Remember Your Leaders

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”  (Hebrews 13:7)

Our “Restrainer” Metropolitan Vitaly reposed in 2006 and his death brought to an end the glorious history of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  Since 2007 the church has been without glory.  But every year on the anniversary of the Metropolitan’s repose, the parish of the Holy Trinity Church in Astoria, NY, serves a requiem and this service and our memories of the Metropolitan soften our feeling of loss.  For many of our parishioners, Met. Vitaly was a spiritual mentor, a teacher of the faith, who earnestly applied his talents to the flourishing of Orthodoxy in England, America, and Canada.  But for everyone, whether they knew him or not, Met. Vitaly was a man of fervent prayer who through his prayers protected his “flock” from the determined forces of apostasy, from the destruction of the Church and from the “wicked vine-growers,” who kill the soul with empty theological talk.  We have many memories of the Metropolitan that we will attempt to gather in print. The main feeling that everyone experienced was his grace-filled solace, the spiritual joy of communing with the Vladyka and from the knowledge of the sources of salvation, which he demonstrated to us were repentance, fasting and prayer.  Lord, give peace to the soul of Metropolitan Vitaly, and strengthen the fulfillment of his charge “to preserve the Orthodox faith in our very heart.”