The Very Rev. Vladimir Soroka, 83, pastor emeritus of Saint Nicholas Church here, fell asleep in the Lord at Ohio Valley Hospital on Thursday morning, August 4, 2005, after a lengthy illness.
Born in Scranton, PA, the son of the Very Rev. Mitred Gregory and Anastasia [Panchison] Soroka, Father Vladimir entered Duquesne University in 1939. His education was interrupted in 1942 when he entered the US army and served as a paratrooper in France and elsewhere. After being discharged from the military in 1946, he married the former Olga Konik and resumed studies at Duquesne, from which he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in music. While there, he was a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. He also received a Master of Arts degree in music education from Columbia Teachers College, New York, NY.
In 1957 he began theological studies at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, then located in New York City. In 1959 he was ordained to the diaconate by the late Metropolitan Leonty at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, New York. In 1960, he graduated from the seminary and was ordained to the holy priesthood by the late Archbishop Benjamin of Pittsburgh at Holy Trinity Church, Charleroi, PA, which he served for many years. In 1964, he was instrumental in planting a mission in Belle Vernon, PA, which is now Holy Resurrection Church. He also served as rector of Holy Ghost Church, Ambridge, PA, until his retirement from active ministry in 1987.
In 1991, Father Vladimir returned to active ministry and was assigned rector of Saint Nicholas Church, McKees Rocks, PA, which he served until 2000. Through his tireless efforts, the parish was revitalized.
Besides his pastoral duties, Father Soroka continually offered his musical talents and knowledge to Church and its faithful. The Divine Liturgy and Vesper music books he published in the 1960s rapidly became “standards” in many parishes as the widespread use of English in liturgical worship was introduced. He was also a frequent lecturer at choir conferences and seminars, youth retreats, and other gatherings. Prior to his ordination, he served as choir director at parishes in Perth Amboy and Jersey City, NJ; Coaldale and Ambridge, PA; and elsewhere.
During his pastorate, Father Soroka received numerous awards, including the right to wear the jeweled cross. In 2004, both he and Matushka Olga were awarded the Order of St. Innocent, Silver Class, by the Holy Synod of Bishops. He also served the Church in various capacities on the diocesan and national levels, especially in the area of liturgical music.
In addition to his beloved wife, Olga, Father Vladimir is survived by one daughter, Donya Yewisiak, Moon Township, PA; three sons, Michael Soroka, McKees Rocks, PA; Leonard Soroka, Minneapolis, MN; and the Rev. Thomas Soroka, Moon Township, PA; seven grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. He is also survived by two sisters, Zena Pecuch, of AZ; and Sylvia Elnitsky of Vestal, NY; and a brother, the Very Rev. Igor Soroka, rector of Saint Nicholas Church, Donora, PA. He was preceded in death by two brothers, the Very Rev. Leonid Soroka; and Sergei Soroka, and a sister, Alexandra Bazil.
Visitation will be held at Saint Nicholas Church, McKees Rocks, PA, from 2:00 until 4:00 and 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6. A Memorial will be celebrated by His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. Archbishop Kyrill will preside at funeral services on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. and the Divine Liturgy on Monday, August 8, at 10:00 a.m. Interment will take place on Tuesday, August 9 at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery, South Canaan, PA at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, 320 Munson Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA 15136.
May Father Vladimir’s memory be eternal!