Lee Kolesnikoff has some experience with the inner workings of the clergy. His father
was employed as choirmaster of a church in Brooklyn and his mother was the daughter of a
priest. Throughout his youth, he never lived more than thirty feet from the Russian Greek
Church of the Holy Transfiguration. When the church janitor became ill, Lee polished brass
candleholders, helped shovel coal into the furnace and cleaned the glass panes protecting the
icons of the saints. He sang at grave-side services, in the alto, and tenor sections of the church
choir, read the psalter during Lenten services, reading the prayers and supplications in the
original church Slavonic. Through the activities of his parents he vicariously became privy
to the problems confronting the church, dialogues concerning finances, the purity of the
church, political maneuvers, struggles for power, the behavior of the clergy, its priests,
deacons and elders.
At the age of twelve, Lee started the church's first Sunday school with twenty students
attending. Not funded by the church, he cajoled, pleaded and enticed the students' parents to
buy the religious literature necessary for the classes. He received th e support he asked for.
Three years later, when the number of students reached 75, the church retained a seminarian
to assume the responsibilities of the burgeoning endeavor.
One of Lee's relatives, studying to be a priest at Union Theological Seminary, provided
him with an opportunity to mingle and sit in on the novices' discussions. He noted their
concerns, fears and hopes. He heard their arguments supporting and sometimes questioning
church dogma. He witnessed their pain and frustration as they struggled to become priests.
Lee Kolesnikoff lives in Clifton Park, New York with his wife Eugenia. Their constant companion is Girlie, an Abyssinian cat.