Christ is Risen!
"Christ is Risen! Our dear Metropolitan Philip has reposed." With these words Bishop Nicholas began his telephone greetings to each of the bishops of our God-protected Archdiocese on Wednesday night, March 19, 2014, after hearing of the falling asleep of our Metropolitan. Metropolitan Philip himself regularly shared that, in this greeting, "Christ Is Risen," is our hope and our consolation. We are a people of hope, we are the people of the Resurrection; in Christ we are God's own and God has made us free. Metropolitan Philip, expressing his thoughts on this freedom, writes:
Man was not created to be a slave, neither to society nor to history, neither to science nor to technology, neither to communism nor to capitalism. Even though nature has limitations, these limitations can be overcome by the sacramental life of the Church. Each and every one of us can become Christlike through prayer, contemplation and action.
Metropolitan Philip was a true teacher of Antioch, stressing incarnational theology, which Sayidna described as theology in action. He called us to action, and asked us not to theologize but to serve the poor, clothe the naked and feed the hungry. He organized the Archdiocese into ministries and gave the people he served opportunities to serve on the parochial, regional and archdiocesan levels. His mission was to America and to the world.
Metropolitan Philip was the champion of Orthodox cooperation and unity in America; a unity that needs to be local and independent. Such a unity expresses the real missionary zeal of Orthodoxy, not a transplant of ethnic customs in a new world. He worked hard and long with many local leaders, as well as the leaders of the Mother Churches, and has contributed much to this work.
Metropolitan Philip was a world-recognized diplomat for Orthodoxy and Truth. He understood the complexities of both the Churches and the nations. He understood history and felt deeply the pain and suffering of oppressed people. He contributed much toward world peace and was a genuine leader and statesman. He used his position to bring hope and healing whenever he could.
We are not without hope. Metropolitan Philip has prepared the Church for this transition, understanding well our needs, our strengths, our challenges and our dreams. He has led this Archdiocese for almost half a century and has led with distinction. His dreams have become our dreams, his hopes ours as well. He will continue to lead us through his prayers and by the love and gifts that he has given us.
Rest in Peace, dear Father,
Christ is Risen Indeed!