Monsignor Hrynuck passed away March 6, 2014

Retired Pastor (1951-2008)
Ss. Cyril & Methodius
Ukrainian Catholic Church

Monisgnor Stephen Hrynuck - Pastor of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church, Olyphant, PA

M ANY YEARS HAVE PASSED since 1932 when a young man from Philadelphia realized that man's spiritual side needs as much care, if not more, than his physical side.  He left Medical School to enter the Seminary and his love of learning and faith have provided him a fulfilling priestly life which reaches a milestone every year on April 3.  On that day, Monsignor Stephen Hrynuck observes an anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood.   Each year since 1951 has been spent in ministering to the spiritual needs of the parishioners of SS. Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.

Monsignor's parents, the late Michael and Anastasia [Chesak], came to the United States in 1909 with their two-year-old son Johnny and settled in Philadelphia near the Cathedral on Franklin Street.   Their second son, Stephen, was born on December 27, 1911, baptized and confirmed by the late Fr. Zachary Orun in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on January 9, 1912.  When the family returned to Pawliw in Western Ukraine, their sons were sent to study at the Ukrainian Classical Gymnasium [High School] in Lviv.  Upon his graduation, Monsignor Hrynuck returned to the United States in 1930 while his brother John remained in Ukraine, studying for the Priesthood in the Theological Academy in Lviv.

After one year of a post-graduate course at William Penn High School in Philadelphia, Monsignor entered Temple University to study medicine, but after the priestly ordination of his brother, Monsignor changed his mind.  He too decided to become a priest.  In a way, Monsignor credits his grandmother for his vocation. She had prayed that her son would become a priest, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by the Servant of God Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky, and offered it for the priestly vocation of her son, the uncle of Monsignor.  Did he become a priest?  No.  But instead of her son, two of her grandsons chose the priestly life.

In September 1932, Monsignor's brother was ordained a priest, and in October 1932, Monsignor was sent by the late Archbishop Constantine Bohachevsky to St. Josaphat's College in Rome, Italy, to study for the priesthood.  In Rome he attended the University of Propaganda Fidei and received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree and Master of Theology degree.

 He was ordained by the late Bishop Alexander Yevreinov in Rome on April 3, 1938, and returned to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the same year.  Before leaving Rome, Monsignor celebrated his first Liturgy in St. Laurence Church in Rome, where the relics of St.  Stephen, Monsignor's Patron, are venerated.   As a privilege of having been ordained in the Eternal City, he celebrated his second Liturgy in a lower level of St. Peter's Basilica where the Apostle is buried, and his third Liturgy in the Greek Chapel of the Catacombs.  Monsignor expressed his earnest hope to return to those significant places one day, and offer the Divine Liturgy there in thanksgiving for all the graces of God especially for the grace of Priesthood.

M onsignor Hrynuck's first pastoral assignment was to St. Constantine's Church in Minneapolis where in addition to his pastoral duties, he put his talents at playing the guitar and mandolin to use by directing a parish string orchestra, and organizing the Church Choir.  He also helped the church baseball team.  His enjoyment of the great American pastime found a place at Ss. Cyril and Methodius parish as well.  Monsignor took great interest and helped with "The Saints" baseball team which, in the 1960's, under the management of Joe Beckage, won seven consecutive pennants in the Scranton Baseball Association.  A fete no other Association ball club was ever able to accomplish.

After his service to St. Constantine's in Minneapolis, Monsignor was assigned as superior of the Summer Camp for Ukrainian Catholic seminarians in Stratford, NY.  His next assignments were a pastorate at Holy Ghost Church, Chester, Pa.; assistant pastor to the Late Archbishop Ivan Butchko at St. George's in New York City; spiritual director of the Minor Seminary and pastor of St. Vladimir's Church in Stamford, Conn.  Monsignor Hrynuck then became an instructor of philosophy at St. Basil's College, and while teaching there, successfully pursued studies for a Ph.D. at Fordham University with the doctoral dissertation on "Raison d'etre of Vladimir Soloviev," a Russian Orthodox philosopher who became a Catholic of the Eastern Rite.  In 1944, Monsignor became dean of studies at St. Basil's College, and in 1945, rector of the Minor Seminary in Stamford.  Prior to coming to Ss. Cyril and Methodius in 1951, he served as spiritual director and later, as rector of the Major Seminary of St. Josaphat in Washington, D.C.

