On Sunday, January 1, 2023, during the Divine Liturgy of the Feasts of the Circumcision of the Lord and of St. Basil the Great, the Sacrament of the Ordination of Deacon Yohan Park to the Priesthood was celebrated in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Seoul, by the Metropolitan of Korea and Exarch of Japan Ambrosios, with the participation of the Priests Fr. Antonios Woo, Fr. Romanos Kavchak and Fr. Antonios Lim as well as a huge number of faithful.
The Deacon to be ordained said, among other things, during his address:
… As a deacon, I always had in mind the words of the Prayer that the Celebrant says in the Holy Altar secretly before the Great Entrance: “To serve You is great and awesome even for the heavenly powers”. Based on what I experienced during my service as a Deacon and the experience I gained, I always had the desire to serve the Church with trust and fear of God. Nevertheless, at the moment that I am being ordained a Priest, I am very afraid and I wonder if I will be able to take good care of the flock of the Church as a Shepherd. I am timid, but I am here because of the unspeakable and immeasurable love of the Lord and with the faith that the Lord will show His mercy to me and help me.
… As a priest, I will not simply rely on my knowledge, nor will I magnify my religious feelings with vague values and concepts, nor will I minister this sacred service according to my will and my abilities, but will proceed obediently to the Church with the grace and blessing of God and with obedience to my Bishop.
The apostle Paul told his disciple Timothy: “Keep the faith and a good conscience” (1 Tim. 1:19). Reflecting on the advice of the apostle Paul, I will always try to faithfully perform the ministry to God and people with love and humility as a servant of God. Also, I will never forget that the Stole (Epitrachelion) that the Priest wears around his neck is not his property and right, but a gift from God.
Lord, look upon me, Your sinful and unworthy servant, and cleanse my soul and heart from evil consciousness. Enable me by the power of Your Holy Spirit so that, vested with the grace of priesthood, I may stand before Your Holy Table and celebrate the mystery of Your holy and pure Body and Your precious Blood.
I will always remember with great gratitude the late Metropolitan Soterios, who inspired me to follow the path of the priesthood and supported me spiritually and materially along my path. I also sincerely thank Metropolitan Ambrosios for the understanding he showed to my many mistakes and shortcomings during my ministry in the Church during the last 9 years. I also thank all the Korean Priests for their love and support.
Many thanks go to my father who strengthens me with his prayers from Heaven, to my mother, and my brothers who have stood by me silently for so many years in difficult times.
In particular, I am very grateful to my beloved wife, Angela, and our daughter Irene, for their love, prayers, and patience, as well as to everyone who is participating today in this great event of my life.
I thank the Most Holy Theotokos, our Mother, our patron St. Nicholas and all the Saints who always helped me and shone the light of hope even when I was facing difficulties and crises.
Finally, I ask for forgiveness from everyone I may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt. Please forgive me and as I proceed to undertake this great and holy mission, I ask for your prayers that I may humbly draw near to God.
In his reply, the ordaining Metropolitan said, among other things, the following:
…Today, dear Deacon Yohan, you were led to the gates of the Holy Altar by two of your Priests brothers in the Lord, to receive the second degree of Priesthood, because Priesthood is a double ministry: Ministry of God and ministry of people. Your ministry must be philothei (loving God) and philanthropic. (loving man). Whatever you do, do it out of great love for God and for God’s children. As a Priest of God, you must always consider whose minister you are and whom you serve. And at the same time don’t forget, especially in difficult times, that God himself from today entrusts you with the sacred ministry of the salvation of people, thanks Him Who sacrificed himself by shedding His Most Holy Blood.
In this double ministry, you will be accompanied by the prayers of all the clergy and faithful members of our Church in Korea, and especially of your pious mother and the members of your family. You will also be accompanied by the wishes of the late Metropolitan Soterios, your father Simeon, and all your Orthodox relatives who are in Heaven.
… May you always be blessed and may God deem you worthy to serve Him divinely until your last breath. Amen.
After the end of the Divine Liturgy, a joint meal of love followed, during which everyone had the opportunity to express, in various ways, their feelings of joy, love, and respect for the newly ordained Father Yohan. During the meal, the Basilopita (St. Basil-pie) made from rice (Tteok) was also shared. Presbytera Theodoti Lee won the gold medal.
The new priest, Fr. Yohan Park, has studied Theology at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki and is married. As a Deacon, he served zealously for nine years at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seoul. As a Priest, he will serve in the parish of St. Dionysios in the city of Ulsan. Worthy! Axios!