We are saddened to announce that Matushka Karen Mahaffey fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, August 8, 2007, after a long battle with cancer. She is the wife of Archpriest David Mahaffey, the Rector of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Pottstown.
Funeral services will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 10, at Holy Trinity Church in Pottstown. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, will preside along with concelebrating clergy.
On Saturday, August 11, at 1 p.m., a Panikhida will be served at the Monastery Church of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, followed by burial at the Monastery Cemetery.
Karen Elaine Meterko Mahaffey, of Pottstown, died Wednesday evening at home. She was the wife of the Very Rev. Sterry David Mahaffey Jr.
Born Oct. 15, 1952, in Spangler, daughter of Anna Baron Meterko, Burnside, and the late Michael Meterko Jr., she was a graduate of Harmony Area High School, class of 1970, and was senior class secretary and active in the high school band and 4-H Club. A graduate of Tri-CountySchool of Cosmetology, she graduated as the best hairstylist in her class. She also graduated from JeffersonCounty Vo-Tech with a certificate in furniture upholstery. She and her husband were married May 5, 1973, at her home parish of SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Urey, Glen Campbell. Karen was a former den leader for Cub Scout packs in the Burnside and Clearfield area of the Bucktail Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Known to all as Matushka Karen, Matushka being the Russian title for a priest's wife, she was a lifelong servant of God who always used her talents to benefit others. Very gifted musically, she played the saxophone and piano and directed church choirs in her home parish of SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church and St. Michael's Orthodox Church, Old Forge, where she was also a member while her husband was assigned there as rector. She also sang in the WyomingValley Orthodox Choir and the Holy Trinity Choir of Pottstown, where she was a member at the time of her passing. Her many talents included a beautiful soprano voice, painting, crocheting, ceramic figurine pottery, sewing everything from dresses, wedding gowns, liturgical vestments and altar covers to clothes for her daughter's dolls, hand-made crafts of all types, organizing many food sales for the various churches, coordinating the baked goods stand at St. Tikhon's Memorial Day Pilgrimage and the ability to make everyone she met feel loved. She was the former church school director of St. Michael's Orthodox Church and served on the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America Department of Christian Education Board.
Originally from West Central Pennsylvania, where she operated her own beauty shop for many years, she encouraged her husband to attend seminary at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary and sacrificed everything to achieve that goal. After his ordination, they moved in 1993 to Old Forge, where she was a very active part of the ministry in the parish of St. Michael's Orthodox Church and in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania until January. It was then that they moved to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Pottstown, where she again played a very active part in the parish ministry alongside her husband.
In 2003, Matushka Karen was diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma and fought a valiant battle against this dreaded disease for the rest of her life, remaining very active until a few weeks before her passing.
Also surviving are four children, Nikolas David, Dunmore; Sterry Michael and wife, the former Nicole Koch, Lansdale; Seth Robert, West Pittston; and Kyra Ann, who resided with her parents in Pottstown; a sister, Phyllis Bracken, Mahaffey; and two brothers, Eric and Kevin Meterko, both of the family homestead in Burnside Township.
The funeral service will be today at 7 p.m. in Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Mervine and Juniper streets, Pottstown. Parastas will be Saturday at 1 p.m. in St. Tikhon's Monastery, South Cannan. Interment, St. Tikhon's MonasteryCemetery.
Friends may call today, 4 to 7 p.m., at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at St. Tikhon's Monastery. Arrangements by Semian Funeral Home, 704 Union St.Taylor.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations in her memory be sent to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, 1230 N. Hanover St., Pottstown, 19464; or the Matushka Karen Mahaffey Scholarship Fund, St. Tikhon's Seminary, P.O. Box 130, South Canaan, 18459.
With the blessing of their diocesan bishops, the superiors (or their representatives) of monastic communities within the Orthodox Church in America gathered at the Chancery here for a “Synaxis” July 21-23, 2014.
In addition to spiritual fellowship and mutual upbuilding and encouragement, common concerns and the emerging nature of North American monasticism were discussed.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, called for the Synaxis as an expression of his commitment to the strengthening of monastic life within the OCA and in an effort to identify areas of concern for the OCA’s monastic communities that could be better addressed on a wider level within the Church or by means of stronger inter-monastery cooperation. [See related article and gallery.
The OCA counts some 25 men’s and women’s monastic communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Metropolitan Tikhon and the gathered superiors (or their representatives) issued the following statement at the close of the Synaxis.
Prayer/Petition During The Episcopal Assembly
July 21-23, 2014
As the Synaxis of abbots and abbesses, we were grateful to be together for these days and rejoiced at our intuitive sharing with each other in the Church services, at meals and in conversations about our common monastic life. While recognizing our shared challenges, especially in forming monasticism in North America, we can affirm the general health of monasteries in the OCA. We are committed:
To struggle to pray unceasingly
To live the values of the desert in the 21st century
To be witnesses and missionaries of the kingdom “that is not of this world”
To intercede for all people, for the Church and especially for the sick, the suffering and the departed
To be welcoming places of spiritual retreat and hospitality whenever possible, especially for clergy and their families
To continue the effort to establish a truly indigenous and organic monastic presence in North America
To encourage the Church at large to celebrate the diversity of monastic communities
During our wide-ranging discussions over the three days, we agreed:
That the nurturing and encouraging of monastic vocations should be a priority for the entire Church
That monastic life is a vital part of the mission of the church
That the formation and training of monastics should be developed more fully within each monastic community
That spiritual health can and must be in harmony with psychological health. We don’t have to pretend we are professional therapists, but there is value in our virtue of listening and supporting people in prayer
That families, parishes and monasteries are mutually dependent: healthy parishes with healthy parents produce healthy monastic candidates
That the monastic “mindset” (phronema) is to be conveyed to the entire Church
That monastics should have a strong presence at All American Councils
That parish awareness of monastic life ought to be encouraged, perhaps by setting aside a month or at least a Sunday devoted to connecting with monks, nuns and monasteries
That the emergence of authentic monasticism in North America can only come with time, effort and the grace of God
Finally, we were grateful for this opportunity to meet and pray together and agreed that such meetings would be helpful on an ongoing basis. We agreed that the next meeting of the Synaxis of monastery superiors will take place next year, October 27-29, 2015, at a monastery location to be confirmed.