MOSCOW: March 17, 2008
A Pannikhida for His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Is
Performed at Sretensky Stavropighial Men's Monastery in Moscow
On March 16, 2008, at 9 pm, the brethren of Sretensky Stavropighial Monastery in Moscow along with the students of its seminary performed a pannikhida for the late Metropolitan Laurus. Afterwards, Archimandrite Tikhon, the Prior of the Monastery, addressed the brethren:
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Dear fathers and brothers! A great joy has been visited upon us, not only to have seen, but to have communed with a holy man, with the man for whom we just performed the first pannikhida. Metropolitan Laurus lived a long, joyful and wonderful life of a Christian, as a monk of the Russian Orthodox Church. From his youth, he devoted his entire life to Christ and to serving His Church, sparing nothing, and he brought to God the fruits of the talents he was given a hundredfold: first of all, his sacred soul, cleansed of passion, adorned with love, of limitless kindness and genuine humility. He brought, too, to the Lord as the product of his labors and his prayers a host of wonderful archpastors and pastors, podvizhnik monks, who were all educated within the walls of Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary in Jordanville. He also made a contribution, unseen by many, towards the rebirth of Russia: the books published under his supervision at the Monastery in the second half of last century found their way to Russia, not without great difficulty, and poured forth the salvific light of Christ for those who "walked in darkness… and the shadow of death," in which so many people in our Fatherland lived at the time. The bounty of his life is the countless number of laypersons of the Church Abroad who venerated him as their beloved spiritual guide and benefactor. The main lesson for his flock was his holy, quiet life in which an attentive eye saw a burning love for Christ and a sacrifice of his life for his flock every single day.
And finally, his chief sacrifice for Christ as an archpastor and head of the Church Abroad was the fulfillment of the legacy of the founders of the Russian ecclesiastical diaspora—reunification with the Church in the Fatherland. This is what he did together with His Holiness Patriarch Alexy—two Russian pastors, two bishops, two monks, who, paying no heed to the storms of hatred and anger, accomplished the task set before them by God, they fulfilled the will of their Lord Jesus Christ.
We who live in Russia did not know Vladyka those many years when we were divided. But we became the joyous witnesses of his last great podvig, which he performed on behalf of the entire Russian diaspora—he has already departed to the Lord but this act lives even now throughout the world. But maybe most importantly, we became the witnesses of how he achieved this—we witnessed his prayers. It is prayer that was the greatest strength that Vladyka possessed, it was his main calling, his chief talent and greatest weapon. It was also his greatest joy and hope.
Such people are rare these days. And we were fortunate to have seen such a person, and to have been with him. Remember how less than a month ago he celebrated his last, and I believe his only, Divine Liturgy at which he officiated in Moscow, here at our Sretensky Monastery. He once told me that the land beneath us, at Sretensky Monastery, where so many New Martyrs received the martyrdom and death for Christ, is itself an antimension.
We all remember that service… Despite the great fatigue he suffered from his illness, his travels and the daily services and ceremonies, after our divine services and trapeza he did not only bless everyone—he blessed each one of us! Every monk, every novice, seminarian and refectory worker. He looked each monk, each seminarian in the eyes with love, with interest. For him, each of us was like the closest relative and his dearest friend. And this blessing of a podvizhnik, of a person who lived a holy life will remain with us until the end of our days.
This was one of the kindest and most selfless people I have ever met in my life.