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8753Orthodox priest was born in Bulgaria

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Mar 1, 2008
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      Article published Saturday, March 1, 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
      about history.

      "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
      successful priest."

      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.