Biography of His Grace Bishop Daniel (Dimitry Alexandrov), Bishop of the Diocese of Erie

     Born into a military family in Odessa in 1930, he spent his early childhood reading in church. In 1944, along with his family, he fled to the West through Romania, Austria and Switzerland, arriving in the United States in 1949. He completed high school in Vineland, New Jersey, and entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York in 1952. He graduated from the Seminary in 1958 with a Bachelor of Theology degree. His principal interests were the rites and chants of the Old Believers, and iconography. He studied with the renowned iconographer Pimen Sofronov, and worked with him, painting many iconostases in the United States, including the Saint Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, New Jersey, Holy Trinity Cathedral in Astoria New York, and Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C. On his own, he painted the iconostasis of the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, as well as the large crucifixion icon in the cathedral.

    He is also a church architect of note, having designed the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in the 17th century Yaroslavl-Moscow style. He also studied ancient Assyrian chant with Bishop John (Gevargizov, +1960) of Urmia (a Nestorian who had converted to Orthodoxy an was consecrated to the episcopate in 1930 by the Church Abroad for the Orthodox Assyrians-a large group of Nestorians who had converted to Orthodoxy in northern Persia in 1898).

    In 1950 he was tonsured a reader, and in 1965 was ordained to the diaconate. The same year he was ordained to the priesthood to minister to Old Believers who wished to have access to the complete Old rite of the Russian Church. In 1965, the Synod of Bishops voted to consecrate Father Dimitry as a bishop for the mission in India; this would have meant that he had to abandon his mission to the Old Believers, and he refused. In the 1970's, a group of Old Believers in Canada asked Father Dimitry to be consecrated as their bishop, but they wanted the consecration performed by an uncanonical Old Believer hierarchy; he refused, noting that he would only be consecrated by hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad.

    In July of 1988, Metropolitan Vitaly named Father Dimitry as a candidate for the episcopate of the Russian Church Abroad. Father Dimitry reminded the Metropolitan that this would require him to abandon his ministry to the Old Believers, which he was still unwilling to do. Father Pimen Simon, pastor of the Nativity of Christ Old Rite Pariah in Erie, Pennsylvania (which had united itself to the Russian Church Abroad on 11/24 July 1983) called Metropolitan Vitaly, and mentioned Metropolitan Antony's (Khrapovitsky, +1936) longstanding desire to provide a hierarch for the Old Rite. Metropolitan Vitaly agreed that this would provide a solution.

    The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, meeting for the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus, also agreed. Father Dimitry was tonsured a monk and given the name Daniel. His consecration to the episcopate took place on 01/14 August 1988 in the Synodal Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in N.Y. Metropolitan Vitaly presided over the consecration which was celebrated according to the Old Rite. He was assisted by Archbishop Antony (Medvedev, +2000) of San Francisco, Bishop Alypy (Gamanovich) of Chicago and Detroit, and Bishop Hialrion (Kapral) of Manhattan. Bishop Daniel was given the title 'of Erie and the Old Rite,' with the Nativity of Christ Parish in Erie, Pennsylvania as his cathedral.

    From 1992 to 1993, Bishop Daniel administered the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand during the illness of Archbishop Paul (Pavlov, +1995), returning to the United States in 1993. In the late 1990's, Vladyka Daniel suffered a stroke. Although not officially retired, after the stroke his activities diminished greatly due to his weakened physical condition.

M. Woerl May 2002


Simon, Father Pimen
"Bishop Consecrated for the Old Rite"

Living Orthodoxy
Vol. IX, No. 6
Nov.-Dec. 1987
Liberty, TN
"A New Old-Ritual Parish for the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad" Orthodox Life Vol. 33, No. 5 Sept.-Oct. 1983 Jordanville, N.Y. ________________________________ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .