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#237721 - 06/02/07 09:48 AM Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal
Irish Melkite Offline
Global Moderator

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9954
Loc: Massachusetts
Father David Kirk, founder of Emmaus House in Harlem, formerly a priest of the Eparchy of Newton of the Melkites and who was canonically received into the Orthodox Church in America in March, 2004, reposed in the Lord on Wednesday, May 20. Father David was buried from Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Tuesday.

May Father David's memory be eternal!

From the OCA site:

NEW YORK, NY [OCA Communications] -- Funeral services for the Rev. David Kirk, 72, who was attached to Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, Syosset, NY, will be celebrated at Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 15 East 97 Street, New York City, at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 2007.

Father David fell asleep in the Lord of heart failure early Wednesday morning at Emmaus House/Harlem, a community he formed in 1965 to feed the hungry and to assist those in need.

Visitation will be held at the Peter Jarema Funeral Home, 129 East 7 Street, New York City, on Monday, May 28.

Born in Louisville, MS in 1935, Father David was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood of the Melkite Catholic Church in 1963. On March 30, 2004, he was canonically received into the Orthodox Church in America and attached to Saint Sergius Chapel.

According to Dr. Albert J. Raboteau, a member of the Emmaus House Board, Father David had a life-long interest in interracial justice. As editor of his high school newspaper in Mobile, AL, he spent several weeks attending the local black high school to investigate first hand the inequities of segregation. In 1956, his junior year at the University of Alabama, Arthurine Lucy's attempt to integrate the school was met with mob violence. He joined with several other students to shield her as she moved about campus. His correspondence with William Faulkner during that same year elicited a letter -- later published -- detailing the famous author's views on

Drawn to Catholicism by the example of a Catholic campus chaplain who supported integration, he joined the Melkite Catholic Church before graduation. After teaching in Alabama public schools, and continuing his civil rights activism, he moved to New York City and began working with Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker House on the Bowery. Feeling the call to priesthood, he traveled to Rome and was admitted to Beda College. After his ordination to the priesthood, he returned to Birmingham, where he joined the civil rights demonstrations, met and was jailed with Martin Luther King, Jr., and preached from the pulpit of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, one week before four little girls were killed by a bomb blast in the church basement.

Returning to New York City, Father David planned to start a house of hospitality on the lower east side, but was advised by Dorothy Day to go to Harlem. Following the example of the Emmaus movement founded in Paris by Abbe Pierre, he decided that it was not enough to feed the poor; it was crucial to enable the poor with the skills to help themselves. Emmaus House, in his vision, was not a shelter, but a community of the poor living together and working together to help those in need. True empowerment of the poor, he realized, meant that Emmaus would be run by the poor. Emmaus eventually developed two guesthouses for hospitality, served full meals to others daily, and sent out vans to deliver food to the homeless on the streets. Over the decades, Emmaus became involved in a series of social justice activities, creating advocacy programs for housing, legal services, and AIDS assistance. Another community of 60 apartments with 90 people, Emmaus Inns, was established as a model of scattered site housing. During the Vietnam War Era, Father David was arrested in non-violent protests against the war and against nuclear armament.

Over the last few years, Father David's health deteriorated due to kidney failure. Due to the decline in his health, Emmaus House became smaller, but it still serves the poor through its food pantry, hospitality, and day-to-day operations run by the poor and the formerly homeless themselves.

Father David is survived by two sisters, Mary Barrell of Metairie, LA, and Barbara Pace of Bessemer, AL, and five nieces and four nephews.

May Father David's memory be eternal!

"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."

#237822 - 06/02/07 10:47 PM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Irish Melkite]
byzanTN Offline

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 5673
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Eternal memory.

#237827 - 06/02/07 11:00 PM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: byzanTN]
Dr. Eric Offline
Catholic Gyoza

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 4518
Loc: The Most Corrupt State
Lord have mercy on Your priest Father David!

May his memory be eternal!

#237836 - 06/03/07 12:21 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Dr. Eric]
Father Anthony Offline


Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 3437
Loc: New York
I had the opportunity to meet Father David several times at Emmaus House in Harlem, which he founded. I pray that his memory be eternal!

Father Anthony+
Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. - Saint Gregory of Sinai

#237845 - 06/03/07 12:56 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Father Anthony]
ebed melech Offline

Registered: 06/09/02
Posts: 5264
Loc: somewhere betwixt the Alpha an...
Lord have mercy on your servant, the priest, Father David. May his memory be eternal!


#238224 - 06/05/07 06:00 PM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: ebed melech]
Jakub. Offline

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4225
Loc: San Buenaventura, California


#238274 - 06/06/07 12:30 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Jakub.]
Michael_Thoma Offline

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 2560
Loc: Chicago
Eternal rest grant unto thy servant, O Lord.

#238660 - 06/08/07 04:35 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Michael_Thoma]
Pani Rose Offline

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 10930
Loc: Irondale,AL
Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant Fr David who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin.

For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Fr. David, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen

#238821 - 06/09/07 05:35 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Pani Rose]
michael Cassidy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/19/07
Posts: 1
Loc: Oakland, Ca
I first met Fr. David Kirk in Rome in about 1961. He was at the Beda with one other American Melkite, studying for the priesthood; I was at U. of Rome. We met through a mutual friend, Fr. Jose Mitchell. We kept in casual touch over the years, and I knew of his work in NYC. His death is a considerable loss, though his health had been poor in recent years. May the Lord welcome David into His Kingdom.

-- Mike Cassidy
Oakland, Ca

#372604 - 12/03/11 10:52 PM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: michael Cassidy]
DTBrown Offline

Registered: 11/03/01
Posts: 1968
Loc: Oregon
I know this is an old thread but I was just reading about Fr. David from this interview given shortly before he fell asleep in the Lord and thought it might be of some interest. Memory eternal!

Edited by DTBrown (12/03/11 10:53 PM)

#372612 - 12/04/11 11:28 AM Re: Father David Kirk, Memory Eternal [Re: Irish Melkite]
Irish Melkite Offline
Global Moderator

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9954
Loc: Massachusetts

A wonderful article - thank you for linking it.

May Father David's memory be eternal!
"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."


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