After leaving the army, Volodymyr worked as a parish sacristan in his native Lviv. In 1993, he entered the Theological-Pedagogical Institute in Ivano-Frankivsk, 70 miles south of his hometown.
The Basilian Fathers, who run the institute, encourage a celibate priesthood. Father Havrylenko says he considered it.
In 1995, he transferred to Holy Spirit Seminary in Rudno, a suburb of Lviv. Vasyl Stetskyi, a friend from the institute, had also moved there.
One day Vasyl was supposed to meet Volodymyr, but sent his sister Halia instead. Volodymyr and his future wife soon started dating.
At the time, however, Volodymyr was still uncertain about marriage. I thank Halia, he says, for approaching the question with understanding. We let time decide the issue.
Even before meeting Volodymyr, Halia imagined herself as a priests wife. She grew up in Yavoriv, a center of the underground church. She had a regular underground confessor; underground nuns taught her catechism.
When my brother decided to become a priest, he shared his concerns with me, Mrs. Havrylenko says. When I was younger I was afraid to become a priests wife. I knew this would be a great responsibility and my husband would have to sacrifice a lot for the church and his people.
They married in 1997, the same year Volodymyr was ordained a deacon. A year later he was ordained a priest. His first assignment was at the Church of the Most Holy Eucharist in Lviv, a pastoral center for students. Mrs. Havrylenko took a job at a bank and had little time to help her husband.
When their first child, Sofika, was born, however, Mrs. Havrylenko says she took her everywhere to church, to youth meetings at the parish. I had more time than before. They were living in a two-room apartment with Father Havrylenkos parents, a common living arrangement in Ukraine. The grandparents helped take care of the baby and things were fine, Mrs. Havrylenko says.
But when they brought their second daughter, Oksanka, home from the hospital, we started to notice how close our quarters were, Mrs. Havrylenko says. In addition, the government turned off the heat in their state-run building during a cold February.
The couple decided Mrs. Havrylenko should take the children to live with her parents in Yavoriv, where there was more room and regular heat. While Lviv is only an hours drive from Yavoriv, the young priest, husband and father of two, did not have a car. He did not see his wife and children for two months. We made a video of Sofika, Mrs. Havrylenko recalls, so that he could see her.
A year later, Father Havrylenko had an opportunity to serve in Yavoriv, so he changed parishes to be with the family, he says. But his wife went back to Lviv to work, visiting the family every weekend. A parent working away from his or her family is, unfortunately, common in Ukraine, where job opportunities are few.
In 2002, Mrs. Havrylenko had a son, Romchyk, and is now on three-year maternity leave. For now, the family is together in her parents house in Yavoriv.
Its better for me in Yavoriv than in Lviv, Mrs. Havrylenko says. The kind of work I did in Lviv was just not appropriate for a priests wife. I like to be more involved with the parish and be able to help my husband. If I was working, coming home at 9 p.m. to my three kids and my husband, that would be stressful.
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