During one of the most beautiful times of the liturgical year, the Paschal season, Sister Anastasia (Julia) Charnichko peacefully gave her life back to the Risen Savior. It was early in the afternoon of Thursday, April 11, 2013, that Sister Anastasia's earthly life ended and her new life began.
The daughter of the late Michael and Martha (Dobony) Charnichko, Sister Anastasia was born in the Georgetown section of Wilkes-Barre Township. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from her home parish of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Rite Catholic Church, Wilkes-Barre Township, on March 28, 1946. Sister Anastasia pronounced her first vows on Feb. 12, 1948 and made her perpetual profession on Aug. 28, 1953 in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.
Sixty-seven of her 85 years of life were totally devoted to the service of the Lord in whatever work she was assigned to do. As a talented and meticulous seamstress, most of Sister Anastasia's years of service were spent in the vestment department at the monastery; in fact, this was her ministry for almost 30 years before she was admitted to Mount Macrina Manor in April 2009.
The years prior to 1980 would find her alternatively assigned to supportive services at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary or the archbishop's residence in Pittsburgh and the vestment department in Uniontown. Like Sister Isidore, who preceded her in death, Sister Anastasia's work was well-known to the clergy of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. She lovingly and carefully fashioned the vestments and other liturgical articles needed for the divine services. While her work was truly appreciated, it is equally true that she was looked to for support, encouragement and spiritual refreshment.
In the monastery, Sister Anastasia is probably best known for her quiet and unassuming manner, her faithfulness to prayer and her love of her religious vocation. During her years at the manor, she could be relied on for her compassion with and prayer for those who brought their concerns to her.
When Sister Anastasia celebrated her golden anniversary of religious life, she spoke of her gratitude for her religious vocation and her thanks for persevering in it. This grace is one highly treasured by all religious, and Sister Anastasia's moment of death, surrounded by a number of her Sisters in community, is testimony of the fulfillment of this deep desire.
Sister Anastasia was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Helen Kozup; and her brothers, Charles, Nicholas, Andrew, John, Michael and George.
In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her devoted sisters, Mary Pukatch and Elizabeth Popovich, and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends were received at the Monastery Chapel on Monday. The funeral of Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla on Tuesday in the Monastery Chapel. Interment followed in the Dormition section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.
Local services to Sister Anastasia's family are in the care of the John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc. of Wilkes-Barre.
To send the Charnichko family online words of comfort, friendship and support, please visit the funeral home's website at www.johnvmorrisfuneralhomes.com.
Published in Times Leader on Apr. 18, 2013