History Page

The Holy Epiphany Parish School would like to thank ALL our FORMER TEACHERS for their contribution to the school. THANK YOU!


The Russians which arrived in America after World War II, no matter where they settled, immediately tried to build a church. In 1951, a parish was established in Boston. It was a very small parish with no more than 30 people. The initial Parish Rector was Fr. Sergey Matveyev, but in 1953, he returned to Europe.

The faithful gathered in the Baptismal room of a Greek cathedral near Huntington Ave. The window in the Baptismal had a large icon of The Baptism of Our Lord (Holy Epiphany); therefore, it was decided to name the parish Holy Epiphany. In 1953, Fr. Kosma Misuna was appointed Parish Rector.

Fr. Kosma Misuna

By this time, the parish had grown; therefore, a protestant church was purchased on Dudley Street in Dorchester, MA. It was consecrated by Bishop Averky in honor of The Holy Epiphany of Our Lord.

The church had a spacious hall where a small group of children gathered to study The Law of God under the direction of Father Kosma. At that time, Roma Lukianov (the future Fr. Roman Lukianov) drove around and gathered children from the greater Boston area.

Church on Dudley Street in Dorchester, MA

Unfortunately, the heating in the old building often failed and repairing it in a timely manner was not always possible. Father Kosma and the children often had to sit in class wearing coats and gloves. Continuing lessons in the large hall proved to be impossible during the winter, therefore, they started to study at someone’s home.

Father Kosma and the children at the Semienko home.

Father Kosma became ill with cancer of the stomach. After his first operation he was so week that he had to be helped by two subdeacons to get up on the amvon (pulpit). He lived in Connecticut, and every Saturday one of the subdeacons, or the choir director, took turns driving to pick him up. On Sundays they drove him back home.

In those years, there were two subjects that were taught in the parish school: The Law of God and Russian Language. Christmas performances were more than modest. The late Nicholas Mikhailovich Vasiliev was always Father Frost. He had such a thunderous bass, that the choir director, Alexander Penchuk, unsuccessfully tried to teach him to sing during the services.



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Soon after the repose of Father Kosma, a new Parish Rector was assigned – Fr. Alexander Kachinski with his matushka Maria. They settled close to the church and the Law of God lessons (which they both taught) were now held in their home.

Fr. Alexander Kachinski

Fr. Alexander with his matushka Maria

The parish continued to grow as more and more people arrived from Europe. These new arrivals offered more help to the parish school. The Christmas Yolka became more decorated and interesting. In those years, although the children were born in America, their first language was Russian which they spoke fluently. They learned the English language only upon enrolling into the secular school system. The parish school, therefore, was able to organize evenings dedicated to Pushkin and to put on plays. The younger children put such plays as: Repka (The Turnip), Teremok, and How the Baby Elephant Went to Learn

and the older children (in abbreviated form): The Tale of Tsar Sultan, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish, The Valorous Russian Troops, and many more.

All the decorations and costumes were made by the teachers and the parents. They bought old curtains at Morgan Memorial and from them created Boyar costumes. Many of the more artistic costumes were created by Victor Victorovich Ganson. They are still in our costume wardrobe this day. The beautiful set decorations were created by Irina Pavlovna Beggrova – the daughter of the architect of the Holy Epiphany Church.

Unfortunately, the area where the church was located (in Dorchester, MA) began to rapidly deteriorate. Twice the church was broken into by burglars. Car batteries were stolen and radio antennas were broken off cars. The choir director’s car was even stolen right in front of the church. People feared coming to the church on Saturday evenings. Only the priest, the choir director, and a few brave parishioners attended the services.

Deacon Roman Lukianov

The 4th Parish Rector
Fr. Roman Lukianov

The question arose about the purchase or construction of a new church. Father Alexander was planning to retire as he had in his life endured about 20 surgeries. Father Roman Lukianov was already a deacon at that time, and agreed to the requests made by Father Alexander to become the second priest. On the day of his ordination in 1968, Father Roman learned that he will become the new Parish Rector, and that Father Alexander will be leaving for the Holy Trinity Monastery.


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During the construction of the new church, the parish school gathered in the homes of one of the teachers. Besides the priest, the teachers were the parents themselves.

Erection of the walls of the new church

Raising and installation of the roof

After the construction of the new church was completed in 1971, there were still no special rooms designated for the parish school. The parish house was occupied by tenants. Children gathered to learn: in the church, in the choir loft, in the hall under the church (which during lessons, was divided into three sections by two large curtains), in the store room, and in the hallway.

Bishop Constantine teaching the Law of God in the Church.

There were fewer children during this period, and many could not speak Russian. It became necessary to first divide the children into Russian and English speaking groups, and only then by age.

Unfortunately, there were problems with discipline. As the school was free, parents did not feel obligated to bring their children to lessons on a regular basis. It was very difficult for the teachers to work under these circumstances. To get the children to even bring a pad and pencil to class was a challenge. Regarding homework, it was not even worth discussing. Tardiness was practically a standard.

