Mitred Archpriest John Nehrebecki

May 4, 1928April 7, 2018

NEHREBECKI, MITRED ARCHPRIEST JOHN, in his 90th year, ended his earthly sojourn and fell asleep in the Lord on April 7, 2018. The youngest of 11 children, Father John was born on May 4, 1928 to Michael and Veronica (Korsh) Nehrebecki. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his 10 brothers and sisters, Susanna, Dimitri, Basil, Gregory, Simeon, Mary, Peter, Anna, Paul, and Joseph. Father John graduated from Donora High School in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1946, where he played football and acted in his school plays. Following in his parents’ footsteps of faithfulness and doing God’s work, he attended St. Tikhon’s Theological Seminary, graduating in 1950. Also deciding to pursue his love of learning and education, he continued on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Davis and Elkins in West Virginia. He earned his Master’s Degree from City University of New York, and began his doctoral studies at Columbia University where he served as chaplain. Father John also completed course work at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York and Fordham University, in the Bronx, New York. Father John spent over 65 years with his loving wife, Eugenia “Gencha,” daughter of Archpriest Elias and Euphrosinia (Trembach) Yankovsky. They met as young children in her aunt and uncle’s grocery store, where he gave her the prize from his Cracker Jack box—a fact they only discovered when they returned to the store after they were crowned in marriage on May 22, 1952 at Holy Resurrection Church in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Together, their marriage brought about the start of their “little kingdom.” They had six children, Vladimir (Elena), Mariam (V. Rev. David Vernak), Tatiana (Louis Evangelista), Olga (the late V. Rev. Dr. David Alexander Atty), Anastasia (Mark Jacobs) and Theodora (Richard Gramkow). Papa John and Baba Eugenia share 20 grandchildren—Matthew (Kimberly), Christopher (Charlene), Jonathan (Stephanie), Fr. Stephen (Anna), Anastasia (Fr. Victor), Christina (Marc), Michael (Leslie), Alexandra (Patrick), John (Cassie), Justin (Stephanie), Stephen (Amanda), Katherine (Nicholas), Jason, Melanie, John, Alexander, Alexander, Juliana, Joseph and Diana—and have also been blessed to have seen 29 great grandchildren—Timothy, Larissa, Ava, Nicholas, Mary, Catherine, Sophia, Zoe, Jacob, Grace, Elizabeth, Katherine, Alexander, Cassiana, Matthew, Mark, Michael, Laila, Faith, Viviana, Josephine, Christian, Gabriel, Anna, Nina, Penelope, Basil, Bridgette, and Luke. Father John was ordained into the Holy Priesthood on July 4, 1952 by Archbishop Dimitri (Magan) in Lynn, Massachusetts. His first parish assignment was St. Mary Orthodox Church in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania. The next year, he was appointed rector of Three Saints Church in Garfield, New Jersey. In 1960, he organized and founded Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Paramus, New Jersey, where he faithfully served his God-given flock until his retirement in 2003, and served as Pastor Emeritus until his repose. Throughout his nearly 66 years of priesthood, Father John also served for 40 years as a peer-elected Dean of the New Jersey Deanery, and organized 10 additional parishes in the area. In 1970, he was among those chosen to travel to Moscow to receive the Tomos of Autocephaly granted to the Orthodox Church in America by the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2017, he was granted the dignity of wearing the Mitre by the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America. Services and visitation will be held at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, 365 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey. On Monday, April 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Vespers and Paschal Panikhida will be served. On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, visitation will be from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a Paschal Funeral service beginning at 7:00 p.m. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy will be celebrated. The interment will follow at 4:00 p.m. at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Cemetery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Father John’s memory to Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, 365 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey 07652. Arrangements by Becker Funeral Home, Westwood, NJ.


