Saturday, March 22, 2008

Painless, Blameless, Peaceful

Yesterday His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, was laid to rest in a crypt underneath the southeast side of the church at Holy Trinity Monastery, where he joins Metropolitans Anastassy and Philaret, Archimandrite Kiprian (his spiritual father), and others who have gone before him. There his earthly remains will await the resurrection of the dead, while his soul lives in anticipation of Paradise.

God alone, of course, is Judge. But He has left us signs that Vladyka Laurus has found God's favor. A very few among these signs are the folowing:
  • The Lord took Metropolitan Laurus on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, perhaps as confirmation that Vladyka's martyric efforts in restoring unity to the Russian Orthodox Church were God-pleasing.
  • The Lord took Metropolitan Laurus peacefully in his sleep, two days after he had celebrated his last Liturgy on earth. Thereby was fulfilled the liturgical petition which Vladyka heard nearly every day of his life: A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.
  • The Lord took Metropolitan Laurus at the age of eighty, fulfilling the words of the Psalmist: As for the days of our years, in their span they be threescore years and ten. And if we be in strength, mayhap fourscore years; and what is more than these is toil and travail (Ps. 89:10-11).
It is our hope that those who have left the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in the last year or two in protest against the reconciliation with the Church in Russia will see this as a sign that the late Metropolitan's martyric efforts have met with God's blessing.

His memory will, indeed, be eternal!

Photograph: The funeral of Metropolitan Laurus, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, March 21, 2008. (Click on the photo to see it larger.)


Μάρκο Τ said...

Metropolitan Laurus was a true man of God. He was a bishop that he had never forgotten that he was at the same time a humble monk. It is not accidental that he reposed in the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

An Orthodox Christian from Greece

P.S. Your blog is extremely interesting. I am going to add it in the weblist of my blog.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your final sentiment wholeheartedly! May this be a sign to them!

Gabriel said...

Thank you for your thoughts on +Laurus over the past week. It was touching, and in no small way amazing, to see +Herman and other clergy of the OCA serving a Panikhida for +Laurus at Holy Trinity Monastery. Also, to see +Mark of the Antiochian Archdiocese and other hierarchs in the funeral photographs was also striking. Who would have thought such a thing five years ago? In fact, some might not even believe it today. Your observations on the signs that his life and work were God-pleasing certainly have my endorsement.

Felix Culpa said...

While I don't mean at all to demean Metropolitan Vitaly's time as First Hierarch, there was a huge sigh of relief when he retired. When Vladyka Laurus was elected in his place, there was real joy. Vladyka Laurus had always been open to the rest of the Orthodox world; he was never a narrow-minded "zealot." Under his guidance ROCOR emerged from its isolationism and triumphalism by taking its rightful place in the larger Orthodox world.

I myself have always had my doubts and worries about the process of reconciliation with the Church in Russia. I've gradually grown reconciled to it, and now Vladyka's repose on the Sunday of Orthodoxy confirms, to my mind at least, that he was indeed following God's will.