“Father John was not feeling well and went out to the porch for fresh air,” Archbishop Mark related in a January 2017 letter to the clergy and faithful of his diocese, in which he appealed for financial assistance for Father John and his wife, Matushka Kyra. “At some point he passed out and fell over the railing, injuring his neck, vertebrae and spinal cord. He has been in the hospital since that time.
“After months of therapy, Father John is now able to feed himself, but is still unable to walk,” Archbishop Mark added. “Due to the lack of strength in his arms and legs, he is unable to transfer himself from his bed to a wheel chair, necessitating nursing assistance and the installation of a lift in his home.”
Father John’s devoted wife, Matushka Kyra, has driven back and forth to the VA Hospital in Bronx, NY during the past year, in addition to caring for her elderly parents.
With the Nightingales’ medical and related expenses mounting, Archbishop Mark called upon the faithful to offer financial assistance to Father John and Matushka Kyra, in part to construct a doorway and ramp into their home, to make a first-floor rest room handicapped accessible, and to purchase a van with a lift.
“A Vietnam veteran, Father John lived in California and later Alaska, where he worked as a hospice chaplain for a number of years before enrolling in Saint Tikhon’s Seminary,” Archbishop Mark added. “After his ordination to the priesthood, he served regularly as a supply priest, turning over his stipends to the diocese without keeping a penny for his time and travel. While in the Bronx VA Hospital, he has provided pastoral care to other patients—while being a patient himself.
“Since the January appeal letter went out, we have received $33,778.00, for which the Nightingales are most grateful,” added Archbishop Mark. “From these donations, $25,855.05 went to pay off the remaining balance on a van and $750.00 related to the rest room upgrade.”
The Nightingales still need to install a lift to transfer Father John back and forth from his bed and wheel chair—an expense of some $6,000.00. The VA will pay for three days of nursing care per week, but all other days will be paid “out of pocket.”
Father John is slated to be discharged from the Bronx VA in the coming weeks.
Donations to assist the Nightingales, especially during this season of Great Lent, are being accepted with gratitude by the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania and may be sent directly to the Diocesan Office, 144 Saint Tikhon’s Road, Waymart, PA 18472, earmarked “Father John Nightingale.” All donations will be acknowledged by the Diocese.
Donations can also be made via the diocesan Paypal account.