One positive development in the school resulted when the lessons were moved to Saturday afternoon, and it became obligatory for the students to attend the vespers service (the first part of the all-night vigil). The children learned to sing and read during the service. At first, the children’s choir was directed by Nina Mikhailovna Kochergina.

Joseph McLellan

Later, she was succeeded by Joseph McLellan (the future monk Archimandrite Ioasaf), an American whose family accepted orthodoxy. At that time, he himself was not more than 16 years old. This all eventually lead to the parents liking, and thus, attending the evening services, and the children growing up reading and singing in the main choir.

The Christmas Yolkas continued, but were significantly more modest than in the past. They were held in the hall under the church. The children’s choir learned to sing Christmas carols in both Russian and English, at first under the direction of Joseph McLellan, and later, under the direction of Alexander Pavlovich Doohovskoy (currently deacon Alexander serving at Blessed Xenia’s church). After the Yolka, despite the fatigue, they took several cars and went caroling by the old custom.

The children also learned the liturgy, and once a year, on Lazarus Saturday, they sang the entire service with little help from adults.

Alexander Pavlovich Doohovskoy

Father Roman appointed Alexander Pavlovich Doohovskoy the Director of the Parish School.

The composition of the children in the parish school continued to change. The majority of the students now spoke only English; however, the teachers did not become discouraged. Alexander Pavlovich proposed to put on a Yolka play Amahl and the Night Visitors – the children’s opera of Minoti. Although the performers spoke their roles instead of singing them, the performance, never the less, was still very successful.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Alexander Pavlovich always tried to associate the school plays with some kind of religious-moral theme. The following year, they staged a play about St. Vincheslav based on the famous English Christmas carol, and then a play about St. Catherine, and others. Some things were translated from Russian into English. The set decorations during the next several years were created by the son of Demetrius Kekis – Johnny Kekis, a pupil of the school.

Under the guidance of parents, one or two cars filled with senior church youth went to The Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY for the St. Herman's Youth Conference. They visited in the winter, and despite the bad weather, about two hundred young people gathered.

Parents and teachers also organized trips to the mountains. Students climbed Mt. Monadnock, Mt. Wachusett, Mt. Chocorua, and Mt. Washington, located near the Boston area. In the winter, they went skiing. This fostered a love of nature within the children, and also, united everyone: teachers, parents, and children – thus helping to build a church family.

On the first Sunday in October, the city of Roslindale (where the church is located) traditionally holds its annual Roslindale Day Parade. The children of the parish school participated in the parade dressed in traditional Russian costumes.


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After the fall of communism and the arrival of many new parishioners from Russia, the number of children in parish increased. The parish school became filled with children who spoke primarily Russian.

Deacon Alexander Jarostchuk

In 1997, Fr. George Sachewsky served as the second priest in the Holy Epiphany Parish. He was appointed by Father Roman as the Director of the Parish School, but soon returned to Canada. Then Father Roman appointed a new deacon, Fr. Alexander Jarostchuk, as the Director of the Parish School.

Olga Alexandrovna Vassilenko

The teaching staff also changed. Nine teachers had a higher pedagogical education. Father Roman appointed Olga Alexandrovna Vassilenko as the Director of Curriculum. Olga Alexandrovna had a great deal of teaching experience in Russia. She not only prepared the curriculum, she also took on the role of directing the Christmas Yolka by: writing scripts, rehearsing with the children, taking care of costumes and so on. Two new subjects were added to the parish school curriculum: Russian History and Russian Arts & Crafts.

Holy Royal Martyr Tsarevich Alexey

Classes in church house

The school was moved from the hall under the church into the church house next door. Classes were equipped with desks, whiteboards and other school supplies. Father Roman blessed the naming of the new school building in honor of Holy Royal Martyr Tsarevich Alexey.

Irina Serafimovna Shachneva

On Saturdays, during vespers, the parish school choir sang under the direction of Irina Serafimovna Shachneva. At first, everyone sang in unison. Over time, they learned to sing in three voices. The children also read prayers: "Vouchsafe, O Lord", "Now Lettest Thou Thy servant depart", "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal" and "Our Father". On Lazarus Saturday (the Saturday before Palm Sunday), the children sang during the liturgy. The parish school choir also performed musical concerts during the Christmas Yolka, the year-end graduation ceremony, and at various city events.



The parish school now had to rent a hall for the Christmas Yolka because the audience had grown to about 220-240 people (a hundred children, plus parents, parishioners and guests from Boston). The program included: Christmas carols, poems, a stage play with the participation of all students in the parish school, and then of course, concluded with the arrival of Dyed Moroz (Father Frost a.k.a. Santa Claus), the traditional dance and carol around the tree, and the giving of gifts.

