Deacon Andrew Nelko – St. Tikhon’s Seminary FOCA Chapter President – Ordained to the Holy Priesthood, Graduates from Seminary, Assigned to St. Nicholas Church in Weirton, WV

Deacon Andrew Nelko – a third-year student at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, president of its Fellowship chapter and outgoing president of the Student Government – was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Annunciation Day, March 25th, at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Weirton, West Virginia.

Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania was the celebrant assisted by several clergy: Fathers Andrew Nelko (STOTS class of 1981), his father; William Evansky, diocesan chancellor; Samuel Smolcic (1979), Steven Voytovich, seminary dean; Nicholas Wyslutsky (1989), Emilian Hutnyan (1992) and Gabriel Bilas (2014). Deacon Peter Ilchuk, FOCA CP&O director, assisted as did Dr. John Schultz, past national president, as subdeacon. Prof. David Drillock, retired provost of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, directed the choir that included Father Andrew’s family members. His wife, Matushka Kaila, has been working at St. Tikhon’s Bookstore.

The Nelko’s returned to St. Nicholas Church over the weekend of April 28-30 for the national FOCA basketball tournament in which he played on a team in the senior men’s category; he also served vespers on Saturday evening and concelebrated Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Melchisedek on Sunday morning. Father Andrew then graduated from St. Tikhon’s Seminary (with a master’s in divinity degree) on May 27th in the 75th annual commencement exercises held during the annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to St. Tikhon’s Monastery. Both he and Matushka Kaila were busy working throughout the pilgrimage weekend. Father Andrew has been officially assigned to St. Nicholas Church effective mid-June. Axios, congratulations and many years!

– adapted from