Anniversary of the Repose of Protopriest Igor Znachkovsky
June 25th marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the sudden death
of the rector of the Russian Orthodox Church in Bari, Protopriest
Igor Znachkovsky, a name known throughout the Russian diaspora.
Many had corresponded with him, many paid personal visits to him
while in Bari to pray at the relics of St Nicholas the Wonder-worker.
Through his selfless labors and love for pastoral work, Fr Igor
created a sort of "long-distance" parish for the Bari
church. Many immediately became his close spiritual friends. He
received hundreds of letters in which Russians asked him to pray
to St Nicholas for intercession. They would relate to him their
difficulties and sorrows, and Fr Igor would bring these letters
to the reliquary of St Nicholas and serve molebens for his beloved
spiritual children. He personally responded to each of these many
letters, consoling all who wrote to him with the warm words of a
pious and loving Russian batiushka. For his efforts and care, he
was warmly thanked, and donations would be sent to the Russian church
in Bari. So Fr Igor was able to adorn and enrich the church with
icons, holy items and fine vestments.
During his last year of pastoral service, Fr Igor was able to complete
his fondest dream—to build a chapel for the Holy New Martyrs and
Confessors of Russia, whom the Church only canonized after his death.
Fr Igor's funeral was held at the Church of All Russian Saints in
Paris, in the presence of his loving family, relatives and friends,
in a church filled over capacity, and with the participation of
almost all the clergy of the Parisian region, headed by its Dean,
Protopriest Alexander Trubnikoff, Protopriest Peter Cantacuzine
from Geneva (now Bishop Ambroise of Vevey) and Protodeacon Peter
Figurek. Archbishop Anthony (Bartoshevich, +1993) of blessed memory
could not attend, since he was leading a pilgrimage of Europeans
to the Holy Land, but he was able to visit Fr Igor in the hospital
and have a long conversation with him before departing.
The earthly remains of Fr Igor were interred in the monastery cemetery
in Bussy-en-Othe. The anniversary of Fr Igor's death was remembered
in many parishes of the Diocese of Geneva and Western Europe.