25th 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.