Archpriest Jozef Petranin, 86, Pastor Emeritus of the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church of Pittsfield, MA fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Lipova, in former Czechoslovakia, the son of the late Peter and Anna Petranin, he was the beloved husband of the late Matushka Julia Petranin. He is survived by his daughter Nadja Todorovic, Son-in-law John, and his son Julian Petranin and daughter-in-law Cindy, along with his four Grandchildren, Jozef and Lexie Petranin, & Jason and Jax Todorovic. He graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Presov, Slovakia in 1956. Archpriest Jozef was ordained to the diaconate on 27 June and to the priesthood on 29 June 1956 by Metropolitan Dorotei of Presov. Following his ordination, he was assigned to the parish of Hlinne on 1 September 1956.
Archpriest Jozef Petranin was the Orthodox Parish Administrator for the Strazske Region from 1962 to 1970 and oversaw the construction of a new parish building. He was also Chairman of the Eparchial Council of the Orthodox Church Missionary Section of Michalovce. Archpriest Jozef and his family were viciously persecuted by the communist authorities following the “Prague Spring” of 1968. Archpriest Jozef and his family suffered many indignities and were regularly subjected to death threats against him and his family. These events were pivotal moments resulting in Archpriest Jozef and his family emigrating to the United States on 2 April 1970.
In May of 1970 Archpriest Jozef was assigned to the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pittsfield, MA. The Church was established in 1916 and was still holding services in its small and modest building with a rudimentary rectory located in its basement. Seeing this, Archpriest Jozef’s dream was to someday build a brand-new Orthodox Church in Pittsfield, MA. With his dedication, personal efforts, passion and the incredible support of Priest Barnabas Fravel and his Parishioners, all this came to fruition in 2013 with the Consecration of the newly Built St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.
During his years in the United States, Archpriest Jozef’s heart never left the very Church from which he and his family were forcibly evicted. Upon learning that a new Orthodox Church was being planned at the same location of his former church in Slovakia, Archpriest Jozef helped to raise funds that would help to complete the construction of the new church. In 2007, Archpriest Joseph traveled to Slovakia to participate in the first liturgy at the new church. In recognition for his assistance to his former parish, Priest Jozef was awarded the Order of Saint Cyril and Methodius by His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and presented with the key to the City of Strazske by the Mayor of Strazske.
Apart from his service in Pittsfield, Archpriest Joseph served All Saints Church, Hartford, CT and Holy Transfiguration Church, New Haven, CT. In 1995 Priest Joseph was awarded the Jeweled Cross, and in 2011 he was awarded the Order of Saint Innocent, Bronze Class by the Holy Synod in recognition for his efforts in the building up of Saint Nicholas Church, and his service to the Orthodox Church in America.
Archpriest Jozef Petranin will be remembered as a dedicated and charitable priest whose heart was always with his family and parish. He was known for his incredible humility and kindness. He was the person who would always greet you with a smile and a hug. The love he had for his family and especially four grandchildren was never-ending.
Funeral Services will be held at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, 1304 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. on Friday, March 13. Visitation begins at 4:30 pm, with the Funeral Service for a priest at 6:30 pm. His Eminence Archbishop Michael will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, March 14 at 9:30 am. Interment will follow at Pittsfield Cemetery.
In Lieu of flowers, donations in Archpriest Jozef’s name may be sent to the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church of Pittsfield.
May Archpriest Jozef’s memory be eternal!