NEW YORK: September 28, 2005

A Pannikhida Over the Coffin of General Anton Denikin is Held at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York


On September 28, at 11 am, the clergymen and worshipers of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City greeted the coffin containing the remains of General Anton Ivanovich Denikin. A choir sang the troparion “Save o Lord Thy people.” Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Senior Priest of the Cathedral, then performed a brief litiya.

At 12 noon, before the beginning of the solemn pannikhida, Priest Serafim Gan addressed those who gathered with a eulogy, during which he said:

“In the history of our Russia, the word ‘white’ was always synonymous with the term ‘free.’ Moreover, the word ‘white’ was a legal term equating ‘free.’ In the book Domostroi, ‘white land’ meant ‘free land.’ It has even been suggested that ‘White Russia’ first meant ‘free Russia not occupied by the Tatars.’ Grand Duke Ivan III was called the ‘white sovereign’ because he freed Russia from the Tatars, while Serbian monks on Mount Athos called our Russian rulers ‘white’ tsars and sovereigns, because they carried with them the idea of freedom.

“Therefore, the Russian idea of ‘white’ is that of freedom and independence. This idea corresponds with our Russian civil ideology, which was always that of a free and independent Russian state.

‘In this now is our white idea,’ wrote IA Ilyin. ‘Our Homeland gave us spiritual freedom, all that is finest and most valuable is infused with it: the Orthodox faith, our military valor, our heartfelt, lyrical art, our very spiritual life and way. To betray this freedom would be to betray this divine gift and to betray oneself.’

“The White Movement gave birth to our White Russian emigration, which over the course of decades battled the godless regime, faithfully preserving Orthodoxy and the great Russian culture, not only keeping it but expanding upon it. Many labored, much was created by our ancestors, the builders of Russia Abroad, who loved and treasured this wondrous gift Ilyin speaks of, handing it down to future generations.

“I think that the example of the love and devotion to their Motherland and the selfless service to their neighbors can be a firm foundation for the renewal of our society, to foster the spirit of patriotism within it and dedication to the traditions of our Russian Church.

“Prayerfully remembering General Denikin today, and all the warriors who took upon their great shoulders the task of standing up for our faith and the freedom of Russia, let us pray that we become worthy heirs of the faith and loyalty of our glorious ancestors, who are worthy of our emulation in their efforts for Russian Orthodoxy, and let us preserve their legacy. Amen.”

The pannikhida then began, headed by Protopriest Peter Holodny along with Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Priest Serafim Gan, Priest George Zelenin, Priest Joakim Provatakis, Priest Serguei Serjanov, and Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo and Deacon Dimitri Temidis. A male choir under the direction of Peter A Fekula sang antiphonally with the male choir of Sretensky Monastery of Moscow. During the pannikhida, military flags were held by representatives of the Cadet Union near General Denikin’s coffin.

After the pannikhida, a trapeza was offered at the Synodal hall prepared by Warden Vladimir K Galitzine and the Cathedral’s Sisterhood. Protopriest Peter Holodny spoke, as did EN Chavchavadze, Director of the Department of Presidential Programs of the Russian Cultural Fund, and the singers of both choirs sang several compositions and Russian folk songs.