Eulogy of Archbishop Alexei at the Memorial Service for Metropolitan Anthony,
- Archbishop ALEXEI
Eulogy of Archbishop Alexei at the Memorial Service for Metropolitan
Delivered at Kremenetz Epiphany Monastery, 3/16 August 1936 (translation
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
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