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Bishop Paul awards Order of St. John of Chicago to Frs. John Mason and Vladimir Lecko


CHICAGO, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — Two retired priests of the Diocese of the Midwest were awarded the Order of Saint John of Chicago in early December 2018.

Bishop Paul awards Order of St John of Chicago to Frs John Mason and Vladimir LeckoOn December 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas of Myra, His Grace, Bishop Paul awarded the Order to Archpriest John Mason at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Church, Mogadore, OH, where he served as rector for 27 years.  Father John was the first priest to receive the diocesan award since its inception in the fall of 2018.

Sixteen priests, including Father John’s brother, Archpriest James Mason, concelebrated with Bishop Paul and Archpriest Nicholas Wyslutsky, rector.

Bishop Paul presented the Order’s pectoral cross to Father John, in addition to a gramota recognizing “his 67 years of priestly service to the Orthodox Church in America, the Diocese of the Midwest, and Saint Nicholas Parish.”  Father John had also served parishes in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York.  For many years, he was National Spiritual Adviser to the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs/Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America and an original member of the Orthodox Church in America’s Pension Board.

Bishop Paul awards Order of St John of Chicago to Frs John Mason and Vladimir LeckoOn the following Sunday, December 9, Bishop Paul celebrated Matins and the Divine Liturgy at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN, after which he awarded the Order of Saint John of Chicago to Archpriest Vladimir Lecko, the parish’s retired long-time dean and associate pastor.

Concelebrating with Bishop Paul were Archpriest Andrew Morbey, cathedral dean; Archpriests Myron Manzuk, Gregory Krutchek and John Schroedel; Priests William Neumann, Richard Flom, and Benjamin Tucci; and Deacons Gregory Krutchek, Jr. and Michael Tarris.

In addition to the Order’s pectoral cross, Father Vladimir was presented with a gramota "in recognition of his decades of faithful service to the Orthodox Church as a Choir Director, Priest, Father Confessor, Dean and Educator – a ministry distinguished above all by a pastoral wisdom and compassion recognized by all as carrying the fragrance of the Holy Spirit."  Prior to his assignment to Saint Mary’s Cathedral in the late 1970s, Father Vladimir served the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church, Madison, IL for two decades.

A gallery of photos is available online.

The previous evening, Saint Mary’s Choir presesnted its annual Advent Concert, which was a huge success with standing room only.  Choir Director Gregory Ealy led a large ensemble in a chronological selection of the Church’s Advent hymns from the beginning of the Fast through to the Eve of the Feast.  A gallery of concert photos also is available online.

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