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Woman tells of life as wife of a priest

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.vindy.com/news/2008/feb/06/woman-tells-of-life-as-wife-of-a-priest/ Woman tells of life as wife of a priest Published:Wednesday, February 6, 2008
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2008

      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.



      LIBERTY — A hallmark of the Interfaith Tea is sharing insight and information.

      The 63rd gathering, hosted by Eastern Orthodox
      Women’s 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. Mark’s 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 we’re at the same parish,” she said.

      Her husband, the Rev. George Hutnyan, is pastor
      of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, 125 Steel St.,
      Youngstown. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

      Hutnyan’s 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, didn’t 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. Michael’s, she
      wanted to help out at the church. But older
      members told her that wasn’t part of her role.
      “But my generation of women began working, going
      to college and having careers,” she said.

      “I’m my own person and not only ‘Father’s 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. “I’m a trustee on the board,” she said.

      “Life as a pastor’s wife is a challenge,” she
      told the group, asking them to think kindly and
      be supportive of their minister’s 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. Mark’s pastor; Kathleen Vuksanovich, vice
      president of the Eastern Orthodox Women’s
      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. “It’s a learning experience,
      and people become well-versed about different faiths.”

      By Linda M. Linonis (Contact)
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