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8977Eulogy of Archbishop Alexei at the Memorial Service for Metropolitan Anthony,

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Aug 19, 2003
      Archbishop ALEXEI

      Eulogy of Archbishop Alexei at the Memorial Service for Metropolitan

      Delivered at Kremenetz Epiphany Monastery, 3/16 August 1936 (translation
      from Ukrainian)
      A few days ago, in Sremskij Karlovtsi, Yugoslavia, a great lantern of faith
      and piety reposed in the Lord--the Eminent Metropolitan Anthony. It is not
      necessary to explain who he was, for the whole world knew him, and Orthodox
      people, wherever they may be, have for a half a century enjoyed the works
      and good deeds of this Father of the Church, who was imbued with the spirit
      of the prophets and the apostles.Now this star, great in its illumination,
      has departed from our ecclesiastical sky, and an unusual emptiness is left
      on this earth. Metropolitan Anthony occupied an honored place in the
      history of our Church in our day and it will be the work of future
      historians to illuminate from all sides his great meaning for the Orthodox
      Church. But even now we can say that this was one of the greatest bishops
      of the Orthodox Church to have been seen in the world over many centuries.
      With his whole being, the spirit of his writings, the character of his
      deeds, Metropolitan Anthony fully reminds us of the Holy Fathers of the IV
      century, although the characteristics of great bishops of other centuries
      were not foreign to him, either. In his was the zeal of spirit of St.
      Athanasius the Great, the fervor of St. Nicholas, the courage and power of
      St. Basil the Great, full of submission to God, indifference to material
      matters and the creative loftiness of St. Gregory the Theologian, the
      inexhaustible fruitfulness and inspiration of St. John Chrysostom, the
      generosity and unselfishness of St. John the Merciful, the clarity of
      understanding of the Holy Canonists Patriarch Photius and Patriarch Nikon,
      who was so loved by Metropolitan Anthony, the greatness of the Ecumenical
      Patriarch Joachim, the love for his fatherland and civil wisdom of Holy
      Metropolitan Alexei of Kiev. This was a great man who created an epoch, and
      so it is not surprising that he was also a source of "disagreement," since
      some praised him to the heavens, and others did not even hesitate to use
      profanity in speaking of him. It is true that the dissatisfaction with
      Metropolitan Anthony stemmed from secondary matters of salvation, purely
      political and national, but this was enough to bring a great deal of grief
      to the reposed, since these questions spurred the passions of most people.
      History proved to vindicate the political views of Met. Anthony and if,
      during his lifetime, those who were in positions of responsibility
      recognized the importance of the propetic warnings of the reposed, then
      neither he nor millions of his compatriots would have scattered to distant
      lands. As far as his national views are concerned, in the latter years of
      his life, Met. Anthony changed them in many ways, in accordance with the
      demands of the time and with the wisdom of some trends in national
      questions in daily life. If anything negative could still be found in the
      opinions of the late bishop, and in the means of his actions, he paid for
      them many times over in the sorrows of exile and for this reason, Met.
      Anthony now stands before us as a great teacher of faith and piety, a great
      theologian and an exceptionally kind person.

      Met. Anthony was prepared at any moment to give his life for his faith in
      Christ, and he would have done so together with the other bishop martyrs,
      if not for the will of God, who summoned him, through good people, from the
      hell of faithlessness and godlessness. There are so many witnesses to his
      piety that one does not know where to begin. It is enough to say that he
      was the Abba (or teacher) of all the monks who, in theory, must be the
      keepers and examples of piety.

      Orthodox theologians and pastors were educated by the works of Met. Anthony
      for a half a century, many of whom themselves went on to excel in
      theological writings and even more so in their work in the harvest fields
      of the Church. The method of the moral perception of the dogmas of the Holy
      Church developed by the late Metropolitan made accessible his works not
      only for theologians, which is why the scholarly influence of Metropolitan
      Anthony spread far beyond church schools and establishments. It is no
      wonder that he was the leading candidate for the patriarchal throne.

      Thanks to his theological works, the late metropolitan was particularly
      authoritative abroad. It is there that he was first included among the
      pleiades of fathers and teachers of the Holy Church, and we were witnesses
      ourselves to the authority he wielded as an Orthodox theologian in the
      Orthodox East.

      But maybe the greatest source of his popularity among the widest circles
      was his exceptional kindness and love towards people. His whole magnificent
      spiritual image glowed with kindness, he was like a wellspring of goodness.
      Who could refuse to take advantage of his love? Only those who did not wish
      to. It is enough to say that he could have become very wealthy, since he
      occupied high offices, and could have had great revenues from his writings,
      but he gave everything away, even borrowing from his cell-attendants for
      charitable purposes, and he died in poverty, living out his last days
      subsisting on the bread of the kindness of the Serbian Patriarch.

      And so, if we wished to imagine the character traits of the ancient fathers
      and teachers of the Church, then Metropolitan Anthony, reposed in the Lord,
      truly gives us this most perfect image. It is not remarkable that his
      blessed repose shook the entire Orthodox world and evoked such deep sorrow.
      Indeed, after him, the world has become somewhat emptier, where once this
      great beacon brightly showed the religious-moral path to humanity.
      Our Orthodox Volynia has reason to fervently respond to the general
      grieving over the repose of Metropolitan Anthony and join it
      whole-heartedly, since the late metropolitan nourished it for many years as
      the Archbishop of Volynia. It was here that he seemed to acquire the
      greatest glory, for his name was most often connected with Volynia. He was
      for a long time called "Anthony of Volynia." But it is not in word but in
      deed that his service to Volynia earned fame for the eminent archpastor,
      and which departed with him into eternity. We speak here only of his
      archpastoral activity, expressed in his spiritual guidance of his flock,
      his frequent travels througout the diocese, his work on the renovation of
      our sacred historical sites, his love for our pastors and flock.

      Visiting our parishes in Volynia now, we often see old antimensia on the
      holy altars. When it is noted that they should be replaced with newer ones,
      the reverend rectors show the signature of Metropolitan Anthony on them,
      and they say that it is difficult to part with such a holy thing, which
      bears the holy signature of the great archpastor. We understand this and
      now can explain the love of the archpastors of Volynia by saying that it
      was he who revealed our Volynian Orthodox traditions of the time of St.
      Vladimir, which he openly spoke of in his writings.
      We are certain that not a parish in Volynia will be found that would not
      fervently pray for the late metropolitan, when they learn that he is no
      longer on this earth. May we begin this prayer, my friends, who have
      gathered in the archpastoral house of our cathedral city to perform the
      first memorial service in Volynia for the soul of the blessed bishop of the
      Holy Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Anthony. Today is his namesday. And if
      before we prayed for his health on this day, let our heartfelt prayers now
      be lifted for the repose of his soul in the abode of the righteous. Amen.

      "Church and Nation," Kremenetz Volynsky?"Church Life" No. 1, 1936