In 1985 the ordination of John Youhas heralded the return of an active diaconate for the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese. As the first deacon ordained by Metropolitan Nicholas, he was bestowed with the designation of protodeacon and assisted the Metropolitan for many years.
The July 20, 2012 passing of the much loved and respected Protodeacon John brought much sadness throughout the Diocese. As people streamed into St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Ambridge, PA, for the viewing on Monday, July 23 and the funeral the following day, one could see the sadness and tears in their eyes as they recalled the pious deacon with the twinkling eyes and friendly smile.
In 1968, Fr. Deacon John graduated from Hopewell High School and then attended Robert Morris University. When he was called by the Lord, he entered Christ the Savior Seminary, Johnstown, PA, followed by a two-year stay at the Annunciation Monastery, Tuxedo Park, NY. Upon leaving the monastery, he returned to Johnstown to become the prefect at Christ the Savior Seminary.
The 1985 ordination of Deacon John by the newly enthroned Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko) heralded the return of the active diaconate to the diocese. He served as the Metropolitan’s personal deacon until the hierarch’s repose in 2010. It is fitting that Deacon John was elevated to the dignity of protodeacon, as he was the first deacon ordained by Metropolitan Nicholas and, more importantly, he was a mentor and exemplary role model for countless other men who ascended the ranks of the diaconal and priestly orders in the diocese.
Protodeacon John will be forever remembered not only for his angelic voice and the beauty and piety of his service at the Altar of the Lord, but also the character of his soul. He was a patient and highly competent instructor for those preparing for the diaconate and one whose entire life and service to the Church was marked by his humility and love for the Lord. He will also be remembered for his patient, Christ-like endurance of illness over the years and especially, most recently, his struggle with cancer.
Preceding him in death were his grandparents Andrew and Katren Glovyna Pribish and Michael and Mary Youhas and many aunts and uncles. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his sister Bonita and husband Ronald Raible of Callawassie Island-Okatie, SC; niece, Tamara (Danny) Wilson of Boynton Beach, FL; along with several uncles, aunts and numerous cousins.
Representing His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Diocesan Locum Tenens, at the funeral was the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Frank P. Miloro, diocesan chancellor. He was joined by the pastor of St. John the Baptist Church and Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery, Very Rev. Robert Prepelka; Very Rev. Fr. John R. Pribish, the Deacon’s cousin; Very Rev. Protopresbyter William Conjelko married to the Deacon’s cousin Charlotte Pribish Conjelko, president of the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society; and 20 other diocesan and local Orthodox priests.
Following the funeral service and the funeral repast in the parish hall, the interment took place at Sylvania Hills Mausoleum. Donations in memory of Protodeacon John Youhas may be made to Christ the Saviour Seminary, 225 Chandler Ave., Johnstown, PA 15906.