CANADIAN DIOCESE: December 30, 2013
Toronto’s Holy Trinity Cathedral Celebrates the 40 th Anniversary of the Clerical Service of Mitred Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko
Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, joyfully celebrated a great anniversary: the 40 th year of the clerical service of its irreplaceable Rector, Mitred Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko. Fr Vladimir was ordained to the diaconate on December 2, 1973, in St Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal, Canada, by the Ruling Bishop of the Canadian Diocese, Metropolitan Vitaly (Oustinov), who was to become the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Only a few months later, Fr Vladimir was ordained to the priesthood, and from then on, he was never again to leave Holy Trinity Parish, having succeeded another glorious representative of the clergy of the Russian diaspora, the unforgettable Protopriest Matthew Andriushchenko.
His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada noted the periods in the life of Fr Vladimir, who visited the parish for the occasion. Under Fr Vladimir’s leadership, Holy Trinity Parish became the largest in the entire Russian Church Abroad. During Divine Liturgy can draw up to 1,500 worshipers, let alone holiday and Paschal services. Such numbers are Russian in scale, almost Muscovite, now that religion is renascent once again in the Fatherland. Until very recently, Fr Vladimir was the sole priest of the magnificent Holy Trinity Cathedral, but divine services within its wall occur almost every day. Holy Trinity Parish is renowned for its Russian school, which boasts over 200 students.
On December 14, all-night vigil was performed in the hierarchal rite, after which the parishioners were offered dinner.
The next morning, Sunday, December 15, Archbishop Gabriel officiated at Divine Liturgy along with His Grace Bishop George of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Canada. Fr Vladimir and the cathedral’s other priest, Priest Vyacheslav Davidenko joined them, along with Protodeacon Basil Milonov (of Holy Protection Memorial Church in Ottawa), Protodeacon Stefan of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the cathedral’s own Deacon Alexander Morin and Deacon Boris Bakhvalov.
As always, the cathedral choir sang with inspiring fervor under the direction of Reader George Skok, whose mastery is renowned far beyond the Canadian borders.
After the dismissal, Archbishop Gabriel read a sermon. He expressed heartfelt greetings to his fellow hierarch, Bishop George, noting that this type of concelebration was the first on Canadian soil, but with God’s help it would not be the last, for the Serbian and Orthodox peoples have special spiritual bonds which will remain forever. His Eminence then announced that by decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, in recognition of his 40 years of service, Fr Vladimir was being awarded the Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” Third Level and an accompanying decree of blessing.
Over 200 guests participated in the invitation-only reception that followed. Archbishop Gabriel talked about Fr Vladimir’s service, and of the great efforts of his wife, Matushka Elizaveta Stepanovna. According to Vladyka Gabriel: “Matushkas can easily go unnoticed,” but the less a matushka’s role is noticed in parish life, the greater and more beneficial it can be. Bishop George of Canada then addressed Fr Vladimir and the parishioners. Expressing his great joy at the opportunity to participate in joint divine service with Archbishop Gabriel, Vladyka George discussed the topic of the unity of the Russian and Serbian peoples.
Bishop George will be marking the thirtieth anniversary of his own service in Canada. During his tenure, the number of Serbian churches grew from 8 to 36.
Fr Vladimir then delivered a touching speech of gratitude towards everyone in attendance. He recalled the great fraternal help granted by the Serbian Patriarch and Royal House of Serbia to the suffering Russian Orthodox Church during the Second Russian Time of Troubles. It was the Serbian King who received the Russian bishops headed by Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory, while the Serbian Patriarchs gave the Russian Church practical aid in ministering to their refugees in the Serbian land.
Fr Vyacheslav then gave Fr Vladimir an ornamented gold pectoral cross as a gift from the parish.
A concert was then offered after dessert. First George Skok’s choir sang, including Fr Vladimir’s favorite song: Zamelo tebya snegom, Rossiya [“Snowswept Russia”]. Two other youth choirs then sang under the direction of Matushka Maria Valerievna Bakhvalov.
Glory to God for all things!