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April 29, 2010

Background and Information on the New Bishop of New York, The Right Reverend Michael G. Dahulich

Bishop Michael Dahulich of New York

The son of Ann (Rosics) and the late Peter Dahulich, I was born in Johnson City, N.Y., on August 29, 1950. I grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., and have one brother, retired US Air Force Captain George Dahulich, who presently works for Lockheed Martin and lives in Centreville, Va., and a sister, Barbara Knighton, who lives in Binghamton and works as a secretary at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

I was baptized in the Orthodox Faith as an infant at St. Michaels Church in Binghamton, where my parents had been married in 1948. My father was a convert from the Byzantine Catholic Church, while my mother was cradle Orthodox. She and her parents nurtured me in the Faith by their example, and my mother read to me Bible stories and the lives of the Saints from my earliest childhood.

From the age of ten until I graduated from college and went to Seminary, I served as an altar boy under the tutelage of my pastor, Fr. Stephen Dutko, who was the inspiration for my vocation. At the age of 14, praying before the Icon of the Theotokos on the Feast of her Dormition, I pledged myself to serve the Holy Church in whatever capacity God would direct me, asking the protection and guidance of the Holy Mother.

I attended Binghamton Central High School in 1967. My senior paper was a biography of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. I graduated two years later from Broome Community College, and set out to pursue my dream to serve the Church by attending Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown. I completed my theological studies there in December of 1972, having been privileged to be mentored by His Grace, Bishop JOHN of Nyssa.

While a student at the Seminary, I met Deborah Sandak, a parishioner of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown. We were engaged on the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos in 1972 and were married on January 21, 1973 in the Johnstown Cathedral.

I was ordained by Bishop JOHN, first to the Diaconate on February 3, 1973, in St. Peter the Apostle Chapel in Johnstown, and then to the Holy Priesthood the following day, in Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

I assumed my first parish assignment at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Homer City, Pa., a small mission community which had never had a full time priest, on Sunday, February 18, 1973. Two days later, en route to dinner at my best friends home in Jenners, Pa., my wife and I were in a car accident; she was killed instantly, and I was hospitalized for three months. I struggled for a long time afterward with her loss.

In June of 1973, I returned to serve the Homer City parish, while living at Christ the Saviour Seminary. My wifes death had had a profound effect on me, and after months of spiritual struggle, Bishop JOHN decided it best for me to pursue further studies, reasoning that I did best in the classroom. His Grace applied for my admission, provided me with a vehicle for commuting, and funded my education personally. I have never forgotten his generosity, and have strived to provide scholarships for my students to this day in memory of what had been given to me.

Over the next few years, I attended St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., graduating with a degree in philosophy, and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, graduating with a Master of Arts in Theology and later a Ph.D. in Theology, with a concentration in New Testament studies.

Upon my graduation from St. Vincent College, I was named Prefect of Student Life at Christ the Saviour, a position I held for five years, until SS. Peter and Paul Church achieved parish status, and I became its first full-time pastor. I was also assigned as instructor of Ethics at the Seminary, where I also taught Scripture and Homiletics, until I was transferred from the area in 1985. During my Ph.D. studies at Duquesne, I was also adjunct lecturer, teaching Scripture and Eastern Orthodoxy in the Theology Department.

For nearly 13 years, I served SS. Peter and Paul Church. I was privileged to see it grow from 60 to more than 130 members, and from mission to parish status. The church building was brick-encased, its interior was decorated, and a rectory was built.

During that time, I also served as Religious Education Director for the Johnstown Deanery and the Associate Editor of The Church Messenger. In 1982, I was elevated to the rank of Archpriest, and named Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese. In addition, until his untimely death in 1984, I was privileged to serve as personal secretary to His Grace, Bishop JOHN.

I continued as Vice-Chancellor and Secretary to Bishop NICHOLAS of Amissos, until December of 1985, when I was transferred to Holy Ghost Church in Phoenixville, Pa., where I served as pastor for 16 years. During that time, the parish grew from 256 to nearly 450 members, including more than 100 children. Several improvements in the temple and the 20-acre facility were successfully undertaken a new educational facility was completed. A pre-school and day care was established, with the intent to grow into an Orthodox school.

During that time, I was also named to the Study and Planning Commission and the Ecumenical Commission of SCOBA. I served for more than a decade as the Dean of the Mid-Atlantic Deanery parishes of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, and Vice-Chairman of the Harvest 2000 Committee on Missions, Evangelization and Diocesan Growth. I also edited the Diocesan Prayerbook, Come To Me.

I was especially honored in 1998 to be named Protopresbyter by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and elevated by His Eminence, Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, in my parish in Phoenixville.

In 1993, I was asked by His Eminence, Archbishop HERMAN, to teach at St. Tikhons Seminary, where I have served on the faculty to this day. In 2001, I was released from the Carpatho-Russian Diocese to the Orthodox Church in America, and came to serve full-time at St. Tikhons Seminary, first as Administrative Dean (2001-2002) and then as Dean (2002-present). My field of expertise in teaching is New Testament, and I have also taught Old Testament courses, Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, and Ethics at St. Tikhons.

During the past eight years, God has blessed St. Tikhons by more than doubling in its enrollment. I was privileged to be a part of the team that earned national accreditation for the Seminary from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. I have helped work on a revision of the curriculum for our Master of Divinity program, and I have served as Editor of The Tikhonaire, The Spirit of St. Tikhons, By the Waters, and St. Tikhons Theological Journal. I also work as director of recruitment, development and fund-raising at the school.

Also during this time, I have served as a member of the Board of Theological Education of the Orthodox Church in America, OCA Representative to the National Advisory Board of the American Bible Society, a member (and former national secretary) of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCAMPR).

I have tried to bring to the Office of Dean a pastoral sensibility borne out of 28 years of parish ministry. I believe that the Lord has commanded clergy to do two very important things: to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28), and to assist those in need (Matthew 25). I have sought to recruit into Seminary men who share that vision and to promote that vision beyond Ordination through continuing education for clergy.

My goal has been for every student to be able to study for the priesthood without having to worry about financial concerns. The two top items of my Deanship have been scholarships for deserving students and assistance for married students and their families.

Additionally, I have published a number of articles in theological journals, magazines and newspapers. I have a recurring column in The Orthodox Herald on Sobornost. I have presented several papers, delivered numerous talks, lectures, and keynote addresses, and led many seminars and retreats in schools and parishes throughout the country, as well as teaching week-long seminars in Scripture in both Brazil and India.

My philosophy of life is taken from St. Paul the Apostle: to do my best to fight the good fight, to run the race of salvation, by working as hard as I can, as fast as I can, for as long as I can, untilthe Lord calls me to pass the baton on to someone else. (II Timothy 4).

Fr. Michael will be consecrated on May 8, 2010 and enthroned in the Cathedral as Bishop of New York, Diocese of New York and New Jersey on May 9, 2010

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