Very Reverend Michael J. Psenechnuk (also known as “Fr. Big Mike”) fell asleep in the Lord on
Saturday, June 6, 2020 at Roosevelt Care Center, Edison, NJ. Fr Michael was born on August 26, 1943
in Perth Amboy, NJ, the only child of the late John and Mary (Hayducko) Psenechnuk. He attended
Perth Amboy schools, graduating in 1961. He then entered Christ the Saviour Orthodox Seminary in
Johnstown, PA, graduating in 1966 with a Licentiate in Theology degree. He also attended St. Vladimir’s
Orthodox Theological Seminary in NY, receiving a Divinity degree. He married the former Barbara
Kralick on November 23, 1969 in her home parish of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Elizabeth, NJ.
On May 3, 1970, Fr. Michael was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Metropolitan Orestes Chornock and
Bishop John Martin in his home parish in Perth Amboy. The following Sunday, May 10, 1970, he served
his first Divine Liturgy in St. John’s. He was assigned to his first parish at St. John the Baptist Orthodox
Church, Silver Lane, Stratford, CT, where he assisted Metropolitan Orestes (1970-1972). He then went
on to serve at Holy Ghost Orthodox Church in Manville, NJ (1972-1976) and then St. John the Baptist
Orthodox Church in Rahway, NJ, where he served the faithful for 17 years (1976-1993) and during which
time he earned a BA degree from Rutgers University. Fr. Michael then went on to serve the parishes of
Holy Ghost Orthodox Church in East Chicago/Schererville, IN (1993-1995), St. John the Baptist
Orthodox Church in Nesquehoning, PA (1995-1999), St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Yonkers, NY (1999-
2005), and finally St. Euphrosynia Belarusian Orthodox Church in South River, NJ, during which time he
was elevated to Very Reverend by Metropolitan Nicholas in 2010, retiring in 2015 due to health issues.
He continued to serve on a very limited basis in his home parish with Fr. Michael Chendorain until his
Fr. Michael served for several years as president of the Central New Jersey Orthodox Clergy
Association, a group which he had helped establish. He also enjoyed attending summer camping
sessions for many years at Camp Nazareth, our diocesan camp.
Fr. Michael, predeceased by his infant daughter Christine, leaves his beloved Pani Barbara of 50 years,
a daughter Karissa (Joseph) Cantatore, sons David and Matthew, and granddaughter, Scarlett
Funeral arrangements made through the Gustav J. Novak Funeral Home are as follows:
Wednesday, June 10, 2020, viewing at St. John’s Orthodox Church, 145 Broad St., Perth Amboy, NJ
from 5 to 7 PM, with Funeral Service for a Priest at 7 PM. Thursday, June 11, 2020, Divine Liturgy at
10:30 AM, followed by interment at St. John’s parish cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. John’s Church (“Fr. Michael’s
Memorial Fund”), to Camp Nazareth, or to your charity of choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Very Reverend Michael J. Psenechnuk, please visit our floral store.