ARTICLES
 

In Memory of Archimandrite Vladimir (+ August 7/20, 1988)

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

"Blessed is the way in which thou shalt walk today, o brother,
for a place of rest is prepared for thee.”

We rely on the mercy of God and believe that the path lying before our brother, the newly-departed Archimandrite Vladimir, is a blessed one, as is sung in the periscope. Now we conclude the monastic funeral service and bid farewell our brother.

Fr Vladimirís departure from us is a great loss for the monastery, for our monastic brethren and for all of us. This is a great sorrow, which is softened somewhat only by the fact that during this difficult time, the Most-Holy Mother of God visited us in the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon. We hope for Godís mercy and the intercession of the Mother of God for the newly-departed, and for us sinners.

Fr Vladimir lived in our holy monastery for 39 years. He came to us as a young man from Germany, where he found himself after World War II. He arrived at the beginning of Great Lent in March of 1949, along with a group of people from the monastery of St Job of Pochaev in Munich. As a layman, he was known as Vasilii, and he was at that time a trudnik [volunteer laborer], a layman.

Almost immediately, during the holiday of the Annunciation to the Most-Holy Mother of God, he was given the cassock from Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko, +1960) and became a novice. His first obedience was to help in the kitchen and help organize a library. At that time, everyone helped build the church, and Brother Vasilii also helped spackle. While performing his monastic duties, he also studied at the seminary. We all worked and studied at the same time. At the end of work in the church, Fr. Vladimir worked in the kitchen, and then was appointed to the office, where he worked until his repose.

Fr Vladimir was blessed by the Lord with a special sense of kindness and love, with which he drew people to himself, and they responded to him with an equally warm attitude. The fact that so many gathered here today to escort him to the other world is a result of his kindness and love.

In bidding him farewell, we ask his forgiveness. Let us pray the Lord to forgive him all his sins, willing and unwilling. May the Lord join him with the fathers and brothers of ours who have gone to the other world, and may we rely on their prayers for us, for the Lord to help us also survive this earthly trial and unite with them in the future life, together praising God along with all His saints. Amen.

Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity


Towards the Bright Memory of a Friend

This anniversary year took away from us, after a torturous illness, the humble laborer of Holy Trinity Monastery, one who bore the same name as the great illuminator of Russia, Archimandrite Vladimir. This servant of the Church of Christ with full justification earned the name “the sun of the holy monastery.” Over the course of four decades he was the epitome of kindness to countless pilgrims and clergymen who visited the monastery, and also to his correspondent spiritual children.

His name was renowned throughout the diaspora, even among the faithful in Russia. His amicable and warm visage seemed to emit rays of love, he was dear to all who knew him, all those who had the joy of knowing him. In the midst of all his business, he was often able, in a few quickly-uttered words tossed in between strides, to offer a “spiritual thread.” And this was the most treasured thing! His exceptional kindness was expressed not only in warm words or his fraternal attitude towards his neighbor, but in his gifts. Leaving the monastery, a pilgrim did not simply drive away but took with him into the world a bit of good will, spiritual ammunition. In this, Fr Vladimir manifested a form of starchestvo (the quality of a spiritual elder), without ascribing to himself any particular teaching or spiritual appointment. Simply, the Lord covered his gift of love for people with His grace.

We saw Fr Vladimir laboring in the office and teaching in the Seminary for many years, but he also had another great podvig [labor-in-Christ]: for years he wrote up notes for the commemoration of the living and the dead, looked after the commemoration booklets in the altar, served innumerable molebens and pannikhidas, read their names during the proskomedia. In joy and in sorrow, believers the world over appealed to him: “Remember us, pray for us!” And Fr Vladimir was a link binding the monastery with the world. This was his holy deed!

Fr Vladimir was not loquacious, preferring word to deed, but conversations with him were always gratifying. Understanding what a person needed from their words, he would almost inadvertently, while bidding farewell, would utter a few words which proved exactly what the person needed. Saying goodbye, batiushka always gave a blessing, anointed with oil, would say a few words and then add: “Take Vladyka Johnís blessing.” A portrait of the holy bishop hung at the entrance to the office. There was no hint of artifice, everything was direct. This also bound him to his spiritual children. Instead of verbal eloquence, the Lord granted Fr Vladimir the gift of writing. His letters, written between tasks or late at night, breathed honest spirituality and care, encouragement and good will. They were written in poetic tones, with a hint of light humor. His encouraging expressions sounded utterly genuine, forming the canvas upon which his missives, full of warmth, were inscribed.

Fr Vladimir of blessed memory did a great many good deeds for people, and they responded to the sorrowful news of his death. Batiushka died on Saturday, August 7/20, and on Monday, his followers came from all corners of the USA and Canada for his burial, filling the entire church. He was small and thin, yet now Fr Vladimir lay in his coffin with a sere visage, like a child. An entire host of clergymen saw him off on his final journey: 2 bishops, 15 priests and 6 deacons, all there to pay their final respects, their last escorting prayers.

May God grant that future generations of the brethren of this monastery, and all our monasteries, preserve and emulate this greatest of good worksólove for ones neighbor, and through ones neighbor, for God. Then every monastery having such pious members would be a point of concentration not only of pious splendor, but of spiritual content: not only the rule of order, but condescension, not only a preserver, but a nourisher; not only a gatherer but a disseminator; not only a place of prayer, but a source of consolation, a living harvest for living people!

This spirit, these qualities were held by this humble and kind friend to so many of us. His memory will not be erased from the tablets of Godís mercy, will not be rooted out of the hearts of the friends he did so much good for! In this is the fullness of the meaning and power of prayerful good willóeternal memory!

Protopriest Valery Lukianov