Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church
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Ordination of Father Dionysi MacGowan,
The first American priest of ROAC


Father Dionysi left ROAC in 2005, several year after his ordination.

Roman Pavlov was made a priest and left ROAC about a year after his ordination.

Alexander Soldatov in forbidden to commune for 5 years according to Ukaze of Metropolitan Valentine. Alexander was the man who was helping Metropolitan to write most of his interviews and official texts, those text for which ROAC became known and loved in the True Orthodox world. Now the official texts are published very seldom, they have terrible grammatical and canonical mistakes, and they have no fresh ideas.

Olga Mitrenina (me) was tonsured a nun after St.Xenia, then Metropolitan Valentine published an unlawful ukaz saying that I am not in ROAC anymore (but many ROAC priests and people do not agree with it).

Protodeacon on the second picture (Father Vladimir) left the Church. Metropolitan made him a deacon when he was still a small boy (he is still very young on that picture, the Protodeacon is in his early 20th here). When he became bigger, he simply got married, he has a good family now.

Father Nicholas Novoselov was imprisoned by Metopolitan Valentine. He spent two months in one of the most terrible prisons in Russia for nothing. Police later removed all the condemnations of Metropolitan against him.

The boy in white t-shirt at the table is Ivan Novoselov, the brother of Fr.Nicholas. He also left the church when his brother was imprisoned.

The young boy in front of him is Protodeacon Serge Slonov. He was also ordained by Metropolitan Valentine as a teenager, and later he got married. He has a daughter now, but he had to leave the church too.

These are the first hours of Father Dionysi (reader Dionysi at that time) in Russia on his way to Suzdal. Left to right: Reader Roman from Moscow, Olga Mitrenina, Reader Dionysi and Alexander Soldatov who is a journalist by profession. Alexander was driving the old white car that you can see on the picture, Olga was translating, and Reader Roman helped to find Dionysi who was lost in the Moscow Airport! It takes several hours from Moscow to Suzdal, besides about three hours were lost during the adventures in the airport, that is why everyone looks so tired.

Archbishop Theodore ordains Father Dionysi as a deacon on the 13/26th of July 2001.

Father Dionysi is a deacon here. I know, some of the True-Orthodox people will be upset that ROAC ordained a priest for the USA. Please, do not be upset. America is so large and Father Dionysi will serve in a distant corner. There will not be crowded for True-Orthodox people in the USA.

Archbishop Theodore ordains Father Dionysi as a priest on the 14/27th of July 2001.

The priest in green standing nearby is Father Nicolas Novoselov. He is form the catacomb family and his parents still live somewhere in a Central Russia with their parish. I like Father Nicolas very much, and he was the first priest that I saw in Suzdal -- he usually opens the door when you ring to the door of Synodal house. He is always very silent.

This is a lunch that Vladyka Valentine prepared for all of us. Vladyka can eat very few things because of his diseases, but he likes to cook for his guests and he is very hospitable. He always takes care of people, especially guests.

These are Archbishop Theodore, Father Dionysi, some clergy from Suzdal and St.Petersburg and young piligrims from the city of Kursk. Two girls like to draw, they once came to Suzdal with their school to draw pictures of churches, and they learned about True Church and became Orthodox. They visit Suzdal rather often, and this time one of the girls brought her sister, who will also become Orthodox, I think.

Father Dionysi with two catacomb nuns. Nun with the cross is Scema-Abbess Evfimia. It was very unusual for her to see the Orthodox American. She liked how Father Dionysi served, and she wanted to express it to him, but they did not have common language. So she waved her hand, and when he came closer to her, she gave him a 'thumb-up' sign - an 'internationally-recognised' symbol which means "excellent". Then she found me and asked me to translate that she asks Father Dionysi to pray for her in the USA. And she wrote down the names of his family to pray for them too.

Another babushka asked me how Father Dionysi would serve in English. "It is easy, the same words as in Russian"--was my answer. "And will the choir in America sing in English too?"--she asked. "Yes",-- I replied. It was a surpise for her, but she liked the idea.

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