Very Reverend, Reverend and Dear Fathers; Beloved in the Lord: Christ is in our midst!
During these days, we mourn the passing from this life of the + Mitred Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky. Yet, with hope in the Resurrection, we lovingly commend him into the hands of the Almighty God Whom he has served for so long, with such excellence and devotion.
Father Leonid advised Metropolitans of the Orthodox Church in America; and he imparted wise counsel to Patriarchs and Metropolitans, Chancellors and priests of ancient Churches, non-Orthodox confessions, and non-Christian communities throughout the world. He was the consummate ambassador for the OCA and a steadfast peacemaker in times of confrontation and differences of opinion. By the grace of God and his own untiring faith, Father Leonid never allowed the conflicts and challenges of this work to darken his soul with cynicism or bitterness. Instead, joy and faith, dignity and hope – these were the qualities that shone forth from this elder statesman of the Church, and for these qualities he will be long and lovingly remembered.
Still, Father Leonid’s first love was to be a priest – and his great love, as a priest, was his parish. His parish was his foremost priority. He knew his people – by face and name, to be sure; but more than that, he knew his people by heart and soul. He had served them for so long that, for many of his spiritual children whom he baptized and married, he baptized their children and grandchildren as well. He loved them at every age, taught them at every level, and cared for them in every season of their lives.
In addition to Fr. Leonid’s excellent, outstanding, and incomparable priesthood was the exemplary marriage that he and Matushka Mimi forged together. Side by side, they worked in the parish’s life and in the liturgical services; they loved to visit parishioners in their homes; and they went together for house blessings. They were the consummate team; and the younger generations of priests and matushki who serve in the Lord's Vineyard today will do well to imitate their example.
Not only was he the deeply committed father of his spiritual children: he was a devoted father and grandfather to his two daughters, their husbands, and his grandchildren. Educating them was important, not just in school, but in church – not just from their teachers and professors, but from their remarkable father and grandfather, imparting to them the priceless treasures of the incomparable experience that he gained, traveling throughout the world, encountering many faiths and cultures and walks of life.
On Tuesday night, after numerous miraculous recoveries, which time and time again God had granted, finally the great peacemaker of the Orthodox Church in America went to the Lord peacefully, with his wife at his side, holding his hand and praying for his soul’s flight to the Kingdom.
Father Leonid’s work ethic and legacy of accomplishment will live on for generations. Father’s love for his parish, his family, and especially his wife, are enshrined in eternity, because he knew that our Lord has proven to us all that love is stronger than even death. Eternal be his memory!
Every person is precious to our God Who created us all, and every priest is beloved to Christ the High Priest, in Whose ministry every priest shares. But our Diocese has suffered the loss of a world-renowned leader, a yeoman worker, and a humble servant of the Church, across six decades of ministry, in the person of Father Leonid.
My deepest sympathy to Mimi, her children and grandchildren, the parish family of Our Lady of Kazan Church in Sea Cliff, our Diocesan clergy and faithful, the entire national Church, and all of world Orthodoxy, on our loss of Fr. Leonid. May his passing from this life be Heaven’s gain, and may his memory be eternal!
Grant rest eternal in blessed repose with the Saints, O Lord, to the soul of Thy newly-departed servant, the ever-to-be-remembered + Mitred Protopresbyter Leonid, who has fallen asleep in the Lord; and may his memory be eternal! "Vechnaya Pamyat!"
With love in Christ,
The schedule of services for Father Leonid’s funeral are as follows:
All services will take place at Our Lady of Kazan Church, 2 Willow Shore Ave, Sea Cliff, NY 11579
Wednesday, August 11
12:00 PM: Arrival of the Body and Panikhida
7:00 PM: Funeral Service for a Priest
Thursday, August 12
9:30 AM: Divine Liturgy
Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, Litya from the Panikhida and interment at Roslyn Cemetery.
All clergy who wish to concelebrate the Funeral or the Divine Liturgy should contact the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, firstname.lastname@example.org, or (516) 922-0550 x 130.