Interview with Stephanida Wood Regarding the Ordination of Her Brother, Fr. Michael Trefon Jr. - 11/08/15

Ready and Worthy to be Ordained! Axios!

St. Herman Theological Seminary is happy to report one more ordination of a graduate during the last Diocesan Assembly in Anchorage, AK. Deacon Michael Trefon, the son of Father Michael Trefon, was ordained a priest! Below are the excerpts from the interview with Father Michael Jr.’s sister, Stephanida Wood, also a Seminary student in the past and a Seminary wife (husband of a 1st year student, Subdeacon Stephen Wood) in the present.

SHS: Stephanida, when did your brother decide to become a priest?

SW: As far as I know, he never wanted to be a priest, he just wanted to stay a deacon. When my dad told me, I was in shock. I said that I was not sure. You see, I was still protective of my little brother, I did not want him to grow up yet.

SHS: How old is he now?

SW: He is 29. But for me… I just never looked at him growing up as a priest, only a deacon. And when I heard the news, I thought, “Ok, this is different.” I was still unsure, but, in my heart, I knew he was ready and I was ready to let him go. Let him grow up.

SHS: How about Fr. Michael Jr.’s Matushka, Tamara? Was she ready for this?

SW: She is just a very determined person in trying to achieve her goal of getting a teacher’s degree. She is the first in her family to go to college and it is taking longer than she planned – they started a family when still quite young (Matushka Tamara and Father Michael Jr. now have two lovely toddlers – SHS).

SHS: Did you perception of your brother change once he was ordained?

SW: Oh, no, he is still the same person to me. But there was a big change in him when he went to the Seminary: he had really become a different person then. He does want to help people and serve in the Church. And that’s what he’s always been doing since he was a kid. He was already serving in the altar at the age of three.

SHS: And how many brothers do you have altogether?

SW: Three: Michael, Edward (Fr. Michael Jr.), and Gregory.

SHS: Did they all serve in the Church?

SW: Yes, on and off.

SHS: How come it was Michael, of all the brothers, who decided to enter the Seminary?

SW: I think he just wanted to change his life. Also, he wanted to learn more about Orthodoxy. And then he liked it so much that he stuck to it.

SHS: You also went to the Seminary, right?

SW: I guess he saw how much I changed when I went to the seminary.

SHS: Who advised you to go to the Seminary? Your Dad?

SW: Not, it was my own. [It was] because my Dad went to the Seminary here. And growing up, when I was little, being here with my Dad, we enjoyed being here in Kodiak. It was one of our favorite memories of where we lived. It was our happy place, you know. We loved it here and so we both (Stephanie and Fr. Michael Jr. – SHS) came back here seeking our roots, seeking help. And we both found it. Being at the Seminary changed our lives and it keeps changing the lives of other people – we might not see it, but at home, people saw two daughters of my grandmother Evelyn become Matushkas and now my little brother Edward has grown up to be a Father, and people have been saying, “You, guys, are blessed!”

SHS: What was Father Michael’s favorite subject at the Seminary? Did he share it with you?

SW: It was Liturgics. He also started writing his own book of Liturgics. [It is] because he knew the services so well since early childhood, he knew where the people should be in the altar. One day he said, “You know, these books are not so great…” And so he started writing his own!

SHS: Any funny stories you can share with us?

SW: I don’t know if it is funny, but when our Dad studied at the Seminary, Edward always kept playing a priest: he said his prayers and censed around all the time. Also, my grandmother Evelyn has a story of him: at the same age of four or five, back home in Newhaylen, they were trying to get across the lake and it was really rough. So they thought of not going… But my brother got some saltine crackers, crumbled them up in his hand, and made the sign of a cross on the water… Suddenly, it got calm and they could all leave in a boat.

SHS: What do you wish your brother as a priest?

SW: I think Nunapitchuk (Matushka Tamara’s native village, where Father Michael Jr. is assigned as an assistant priest to Father Philip – SHS) is a good place for him and his family to be. They just moved there before ordination and they are doing really great! I hope they stay there for a while, at least until Matushka Tamara is done with school. And I want to say to my brother -- it takes patience if you want to bring people back to Church. Do not be discouraged in trying to change people right away. People are not going to change right away. It is going to take time. Go and visit. This is what our Dad always did. He never waited for people to come to him – my Dad always went to visit people. If he did not see them come around, he would just go back and visit. And so Fr. Michael Jr. can learn from his Dad, how his Dad was just a simple person caring for other people.

SHS: Thank you, Stephanida, and congratulations!


Fr. Michael Trefon Jr. and the Family

Father Michael Trefon Jr. and Family
Father Michael Trefon Jr., Matushka Tamara, and Their Children
Father Michael Trefon Sr. with an icon beaded by Fr. Michael's grandmother, Evelyn
Matushka Tamara with Baby Dionysia