continued to be remembered well by people with whom he came in contact, and with whom he worked. This included Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor), Metropolitan Herman (Swaiko), the Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Protodeacon Peter and Matushka Nadezhda Svetlovsky, Constantine Kallaur, and many others.

On 15 July, 1973, Father Matfei Stadniuk was appointed to serve as the secretary of Patriarch Pimen (Izvekov), and as Deputy Chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate. Thus, he returned to Moscow.

Because he appreciated the pastoral and administrative experience of Father Matfei, on 9 June, 1978, the patriarch assigned him to serve as the rector of the Epiphany (Elohovo) Cathedral in Moscow, and he simultaneously elevated him to the dignity of protopresbyter. (At that time, this Temple was the actual cathedral of the diocese/patriarchate. It was not until after “perestroika” that the historical Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin could be called again the cathedral, and to be used for some official functions,) For about 8 years, Father Matfei was at the head of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he also took an active part in the creation and construction of the artistic and industrial enterprise Sofrino, the first Church-goods factory in the history of post-revolutionary Russia. During the many years of his service and leadership at the cathedral, Father Matvei worked together with the likewise long-time starosta Nikolai Simeonovich Kapchuk (7 years younger than Father Matfei). Mr. Kapchuk's leadership kept the cathedral structures well-maintained, and he welcomed visitors with warm hospitality.

In 1988, Father Matfei launched the first public project of voluntary service by Church members since the Soviet power had launched its war on religion.

After the repose in Christ of Patriarch Pimen on 3 May, 1990, the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadnyuk continued his obedience as the secretary to Patriarch Aleksey II (Ridiger). Father Matfei would recall with special warmth the last decade of his work next to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to his testimony, during all this time there was not a single case in which the patriarch had at least in some manner expressed any dissatisfaction with his work. Father Matfei did not believe that he was such a good employee that he could not somehow be dissatisfactory, but he could not recall any such case. In reflection, he commented that he had the best memories about those years. He recalled that the patriarch treated all his employees with paternal attention ; the he was interested in their lives ; the he always congratulated them all on the feast-days of the Church, and on personal significant dates. Father Matfei added that not only he, but everyone who worked in the patriarchate with him, invariably felt sincere participation and care from the patriarch. Father Matfei said that being close to the patriarch is, of course, a great responsibility, but it is also a great joy. It seems that everyone who has known Protopresbyter Matfei Stadnyuk, and especially Orthodox Muscovites, would unanimously agree with these words about the patriarch.

Until 11 October, 1996, Father Matfei served as chairman of the Economic Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.

For 45 years, Father Matthew Stadnyuk worked in the patriarchate, where he gave of all his knowledge, his strength and his experience to the work entrusted to him by the hierarchy. He was repeatedly given awards by the Russian Orthodox Church, as well by the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches : Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia and Slovakia, as well as by the autonomous Churches of Finland and of Sinai. In his life, because of when he was born, he became a direct eyewitness of many memorable and significant events for the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the whole Orthodox Church.

Semi-retirement

Father Matfei remained in his obedience as secretary to Patriarch Aleksey II until 2000. Then, in May, 2000, after an illness, Father Matthew submitted a petition to be released from his duties as secretary to the patriarch. Satisfied with the reasons for this petition, Patriarch Aleksey II expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk for his many years of work. He added :

 I accept this decision regretfully, but I know that your health requires reduced responsibilities.  I 
 sincerely wish you, dear Father Matfei, to cherish your health and to preserve yourself as a pastor and 
 rector of the cathedral for many years. 

By the decree of Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of 24 March, 2013, the Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk was assigned to be the Honourary Rector (equivalent of Rector Emeritus) of the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow.


1Stad.jpg Protopresbyter Matfei Stadniuk and Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev)

During many years of his pastoral ministry Father Matfei many times received church awards for his tireless zeal for the service of the Church of Christ, for his sincere devotion to the Lord and his people.

 Church Awards :
 
 • 2015 - the Order of Saint Alexy of Moscow, 1st degree .
 • 2010 - the Order of Saint Seraphim of Sarov, 1st degree.
 • Order of the Equal to the Apostles Prince Vladimir 1st degree.
 • Order of Saint Sergius of Radonezh,1st degree 
 • Order of the Blessed Prince Daniel of Moscow, 1st degree


Reference :

Moscow Patriarchate biography


Additional information :

Father M Stadniuk in pre-Autocephaly meetings

Pre-Autocephaly meetings

“Intercommunion” mention of Father Stadniuk’s 1989 activity

Father Stadniuk hosts ROCOR delegation 2012

Metropolitan Theodosius is hosted by Father Stadniuk in 2001

Father Stadniuk greets Metropolitan Jonah in 2009

Cathedral web-site

Archdeacon Andrey Mazur biography