The Very Rev. Raphael Biernacki, 67, rector of Saint Nicholas Church [Bulgarian Diocese] here, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, August 23, 2006.
Father Raphael had been diagnosed with cancer during the last week of July.
Born in Toledo, OH on June 8, 1939, Father Raphael was married to the former Kathleen Loya in 1972. He served parishes in Maryland and Pennsylvania prior to being assigned rector of Saint Nicholas Church, Burton, MI, in 1975.
In 1995, he was named dean of Saint George Cathedral, Toledo, OH, after which he served as rector of Holy Trinity Church, New Salem, PA, in 2000. The following year he was assigned rector of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Burr Ridge, IL until he was assigned once again as rector of Burton’s Saint Nicholas Church in early 2005.
Several weeks before he was diagnosed with cancer, he concelebrated at the consecration of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Burr Ridge, IL.
Father Raphael served in a variety of capacities on the diocesan and deanery levels throughout his pastorate. He was especially fond of his Polish ancestry. Above all, he was known as a loving pastor, available and most accessible to all to whom he ministered. He received numerous clerical awards in recognition of his outstanding ministry to the Church.
Viewing will be held at Saint Nicholas Church, Burton, MI on Thursday, August 24, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. A Memorial will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, August 25, viewing will be held at the church from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 until the conclusion of the Funeral Service, slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.
The Divine Liturgy and Procession will be celebrated on Saturday, August 26, at 10:00 a.m. A repast will follow at Saint Nicholas parish hall.
On Sunday, August 27, Father Raphael will lie in state at the Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, 114-128 East Alexis Road, Toledo, OH from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 until the conclusion of the Memorial at 7:00 p.m.
Interment will take place on Monday, August 28, at Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, OH.
Father Raphael is survived by his wife, Kathleen; one son, Nicholas, and his wife Adrienne, Toledo; and two daughters, Stephanie Bishop and her husband Matthew, Seattle, WA, and Helene, Chicago. Additional biographical information will appear in the “In Memoriam” section of the September-October 2006 issue of “The Orthodox Church” news magazine.
May Father Raphael’s memory be eternal.