SYNOD OF BISHOPS: December 30, 2004


Funeral and Burial of Alexander B Ledkovsky

On Monday, December 27, the body of the late Alexander Borisovich Ledkovsky was brought to the Synod Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, who had passed away on the night of December 23-24. From then on, until the very funeral itself, divine liturgy was performed in the Cathedral, as well as pannikhidas, and the Psalter was read over the body.

On December 29, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus officiated at the funeral, along with Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan and Bishop Peter of Cleveland, joined by 10 priests of the New York area; also serving were Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo, Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow and Deacon Dimitri Temidis. The Cathedral Choir, formerly led by the late Alexander Borisovich, sang his favorite funerary compositions with great emotion. Eulogies were delivered by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, Bishop Gabriel and Priest Andre Papkov, who also read the prayer of absolution over the body. At the end of his heartfelt eulogy, His Eminence Vladyka announced that on the second day of the Nativity of the Lord, the son of the reposed, Subdeacon Sergei Ledkovsky, would be ordained to the deaconate, and expressed hope that he would zealously follow the example of love and devotion to the Russian Church that his late father possessed, forever praying for his father before the Holy Altar.

Alexander Borisovich came to love the Church and church music from his early youth, having served as an altar boy and later a singer in the choir directed by his father, Boris Mikhailovich Ledkovsky (1898-1975), the renowned composer and director. Alexander Borisovich earned his degree from Columbia University in New York. From 1975 on, he was the Director of the Synodal Cathedral Choir. Continuing the choral tradition established by his father, Boris Mikhailovich, Alexander Borisovich in the last years of his life expanded his work on harmonizing many festal texts, and also posted the musical library of the Synodal Cathedral on the website he founded, Despite his illness and increasing suffering, he carried on his task, arranging new notes and checking old ones, offering all lovers of church music the fruits of his efforts online. He was inspired and consoled by the thought that his work was not only enjoyed throughout all corners of the Russian diaspora, but even in the holy sites of our suffering Homeland; wherever His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia visited, there were services and concerts featuring the compositions of B.M. Ledkovsky. Before his death, Alexander Borisovich passed his work on to his daughter, Elizabeth Alexandrovna, who assumed his project with a profound sense of duty.

For over 50 years now, the Synodal Cathedral Choir has sung at regular divine services at the Cathedral of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Boris Mikhailovich, and then Alexander Borisovich, also worked on special projects, including the preparation of the choir for the glorification of the New Martyrs in 1971 and other historic events, a multitude of concerts and several recordings. Among the most noteworthy achievements of the Choir were the concert tour in the Holy Land in the 1970's and concerts of ecclesiastical and lay compositions in such venues as New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. Some of the Choir members participated in the performance of Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina with the New York City Opera Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.

Recent recordings of the Synodal Choir under Alexander Borisovich were dedicated to the 700th anniversary of the finding of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, and included selected works of the all-night vigil on the Cathedral's feast day and prayers from the divine liturgy, all compositions of the Choir's founder, Boris Mikhailovich Ledkovsky. They can be obtained from the Synod Bookstore at or at the candle desk of the Synodal Cathedral on cassette or CD.

The funeral was attended by a great many people and was very solemnly performed: many knew that the reposed loved such services. Upon the conclusion of the service and the bringing out of the coffin, Bishop Peter conducted a litany at the hearse. Then many of the deceased's relatives and friends headed for Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, where the burial was to be held the next day at the monastic cemetery. After the burial, Priest Andre Papkov, the President of the Church Music Committee of the Synod of Bishops, invited all those in attendance to his home for a wake.

The late Alexander Borisovich deserves great praise not only for his great work in the area of church music, for his love of divine service and for his labors in the benefit of the Holy Church, but also for his meek endurance of the cross bestowed upon him by the Lord in suffering an excruciating illness for a long period of time.

To the last, he was surrounded by the love and care of his wife Olga and his beloved daughter Nina. Eternal memory to him and may he reside in peace among the saints!