This past Feast of the Holy Annunciation, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Angelos of Avlona, reposed in the Lord. His Beatitude had been in ill health for some time, yet continued his best efforts to lead our Sister Synod of Avlona during these trying times. Only a few days before this, His Eminence, Archbishop Porphyrios of Euchaiton, the Secretary of the Synod, and assistant to Metropolitan Angelos, reposed in the Lord. A few days before this His Grace, Bishop Avvacum, another Bishop of the Avlona Synod reposed.
During these trying times, when there is an attempt by God-hating demonic forces that control governments to harm the Church, and cut people off from the Holy Mysteries on the pretext of the Covid-19 virus, we can take comfort that many shepherds have not sought to abandon the flock that Christ committed to them, whatever the risks to their own health. Bishops and clergy are not called to be hirelings that flee when the wolves arrive, but, rather, to imitate the Good Shepherd, Who laid down His life for the sheep.
Let us pray for their repose. Give rest with the Saints, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting.
“Strange is the mystery of death: for it cometh to all untimely. Nature is dissolved by force. It taketh old men, abbots and learned men; it slayeth the teachers of vain philosophies, Bishops and Pastors, and every nature of mortals. But let us cry aloud with tears: Because of Thy Great Mercy, O Lord, give rest unto him whom Thou hast taken by Thy command. He who lived in godliness, and was adorned as Thy priest, the sacrificer and minister of Thy Mysteries Divine, by Thy Divine Command hath passed over from life’s clamour unto Thee. Save him whom, as Priest, Thou didst accept, O Saviour; and because of Thy Great Mercy, give unto him rest with the Just.” [Stikhiri in Tone VI, Order for Burial of the Reposed Priests]
“What earthly sweetness remaineth unmixed with grief? What glory standeth immutable on earth? All things are but shadows most feeble, but most deluding dreams: yet one moment only, and death shall supplant them all. But in the Light of Thy Countenance, O Christ, and in the Sweetness of Thy Beauty, give rest unto him whom Thou hast chosen: forasmuch as Thou lovest mankind.” [Stikhiri in Tone I, by St. John of Damascus, for the Burial of the Dead]