Looking through an old notebook last night, I found some brief notes which I jotted down during an ordination on April 12, 1998 (Palm Sunday) in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Tirana, Albania; I thought I would share them here. The man being ordained to the priesthood was Deacon Llazar Çullai; the speaker was Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana. The epistle reading on which the Archbishop was commenting was, apparently, Philippians 4: 4-9. I must assume that His Beatitude was speaking in Greek or Albanian, and that I was translating on the spot.

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always. This applies to all Christians, but especially to the priests. This joy is something he has to transmit to others. Seek to be a kind person. A harsh priest causes the faithful to depart. He cannot, in this manner, represent the God of love.
  2. Do everything with prayer. A priest should be a man of continual prayer. Not only with his lips, but with his heart. Both in our troubles, and in our joys, we should pray.
  3. We continually hear the word “peace” in the liturgy. A priest should seek to be a man of peace. In times like these we need to show ourselves as people of peace.
  4. The Lord is near. The priest has to know this always. Another meaning: The Lord is coming. In his second coming, in which he will judge us. In a few minutes you will be ordained. You will be bearing the body of Christ in your hands. Recognize that you will be judged according to how you fulfil this calling.

I just learned that Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) has resigned as primate of the Orthodox Church in America. He submitted his letter of resignation this past Friday, July 6; the bishops of the synod, meeting by conference call, accepted his resignation the following day, and, today, appointed Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit as locum tenens and Bishop Peter of New York as temporary Administrator of the O.C.A. The text of Metropolitan Jonah’s letter of resignation, taken from the OCA website, reads as follows:

“To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,

“Brothers,

“As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.

“I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.

“It is my hope that due consideration will be made for my financial situation, both in any interim and in consideration for any future position. I am the main financial support for both my parents and my sister, beyond my own needs.

“I will appreciate your consideration in this, and beg forgiveness for however I have offended you, and for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment.

“Asking your prayers, I remain faithfully yours,
“Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of Washington”

One fact that comes to light in this letter is that the synod of the O.C.A. had unanimously requested Metropolitan Jonah to step down. One wonders why.

An attempt to write something in French. No doubt I have made grammatical mistakes; I ask the readers’ pardon in advance.

Comme tu es source de tous nos biens,
O Dieu, dévotement je t’en pris,
Guéri nos âmes, et nous accorde
D’être enfants de ta famille.

Puis-ce que la chair est lourde, Seigneur,
Et contre l’esprit suscite la guerre,
Arrêt ses motions absurdes
Et donne la paix dedans le coeur.

Justement, à cause de nos péchés,
Nous connaissons des maux funestes;
Tourne nos yeux à ton visage;
Puis nous sentions l’espoir celeste.

Et puis-ce que ton Fils a tel souffert,
O Dieu, à cause de notre salut,
Applique ces dons à notre égard;
Seigneur, aie pitié de nous.

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