Monday, April 26, 2010

Daniel (Alexandrow) of Erie, Eternal Rest

His Grace, the Right Reverend Bishop Daniel (Alexandrow) of Erie is a vicar bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, serving as Vicar President of the Synod of Bishops for the Old Believers under his jurisdiction's care.

Bishop Daniel was born Dimitri Borisovich Alexandrow in Odessa, Russia, in 1930. Due to anti-Communist family connections, Dimitri's father, Boris Alexandrow, decided to move the family to Zlatoust in the Ural Mountains in 1938. Within just a few months of the move, Boris was arrested and disappeared; it was later found out he was executed. Mrs. Alexandrow then moved her family back to Odessa. In 1944 they left westward with the fleeing German Army, and within two years found themselves living in the Alps. Thanks to family in the United States, the Alexandrows were able to emigrate to America, and came to New York in 1949. From 1952 to 1958, Dimitri studied at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, New York), finishing with the first graduating class, along with the future Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla). From his early years, Dimitri Borisovich was interested in the pre-Nikonian "Old Rite" of the Russian Orthodox Church, and decided to work toward somehow healing the schism of the Old Believers. In August of 1965, he was ordained deacon, and soon afterwards, priest. In 1988, he received the monastic tonsure and the new name of Daniel. On August 13, 1988, Hieromonk Daniel was consecrated as a vicar bishop for the Diocese of Eastern America, with the title "Bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania, Defender of the Old Rite". The Church of the Nativity is his Cathedra, whose congregation he played an integral role in reuniting with the Russian Orthodox Church. He was temporary administrator of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand from 1995 to 1997.

Bishop Daniel is a man of many talents, which have been extremely useful to many people. He is a master iconographer, having studied in his youth with the famed Old Believer iconographer Pimen Sofronov, and knows the ancient methods with which to obtain all-natural pigments. He is one of the few people left who can read the znamenny ("kriukovoi", or "hook-style") musical notation, which fell out of general usage in Russian Church singing in the early 18th century. He is also an experienced architect, having designed such churches as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. (ROCOR). Also, simply doing his own extensive research on ancient rites came in useful during the elevation of Metropolitan Philaret in 1964. This was the first time the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia had elected a successor who was not a Metropolitan in episcopal rank, and inasmuch as the remainder bishops were of lesser rank themselves, many were unsure of the elevation in such a situation. However, thanks to the research of Bishop Daniel, who was yet a reader, the Synod of Bishops was able to essentially replicate the office of elevation of a Metropolitan as performed in 15th century Russia.

In the morning of 4/26/2010 Bishop Daniel reposed in the Lord.


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