It was with great joy that we recently learned from His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago, that the Archpriest Mykola Bodnarchuk has been assigned Rector of our parish, effective Sunday, May 14, 2017. Father Mykola will serve his first Divine Liturgy as Rector at 10:00 a.m. on that day.
Father Mykola was born in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine on February 29, 1960, the son of Priest Iwan Mykolayovich Bodnarchuk, an Orthodox priest, and his wife, the former Maria Mykolaivna Kobylynets. The spiritual upbringing provided by his parents inspired him, as well as his two brothers, to enter the priesthood. He pursued theological studies at the Leningrad Theological Academy, from which he graduated with honors.
Father Mykola's mother fell asleep in the Lord in February 1981. On November 24 of the same year, he married the former Olia Yosipivna Smishko, the daughter and sister of Orthodox priests. The following year he was ordained to the priesthood. Meanwhile, his father continued serving as a priest until 1991, when he was elevated to the episcopacy, serving as a bishop and later metropolitan until his repose in January 2006.
During the first ten years of his priesthood, Father Mykola served as Pastor of multiple parishes in Ukraine. At the time, due to restrictions placed on the Church by the Soviet regime, he had been granted special permission to serve as pastor to four churches simultaneously, and he was able to establish three new parishes -- not an easy task given the political realities of the time. Concurrently, he served as a religion teacher at the Ternopil Medical University and served as Chancellor of the Ternopil and Boochach Diocese. When, in 1991, the Ternopilgovernment ordered that the region's Orthodox church buildings should be given to the Catholics, he helped organize tens of thousands of people to protest this action, forcingthe government to reevaluate and change the new law. Simultaneously, he founded and operated a religious publishing company, “Blagovist,” where he served as main editor, producer, designer, marketing manager and translator of numerous texts from the Church Slavonic and Russian languages into Ukrainian. He also authored several religious booklets and articles. In 1991, he helped establish the Terebovlia Theological Seminary, where he served as Vice Principal and instructor.
In 1992, Father Mykola moved to the United States, with his family joining him the following year. [His brothers also moved to the US, serving parishes in Detroit and Cleveland.] For 10 years he served as Rector of Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Bloomingdale, IL. In 2002, he was received into the Orthodox Church in America by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Job of Chicago, and assigned Associate Pastor of Saint Joseph Church, Wheaton, IL, where he served with Archpriests John Matusiak, now retired, and Joseph Kopka, the parish's current Rector. For the past 15 years, Father Mykola has served with distinction at Saint Joseph's prior to his assignment to Saint Nicholas Church on Sunday, May 14, 2017. He will be sorely missed by the faithful in Wheaton.
The Bodnarchuks have been blessed with three children -- Maria (married to Israel), Sophia and Iwan -- and three beautiful and lively grandchildren, Thomas, Dominika and Antonina.
It is with great anticipation that we welcome Father Mykola and his family into our "parish family," and we pray that God will grant them many years of fruitful ministry in our midst!