During his pastorate in Ss. Cyril and Methodius parish, the present church was renovated several times; its domes reconstructed; a Convent was built in 1955; grounds for the school playground was purchased; a new hall was erected; a gymnasium was built; a beautiful monument, and a mausoleum for the priests' burial, were built at the parish cemetery in Peckville.

During Monsignor's pastorate, the parish also acquired the following properties: a property adjacent to the convent, another near the rectory for a Youth Center, which is now site of Our Lady of Zhyrovytsi Shrine, and a parcel of land across the street from the church for a parking lot.

In 1975, Monsignor initiated the Sunday radio broadcast of the Divine Liturgy which continued successfully every Sunday until his retirement in 2008, and was heard worldwide on the Internet.

In 1980, a beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Zhyrovytsi was built and then solemnly dedicated on May 18 of that year.

In 1988, to commemorate the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine and the Centennial of the parish, an appropriate monument was built across the street from the church.  The monument consists of a large four-part mosaic icon: Our Lady the Protectress, Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Ss. Vladimir and Olga, and a replica of the present Church building.  The mosaic is the artistic creation of renowned Ukrainian iconographer Borys Makarenko.

During Monsignor Hrynuck's priestly life, he has held several Diocesan assignments, such as consulter in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (two terms), Judge of the Matrimonial Tribunal, member of the Metropolitan School Council, Director of the Priest's Beneficial Fund and Dean of the Scranton Deanery.

In 1968, Monsignor Hrynuck was elevated to the ranks of a Papal Chamberlain by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, with the title of Monsignor, and in 1982, he was nominated a Mitered Arch-Priest by His Beatitude, Patriarch Joseph Cardinal Slipyj in Rome and installed by His Grace, Archbishop Metropolitan Stephen Sulyk, D.D., on April 25, 1982.

His spiritual motto is the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he chose on the day of his priestly ordination 50 years ago: "My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior," (Luke 1, 46), and the priestly promise to God he made also on the day of his ordination is the text of the Holy Writ found in the Divine Liturgy: "I will Love you, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my fortress and my refuge" (Psalm 17, 2-3).

The Parish of Ss. Cyril & Methodius is indeed fortunate to have been served by Monsignor Hrynuck. We offer him our sincere thanks for his tireless priestly labor, love and dedication to all of us.  May God bless him and grant him good health, peace and happiness to continue to serve the Lord Who had chosen him as the Priest of God, the Light of the World, and the Salt of the Earth more than 60 years ago.  Mnohaya Lita!

Monsignor's 60th Anniversary celebration 1998

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

I want to thank you for all your kindness extended to me during the celebration of my 100th Birthday.

 The attendance at the Divine Liturgy including Bishop Bambera, Father Nestor Iwasiw, Father John, Father Paulish and Father Riccardi was indeed very special to me.

I was overwhelmed by all the parishioners and friends who honored me at the Celebration at Fiorellis.  I thank you for all your birthday wishes, prayers, proclamations, gifts and donations that I gave to the church.

I thank (Ukrainian) Bishop Stefan Soroka, who came from Philadelphia, and all the past parishioners who arrived from out of town and out of state.  Special thank you to the Choir for singing my favorite songs and honoring me with singing Mnohaya lita.

I am thankful to God for giving me the strength to live l00 years and serve Saints Cyril and Methodius Church for over 57 years. There are so many great memories I have that I will never forget, and I thank you again for all you have done for church and me.

Today I am thanking you for your goodness, kindness and love.  I pray that when God will call me from this earthly life, and when I will have to say to you Goodbye I will be able to say with St. Simeon, "Now O Lord you can dismiss your servant according to your word in peace."  (Luke 2.29)

May God Bless you all,
Monsignor Stephen Hrynuck

100th Birthday Celebration articles in "The Way" (Page 17) ->

Photos from Monsignor Hrynuck's Birthday celebration at Fiorellis by Gene Maslar -> 

Monsignor Hrynuck celebrates Final Novena after 60 years ->

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