Memory Eternal: Peter Melnik, 15th FOCA National President

With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the repose of Seminary Alumnus Peter Melnik, 88, of Wilmington, DE. Peter passed away peacefully in his home May 12 with his wife, Elizabeth, by his side following a lengthy illness.


Peter Melnik was born July 12, 1930 to John and Anastasia Melnik, who had emigrated from Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century and labored in the tanneries and factories in Peabody, Massachusetts to put their son through college. Peter attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He also received two Master of Divinity degrees, one from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1959 and a second from Harvard University in 1962.

His work history included brief stints with DuPont, Shell, and American Cyanamid. Most of his career, however, was spent at Hercules, Inc., where he developed an expertise in the manufacture of polypropylene resins. Utilizing his theological education, Peter served as a lay leader in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a president of the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC), and Editor in Chief of the FROC Journal, contributing influential articles on Orthodox Christianity in America. Peter, a gifted writer and speaker, often advocated for the education and participation of the laity in the life of the Church.

Although his life revolved around the Church and family, Peter also contributed time to other community organizations, including volunteering with his sons’ Boy Scout troops, coaching Little League, and teaching at The University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Peter leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth (Kuchta), and their three children: Philip, of Voorheesville, NY (Kit Yezzi), Alexandra of Carlisle, PA (Paul Makosky), and Vladimir of Wilmington, DE (Susan Melnik). He also leaves four grandchildren: Herman, Xenia, Juliana, and John.

A viewing will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, 2300 West Huntington Drive, Wilmington, DE, followed by the Divine Liturgy and Funeral Service at 9:30 a.m. A mercy meal will follow the services at St. Michael. The burial at St. Mary Orthodox Church Cemetery, Chambersburg, PA, is scheduled for Monday, May 20 at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church or Delaware Hospice (16 Polly Drummond Center, 2nd Floor, Newark, DE 19711), which provided essential support in the last leg of Peter’s earthly journey.

May his memory be eternal!

(Obituary taken from

Cards and messages of sympathy may be sent to:

Mrs. Elizabeth Melnik and Family
1309 Chadwick Road
Wilmington, DE 19808-4115