Fr. Michael Trigg was born Elwood Bellew Trigg on March 23, 1940 to Earle Bellew Trigg, MD and Emily Daley Trigg, RN of Inglewood, California. He had one sibling, his older brother, Earle, who died in middle age.
Deeply religious from his youth, Fr. Michael showed a passion for reading, research and scholarly pursuits, especially in the fields of science, religion, and anthropology. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and from USC with a Master of Arts in 1964. He completed the normal two-year course of seminary training at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, Yorkshire, England, before graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in 1968. After such intense studies, his parents gave him a year simply to stay in London and enjoy life.
His formal ecclesiastical life began with ordination as Deacon in 1970 and Priest in 1971 in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. He served as Assistant first at St. Alban, Westwood, and then at St. Mary of the Angels, Hollywood. In 1977, he joined the Anglican Catholic Church, and, in 1978, founded St. Michael Anglican Catholic Church, Downey.
He brought St. Michael Church as a Western-Rite parish into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in 1980. Now in its seventh home, the St. Michael Orthodox Church we know today was consecrated by Metropolitan PHILIP in Whittier, California, on September 9, 1990, as the result of the hard work an sacrifice of many devoted people.
Fr. Michael paid attention to every detail of the facilities, especially the aesthetics and acoustics. He gave icons, vestments, and chalices for the church, and together with his father gave the organ in memory of his mother. Along with others, he acquired the very fine Stations of the Cross that adorn the walls of the Nave. More recently, he gave the patio fountain and statue of St. Michael in memory of his parents.
Fr. Michael was among those making sacrifices, as he did not draw a normal priest’s salary during his ecclesiastical career. He depended upon secular work for his livelihood. In addition to owning a small real estate investment company, he served for eight years at California State University, Los Angeles, where he rose to be Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and nine years at Biola University, where he served as Dean of Student Affairs until his retirement in 2002. He was able to travel extensively to Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and the Orient. He also authored the book Gypsy Demons and Divinities, described as the “Opus Magnum” on the subject of Romany magical and religious beliefs, a subject related to his doctoral studies at Oxford University.
The focus of Fr. Michael’s life, however, remained service to Our Lord and His Church. A humble man, he truly loved serving others. His greatest joys were in gathering sheep to Our Lord’s flock, administering the Sacraments, developing new clergy, and serving as a spiritual father to so many, always in accordance with the highest standards and finest traditions of the Church. Metropolitan PHILIP recognized this service when he elevated Fr. Michael to the dignity of Archimandrite on August 15, 1993. Even as Parkinson’s disease ravaged his body in his later years, Fr. Michael continued to served his flock with gentle strength and grace until he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord on May 12, 2007, a week after having been named Pastor Emeritus by Bishop JOSEPH.
Those whose lives he touched will sorely miss him.