A reflection by Fr Lawrence Farley.
Saturday morning began with a thunderbolt: a dear fellow-priest from my diocese began his phone call to me early that morning with the words, “Did you hear about Fr Alexander?” I had not heard about Fr Alexander Pihach, but soon was informed that he had died suddenly and unexpectedly earlier that day. After travelling to Toronto from Moscow where he served as priest at the Representation Parish of St Catherine’s, and arriving in Toronto very late, he had been picked up at the airport and was eating at the home of a fellow priest in Toronto when he suddenly collapsed afterward on his way to bed and died. He had been lately given a clean bill of health after his cancer treatments, and was looking forward to many more years of fruitful ministry. He was 64.
I was not the only one who felt as if he had been struck by lightning. Fr Alexander (or “Fr Dennis” as he had been known for years) had served as Chancellor in the Canadian diocese for many years, and as Rector of parishes across the country. He was well-known, and even more well-loved.
I met him when I was still an Anglican priest investigating Orthodoxy. I had travelled three hours from northern Saskatchewan to the city of Saskatoon to observe the odd phenomenon of an Orthodox Liturgy being served in English. Dennis was a deacon at the parish there. I had many questions, most of them dumb. I also asked him, “What’s the deal about this ‘jurisdictions thing’?”. He and his priest exchanged a meaningful glance, and then Dennis answered, “The only place to talk about Orthodox jurisdictions is either on your knees or in a bar.” I didn’t understand it then, and could only later appreciate the combination of wit, wisdom, pragmatism and humour that characterized Dennis Pihach. It was a combination that would later help keep many people sane when he served as Chancellor for the diocese through some interesting years to come. Read the rest of this entry »
November 11, 1933 – February 19, 2014
It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of Vera Olshefsky (born Desatnyk) on February 19 at the age of 80 years old. Left to mourn is her loving husband of 62 years Charles, son’s Bill (Joyce) and Tom (Lucie) as well as Baba to Alexandra, Andrei & Elisaveta, along with her brother Walter. Vera was a Baba to many.
Her ability to find the best in everyone was only surpassed by her natural strength as well as her candor in telling it as she saw it. BIG THANKS go out to all of the staff & volunteers at the Montreal General Palliative care facility. They all became an extended part of the family these last few weeks and will be fondly remembered. Vera was a rebel with a cause and she always ensured that her family came first. It is now time to return the favor. Vera’s final resting place will be at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex 1297 Chemin de la Foret, Outremont, Quebec. Visitation will be on Monday February 24 from 4:00 to 9:00PM. Panachida will be at 7:00PM. The service in the Mount Royal Chapel will be on Tuesday February 25 at 11:00AM. Burial & reception will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate if donations in Vera’s name could be made to the Palliative Care Unit of the Montreal General Hospital.