Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
The Episcopal Church »  |  The Diocese of Virginia

The Very Rev. Alexander C. Zabriskie


The Very Rev. Alexander C. ("Zab") Zabriskie (1898-1956) was Dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary from 1940 to 1951 and founded Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill in 1941.

A naval aviator during the First World War, Zabriskie patrolled the North Sea for submarines, zeppelins and other threats.

Following his military service, Zabriskie studied at Princeton, Cambridge and VTS.  The late Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Kinsolving, a VTS classmate, later recalled:

We fellow students found in Zab that strong tolerance based on strong convictions.  Indeed those of his critics in later life have perhaps faulted him for too much tolerance.  But in our day undergraduate tolerance was not always prevalent!  His gift was a constant awareness that freed him from "blindness of heart."  In the remorseless banter between students, he once saw that a remark had cut too deep.  With gentleness he sought out the author later and quietly said: "Your jibe was brilliant, that's the trouble!  Your victim knows it's true and you hurt him!"

During the 1920's and 1930's, Zabriskie taught Church History at VTS.  In 1940, he became Dean, Bursar and Director of Promotion; he had one secretary, who also served as registrar and keeper of both student and alumni records.

The late Rev. W. T. Heath notes that after his retirement, Zabriskie became an honorary and continuing member of Immanuel's vestry, and he shared actively in the ministry of the parish.  "Only a few weeks before he died," Heath writes, "he said to the writer: 'Some people tell me that the parish was my best achievement as Dean.'"

Source: The Seminary Journal, Vol. III, No. 2 (Dec. 1956).