Fr. Eugene Burbelo (Class of 1961) Elevated to Rank of Archdeacon
On Sunday, November 20, 2005, His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, led the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination to the deaconate of Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo (class of 1961) at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign at the Synod of Bishops in New York City. His Eminence raised Fr. Eugene to the rank of Archdeacon, the highest honor for deacons, during the Divine Liturgy.
In commemoration of this remarkable celebration we offer the following, an English translation of a brief autobiography by Fr. Eugene that appeared in the Holy Trinity Seminary Newsletter , No. 1 (15), 2004.
"After the war of 1941-1945 I lived in various displaced persons (DP) camps in Germany until 1947. In the spring of 1947 I found myself in the camp in Fischbeck, near Hamburg. This camp differed from other camps in that the majority of its inhabitants were of the Orthodox faith. The camp church was the center of life and growth in the Orthodox faith for young and old alike. Its spiritual leaders, who enjoyed the common love and respect of all, were Archimandrite Vitaly (Ustinov), Archpriest Serge Shchukin, and Priest Nikolai Uspensky. I sang in the church choir and sometimes read on kliros and served in the altar. It was there, in the period of my physical and spiritual formation, that I came to love the Church and decided that I must serve the Church.
"I arrived in the USA in 1950. My spiritual instructors were Archpriest Adrian Rymarenko (later Archbishop Andrei of Rockland), Archpriest George Pavliusk, Archpriest Nikolai Fomin, and Archdeacon Gelacy (Maiboroda). They strengthened me in the love of Orthodoxy and fidelity to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
"In 1955 I married Klavdia Lyzlova and in the same year was ordained to the deaconate by Metropolitan Anastassy and numbered among the clergy of the Synodal church.
"In 1961 I finished Holy Trinity Seminary and, by instruction of the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy, was elevated to the rank of Protodeacon. By God's mercy I have served under the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy, Metropolitan Philaret, Metropolitan Vitaly, and the current Metropolitan Laurus. Not only have I never regretted that the Lord found me worthy to serve His Church but, on the contrary, I thank Him.
"I think that every young person must give thought and firmly decide what he can do for the Church. Remember that it is not we who chose the path of service, but the Lord Who chooses servants for His Church. Pray and believe, and the Lord will reveal the path that accords with the strength of the supplicant."