On Wednesday, February 28, 2008, the Very Reverend Father Venseslav Dimitroff, age 84, fell asleep in the Lord.
Fr. Venseslav was born on July 12, 1923 in Bourgas, Bulgaria. He spent his early childhood in Edirne, Turkey where his late father, the V. Rev. Mihail Dimitroff was the principal of the former “Peter Beron” Bulgarian Highschool and his mother, the late Ekaterina, a teacher.
His family moved to Plovdiv, Bulgaria when he was seven years old and he stayed there until1944, few days before the Communist take over of the country. He had to leave his homeland again and move to Istanbul, Turkey.
He served in the Turkish Military for four years. He married Marina Veneziani in November 1955 at Sveti Stefan Bulgarian Church where his father had become an Orthodox priest.
Fr. Venseslav was ordained to the priesthood himself, in March of 1961 by the Greek Orthodox Patriachate of Constantinople. He was elevated to Crossbearing Archpriest in May of 1973 by the Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria. He served at St. John of Rila Church in the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul until July of 1975.
In August of 1975, at the invitation of the late Archbishop Kyrill (Yonchev) and the late Mrs. Pena Evanoff, one of the founders of the St. George Bulgarian Church in Toledo, Ohio, Fr. Venseslav immigrated to the United States. He served the small, immigrant church community until his retirement in August of 1995.
Fr. Dimitroff was a very friendly person who enjoyed talking to people from all walks of life. He loved reading, especially Balkan history and politics. He was an avid soccer fan who loved watching all kinds of sports on television. He was a masterful gardener. He had a beautiful garden at his church, full of flowers, especially tulips and roses.
In the summer of 1992 Fr. Venseslav was able to return to Bulgaria for a visit to his brother after a 48 year separation. In 1996, through the generous hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. George Lutikoff he was able to revisit his family as well as his beloved Istanbul to spend a wonderful vacation among the members of the Bulgarian community residing there.
Fr. Venseslav was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Maria and his brother Dimitri.
Surviving him are his wife of 52 years, Popadia Marina, his daughter Kathy (Katya), a teacher at Washington Local Schools, a niece, Maya Uchkova and cousins in Bulgaria.
All funeral services will take place at St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, OH. On Sunday, March 2, visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a Parastas service at 7:00 p.m. On Monday, March 3, visitation will be from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with the Rite of Funeral for a Priest 7:00 p.m. On Tuesday, March 4, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., followed by interment at Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania, OH, and a Mercy Meal in the hall of St George at Rossford.
May Fr. Venseslav’s memory be eternal!