His Eminence Metropolitan Antony – born John Scharba on Jan. 30, 1947, in Sharon – will be enthroned as prime hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America in ceremonies Saturday in Maryland.
The Sharon native, the eldest of five siblings of John and Dorothy Scharba, was baptized March 23, 1947, in St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Parish. The church recently relocated from Sharon to Hermitage, at Morefield Road at North Hermitage Road.
Then-Archbishop Antony celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Episcopal consecration in 2010 and the 40th anniversary of priesthood in 2012. In 2011 he ordained the Rev. David Mastroberte, pastor of St. John’s.
His enthronement is set for 9:30 a.m. in St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring.
The younger John Scharba grew up in St. John’s and went to school in Sharpsville. Upon graduation, he enrolled at what is now Edinboro University to study to become a foreign journalist. After two years he followed God’s calling to St. Andrew College-Seminary in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – the only Ukrainian Orthodox seminary in the free world at the time.
He simultaneously enrolled at the University of Manitoba, the campus that included St. Andrew Seminary. He graduated from Manitoba in 1970 with a bachelor of arts in sociology. In 1971 he completed his studies at St. Andrew Seminary, receiving a bachelor of divinity.
He remained in Winnipeg, accepting an offer to become the dean of residence for St. Andrew College.
He was ordained to the holy deaconate Oct. 1, 1972, by then-Bishop Constantine and then to the holy priesthood Nov. 26 of that year, again by Bishop Constantine. The latter took place, in his home parish of St. John’s.
He served in parishes in Ambridge and in Hammond, Ind. He served as spiritual advisor for the Ukrainian Orthodox camping program at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in western Pennsylvania and with the junior and senior Ukrainian Orthodox league of the USA. While in Hammond, he went to graduate school at Loyola University in Chicago and at Purdue University.
In 1981 he was elected as a bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In 1982 he was elevated to monastic and in 1983 to archimandrite. In 1985 he was given the monastic name of Antony – after St. Anthony the Great, whose feast day falls on his birthday.
In October of that year, he was consecrated as bishop at St. Andrew Memorial Church at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook, N.J., and assigned as rector and administrator of St. Sophia Seminary. At the same time he assumed the editorship of the English edition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Word, the official publication of the church and later accepted the editorship of the combined Ukrainian/English publication, which exists today.
Then-Bishop Antony served the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand in 1989, in addition to his responsibilities in the United States. While there he led the unification of the two Ukrainian Orthodox dioceses that existed for decades into a single church.
During those years of constant travel, he was elevated to archbishop by the Council of Bishops.
From 1994 to the present, he served as vice chair of the board of trustees of St. Sophia Seminary and in 1995 he was elected president of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – chief administrative officer for the Metropolia.
He accompanied Metropolitan Constantine when invited by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1994 to discussions that led to the renewal of the ancient relationship between the UOC and the Patriarchate, which dated back to the year 988, when Ukraine accepted the Holy Orthodox faith as its own.
During this period and through the combined efforts of, among others, then-Archbishop Antony, the two existing Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions in the U.S. were united after decades of failed attempts. This is seen by the faithful of both churches as an accomplishment that united brothers and sisters and even those of specific birth families who were separated from one another.