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Thursday, November 15, 2018

HISTORICAL FIRST: Russian Priest Ordained by SSPX

Written by  Elena Chudinova
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Fr. Pasichnik's First Blessing Fr. Pasichnik's First Blessing

The summer of 2018 was a time of great happiness for traditionalist Catholics in Moscow.  A community of Catholics who stayed loyal to tradition exists in Moscow since August 1991 when Fr. Jean-Marc Rullo (presently Br. Bernard in the monastery of Notre Dame de Bellaigue) visited on the very eve of the overthrow of the communist regime.

And now for the first time in the history of the Society of St. Pius X, a priest from Russia was ordained.  On June 30th, Victor Pasichnik, together with five other seminarians, was ordained by His Grace Bishop De Galarreta in the International Seminary of Zaitzkofen. 

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Victor Pasichnik was born in Moscow in 1982 during the tough times of Andropov's rule, the last period of persecutions by the communist regime.  There were still rules by which the regime tried to control the baptisms of children.  Christians who baptised their kids were still persecuted, sometimes fired from jobs and expelled from some institutions of higher learning. 

For these reasons, Victor Pasichnik was only baptised into Russian Orthodoxy at the age of thirteen, soon after the fall of the communist regime.  As a college student, the future Fr. Victor started on the path of truth-seeking and discovered Catholic teaching.  Further, spiritual seeking took him from modernistic Catholicism to tradition.

Fr. Victor commenced his study of philosophy and theology at the International Seminary of Zaitzkofen in 2012.  Fr. F. Berthod spoke about this in his moving speech: 

Dear Victor, you saw the divine qualities in the Catholic Church regardless of everything human and sinful that may be present in Catholics, and made the decision to take a big and hard step:  as a native of Moscow and a Russian, who is attached to his motherland and its history, who loves his language and his people, and in no way desires to betray or leave them behind, you made a decision to leave the Russian Orthodox Church to become a Catholic.  We Catholics do not grasp it, but a conversion to a different faith is seen by members of a national church as betrayal of the motherland.  Some retreat in fear of this.  This would be true if the conversion would be to another religion connected with nation, but the Catholic Church is not tied to a nation.  You, went even further.  After your conversion, you could have kept to Greek liturgy, but you after great consideration, chose the Roman Rite:  a great conversion indeed!  To know the True Church, to decide to join it, and to go towards priesthood, in the brotherhood of Archbishop Lefebvre, learning two new languages (German and Latin) for this purpose.  Dear Victor, I ask you, how can you explain to yourself this epic series of events:  from an atheistic motherland through a schismatic Church beyond the Protestantized mass to Catholic priesthood and the participation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the altar!  How do you explain this to yourself?  Who overcame all these hardships and obstacles?  Is Victor the hero of this story?  No!  Dear Victor, you know this better than all of us:  it is not you who achieved all this, but the grace of God in you.  The strong and trustworthy hand of God guided you and the grace of God carried you.  In the story of your calling one can see the strength of divine grace.  You can never forget what the grace of God did for you

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Unsurprisingly, this event which occurred on July 18th in Moscow was met with great anticipation.  Fr. Victor received the grace of celebrating the holy sacrifice of the mass in his home city.  To take part in such an important event in a young colleague's life, the head of the Priory of St. Casimir in Kaunas, Fr. Shane Pezutti, who also spiritually guides Moscow and St. Petersburg traditionalists, came to Moscow.

"A priest's first mass is always an important event for every parish community.  One of us became a priest.  The number of people who came to his first mass was no less than for Christmas and Easter.  This was also a demonstration of Catholic unity, which embraces Catholics of all nations and countries, when teachers and seminarians, laypeople, and priests came from various different countries.  Together, we consumed both the holy eucharist at mass and a brotherly meal in a restaurant.  There was both mystical and simple human communication, a small gilimpse of when the peace of Christ will reign over the Kingdom of Christ", commented Dmitry Puchkin who was a member of the community since the 1990s.

After serving in Moscow for a week and giving blessings to members of his home community, Fr. Victor left for Austria, for his first assignment.

 

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