Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, senior cleric of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church of Russia, reposed in the Lord on the morning of May 12/25, 2018. A child of the Russian diaspora, Valery Simeonovich was born in Shanghai on December 8/21, 1927. From his earliest days his spiritual formation and future service to the Church was guided by the great hierarch and wonderworker of the Russian diaspora, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Valery was among the flock that followed St John to the Philippine island of Tubabao after the Communist revolution in China. After immigrating to the United States, Valery graduated in 1955 from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Engineering. Despite his own reluctance, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by St John in 1963 and to the Holy Priesthood in 1967 by Metropolitan Philaret of Blessed Memory, the third First Hierarch of ROCOR.
A year later, Fr Valery was appointed rector of the St Alexander Nevsky parish in Lakewood, NJ, a community with which his memory is inseparable. Here, utilizing his professional skills as an architect and engineer, Fr Valery designed and oversaw the building of a magnificent and God-pleasing temple, as well as a parish school, church hall, and rectory. Most importantly, Fr Valery embodied the virtues of the Good Shepherd and the words of St Paul in his Epistle to Timothy: be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.1
Together with his storied and multi-faceted ecclesiastical legacy, Fr Valery and Matushka Irina built together a personal legacy as well: a family of faithful and active priests, deacons, church servers, singers, and benefactors. Truly, the Lord granted unto his faithful servant the blessings described in the 127th psalm.2 In the last days of his life, as Fr Valery was stricken by the cruel neurodegenerative disease, ALS, his family and parish became a bulwark of support and comfort in his final earthly struggle.
Fr Valery was known throughout the Church Abroad as a skilled orator, liturgist, and author. We are confident that his many writings and recorded talks in Russian and English will continue to be a source of study and guidance for the Church, even as we are left orphaned and bereft of his physical presence and guidance.
On behalf of the brotherhood of Holy Trinity Monastery and the staff of Orthodox Life, we express our deeply felt sympathy especially to Matushka Irina, Fr Valery’s entire family, and the parish of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the words of another gifted orator of the Church of God, may this wise pastor “…rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.” 3
May the Lord grant him eternal blessedness in His Heavenly kingdom!