Church Remembers the "Pirohi King"

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 26, 2009 at 6:04 PM EST

There were no empty seats for mass at St. Michael's Church on Sunday.

But there was an emptiness without Monsignor Stephen Dutko.

"The Pirohi King," said St. Michael's Church President David Gdovin.

Yes, Dutko--who helped teach his congregation about his Polish heritage and Christian faith by selling pirohis each year for a fundraiser during lent.

"We knew very quickly, and I don't think any of our brother priests would be offended at this, he was the finest Orthodox priest that I knew," said Father Michael Ellis.

Father Stephen Dutko may have been known as the Pirohi king, but people we spoke to at St. Michael's Church say he'll be remembered as a man who dedicated his life to the Church.

"Monsignor Stephen Dutko's committment to St. Michael's Church, and his parishioners, and his faith was unwavering," said Gdovin.

"His committment included an incredible amount of outreach," said Mother Raphaela.

Candles were lit in memory of Dutko.

Parishioners say he had a special skill of inspiring others to do more with their lives.

"He set a foundation in many people and that made them reach further beyond then what they ever imagined they would live onto in their lives," said Jason Maciak.

Dutko was once the longest tenured Orthodox Priest in the nation. His parishioners say they'll always remember his dedication to their congregation.

Dutko was 92 years-old.

Funeral services are being finalized.

His body will lie inside the Saint Michael's church beginning Tuesday followed by a service at 7 p.m.

A divine liturgy is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the church, followed by burial at Saint Michael's Cemetery.

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