In Memory of Priest Andrei Trufanov
From the Editors: On Bright Week, the rector of the
Russian Church in Bari, Priest Andrei Trufanov, died unexpectedly.
His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain
sent the following item to the Synodal website, written by his spiritual
On the night of the Resurrection of Christ, on Bright Monday, Priest
Andrei Trufanov died at the age of 44. He died of a heart attack.
He is now at peace. This terrible news shook us to our foundations.
The mind refuses to accept it.
On Resurrection Sunday, I spoke with him on the phone, unfortunately,
only briefly: he had just served liturgy and was preparing for the
feast. On Bright Tuesday, we were already in Bari. On the way there,
we read from the Gospel and the Paschal canon in turn. It was impossible
to change anything. The acceptance of his bright death grew, and
of the time of the presentation of his soul to the Lord God.
Not everyone—no, not by far—earns the mercy of dying on Pascha.
The feeling of utter loss faded away. We wished to bid farewell
to him and to support his Matushka, Marina.
Fr. Andrei was in church. He lay in the coffin in his white Paschal
priestly vestments. His face, according to tradition, was covered.
Sometime later, our ruling Bishop Ambroise of Vevey and Protodeacon
Peter Figurek arrived. Vespers was performed. Fr. Alexander Zaitsev,
who traveled with us, concelebrated with Vladyka Ambroise.
On the following morning, at 7 am, liturgy began. The funeral of
a priest necessarily begins with a liturgy. Following this is the
funeral service itself. There were many parishioners and friends
in attendance. His Italian friends assumed all the earthly arrangements
and helped the family of Fr. Andrei every way possible. During all
services, as always, Fr. Andrei's family participated. The eldest
son, Igor (19 years old), read the Gospel, Matushka read and sang.
At about 10 o'clock they departed for the cemetery. We followed
the coffin and sang the Paschal sticherion, which Fr. Andrei loved
greatly. After a brief funerary litany, the burial commenced. Fr.
Andrei was buried in the cemetery of the old city, which is no more
than one kilometer, as the crow flies, from the basilica of St.
The matushka and several other women had organized a trapeza, which
immediately followed, and we remembered our batiushka. Fr. Andrei
was always a strict, but loving pastor. He was first of all demanding
of himself and those closest to him and thus showed us an example
of constant and uncompromising struggle with our sin. We remembered
how we first met him, a future priest, over 10 years ago. Fr. Andrei
was first a parishioner in the Berlin parish, then a reader, ordained
by His Eminence Archbishop Mark into the priesthood, and finally
became our parish priest. In Berlin, he had three children: Ekaterina
(12 years old), Simeon (7 years old), Elena (6 years old). Fr. Andrei
was a remarkable icon painter. He painted icons and plashchanitsy
with great piety, in the ancient Russian style. Our parish was left
with a great number of his icons. He also painted antimensia upon
which the bishops and priests of our Church now serve.
Four years ago, His Grace Bishop Ambroise accepted Fr. Andrei into
the ranks of the clergy of his diocese and appointed him to Bari,
where Fr. Andrei labored with success while enduring many temptations.
Pilgrims visiting Bari always speak of him with warmth, mentioning
his love for work and of his staid Orthodox spirit.
Bishop Ambroise of Vevey blessed Matushka Marina and her children
to remain living at the church and to help the new priest during
services. On the following day, we gathered to venerate the relics
of St. Nicholas. The reliquary is protected by a gate, which can
only be opened by a steward in the presence of the rector. We had
gone there many times with Fr. Andrei, but now we are left orphaned,
and despite our repeated requests, we were not allowed in. We were
talking amongst ourselves, saying that we were just with our batiushka,
that everything was alright. Suddenly, a Catholic prelate came in
and ordered the steward to open the gates and let us in.
We all suffered a terrible loss, the Lord called to Himself our
beloved priest, brother, friend, but he gave us a fervent supplicator
before God, an intercessor who prays for us great sinners, in heaven.
Give rest, O God, unto Your servant Priest Andrei overlooking all
his offenses, willing and unwilling, and grant him the Kingdom of
Parish of the Protection of the Mother of God, BerlinBy the ukase
of the Synod of Bishops, a plate collection is to be made to benefit
the family of the reposed Fr. Andrei Trufanov.
Igor Metzger sent the letter of Fr. Andrei's matushka addressed
to a priest: "For all who remember our batiushka, Fr. Andrei,
to commemorate him with a kind word and to pray for his repose."
Here is the letter:
per your request, I wished to write to you a few details of the
death of my husband, Fr. Andrei. During Passion Week, Fr. Andrei
performed all the services: on Great Thursday, Liturgy and the reading
of the 12 Gospels, on Friday, the bringing out of the plashchanitsa
and matins. On Pascha, there was a procession of the cross, but
he did not serve liturgy at night, but on Sunday at 10 am, at the
request of the parishioners. His sermon was not joyful, not a Paschal
one—it was sad and strict—on repentance, as were all his sermons.
After the services we all participated in the feast, everything
was as usual, but he was somewhat sad. That evening he blessed us
all and went to his room, and the next morning I already found him
dead; as the doctors said, from a heart attack.
Bishop Ambroise performed his funeral, he was buried in Bari on
Wednesday, April 14th. We followed the coffin and sang his favorite
Paschal canon. When we lived in Berlin, during Bright Week he sang
right on the street as loud as he could, and passers-by looked at
him in bewilderment.
This is the greatest loss for us, but for everything, glory to our
Lord! It was God's will that he served here as a priest next to
the relics of St. Nicholas, there were many sorrows and tribulations,
but he endured everything and confessed the Truth. Maybe the Lord
replaced physical suffering with spiritual suffering during his
final days. You read his journal, and you know that he endured all,
preaching the Word of God. He accepted all insults (he was accused
of being possessed and of being insane) close to heart, and I, in
my feebleness, sometimes tried to convince him otherwise, but he
would reply: "I am a priest, the Lord will ask me what I did
for the preaching of the Gospel, and even if one person in a hundred
will become closer to the Lord, that would mean I did not struggle
And indeed, people write that their lives changed from the time
that they came to know Fr. Andrei. I thank the Lord that He allowed
me to be with such a talented, righteous, uncompromising person,
a man of the greatest faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—almost 25 years—he
left four children behind. They loved him greatly and now see him
in dreams, younger and joyful (in red shoes, as my six-year-old
daughter tells me). Even now, they are joyful, knowing that Papa
is with the Lord, praying for us."
Matushka Marina Trufanova thanks everyone for the donations already
received and prays for all the donors.