Alexei Kondratiev (1949-2010)

Celtic scholar, linguist and long-time member of the Mythopoeic Society, Alexei Kondratiev has died at the age of 61 of a heart attack.

This year’s Mythcon chair Jason Fisher posted the news he received from Anthony Burdge and Jessica Burke on Lingwë – Musings of a Fish:

In Alexei, Jessie and I share a mutual friend, Carole L. Gonzalez, who was his close friend. Carole wrote to us via facebook this morning and told us the news. They suspect a heart attack, but we are not sure at the moment.

Alexei Kondratiev was born in New York to a French mother and a Russian father. Raised in rural France near the site of ancient Celtic remains, he was inspired to learn the Irish language, first from books he found in libraries, then by living four years in the Aran Islands among native speakers.

For the past 25 years he taught Irish language at the Irish Arts Centre in New York as well as courses on Celtic mythology, early Celtic Christianity, and the history of Celtic traditional music. He authored The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual. He was scholar guest of honor at the 2002 Mythcon in Boulder.

I always felt Kondratiev was a prototypical Mythopeoic Society member, someone fascinated by a linguistic and literary subject who spent his life mastering its intricacies, yet (here’s the exceptional part)  just as willing to hear about your scholarly passions as he was willing to share his own.

[Thanks to Lynn Maudlin for the story.]

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One thought on “Alexei Kondratiev (1949-2010)

  1. Alexei was incredibly well-read. He read science fiction books in several languages and had a couple of short stories published in French in Quebec and a comic book series called Vidorix the Druid published by Evolution Comics. Making Vidorix a time traveler enabled him to set the stories in many times and places in Celtic history.
    His nonfiction book “The Apple Branch” is an incredible telling of the Celtic world view and he shows the relevance of that world view to the modern world and shows how to recreate many Celtic rituals.
    Alexei spoke over 60 languages, fluent in 13 to 20 of them, depending on your definition of fluency. He was also an excellent birder and knew a lot about a huge number of plants, as well.
    For all his brilliance, he was not a snob and had a wonderful sense of humor, able to laugh at silliness, puns or intellectual humor.
    I’ll miss him forever.
    For other tributes to him, check out
    I’m in the process of putting some of the radio shows I did with him on line.


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