Stage plays included:

2001The 12 Months
2002The Bethlehem Star
2003The Nutcracker
2004The Snow Queen
2005Morozko (Jack Frost)
2006The 12 Months
2007Buratino (Pinocchio)

You can find additional photos here

In the spring, before Easter, under the direction of Olga Alexandrovna, parents and children got together and baked about three hundred kulichi (Easter cakes). On Palm Sunday, the school organized a Pre-Easter Bazaar where they sold these kuilichi, as well as, sirniye paskhi (Easter cheese pyramids) and toys made by the children in their Russian Arts & Crafts class. All the proceeds went toward the benefit of the school.

The Parish School participated in the Roslindale Day Parade twice during these years, and the second time, they won first prize for Best Decoration.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville in 2002

In autumn 2002, the parish school made a pilgrimage to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. The trip included children, their parents and teachers. Everyone attended the monastery services. Many gave confession and took communion. The two days spent in the monastery brought great spiritual benefit to both children and adults.

Photos can be found here...

Fr. Victor Boldewskul

In 2005, due to Father Roman's illness, Fr. Victor Boldewskul was assigned as deputy rector to the Holy Epiphany Parish and succeeded Fr. Alexander Jarostchuk as Director of the Parish School. Father Victor served with Father Roman and Father Alexey Mikrikov. In January 2007, Father Roman retired and Metropolitan Laurus appointed Father Victor rector of the parish. On May 14, 2007, Father Roman reposed - three days before the joyous event of the reunification of the Russian Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR). With the departure of Father Alexey, Father Victor assumed sole pastoral responsibilities of the parish.

In July of 2007, due to health reasons, O.A. Vassilenko requested to step down as Director of Curriculum. In August 2007, in order to fill the void in the school, Father Victor appointed Reader Ilia Iosifovich Jarostchuk as the Director of the Parish School. Ilia Iosifovich continues in this role to this day.

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FORMER TEACHERS of the Holy Epiphany Parish School

† Rev. Kosma Misuna
2nd Parish Rector of the Holy Epiphany Parish
Teacher of the Law of God

Lidia Black
Teacher of the Russian Language

† Rev. Alexander Kachinski
3rd Parish Rector of the Holy Epiphany Parish
Teacher of the Law of God

† Matushka Maria Kashinski
Teacher of the Russian Language

† Very Rev. Roman Lukianov
4th Parish Rector of the Holy Epiphany Parish
Teacher of the Law of God

Matushka Irina Lukianov
Teacher of the Russian Language

† Sergei Konus
Teacher of the Law of God

† Irina Beggrova
Teacher of the Russian Language

† Anna Zezulina
Teacher of the Russian Language

Natalia Tsvikevich
Teacher of the Russian Language

Alexander Doohovskoy
Director of the Parish School
Teacher of the Law of God

James McLellan
Teacher of the Law of God

† Joseph Mclellan
Director of the Parish School Choir

Iya Beggrova
Teacher of the Russian Language

Nina Kochergin
Teacher of the Russian Language

Lisa Smith
Teacher of the Law of God

Xenia Drobot
Teacher of the Law of God

Nadia Popkova
Teacher of the Law of God

Vera Ganson
Teacher of the Russian Language

Mark Markish
Teacher of the Law of God

Leonid Harris
Teacher of Russian History

Daniel McLellan
Teacher of the Law of God

Rev. George Sachewsky
Director of the Parish School
Teacher of the Law of God

Leonid Rozmarin
Teacher of Russian History

Anna Korolkova
Teacher of Russian Language

Mariam Nucci
Teacher of Russian Music

Larissa Dian
Teacher of the Russian Language

Marina Rodzianko
Teacher of the Russian Language

Vladimir Roudenko
Teacher of Russian Music

Olga McLellan
Teacher of the Law of God
Teacher of the Russian as a 2nd Language

Olga Vassilenko
Director of Curriculumn
Teacher of the Russian Language

Natalia Kidonova
Teacher of Russian Arts & Crafts

Yekaterina Bolotovskaya
Teacher of Russian Music

Natalia Ovsiannikova
Teacher of the Law of god

Lilia Evans
Teacher of the Russian Language

Eleonora Gogol
Teacher of the Russian Language

Irina Shachneva
Teacher of Russian History
Teacher of Russian Music
Director of the Parish School Choir

Olga France
Teacher of Russian Music
Director of the Parish School Choir

Svitlana Malykhina
Teacher of the Russian Language

Anna Kriger
Teacher of Russian Arts & Crafts

Olga Paar
Teacher of the Russian as a 2nd Language

Anna Komarova
Teacher of the Russian as a 2nd Language

Alexandra Geyer
Teacher of the Russian Language

Anna Turovskaya
Teacher of the Russian Language

Yulia Matiachova
Teacher of the Russian Language

Serge Plishevsky
Teacher of Russian Arts & Crafts

Lilya Finkel
Teacher of Russian Language and Literature

Elena Odnovorova
Teacher of the Russian Language

Tamara Monroe
Teacher of the Russian Language

Lyudmila Hazan
Teacher of Russian Music & Dance

Alexey Vikhlinin
Teacher of the Church Slavonic Language

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