Protopresbyter James Dutko Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Ordination

BINGHAMTON, NY -- Protopresbyter James S. Dutko, pastor of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, Binghamton, New York, and Dean of the Southern Tier Deanery of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A.  marked the 40th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Holy Priesthood by celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Michael’s Church on Monday, February 13, 2012.

Clergy participants at the Liturgy included Very Rev. Thomas Kadlec, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Cheektowaga, NY; Father Ronald Kovac, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Dickson City, PA; Father Michael Kleban, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Endicott, NY; Father Zenovy Zaharsky,  pastor of St. John’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Johnson City, NY; Father Nicholas Ferencz, pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Scranton, PA; and Deacon Charles Ellis of St. Michael’s. 

In his reflections at the conclusion of the Liturgy, Father James shared insights of thanksgiving on his forty years in the priesthood.  He called to mind many events, persons and activities that shaped his priestly ministry, including his late father, Protopresbyter Stephen Dutko, who served St. Michael’s parish as pastor from 1961-1991 and as pastor emeritus from 1991 until his death in 2009.

Father James was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood at St. Michael’s Church on February 13, 1972 by the late Bishop John (Martin).  Prior to becoming pastor of St. Michael’s in July 1991, he served parishes in Central City, Wood, Huntington and Homer City, Pennsylvania.   He also served as Rector and Academic Dean of Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown, PA from 1975-1986.  In addition, he was the editor of the diocesan newspaper, “The Church Messenger,” from1976-1997.  He has been a member of the North American Eastern Orthodox/Roman Catholic Theological Consultation since 1989.

During his years at St. Michael’s, Father James has been actively involved in the efforts of the Broome County Council of Churches, particularly its CHOW program, flood relief programs and its ecumenical outreach.  He is a member of the Children of Abraham dialogue, the Broome County End of Life Committee, the First Ward Neighborhood Assembly and the Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association.  An avid amateur photographer, he is a member of the Two Rivers Photographic Club. 

On Saturday, February 18th, St. Michael’s parish family will honor Father James and his wife, Mary Kathleen, on the joint occasion of the 40th Anniversary of their marriage and Father James’ ordination. The Dutko’s have one son, Richard Dutko, a middle school teacher in Harpursville, NY.

Vespers and prayers of thanksgiving will be held at the Church 4 p.m. on Saturday. Representing the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of Johnstown, PA will be Protopresbyter Lawrence Barriger of Freeland, PA. Father Lawrence is also a Binghamton native.

A jubilee dinner in honor of Father James and Mrs. Dutko will take place at St. Michael’s Recreation Center following the service.