Memory Eternal Fr. Peter Gillquist

Archpriest Peter Gillquist

In 1989, Fr. Peter Gillquist released a book with the simple title “Becoming Orthodox.”  I wonder if he knew at that time what an impact that book would have on the journey to Orthodoxy of so many people.

Fr. Peter and some others began their own journey to the Ancient faith from their days in Campus Crusade.  As the story goes they began a search for the New Testament Church and they were all surprised that it was in fact the church that we now call the Orthodox Church.  They knocked on many doors until they were “brought home” by Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Fr. Peter’s story is not unusual with the exception of the number of people that he brought with him.  As I remember the story server thousand members of the Evangelical Orthodox were welcomed home over the next few weeks after Fr. Peter’s own chrismation.  Since that time he worked tirelessly to bring the message of the Ancient Faith to countless others.  I am one of those.

When I began my journey to Orthodoxy I read several books.  The first book was “The Way of the Pilgrim” and then I found Fr. Peter’s book Becoming Orthodox.  That story, and the story of Frederica Matthews Green that she tells in her book “Facing East” were the books that convinced me this was the direction to head in.

Many years later I had the honor of serving a Presanctified Liturgy with Fr. Peter at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Webster, Massachusetts.  Fr. Peter was a very humble and unassuming man, and at first I was not sure it was even him!  After the Liturgy, sitting next to him at the head table in the hall, I leaned over and said to him, “I am sure you hear this a lot but you are one of the reasons I am Orthodox today.”  He said, “I never get tired of hearing that, tell me the story.”  I told him my story and thanked him for his journey and we parted.

I next saw him years later at a board meeting for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.  Campus ministry was very important to Fr. Peter and he had been involved in this ministry for many years.  I once again told him about his story being one of the ones that led me “Home” and thanked him.  That was the last time I saw him.

Fr. Peter finished the race last night, July 1, 2012 at 9:20 p.m. surrounded by family.  He has been a blessing to so many, and responsible for so many “coming home” maybe some of you reading this were brought home by Fr. Peter, if so please tell us your story in the comments.

Fr. Peter you will be missed by many, but we rejoice in your life and your ministry and thank you for all that you witnessed too during your life that brought so many home.  Well done good and faithful servant!

“Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”


  1. i met fr.guillquist at the webster greek church,it was just before i was chrismated into the faith,he came over to me shook my hand and was so very happy that i had decided to convert over to orthodoxy..what a nice man he was..God bless him..

  2. I met Ftr. Peter at St. George in Phoenix Arizona when he came to present the search he and his fellows went to and found Orthodoxy. I was impressed then and still am.
    Although I am not Orthodox, my heart is there.
    Thank you Ftr. Peter, very much for pointing me in the right direction.
    Blessings eternal

  3. My family was blessed to have Fr. Peter stay with us many times in the early 80’s as we journeyed toward orthodoxy. I spent many a late night speaking with him, as well as Frs. jon Braun, Gordon Walker, Jack Sparks and others as I sorted out whether or not I could convert to orthodoxy.

    We also enjoyed playing guitars together and many a Trivial Pursuit competition.
    My family was among the 2000 who came to Orthodoxy in the spring of 1987 where we truly found a home. He will be missed. Memory Eternal.

    Mitch Bright – Holy resurrection

  4. I am a cradle Orthodox, but my husband was not. My husband always told me that the Orthodox are “arrogant” in their faith. I always responded that we aren’t “arrogant”, we’re just right!! My husband said that he “didn’t see a real reason” to convert and until he felt like there was a reason, it wasn’t something he would do. I asked him to attend a lecture/presentation by Fr. Peter . I had read Fr. Peter’s book and had heard so much about him that I was excited to hear his story. My husband, daughter and I went to the presentation and when we got back in the car to leave afterward my husband said, “Now I know what you mean by the Orthodox are ‘right’ and not ‘arrogant’.” Shortly afterward my husband began chrismation classes and was chrismated 9 months later on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul – after 18 years of marriage. Thanks be to God! And thanks to Fr. Peter’s eloquence!

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