Fr. Volodymyr Kushnir (2009-2018)
Fr. Volodymyr Kushnir was born on December 22, 1981 in a beautiful corner of Prykarpatya, Krasne village in the Ivano Frankisvsk Region of Ukraine to Ihor and Nadia Kushnir. In the early years the young family lived in the house of his parents, where little Volodymyr first heard the words “God,” “Church,” and “Ukraine.” This is how the young boy grew up, surrounded by his grandmother’s icons, embroidered ritual cloths, and Sunday trips to an old church, St. Nicholas. After his father completed studies at university, the Kushnir family had to move to Siberia where along with them came an icon of the Theotokos and an embroidered ritual cloth made by his mother. When Volodymyr was 10 years old, his father gifted him with a children’s Bible. From that time, his father’s gift and his grandmother’s prayers followed the young boy everywhere he went. Perhaps that was the time that Volodymyr began to dream about dedicating himself to God. Every year, Volodymyr, along with his father and sister Olya, went on pilgrimages to Zarvanytsya, Hoshiv, and Pochayiv, but the greatest temple to Volodymyr remained to be the old wooden church in his native village.
After completing the University of Information Technology, Mechanics, and Optics with a degree in engineering, Volodymyr returned to Ivano-Frankivsk where he met his spiritual advisor, the dean of Halych, Mitered Archpriest Vasyl Zavirach. With his recommendation and the personal recommendation of Bishop Sofron (Mydryj), Volodymyr entered the Ivano-Frankivsk Theological Academy. On August 9, 2003, Volodymyr married Oksana Mendiuk at St. Nicholas Church in his native village. On June 12, 2004 their daughter Olha-Nadia was born.
On May 18, 2006, Volodymyr was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Iryney (Bilyk) in Christ the Lover of Mankind Monastery in Voynykiv Village. After ordination, he was assigned to serve at the Nativity of Christ Church in Ivano-Frankivsk.
After completing the Theological Academy in 2007, Deacon Volodymyr was assigned for his diaconal practicum at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Parish in Chicago with the Blessing of Bishop Richard (Seminack). On April 1, 2008, Bishop Richard (Seminack) assigned Deacon Volodymyr to St. Nicholas Cathedral and on September 1st to St. Joseph the Betrothed Parish in Chicago.
On October 1st, 2009, on the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos, Deacon Volodymyr was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Richard (Seminack) at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chicago. On November 1, 2009, Fr. Volodymyr was assigned to St. Joseph the Betrothed Parish as Parochial Vicar. Presbytera Oksana and Fr. Volodymyr welcomed their son Mykola, when he was born in 2012.