Fr. Martin Janez Dimnik, CSB

October 6, 1941November 15, 2020

Died peacefully at Presentation Manor on November 15, 2020. Fr. Dimnik was born on October 6, 1941, in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, the son of the late Martin Dimnik and Zorka Perlić. He is survived by his sister Susan Revai (Gene), his niece Adrienne, nephew Gene Jr. (Tina), grandniece Sophie, and many cousins. The family emigrated to Austria in 1943, and to Canada in 1949, settling first in Raymond, Alberta, and then in Lethbridge. Martin attended elementary and high school in Lethbridge, graduating from St. Francis High School in 1960. He then entered St. Basil’s Novitiate, Richmond Hill, taking first vows on August 15, 1961. After profession he went to live at St. Basil’s Seminary while taking his university course in Slavic Studies. He received his B.A. degree in 1965 and then taught for two years at St. Michael’s College School. He took his theology at St. Basil’s Seminary and at the Toronto School of Theology, and received the degree of Master of Divinity in the fall of 1971. He also obtained an M.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 1970. He was ordained to priesthood on June 26, 1971, by Cardinal George Flahiff in Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Lethbridge. After earning his D.Phil. from Oxford in 1976, Martin was appointed to the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, where he remained for the rest of his academic career, serving as Institute Secretary, Praeses, and Academic Dean in addition to publishing numerous articles and books on Kyivan Rus’. In 2014 he moved to the Basilian Fathers Retirement Residence. In November 2018 Fr. Dimnik moved with the Basilian Fathers Retirement Community to Presentation Manor (Scarborough). In light of the current pandemic, there will be a Memorial Mass for Fr. Dimnik at a later date. Burial will be at the Basilian plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill, ON. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Basilian Fathers Retirement Fund, 95 St. Joseph Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3C2.

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Martha Ottenbreit

November 23, 2020

Over the years when we visited Toronto my cousin Martin would graciously arrange accommodations for us. We enjoyed going out to eat at his favorite restaurants where we had many good conversations. We appreciated his warmth , smile and dry sense of humor. He will be missed.

Adrienne Revai

November 22, 2020

This wonderful man is my Uncle Martin. He was a kind and gentle soul who's smile was genuine and it was the kind of smile that reached his eyes. I remember him with his sister (my Mother) and their Mom. We were a loving family and every time I would see my Uncle, from a small child, I felt great joy. He played with me when I was little and nurtured his connections to all of his immediate and extended family in the kindest way over the years.
A very clear memory was he, my brother and I in Lethbridge, AB when I was 12. We went to a very cold, snow cover park and played. Down the slide, on the swings everywhere. It was the best day. I'm so very sorry he is gone and I know he is finally at Peace, reunited with his Mom and they are watching over my Mom.
Thank you for sharing your memories as it brings much comfort to the Family knowing so many people cared about him.

Brian Halferty

November 21, 2020

Marty, as we all knew him, was part of my novitiate group entering the Basilians in August, 1960, and we lived together at St. Basil's Seminary for three years after that. He and I were out of contact for many years but reconnected in recent years. I remember him as a clear thinker, a kind person, and someone with a good sense of humour. I am saddened by his death, but I send my wishes for God's blessings on his family and on his Basilian confreres who mourn his passing.

Malcolm Thick

November 19, 2020

Fr. Martin Janez Dimnik,CSB will always be to me just Marty. We were friends for some 50 years. I first met him when he came to Oxford to study for a DPhil. He was accommodated in a room in a large student house owned by the Oxford Russian Orthodox congregation. My girlfriend also had a room in the house as did a fellow Basilian Paul Burns. I, and my wife Jane, saw him whenever he came to Oxford to carry out research and I twice visited him in Toronto. My wife has often remarked that we were unlikely friends, he an ordained priest and me a confirmed atheist. What we did have in common was that we were both historians always interested in more research.
What I remember most about Marty was his dry sense of humour- that serious face on his obituary notice would suddenly crack into a smile when he recounted an anecdote. One in particular from his time in Oxford springs to mind. He was asked to officiate at the early morning mass at Littlemore Hospital one Sunday, deputising for the regular priest. He was given the key to the chapel and, very early on Sunday, he cycled to the hospital and let himself into the chapel which was in the grounds of the Hospital. In the vestry he found communion wine but he also needed water. There was a jug but no water. So, Marty took the jug and tried the first door into the Hospital he encountered. It was locked- as were subsequent doors. The Littlemore was a hospital for seriously disturbed mental patients who, in those days, were largely under lock and key. Marty started knocking on windows to attract attention, waving and pointing to his jug. Eventually he got his water but, as he said, a man dressed as a priest waving and knocking on windows at 7.00am on a Sunday morning was more likely to be thought an escaped inmate than an innocent priest.

Teresa Pierre

November 18, 2020

Fr. Dimnik was a lovely, lovely man. He cared very much for his students at the Pontifical Institute and we loved him too. He gave up his time and energy to keep PIMS going during rough and turbulent times and his sacrifices were appreciated by many. Thank you for helping to make PIMS the welcoming and invigorating program that it was.
Teresa Pierre


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