WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: July 26, 2019
Protopriest Michel de Castelbajac reposed in the Lord
Born on March 19, 1928, in the town of Montastruc in Gascony, Fr Michel was the most senior clergyman of the Western European Diocese. He and his wife Chistiane, nee Donin Rosiere). a few years after their marriage adopted Orthodox Christianity and took an active part in parish life among Orthodox Christians in Paris on boulevard Blanqui, under Priest Eugraph Kovalevsky. Fr Michel studied theology at Institut St Denis.
The future clergyman soon met Bishop John, Wonder-worker of Shanghai, who at the time headed the Western European Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. St John ordained Fr Michel to the deaconate and blessed him to accompany him in his parish visits and pilgrimages to the holy sites of France.
On February 22, 1964, St John ordained him to the priesthood. Throughout the troubles of the community of "boulevard Blanqui," Fr Michel remained true to ROCOR, and continued his services in Dijon, Vichy, Lyon, Paris, Meudon, and served as spiritual father at various lay organizations.
In 1985, Fr Michel retired from his civil employment to devote himself totally to clerical service and moved to the outskirts of Vichy, where he built a small church dedicated to SS Peter and Paul, which was consecrated by Archbishop Anthony (Bartoshevich) of Geneva and Western Europe, in 1986. Since then, Fr Michel continued to minister to several parishes, among them: St George the Great Martyr in Marseille; St Nicholas and St John the Russian in Lyon; and the small Church of St John of Shanghai in Paris. The priest would organize conferences and lectures in Paris and Brussels. Over the course of many years on the feast day of SS Peter and Paul, his small community in Vichy, he would gather his many spiritual followers.
Fr Michel departed to the Lord at the age of 91, on the eve of the feast day of St John the Baptist, a few days before the holiday of SS Peter and Paul.
With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, the burial of Fr Michael was led by His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey on Tuesday, July 9, after Liturgy at SS Peter and Paul Church at the town of les Rochelles near Perigny.
Eternal Memory to Fr Michel!