Funeral and Burial of Bishop Alexander (Mileant) of Buenos Aires and South America


In accordance with the written instructions prepared by Bishop Alexander several months ago, His Grace’s funeral was performed in Holy Trinity Church in Oxnard, CA, some 70 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

On Thursday, September 2/15, the rite of vesting the reposed bishop was performed by the Dean of the Third Deanery of the Diocese of Western America, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles; Protopriest George Petrenko, Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Sao Paolo, Brazil; Priest Peter Shashkov, Rector of Holy Protection Church in Los Angeles; and Priest Alexei Chumakov, Rector of Holy Trinity Church in Oxnard, along with Protodeacon George Grigoriev and Protodeacon Andrei Korobkov. It is worth noting that Vladyka Alexander was vested in the green episcopal garb in which he loved to serve during the Pentecost (the Oxnard church and Jordanville monastery are both dedicated to the Holy Trinity).

Following the vesting, readings from the Gospel commenced over the reposed hierarch.

That evening, the aforementioned clergymen, joined by Priest Christopher Horsley, performed a pannikhida, which was attended by a large number of worshipers. The choir, consisting not only of locals but of visitors as well, sang under the direction of VM Gor.

At the end of pannikhida, Protopriest Alexander read a eulogy in which he mentioned the missionary works written by the newly-reposed Bishop Alexander, who published over 300 brochures in various languages and posted many of them on a splendid missionary website he designed. Vladyka Alexander also opened a correspondence-course Orthodox school, providing all the needed books for theological training in several languages. Vladyka Alexander was also active in educating the young generations and opened a fine parish school. Vladyka Alexander did all this while guiding the spiritual life of a large parish of which he was rector for 31 years, while at the same time raising a family, and also working as an engineer in navigational systems for spacecraft at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories of NASA. Fr Alexander also noted the humility of the late Vladyka, his accessibility and desire to help everyone, especially those who recently arrived from Russia. His departure from this world is indeed a great loss for the entire Russian Orthodox Church.

The following morning at 9 am, Fr Alexei Chumakov performed the funerary Divine Liturgy. At the end of service, Fr Alexei gave a eulogy in which he stressed the spiritual qualities of Vladyka Alexander, his meekness, his lack of malice and humility.

That day at 11:30, the Spanish-speaking clergymen performed the full pannikhida in Spanish using the service books published by Vladyka Alexander himself.

At 12:30, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America arrived to lead the funeral. His Eminence was joined by Protopresbyter Konstantin Tivetsky; Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff; Protopriest George Petrenko; Protopriest George Kurtov, Rector of St Seraphim Church in Monterey, CA; Protopriest Paul Volmensky, Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Sacramento; Protopriest Yaroslav Belikov of the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco; Priest Peter Shashkov; Priest Paul Iwasjewicz of the Diocese of San Francisco and Western America; Priest James Thornton; Priest Alejandro Iwasjewicz of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Buenos Aires; Priest Ilia Mrzev, Rector of the Church of St John of Kronstadt in San Diego; Priest James Steele, Rector of St Elias Orthodox Mission in Placerville, CA; Priest Alexei Chumakov and Priest Alexei Poliakov of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles; along with Protodeacon George Grigoriev and Protodeacon Andre Karobkoff. Serving as subdeacons and altar boys were those who knew and loved Vladyka. The choir sang under the direction of VM Gor, the spiritual daughter of the late bishop.

After Archbishop Kyrill read the prayer of absolution, Priest Alejandro of Argentina delivered a eulogy.

At the end of the service, the clergymen lifted the coffin containing the body of the late Vladyka and carried it around the church while singing “Helper and protector…”

Services ended at approximately five pm.

Thanks to the efforts of Mr M Avisov, Warden of the Oxnard Church, a splendid commemorative trapeza was offered at the parish house. At its conclusion, Archbishop Kyrill shared some of his recollections of the late Bishop Alexander, followed by the reading of condolences sent by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill, President of the Department of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate.

At the end, the brother of the late Vladyka thanked all the clergymen and parishioners for their prayers and shared some personal memories of his brother. He said that in 1963, the young Alexander Mileant came to America to study at Holy Trinity Seminary. No one knew him then, and now, forty years later, the entire Orthodox world knows him, and his efforts for the good of the Holy Church are renowned the world over.

On Sunday, September 18, the coffin was brought to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, and the following day, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus performed a pannikhida along with His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland and many clergymen who had come to pay their last respects to Vladyka Alexander. In his eulogy during the pannikhida, His Eminence asked all the worshipers to pray for the newly-reposed Bishop Alexander and expressed the hope that blessed be the path he takes to the next world.

At the end of the pannikhida, His Eminence Vladyka performed the burial rite for Vladyka Alexander at the monastic cemetery.