8753Orthodox priest was born in Bulgaria
- Mar 1, 2008Article published Saturday, March 1, 2008
REV. VENSESLAV DIMITROFF, 1923-2008
Orthodox priest was born in Bulgaria
The Very Rev. Venseslav Dimitroff, 84, a priest for two decades of a
Bulgarian Orthodox church in East Toledo who arrived after years
serving the Orthodox Bulgarian community in Turkey, died Wednesday in
Lake Park Comfort Care Center, Sylvania, from complications of
prostate cancer and pneumonia.
He was in pain as the cancer spread to his bones, recalled the Rev.
Paul Gassios of St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford.
"He would speak to me and say in a deep voice, 'Patience.' That was
his word to me - for us to persevere," Father Paul said.
Father Venseslav retired in 1995 from what was then St. George
Bulgarian Orthodox Church on Oswald Street, where he had served as
priest since 1975.
About 12 years earlier, one of St. George's founders stopped in
Istanbul to see Father Venseslav and asked him to come to St. George
when Father Kyrill became Bulgarian Orthodox bishop of Toledo.
But Father Venseslav could not leave because his father, also an
orthodox priest, was ill with prostate cancer, his daughter, Kathy, said.
"I think it was our destiny to come to Toledo," his daughter said. "I
had heard about Toledo since I was 3 years old. My dad always talked
about going to Toledo, going to Toledo. I was 16 in 1975 when we arrived."
Most of the services at St. George were in Bulgarian or Slavonic, and
he never quite mastered English, his daughter said.
Still, he was drawn to people and drawn to conversation, especially
"He was a very extroverted person," his daughter said. "He didn't
care what religion people were. Some were even atheists, but he loved
talking to them. He had that sense of service that made him a
Father Venseslav, a native of Bulgaria who grew up in Turkey, became
a U.S. citizen in 1996.
Surviving are his wife, Marina, whom he married Nov. 7, 1955, and
daughter, Kathy Dimitroff.
Divine liturgy will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. George Orthodox
Cathedral on Glenwood Road in Rossford. Visitation will be in the
cathedral from 5 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, with a Parastas service at 7
p.m., and from noon to 9 p.m. Monday, with a funeral at 7 p.m.
The family suggests tributes to the cathedral.