Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 09 May |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Alexandru Rusu

‘I don’t want to live without my wife’: After six decades together, Orthodox priest and wife die within hours of each other

ORTHODOX

Wonderlane-(CC BY 2.0)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/13/17

A beautiful and heartbreaking love story from Albany. Details:

The Rev. Alvian Smirensky, a Russian Orthodox priest recalled as accomplished, compassionate and wise, had his life’s final wish fulfilled, according to the Rev. Peter Olsen, who referred to the older priest as his spiritual mentor.
 “He had said to his son in law, I don’t want to live without my wife,” said Olsen, archpriest of St. Basil’s Russian Orthodox Church in Watervliet.
In fact, Alvian and Helen Smirensky, married for 59 years, died Sunday within hours of each other, on adjoining beds at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Their deaths on the same morning were not the result of an accident, crime or other shared tragic circumstance, but were the endings through unconnected natural causes of two lives intimately joined for six decades. That was fitting, according to another fellow clergyman who knew them well. “They were very much a partnership,” said the Rev. Christopher Savage, prior at New Skete Monasteries in Cambridge. Helen Smirensky went to Albany Med late last week for emergency surgery, Olsen said. (He did not say what her ailment was, and family could not be reached Thursday.) The surgery was not successful, however, and on Saturday night, Father Alvian, as he was called in the Russian Orthodox tradition, went to his wife to perform ministrations at her death bed. As he was being driven home to the Beverwyck senior living community in Slingerlands, Alvian had a massive stroke, Olsen said. He was promptly transported back to Albany Med, where staff arranged for them to be together. Helen, 84, whom Olsen called Matushka (for “priest’s wife”) died around 5 a.m. Alvian, 88, passed away about three hours later, Olsen said.

Read on.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord …

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
4
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
5
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
See More