The Priestly Ordination of Hieromonk Paisius


By the mercy of God, on Saturday, January 1/14 – the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, St. Basil the Great, and the New Year – His Grace Bishop Maxim ordained to the holy priesthood Hierodeacon Paisius of the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California. 

The newly ordained Hieromonk Paisius was born Kibben I. Bjerke on June 15, 1951, and grew up in Powell, Wyoming. After two years of college in Wyoming, in 1971 he entered a non-denominational Christian brotherhood, which was later received into the Orthodox Church. Br. Christopher, as he was then known, entered the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery as a novice on in February 1988. He was tonsured into the riassa in November of that same year, on the feast of St. Paisius Velichkovsky, after whom he was named. In March 1992 he was tonsured into the small schema. For many years he has served as the secretary of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. On March 7/20, 2010, Akathist Saturday, Monk Paisius was ordained to the holy diaconate by His Grace Bishop Maxim at the St. Sava Church in Jackson, California. 

Bishop Maxim ordained Fr. Paisius to the priesthood during the Divine Liturgy at the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, with four other priests concelebrating: Abbot Hilarion and Hieromonk Damascene, both of the St. Herman Monastery; Priest George Elliott of the St. Andrew Serbian Orthodox Mission Parish in the nearby town of Anderson; and Priest Nektarios Rozadilla of the St. George Greek Orthodox Mission Parish in the nearby city of Redding. Many pilgrims were present at the monastery for this joyous and spiritually meaningful occasion. nbsp;    After the Divine Liturgy with the ordination, His Grace told the assembled faithful that, in the Church of Christ, there are no endings, but only beginnings. With the beginning of the New Year, Hieromonk Paisius begins his priestly ministry in humble service to the Lord. 

As Bishop Maxim emphasized, man was created in the beginning to be a priest of the creation, but he fell from this high calling, and therefore our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to restore man to his original dignity and reopen the way for him to fulfill his original designation. In being ordained to the holy priesthood, Fr. Paisius is called to enter more deeply into the ministry that God has always intended for man. He was born for this, Bishop Maxim said. Although it was January, the weather was warm and sunny, like spring, and the day of the ordination of Hieromonk Paisius was a one of bright rejoicing for the monastery brothers, the nuns of nearby St. Xenia Skete, and the pilgrims. It indeed marked a new beginning for the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, which now has (including Hieromonk Andrew of St. Michael's Skete on Spruce Island, Alaska) four priests serving at the holy altar. May our merciful Lord prosper the priestly and pastoral ministry of His newly ordained celebrant of the Holy Mysteries, Hieromonk Paisius! 

Article by Heiromonk Damascene