November 2, 2016
Stratford, CT: Bishop Nicholas leads Funeral for Archpriest Andrei Semyanko at Holy Presentation Church

On Monday, October 24, clergy and faithful gathered at Holy Presentation Church in Stratford, CT to bid farewell to longtime rector Archpriest Andrei Semyanko, who reposed the Friday prior. The church was filled with worshippers and loved ones, who came to pray for the repose of their beloved pastor, father, grandfather, and friend.

A Liturgy for the Departed preceded the funeral, celebrated by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan. Between the Liturgy and the Funeral for a Priest that followed, His Grace was co-served by:

- Archpriest Alexander Fedorowski (dean of St. Seraphim Cathedral in Nanuet, NY)
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (diocesan secretary)
- Archpriest Ilya Gorsky (rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY)
- Archpriest George Kallaur (rector of Our Lady "Unexpected Joy" Church in Staten Island, NY)
- Archpriest George Lardas (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford)
- Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley)
- Archpriest Constantine Semyanko (parish rector)
- Archpriest Brendan Crowley (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Enfield, CT)
- Archpriest Dionisy Nalitov (rector of St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford, CT)
- Priest Vladimir Aleandro (rector of Christ the Savior OCA Church in Southbury, CT)
- Priest Vadim Pismenny (cleric of the Diocese of Moscow)
- Priest George Temidis (cleric of
Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Mahopac, NY)
- Protodeacon Dimitri Temidis (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack)
- Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet)
- Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ)
- Deacon Vladimir Barros (cleric of Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY)
- Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Mahopac).

Upon conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas offered a brief sermon, in which he said of Fr. Andrei: "He was from among that clergy, or if I may say, from among those spiritual people, those priests, who remembered our hierarchs: Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky; +1965), Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko; +1960), Archbishop Averky (Taushev; +1976). Fr. Andrei become a reader and deacon, received those steps of the priesthood, from the hands of Archbishop Vitaly, and later was ordained a deacon and priest by the ever-memorable Archbishop Averky. And, for all of us, he was a good shepherd. Today it is worthwhile to remember the words of the Psalmist: "Direct my footsteps according to Thy word." With his words, his example, his prayer, Fr. Andrei directed many people to salvation. He performed the services for them: baptisms, weddings, funerals; he spoke with people, he confessed them, he received their tears of joy and tears of suffering. With his words and his prayers, he directed all of the footsteps of the flock entrusted to him toward God. He served us for many years, and now it is our turn: priests, deacons, and all present, so all serve Fr. Andrei now, and to pray that the Lord direct his footsteps toward eternal blessedness. Let us commemorate Fr. Andrei, especially during these first 40 days, but also further: we will remember him by kind words, by doing good deeds in his memory, and most importantly: lifting up our prayers, that the Lord might forgive him every sin and receive him into the Eternal Kingdom. For the parish, this year was a difficult one. In June, Archpriest Theodore Shevzov departed this life, and today we bid farewell to Fr. Andrei. They stood together here before God’s Altar, lifting up their prayers and performing the Bloodless Sacrfice. And now, together in the Heavens, they continue this prayer, this spiritual labor, for all of us. Let us remember them, dear brothers and sisters, in our prayers. Amen."

During the funeral, Fr. Vadim Pismenny, a friend of Fr. Andrei’s, offered the eulogy, in which he spoke about Fr. Andrei’s many God-given talents: in addition to his pastoral abilities, he was also very gifted with his hands, and completed many of the repairs and renovations in Holy Presentation Church himself.

After the conclusion of the funeral, Fr. Andrei’s body was taken in procession around the church, after which the mourners proceeded to the cemetery at Novo-Diveevo Convent. There, Fr. Andrei was laid to rest next to his Matushka Ekaterina, who reposed in 1988 after a battle with cancer. Andrei and Ekaterina were married in 1955, and had four children, twelve grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren to date. Born Ekaterina Kizenko, Fr. Andrei’s matushka was sister to Archpriest Boris Kizenko (St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ), and the many members of the Semyanko clan were joined at the funeral by their Kizenko cousins.

As Fr. Constantine concluded the burial service with the words, "Glory to Thee, O Christ God, our Hope, glory to Thee!", the clouds broke and the sun bathed the cemetery in light and warmth, chasing away the cold and gloom.

A memorial repast was then held in the parish hall of Holy Protection Church in Nyack, where friends and family offered speeches and fond words of remembrance.

Ordained to the diaconate in December 1955, Fr. Andrei served as a parish deacon for ten years in Holy Protection Church in Nyack. After being ordained to the priesthood in 1965, he served as parish priest in Holy Protection Church in Rochester, NY until 1972, when he was transferred to Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Cleveland, OH. From 1975 to 1980, he served as fourth priest at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, and then served for a year at St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford. In 1981, he was assigned rector of Holy Presentation Church in Stratford, where he remained until his repose. His son, the parish’s current rector Fr. Constantine, made note of God’s providence in Fr. Andrei’s life: his first parish as a deacon was Holy Protection, his first parish as a priest was Holy Protection, and he received Holy Communion for the last time on the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God.

Memory eternal to the newly reposed Archpriest Andrei!

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese