“Our Journey to Orthodoxy”

“After graduating from the Anglican Faculty of Theology at Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Quebec; Presbytera Justine, (also a graduate of Bishop’s), and I were married in May of 1969, and spent five years in the Diocese of Quebec in return for my theological education. We moved to Berlin, N.H. in 1974 where I was appointed rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

 In 1975, Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox church, Berlin, was reopened having been closed for many years. Presbytera and I had been studying Orthodoxy for some time and this seemed more than coincidental! The young priest, a convert to Orthodoxy, introduced English-language services as there were very few Russians left in the parish. Fr. Michael celebrated Vespers every day at 5 p.m. We attended daily. Our sign board at St. Barnabas read: “Daily Morning Prayer here, 8:00 a.m.; daily Vespers, Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 5 p.m. After several months, my parish council asked me to remove the sign as “…we are not advertising the Orthodox Church.” I obediently did so.. but the message remained! After the plastic letters had been removed from the black felt sign board, the message, faded by the sun, remained for several months! At the next parish council meeting I said: “Man proposes, but God disposes!” (Old Russian Proverb). The parish council was not amused!

This state of affairs went on for a couple of years. Finally, Presbytera admitted that she wanted to BECOME Orthodox! I gave my unreserved blessing and told her to take our (at that time) two young children with her. I stood in the back of Holy Resurrection Church and quietly wept that I could not be with the rest of my family as they were received into the Orthodox Church. I could not abandon the flock entrusted to my pastoral care.”