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Bishop Daniel Alexandrow

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Bishop Daniel Alexandrow, Russian Orthodox Bishop of Erie and the Old Rite, reposed on Monday, April 26, 2010. Bishop Daniel of Erie was born Dimitri Borisovich Alexandrow on September 15, 1930 in Odessa, Russia into a soldier's family. His maternal grandfather was governor of Alaska during the Russian Empire. In 1938, Dimitri Alexandrow's father was arrested by the Bolsheviks and executed. In 1944, during the occupation of Odessa by the Romanian army, he became a member of the choir in his church. That same year he immigrated with his mother to Romania, later moving to Austria. After the war he lived in a camp for Displaced Persons at Feldkirchen, later moving to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1949 Dimitri Alexandrow moved to the United States and settled in New Jersey, where he met and befriended Pimen Sofronov, the famous Old Ritualist iconographer. Sofronov taught him how to paint Orthodox icons and the two of them spent several years traveling to many parishes, beautifying them with the images of Christ and the saints. He graduated with honors from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York in 1958 and was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Philaret of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in 1965. While serving as a priest, Father Dimitri continued to paint icons and also demonstrated a mastery of architecture, designing various churches including the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. In 1974, Father Dimitri played a major role in healing a 300-year-old schism in the Russian Orthodox Church. Since the 17th Century, followers of the Old Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church had been anathematized for refusing to accept reforms that had been introduced in 1653. Father Dimitri introduced a draft that was soon ratified by the Synod of Bishops, lifting all anathemas against the Old Ritualists. It was this act that would lead the Old Rite Church of the Nativity in Erie, Pennsylvania to reunite with the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1983. In 1988, the Synod of Bishops chose to consecrate Father Dimitri as the first bishop in 300 years to be ordained for the Old Rite. He was first tonsured as a monk and given the name of Daniel. On August 26, 1988, he was consecrated as the Bishop of Erie and the Old Rite and the Church of the Nativity in Erie became his cathedral. During his tenure, Bishop Daniel ordained three deacons and one priest. He also concelebrated the consecration of Bishop John of Caracas and Venezuela. He was a world-renowned iconographer, architect and translator, and was an expert in an ancient style of church singing known as Znamenny Chant. A hierarchal funeral service will be held on Wednesday morning in the Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity, 251 East Front Street. Hours and Liturgy will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the funeral service will follow immediately thereafter at 9:30 a.m. He will be buried at St. John the Divine Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Church of the Nativity Endowment Fund.

Published in the Erie Times-News on Apr. 27, 2010
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