Hermit of Combermere illustrated the traits of the Slavic soul in life and in death


COMBERMERE – When someone dies, we usually first think of the impact that death has on the individual and on those closest to them. Only as time passes are we able to consider how some deaths impact the broader community or take on added significance because of how they line up with other issues of special relevance to them.

Last Dec. 26, a man named Murray died in Combermere, and we were going to cover the story of his death shortly after it happened. However, a series of incidents occurred that made it difficult to interview people who were close to him and the story was delayed; one cannot help but imagine that there was some providence in the story being held until this week.

In Canada some 1,359,655 claim to be Ukrainian, or of Ukrainian descent, making Canada the country with the third largest Ukrainian population next to Ukraine and Russia. One of those Ukrainian Canadians was Murray Bogdasavich, son of Anthony and Frances (Churko) Bogdasavich. Murray was later known as Priest-Monk Nicholas and although he was a hermit, he was known to many in the area.

Fr. Nicholas lived and died at the Nativity of St. John the Baptist Hermitage in Combermere. His obituary said, “He will be sorely missed by the small community that gathered to pray at his hermitage, as well as by the members of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Ottawa, especially the Kotantoulas family, with whom he shared a special bond.”

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