Virgil Morant, Esq., Memory Eternal

Perhaps you will recall Virgil Morant (November 7, 1973-November 13, 2017) for his commentary on matters Orthodox, Greek or both, his occasional musings on contested cases from his small law office in suburban Cleveland. He was in demeanor an extremely gentle man, civilized, too peaceful and genteel to strike one as an attorney. He fit no true ideological category, but his life as an Orthodox Christian, a fan of classical music, as an attorney and true maverick, far more than I.

I did not know Virgil long, but I think I knew him somewhat well, having exchanged online with him many times online, especially when he was more active and present on his blogs and on social media. He was a very quiet, very slender man with a large, long beard, and seemingly possessed of a ascetic approach to many things in life; he was vegetarian, not unusual at all for Orthodox monks but quite unusual for most Greek lay people. Meeting him finally in person this past June evoked pictures I have seen of Mount Athos, the autonomous region of northern Greece that still lives and prays on the clock and calendar of Byzantium, where women cannot visit and men need a Orthodox Church visa to disembark from the ferry. Indeed, his last email to me suggested that he and I might someday travel together, even conceivably to Mount Athos – an unusual opportunity and honor for a non-religious person, even non-Orthodox, such as myself.

He represented the opposite of what much of the legal profession has become. He did not talk about how awesome an attorney he was; he talked about the work and doing it well. More, however, he talked about the rest of life: his faith, his travels, his love of classical music, his hometown pride. He was humble in demeanor, in lifestyle, in attitude.

The last time I saw him in person in September, he was in town to visit friends in Howard County. After letting me buy him breakfast, he put a bottle of ouzo in my hand as a gift. That bottle has sat in my fridge for most of the last three months, with one large shot or two to help me fight off a cold.

Virgil died on, it is estimated, November 13. His death did not make “the papers.” He was not discovered until two weeks after his estimated time of death. He lived alone, unmarried, with much of his family out of town or predeceased. He was known among friends for challenges with depression and also for rather contentious cases. It appears that he suffered an accident in his home. Some time ago, Virgil’s house burned down and he had to move his remnants into storage. He later moved much furniture and the like into a smaller space. It appears that the overcrowded conditions led to an accident of some sort. His parish St. Demetrius of Rocky River, OH, held the traditional liturgy three weeks ago.

My condolences to his friends and family. As an aside, his brother was a neighbor of mine at Princeton in my sophomore year, and was also a good guy.

6 Comments to “Virgil Morant, Esq., Memory Eternal”

  1. i have been friends with virgil for many years (since college)..has been hard dealing with his sudden departure

    1. Dan, my condolences. I did not know him long, but I am surprised by how much I missed someone whom I did not know long.

  2. Virgil and I became friends on Twitter. It moved on to phone calls, long emails, and amusing cat videos sent as messages. When he went to concerts, he shared the program with me so I could find the pieces on Amazon music and listen at home. I am disabled and a shut in. Virgil was pretty much my best friend. We never met in person-didn’t need to. I miss him very much.

    1. Sherry, greetings. I am sorry that I was for several months inattentive to so many personal matters including this site. My best to you for a good 2019. He was a good-hearted man, Virgil was.

  3. I am saddened to learn of Virgil’s passing. He was a law school classmate at Ohio Northern University College of Law. I recall our law school graduation in 2003 when he sang a wonderful solo in a surprisingly baritone voice. May he rest in peace.

  4. I knew Virgil through Twitter, where he and I had become casual friends for a while. He often listened to my podcast and offered thoughts. When I was younger, I once wrote and angry and passionate piece which he responded to with a gracious dissent. Now, older and wiser, I wish I could have told him he was right. He was a kind and supportive voice as I was learning how to express myself in writing. I must have been 20 or 21 when we met.

    When we last interacted, he messaged to tell me he was leaving Twitter. I was shocked to google his name in December of 2017 and discover he had died. Somehow, I never found this blog post, despite searching for more of the story at the time.

    I’m saddened to hear the details, but it’s a relief, after two years, to finally know.

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