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The seminary consisted of no more than a simple house, which Father Kosylo built in the village of Dora, about 113 miles from Lviv. The attic, with its vaulted ceiling, served as its tiny chapel. Father Kosylo crafted an iconostasis with his own hands, which one could quickly and easily disassemble and stow away, if ever the K.G.B. raided the seminary.

Today, the seminary functions as an active parish and a small museum. The museum, which Father Holiney runs and curates, displays numerous ancient books, Bibles and calendars, as well as Father Kosylo’s manuscripts and notebooks.

Father Kosylo also used the house as a dormitory for his seminarians. Today, his much younger sister, 61-year-old Mariya Cherleniuk-Kosylo, continues the tradition and welcomes a handful of seminarians from Holy Spirit as boarders. She keeps the house, tends the garden and cooks for the men, who call her “mother.”

In the Greek Catholic tradition, seminarians are permitted to marry prior to ordination. But some still choose a life of celibacy; if they do, they cannot marry after they are ordained.

All the Kosylivtsi priests decided to remain celibate, including Father Holiney and the newly ordained Father Moysiak.

“It is my personal choice,” explains Father Moysiak. “The third year of seminary was decisive for me. I weighed all the factors and decided to remain unmarried. An unmarried priest, in my humble opinion, is better prepared to follow his calling.”

However, most Ukrainian Greek Catholic faithful feel quite differently about married priests. “Usually, there are only three to five unmarried priests from each class of about 30 graduates,” says Father Mykolai-Volodymyr Fredyna, rector of Holy Spirit Seminary. “Such statistics can be explained by the fact that parishioners are used to having the priest’s family serve as a model for them.”

Each year, Holy Spirit Seminary hosts a retreat for the seminarians’ fiancées. Priests and their wives as well as other lay and religious leaders give talks and lead discussion groups about the challenges, joys and expectations of married life in the church. Often during the retreat, a few women realize the lifestyle is not for them. Most, though, happily marry their fiancés.

“Quite a few girls dream of becoming priests’ wives, especially those from villages,” says Father Dmytro Hrynyk, who graduated from Holy Spirit in 2008 and has since served as a pastor at Church of the Deposition of the Robe of the Holy Mother in Lviv. “Though my wife, Khrystyna, tells me she married me as a person first and foremost.”

Born in Sykhiv, Lviv’s largest residential neighborhood and home to Holy Spirit Seminary, 27-year-old Father Hrynyk grew up in a poor but devout Ukrainian Greek Catholic family. As a child, he served as an altar server. At the time, the parish had just broken ground on its future spiritual home, Nativity of the Mother of God Church, and the congregation would assemble under a large tent for the Divine Liturgy.

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Tags: Education Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Priests Seminarians Vocations (religious)