Rev. Peter Gillquist: Memory Eternal

It has just come to my attention that Fr Peter Gillquist reposed in the Lord. Please excuse the hastiness of this post but I thought it prudent to acknowledge his passing as soon as I heard it. I do this because I believe Fr Peter was one of the great standouts in American Orthodoxy. In my humble opinion, his leadership in bringing in the Evangelical Orthodox to the ancient Apostolic faith will be viewed as another Pentecost. If this country is to be baptized in the faith, that blessed day in which Metropolitan Philip Saliba brought in Fr Peter and his confreres, might be viewed as the turning point.

As many of you know, he had been struggling with cancer for several years. I’m a little sketchy on the details but I thought that it had been in remission for several years. Alas, the Lord knows the times and seasons and we are called to be obedient to His will. Although I do not know the details of his final days, I am sure that he was praising the Lord. Because of what he meant for American Orthodoxy, Monomakhos will cease publication for three days. (Commentary of course may proceed.)

May his memory be eternal!

For more information go to All Saints Orthodox Church.

Archpriest Peter Gillquist, longtime pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana and prominent American convert to Orthodox Christianity, died on Sunday, July 1, 2012 after a long battle with metastatic melanoma cancer.

In the 1960s, when Fr. Peter was on staff with the Evangelical parachurch organization Campus Crusade for Christ, he and some friends began to search for the apostolic, historic Christian Church. Under their leadership, a large number of evangelical congregations united as the Evangelical Orthodox Church. Almost twenty years later, in 1987, the EOC was received into the Orthodox Church by the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America. Fr. Peter recorded this story in his book, “Becoming Orthodox”.

In the 1960s Fr. Peter was a senior editor with Thomas Nelson Publishing. He later helped found Conciliar press, and was its chairman for many years. He served as project director for the Orthodox Study Bible project. Conciliar press published a number of his books, which in addition to “Becoming Orthodox” included “Let’s Quit Fighting over the Holy Spirit”, “The Physical Side of Being Spiritual”, “Love is Now”, and “Why We Haven’t Changed the World”.


  1. Memory eternal

  2. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    To Father Peter I owe an immense personal debt. accumulated over years of sustained friendship and steady concern.

    It was largely through his influence that this congregation in Chicago, of which I have been the pastor for the past 14 years, came into the Archdiocese in 1993.

    It was my blessing to be with Father Peter on numerous occasions when various American congregations, in several states, were received as parishes and missions in the Orthodox Church.

    The number of his “converts” to the Orthodox Faith is well into the thousands. Except for Metropolitan PHILIP himself, I can think of no one person in this country who has done more, during the past quarter century, to bring Americans into the Orthodox fold.

    Father Peter’s loss to us all is grievous and hard.

    • Amen Fr. Patrick! Not only did Fr. Peter bring many Americans into the Orthodox Church, but his powerful and public witness to the truth also helped re-kindle the faith and inspire many cradle Orthodox Christians, like myself, to better understand the depth and richness of our Christian Tradition and embrace our heritage with renewed fervor and commitment.

      Fr. Peter was a loving and faithful shepherd of our Lord. The fruits of his labors stand as a testament of the power of Christ and the timeless truths of Christianity. May his memory be eternal!

  3. Fr. Peter’s book “Becoming Orthodox” was pivotal in my conversion to Orthodoxy and I am crying today as though I knew him personally. Memory eternal!

  4. Memory Eternal!

  5. Carl Kraeff says

    Memory eternal.

  6. I echo Donna’s comments. Father Peter’s “Becoming Orthodox” and the small tome he edited “Coming Home” were both pivotal for not only dispelling the notion that Orthodoxy was for Greeks or Russians, but that even persons from my own heritage churches were coming into Orthodoxy. That latter made it more real for me. I and my family owe Father Peter a great debt. May his memory be eternal.

  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    My wife and I just returned from Indiana this (Friday) evening after participating in two of the three days of obsequies for Father Peter.

    Many priests served at the Divine Liturgy this morning, from as far away as Alaska. There were numerous laity, as well. All of the services were conducted at the large beautiful sanctuary of a Greek parish in Indianapolis. Its choir, augmented by other choirs, was stunning.

    Although his family has taken Father Peter’s passing in the way Christians should, some of his friends—including myself—-are having a bit of difficulty adjusting to this loss.

    I have known few men in my day who were so ALIVE. Fr Peter’s ministry touched thousands, most of whom he could identify by face and name. He was a truly phenomenal person, adept in a wide range of skills. I was always impressed by his talent for communication, a talent that extended to editing. As a writer and editor, he had a very deft hand in the framing of sentences and the fashioning of paragraphs.

    One statistic may suffice to measure our loss: From the time Father Peter became the chairman of its Mission and Evangelism Commission about 1990, the Antiochian Archdiocese tripled in size, in both membership and the number of congregations.

    Though Fr Peter was a bit younger than I, I have already likened this loss to that of my father—-at least in this sense: Briefly forgetting he is gone, I find myself thinking, “I need to mention this or that to Father Peter..”

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      That’s very poignant, Fr Patrick. I believe that his ministry, and the reception of his brethren into Orthodoxy by way of Antioch will be viewed as a watershed in the history of American Orthodoxy. The shame I feel because it was hierarchs of my ethnicity who turned him and them away is only moderately abated by the sure knowledge of his entry into the glory of his Father.

  8. ilya zhitomirskiy says

    he was instrumental for deethnicising the antiochians. We need more men like him. Vechnaya pamyat! Eonia H Mnhmh! Memory Eternal! May his soul dwell with the blessed and his memory be from generation to generation.