AT THE FUNERAL OF METROPOLITAN CHRISTOPHER OF LIBERTYVILLE-CHICAGO
Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,
Dear Bereaved Family,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Just one day after we the Bishops met and talked with His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher at the Diocesan Quarters, we received very sad news that he fell asleep in the Lord. It was on the eve of the Great Feast of the Transfiguration. We first met in Monastery KRKA in the early 1980's. We have worked together and served together in the Episcopacy on this continent since 1987. Through the years, We grew closer and closer together. We shared the bond of having served in the same Dioceses as Bishops. He was My immediate predecessor in the Eastern Diocese. We both experienced the Episcopacy in the Midwest.
His Eminence was a strong leader with a clear vision of the purpose and direction of the Church. He worked tirelessly and unselfishly for the Church. He sought to lead with order, compassion and wisdom. With Christ as His Guide and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, His Eminence worked daily in accord with the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Canons and the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church. While always being attentive to His Metropolitanate, His Eminence had a continuing love and concern for the St. Sava School of Theology. His organizational work in behalf of the St. Sava School of Theology, the Eastern American Diocese and the Midwest Metropolitanate will continue to bear fruit for years and years to come.
His Eminence has forever touched and influenced the lives of the men ordained to the diaconate and priesthood during His Episcopacy. His Eminence was an advocate and a personal example of commitment to continued education for clergy. He was an early and lasting leader in promoting Christian education at the parish and Diocesan levels. His Eminence loved serving the Divine Liturgy. He was eloquent in His sermons and appreciative of the contributions of the Serbian Orthodox Church choirs. His Eminence spoke forcefully on the national and international level in behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church and in defense of the Serbian People in times of war and great suffering.
His Eminence's life is an excellent example of the growth that can be accomplished by a single individual choosing to follow Christ with sincerity, commitment and consistent effort. His Eminence was a very hard and consistent worker. He had a mind that was always at work to find a better way to do things.
He started as a young man in theological studies and he continued grow as a servant of Christ and a leader for Christ throughout his life. His Eminence was full of the love of Christ. He was conciliatory. He was firm in principles and steadfast in the face of adversity.
God blessed us with his example, presence and leadership. God has blessed us with his love and friendship. Our work together will continue as His influence remains and will be longlasting. We will continue to refer to what he has accomplished and to His thinking. We will always remember His Eminence and cherish the time with him.
Thank you for everything you have done for the Eastern Diocese. Thank you for everything you have done for the Midwestern and Libertyville-Chicago Diocese. Thank you for what you have done for our Theological School since its inception 1986. We know that you loved the Theological School. Your last words to us Bishops, when we met you a week ago, were: "Take care of our School. Do not allow that it to ever ceases!" Your brothers in Christ, the Bishops, the clergy, the members and staff of the Theological Faculty, and faithful of our Holy Orthodox Church, will miss you. Thank you for everything you have done for our Serbian Orthodox Church. Forgive us and we forgave you.
You loved your Serbian people. I witnessed this love when we were in Washington D.C. during the merciless and unjust NATO bombardment of Serbia and Montenegro 1999, how you vehemently criticized the politics of that time. But above all, you loved God and His Holy Church. The Gospel and the Holy canons were for you the golden rule. May the Lord Jesus Christ reward you with the heavenly wreath. May you say with Holy Apostle Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4, 7). May you hear His divine words: "Well done, good and faithful servant ; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord" (Mt. 25, 21).
May God forgive you all your transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary. May you rest in peace until the Second coming of the Lord. May your memory be eternal! Vjecna Ti pamjat, i Bog da Ti dusu prosti! Amin.