Ann Holod Zinzel

Ann Holod Zinzel being honored by St. Vladimir's Seminary's Alumni Association in 2007 (photo: SVOTS archives)
Ann Holod Zinzel being honored by St. Vladimir's Seminary's Alumni Association in 2007 (photo: SVOTS archives)

Funeral services for the newly departed Ann Holod Zinzel, retired administrative secretary at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here, have been announced by Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Ecclesiarch of the seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel.

On Friday afternoon, September 14, at approximately 2:00 p.m., her body will be brought to the seminary Chapel, at which point a Litiya will be celebrated.  At 5:00 p.m., her family will offer a public viewing and visitation period.

At 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, September 14, the Funeral Service will be celebrated.  All seminary priests are invited to serve, as are all priests from the area who wish to concelebrate.  Clergy will be wearing white vestments, and are asked to bring their own sets.

On Saturday morning, September 15, the Divine Liturgy and Litiya will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m., followed by the final kiss and the chanting of the Hymns of Farewell.  Interment will be at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Cemetery, South Canaan, PA.

Mrs. Zinzel fell asleep in the Lord at White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY, on the evening of September 7, 2012, while the seminary community was celebrating the Vigil for the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos.

Prior to the Vigil service, in the late afternoon, Mrs. Zinzel was taken by emergency vehicle to the hospital from her home, where she had suffered a fall. Accompanied by seminary Librarian Eleana Silk, a long-time friend, she seemingly stablized at the hospital, but later experienced complicatons and died unexpectedly at 7:20 p.m. The cause of death is still unknown. She was 86 years old; she would have celebrated her 87th birthday on September 18.

Mrs. Zinzel was raised in Olyphant, PA, where she was born in 1925. She served as administrative secretary at the seminary for 29 years, from 1962 to 1991, and as personal secretary to Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, dean of Saint Vladimir’s from 1962 to 1983. She was known for her ability in taking short hand, and for her transcription of Father Alexander’s handwritten and dictated notes to typewritten pages. She often spoke of her employment at the seminary as “a miracle.”

At a SVOTS Alumni Association Reunion Banquet held in October 2007 in her honor, she recounted the story of her coming to Saint Vladimir’s.

“I had met Father John Meyendorff, who then taught Church history at the seminary, on an occasion in Washington, DC,” she began. “I had been asked to take him to dinner before a lecture he was to give to the Nation’s Capital ‘R’ Club, so that he would not have to arrive alone. During the meal he asked me: ‘How is work?’.

“I had just been informed that I was being ‘downsized’,” she continued. “I commented that I had worked for Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. ‘It would be good if I could get a job with the Orthodox,’ I had joked.

“It was at that time,” she recalled, “that Saint Vladimir’s was moving to Crestwood, New York (from New York City) and the Provost, beloved Professor Serge Verhovskoy, thought the seminary ‘might need a secretary, at least temporarily!’ I applied and the rest is history—of which you all played a tremendous role and for which I now thank you sincerely.”

Seminary alumni will miss hearing from “Ann Zinzel” (often said as one complete name) through her myriad e-mail posts. The seminary community, from the very young to the very old, will remember her as a faithful member of Three Hierarchs Chapel, where she occupied the same chair day after day, year after year, singing along with the full text of each service in hand, and reaching out to give the children in chapel “bear hugs” and prosphora (blessed bread), which she also bestowed abundantly on adults, especially visiting alumni.

May Ann’s memory be eternal!