Woman tells of life as wife of a priest
Published:Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Love and acceptance were the themes that brought
together people of many faiths.
By LINDA M. LINONIS
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
LIBERTY A hallmark of the Interfaith Tea is sharing insight and information.
The 63rd gathering, hosted by Eastern Orthodox
Womens Society, remained true to this signature
style as Dorothy Hutnyan provided an inside look
into her life as the wife of an Orthodox priest.
The speaker addressed a group of about 175,
mostly women, during the Church Women United
event Tuesday afternoon with the theme, Let us
love one another. The tea was at St. Marks Orthodox Church, 3560 Logan Way.
I came to Youngstown as a young bride of a new
priest, Hutnyan told the audience of various
faith denominations. This year is 53 years of
marriage, and were at the same parish, she said.
Her husband, the Rev. George Hutnyan, is pastor
of St. Michaels Orthodox Church, 125 Steel St.,
Youngstown. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Hutnyans topic, A Woman Called Pani, refers to
the title given the wife of an Orthodox priest.
She pointed out the challenging positions has pros and cons.
A pani in Europe is held in high esteem, almost
like nobility, she said. She did not work
outside of the home, didnt go to college or have
a career, Hutnyan said. She spends her time at
the rectory and is a member of an elite, tight-knit circle of other panis.
Hutynan said when she came to St. Michaels, she
wanted to help out at the church. But older
members told her that wasnt part of her role.
But my generation of women began working, going
to college and having careers, she said.
Im my own person and not only Fathers wife,
she said. Hutnyan was a first-grade teacher for
28 years in Liberty school district.
Hutynan said she began creating her own path at
the church, serving as choir director, cantress
and Sunday school teacher. I also made the bread
for Holy Communion and was the hostess of the
parish when the bishop visited, she said.
She noted for as much as the pani is a center of
attention in the parish, she must always be
gracious, equally friendly to all, that is, have
no special friends, not gossip and be polite.
Among words Hutnyan used to describe a pani are
forgiving, strong, supportive and tolerant.
Many things come into play. Life in a parish can
be difficult, she admitted. Sometimes it is a
lonely life because socializing is limited to the
church family and Orthodox communities.
The Hutnyans have lived at the Steel Street rectory more than 50 years.
When I came as a young girl, the people at the
parish were so kind and generous. They are my
family, Hutnyan told the group. She admitted she
and her husband were lucky their parish has
provided a beautiful rectory and been open to new
ideas. Im a trustee on the board, she said.
Life as a pastors wife is a challenge, she
told the group, asking them to think kindly and
be supportive of their ministers spouses. Keep them in your heart, she said.
The program also featured musical selections by
10 kindergarten through second-grade pupils from
Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Academy in
Warren. Director was Chris DiGiacobbe.
Program participants were the Rev. Daniel Rohan,
St. Marks pastor; Kathleen Vuksanovich, vice
president of the Eastern Orthodox Womens
Society; and the Rev. Cosmin Antonescu, pastor of
Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church.
Helen Mays, tea chairwoman, said, The city needs
these kinds of events to show love among people of various denominations.
These events help us learn to interact with
others, she said. Its a learning experience,
and people become well-versed about different faiths.
By Linda M. Linonis (Contact)