  • Vespers and Paschal Panikhida Monday, April 9, 2018
  • Visitation Tuesday, April 10, 2018
  • Paschal Funeral Service Tuesday, April 10, 2018
  • Divine Liturgy Wednesday, April 11, 2018
  • Burial Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mitred Archpriest John Nehrebecki

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Christopher Holwey

April 10, 2018

I remember visiting Fr. John & Matushka at their home once, I think when I was a seminarian or shortly thereafter. They were most gracious to us all, and I felt like I was in the midst of a giant of Orthodoxy, someone you could tell was a faithful and committed priest, well respected by all ... strict, yet lovingly so.
May God comfort you all with the hope of the Resurrection in Christ, and grant Fr. John rest with the Saints in the eternal Pascha of the Lord. CHRIST IS RISEN!

John Lickwar

April 10, 2018

Dear Matushka Eugenia, and family,

Christ is Risen, our eternal joy! This quotation from the Paschal Canon truely is not merely a summation of Fr. John's life. It is rather the linchpin connecting Fr. John's life in this world and having passed from it into the Holy Sabbath of Christ. This day of rest is in fact a day of completion and to share it with the Lord within the suffering of one's own repose grants the single and profound hope that 'today, you will be with me in paradise.' I have never known Fr. John to not have wanted to share the experience of the paradise of the Church with mankind. In as much as he worked at this pastoral ministry with love, he did it in Christ, as a co-lover of mankind. For the short time, I was assigned to him, not just to the Paramus parish, he was always encouraging, but tuff, never mincing words and a powerful personality. To me it was palpable that he wanted deep down, all who encountered him, to see past him, to see the greater good of Christ and His Kingdom present and permeate all that we did and continue to do. Fr. John was a tuff guy and a softy, hence the tension we sometimes felt with him. Regardless of his or our frailties throughout life, because he was priest over the path which leads to the Kingdom of God, I cannot think why he should not be granted the gift to repose and enter the blessed Sabbaoth of Christ, other than to encounter Christ's perfect and fulfilled love for mankind; exactly what he struggled to share with everyone. If we can find instruction in Fr. John's transition from this life, then let it be known that the mystery of salvation is this. It is through our imperfections and sufferings that we are prepared for repentance and can come to a perfection of the faith, of Christ Risen in us; to whom is due all glory, honor and worship, with his eternal Father and Spirit, unto the ages of ages. Christ is Risen!

John Lickwar

Arc hpriest John C. Kassatkin

April 9, 2018

Mitered Archpriest John - You are the Father of Orthodox Unity (OCA and Patriarchal Parishes) in America! (RE: Your Action resulting in the reception of Reverend Igor Burdikoff in his transfer from Patriarchal Parishes into the Orthodox Church in America! May your memory be Eternal! CHRIST IS RISEN / INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Philanthy Nichols

April 9, 2018

Christos Anesti! I recall many years ago, when I lived next door to St. Michael's Orthodox Church in Louisville. +Fr. John and +Fr. Alexander came by to visit. +Fr. John entered the apartment and said "It smells like Church!" (I used to burn a lot of incense.) His warmth and humor will always be remembered. The example of his life will always be an inspiration for my Christian journey..."remember those who rule...who have spoken the word of God...whose faith follow" Heb 13:8. AXIOS! May his Memory be Eternal! Philanthy Nichols, Cincinnati, Ohio

Nicholas Czaruk

April 9, 2018

Before i entered the Army as a Chaplain in 1974, I served the Liturgy with Father John. During my years at St Vladimir's Seminary and following he was a great friend and mentor. His Priesthood was an inspiration for many. it is truly fitting that he should enter into the Kingdom of Our Lord during Bright Week when we proclaim the Resurrection as he is a true example of what we are called to be as Priests of the Gospel. May the joy of Our Risen Lord overshadow the feelings of loss for his family.

Fr Laurence Lazar

April 8, 2018

I will always remember Fr John. He was an intelligent, joyful and hospitable priest. [...who even if we hadn't seen each other for (many) years, would recognize me as 'Lazar, the Romanian'.] In the joy of Pascha and with much respect to Preoteasa Eugenia and family, I pray that his memory will be eternal.