CANFIELD - The Very Reverend Archpriest George Hutnyan, 87, Pastor Emeritus of St. Michael Orthodox Church on Steel Street in Youngstown, passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning, May 12, 2020, at Hospice House after a long, fulfilling, and blessed life here on earth, and he now begins his Eternal Life with Jesus.
“Father George” as he was affectionately known by all who knew him, was born July 27, 1932, in Freeland, Pa., the fourth of five children of the late Andrew and Helen Plavchak Hutnyan.
Father George attended elementary and secondary schools in Freeland, graduating from Freeland High School in 1951. That fall, he entered Christ the Savior Theological Seminary in Johnstown, Pa., earning a Licentiate of Theology in 1955.
During his final year at the seminary, he courted Dorothy Gost, who was to become his loving “Pani.” Dorothy told one of her girlfriends, “some day, I’m going to marry that good-looking ‘Hoot-yan fella.’” Her prediction came true and she did! After a whirlwind courtship, the couple married in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Johnstown on July 23, 1955, and they began a journey that has lasted for the past sixty-plus years.
Just over a week after he was married, and in the same church, Father George was ordained by Metropolitan Orestes P. Chornock on July 31, 1955. His first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in his home parish of St. Michael’s in Freeland on Aug. 7, 1955, and shortly thereafter he was assigned to St. Michael Orthodox Church in Youngstown, becoming pastor.
During his long tenure at St. Michael’s in Youngstown, Father George oversaw a new upper church that was built and furnished in 1957, and the church basement was renovated for classrooms. A social hall was built in 1964, and a large rectory was purchased for the parish. Additional property was secured next to the social hall for parking.
During his pastorate, Father George continued his education, receiving B.A. and B.S. degrees at Youngstown University in 1960 and 1962 respectively. In 1966, he earned a Bachelors degree in Theology at Christ the Savior Seminary, and, in 1968, a Masters degree in Education at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. He later continued his education by attending Y.S.U. and the University of Akron, pursuing graduate work towards a doctoral degree in education. Father George accumulated 28 hours towards his degree, but an auto accident derailed further study.
Father George was appointed by Metropolitan Orestes as Diocesan Supervisor of Church Schools, and Chairman of the Diocesan Education Commission in 1970. He was named Dean of the Youngstown Deanery in 1972 and served in that capacity until 1991. Bishop Nicholas appointed Father George to the Diocesan Board of Trustees, were he served from 1985 until 1991. He also served as Chairman of the Priest’s Salary Appeals Board.
Bishop John R. Martin elevated Father George to "Very Reverend" in 1976. In 1988, he was elevated to the rank of "Protopresbyter-Monsignor" by Bishop Nicholas in the Johnstown Cathedral.
Father George was active in the Youngstown Orthodox community for many years. In 1978, and again in 1991, he began a two-year presidency of the Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association of the Mahoning Valley. He served for many years as the treasurer of the pan-Orthodox group. He continued to serve as chaplain and spiritual advisor of the Eastern Orthodox Men's Society, and for 20 years he was the familiar face as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain in the Youngstown area hospitals.
In 2009, Father George retired as pastor of St. Michael’s, but continued to substitute for services when needed. In 2015, he returned to the church as pastor emeritus.
Father George leaves his beloved Pani of nearly 65 years, Dorothy Gost Hutnyan; his son, David N. (Susan) Hutnyan of Boardman; his daughter, Nina C. Hutnyan of Canfield; a granddaughter, Rachel (John) Carbon of Boardman; a grandson, Jonathan Hutnyan of Portland, Ore.; a great-grandson, Johnny; a great-granddaughter, Ellianna; and sisters-in-law, Helen and Jean Hutnyan.
Father George had three brothers that also became priests and preceded him in death, Rev. John Hutnyan, Rev. Michael Hutnyan, and Rev. Andrew Hutnyan. His sister, Mary Jeskie; Mary’s husband, Leon, and a sister-in-law, Mary Hutnyan, are also deceased.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Youngstown.
Due to the current virus pandemic, a private concelebrated funeral service will be held Friday morning, May 15, at St. Michael Orthodox Church, 125 Steel St., in Youngstown. Private committal services will follow at Tod Homestead Cemetery in Youngstown. A public celebration of Father George’s life will be scheduled for a later date. Please check back to the funeral home website for the date and time as information becomes available.
Vichnaya Pamyat, Father George! (Memory Eternal).