Dmitry Grigorieff

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The Archpriest Dmitry Grigorieff was Dean Emeritus of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and professor of Russian language and literature at Georgetown University in Washington.


Fr. Dmitry’s father was Dmitry Dmitrievich Grigorieff, the pre-revolutionary vice-governor of Arkhangelsk, Vyatka, and Sakhalin, who in 1918 fled with his family to Riga, Latvia and later to England to escape the Russian Civil War. Fr. Dmitry was born in 1919 while his family was in England. The family subsequently moved to Tokyo, Japan where the young Dmitry was baptized. After the Civil War ended in the early 1920’s, the young Dmitry with his family returned to Riga. In Latvia, Dmitry completed the Russian high school and entered the Orthodox Theological Institute.

As World War II enveloped the Baltic states, Dmitry, a British citizen, was evacuated to Australia, where during the years of 1943 and 1944 he served in the Pacific fleet of the British Merchant Marine. It was during this time that he married his wife, Galina. During the final year of the war he served in the United States with the Office of War Information in New York City.

After the war, Dmitry entered Yale University from which he received, in 1848, a Master’s degree in Linguistics and Comparative Literature. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania from which he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Slavic Studies in 1958. In 1958, he also graduated from the St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. Before joining the faculty of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Dmitry taught Russian at the Army Language School in Monterey, California and at Columbia University in New York City.

In 1959, Dmitry joined the faculty of Georgetown University, teaching Russian language and literature, and becoming a professor in 1964. His literary speciality was Fyodor Dostoevsky and his works. During the early 1960’s, he also taught Church History and Church Slavonic as a lecturer at St. Vladimir’s Seminary and was on the faulty when the seminary moved to Crestwood, New York in 1962. In 1989, he retired from Georgetown University.

While teaching at Georgetown, Dmitry was active in the congregation of the St. Nicholas parish in Washington and was ordained a priest in 1969, becoming the second priest. In this capacity Fr. Dmitry introduced English-language divine services to the congregation of the cathedral. In 1986, he was made Dean of the Cathedral. In 1998, Fr. Dmitry entered semi-retirement as Dean Emeritus, as Fr. Constantine White became Dean of the Cathedral.

Also, during 1998 his wife, Galina, died. Fr. Dmitry remained active in the spiritual life of his community and continued to maintained ties with church of his former homeland. His health weakened during the last few years of his life. He reposed on December 8, 2007 at the age 89.


Besides his care for his spiritual children, Fr. Dmitry was a scholar with a number of publications to his credit on religion and literature in both Russian and English. His most recent work, “Dostoevsky and the Church”, was published in Moscow in 2002.

He was the recipient of a number of awards. For his dedicated service to the Holy Orthodox Church, Fr. Dmitry Grigorieff was awarded the Order of St. Innocent from His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow. This was the first time that this Order was bestowed upon an American priest. Fr. Dmitry was also awarded the Order of St. Innocent by the Orthodox Church in America, and the Order of the Holy Equals-of-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius by the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia.

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