On Tuesday 5th/18th November , Father Sergei Jefimenko died in Charing Cross Hospital, London, after a prolonged and sever illness. He had served for many years, first as Deacon and then as Protodeacon in the Emperor’s Gate Russian Orthodox Church [ROCOR catherdal], and continued in this ministry to within a few years of his death. Father Sergei had come to this country as a displaced person after the Second World War, and he bore a tattoo of the hammer and sickle and his camp number, witnessing that he had suffered under the Soviet regime in his natie land. In fact he had been sent to a labor camp in Murmansk, where he related that the cold was sometimes so intense that his tongue would freeze to his teeth. Although he and his wife, Antonina Mitrofanovna, lived for many years in England, he never learned more than a few words in English, yet his outgoing personality was such that he always contrived to communicate with people and make himself understood. In fact for those of us that are converts to Holy Orthodoxy, his was somehow one of the warmest welcomes at the Russian Church. His love of the Church services was also evident to those that knew him closely, and in his last days he was often heard chanting snatches of psalms and hymns. His rather ebullient nature sometimes scandlaized some of the more proper, and yet under a rough and ready exterior one could find a heart of gold. At the time of his death, Father Sergei was the longest serving clergyman in the Richmond Diocese 1. His funeral, at the Emperor’s Gate Church, was conducted by his spiritual father, Father John Suschenko, in the presense of Bishop Constantine, the former bishop of the diocese, who had come to pay his last respects to a minister who had labored so long in his ministry. In his liftime Protodeacon Sergei had a great love and respect for Archbishop Nathaniel of Vienna, who had schooled him, and he was granted to end his earthly course only ten days after the Archbishop’s death in Munich. May God grant Protodeacon Sergei rest with the saints and eternal memory.
Adopted from Shepherd 3, 1986.
(Old Calendarist, no. 46, 1976, p. 21)
- In the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, London Archbishop Nikodem of Richmond and Great Britain raised Fr. Deacon Sergei Jefimenko to the status of Protodeacon on Sunday, February 16/29 1976. ↩