"...He was 80 years old, not in the best of health for years now, and he just had returned from a very tiring GRAND-tour through Russia, at one after another of staged propaganda happenings ...awards/medals/banquets/speeches/endless & long church-services in many places, etc. So he was truly physically worn out by the time he recently returned to Jordanville, only about a week ago or so. The latest report said that he was not feeling well this past Saturday, and did not attend Sat. eve Vigil or their evening meal, and he told everyone that he would not serve Sunday liturgy either. But before he went to rest in his "dacha" (a large house of his own), he left instructions: "For the Sunday of Orthodoxy Service, do NOT do...the Anathemas against Ecumenism.....as 'that is not the liturgical practice of the Mother Church'" (i.e. the MP!) He was checked upon twice, the first time he was....seemingly....alright, but the second time.....I presume....in the middle of the "night" (actually, EARLY Sunday-morning, March 16)....he was found reposed...in his bed..."
Here are a few of my favorite comments from sbn-nathanael.livejournal on Met. Laurus' death:
(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Some heard, the electronic-bells @SF-Novi Sobor "rang"-
Yes, I too have been told that a few people, who live near Novi Sobor on Geary Blvd. in SF believe that they heard the (electronic) simulated-"bells" ring,(which are activated by a button on the wall near the candle-desk) at the very time that Met. Lavr was dying at Jordanville. Though we who were not there, cannot deny what those people think they heard, ...of what possible other-worldly meaning could that have, ...if it happened-? Could it have been, the death-bell tolling for ROCOR, which that man, has killed? Otherwise, it could have been an electric short-circuit. It has happened before.
Regardless, we now have to see and hear all sorts of fantastic, "proofs of his saintliness" from his starry and glassy-eyed
devotees, about a very flawed hierarch, one who RAN JORDANVILLE DOWN under his long administration of it....and then the entire ROCOR, even before he handed it over to the Kremlin. Laurus Shkurla, who has just accomplished the total Judas-like betrayal of his formerly free church, now submitted by him to it's enemies in Moscow. For that, yes, all bells should ring the funeral tolling. Vechnaya Pamyat! to ROCOR.
OK, at last someone with serious knowledge is taking up that painful topic of Metr Laurus' shabby dismissal of his predecessor by two's incorruption! It's not as though Met Laurus told a few people "hey I just couldn't stand the man" - that would be horribly in itself, regarding the sanctity of Met Philaret. But he did blaspheme. Not just in his comments, which by the way have been replaying like a tape recorder in my mind ever since Laurus' own burial. This is a very reliable story by the way, from my perspective. A Jordanville hieromonk (i have to check which one) heard it with his own ears, and a source I trust learned about it firsthand, I believe, from the monk. It's not a piece of gossip which originated somewhere indistinct and made the rounds, being added to each time, like many tales do everywhere in the world. It's TRUE! You are wise to make the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit assessment. The circulating version quoting him as having said "put him [the Revered Metropolitan] in a damper part of the earth so he will rot like the rest" is in my estimation, dubious. The Met's relics were taken out and examined owing to their transferral to a marble tomb; so why would that have more moisture than the cemetery Assumption chapel where he had been all those years?
Pravoslavnik, there is one important correction which I think sheds light on the nefarious inner world of Met Lavr: he snapped (not just made an offhand comment) "Put him back and let him rot like the rest of 'US'" - u see, right there, Lavr let his facade down for once, so upset was he that this man who he no doubt hated while he was alive for his manifest saintliness, had turned up incorrupt. This was incontrovertible evidence that the Saint had been found by God to be better than his sometimes silent, but nevertheless, seething internally, adversaries. THAT was how Lavr perceived it: as an affront, even a clear rebuke to himself. Hence the "us" at the end.
This is very helpful to read. I also recall reading in a hagiography that St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco venerated blessed Metropolitan Philaret (Vosnesensky) in an unusual manner when he took leave of him for the last time (prior to St. John being murdered by the MP/KGB in Seattle.)
Yes, all those long years of many many prayers/fasts/good deads/kissing holy icons/giving holy sermons/many personal kindnesses to many people, and all the rest!
Yet!....at the end period of his life, Mr. Lavr Shkurla.......sold out his church to our enemies, like Judas handed over Christ to Pilate. So, you tell me, WHAT GOOD DID ALL HIS PREVIOUS.....GOOD WORKS....do him, or us??? To some, his life is more an example of....maybe.....why NOT to be an Orthodox Christian! (because if the Orthodox
life and religion did not work for Lavr Shkurla, why should it WORK for....anybody?)
But then, that is what the KGB folks in the Kremlin want us to conclude, to be cynical of all religion, because ALL-Russian Orthodoxy is false and evil and enslaved to ANY Ceasars of this world, even the "post-Soviet" ones in Moscow. Who can we trust? -
Subject: FW: Metropolitan Laurus and the Bells of San Francisco
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 22:44:49 -0600
SHARING....just for your interest:
Email from SIR Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, Calif....about the...supposed...supernatural-ringing of the SF Novi-Sobor bells....in the time-frame that..Laurus Shkurla was dying in his room at Jordanville, etc.
Read the Archbishop's...kindly assessment (some might say, too-kindly), and then the original email which he is responding to. To me, to evaluate the bells ringing....as some sort of...proof that that man is a "saint" and thus...the terrible-"union" which he helped to engineer...is also..."holy", is beyond....pathetic. Because, we KNOW that that "union" is a massive betrayal and a terrible evil. No one, though, "knows" where that man's soul is, however, as that is of course in God's hands....as it will be for each of us. But this is just my personal take on these matters.
May God have mercy upon that man's soul!....and upon us! who must, somehow, survive the immense destruction which he has done to our church, our families, and to our very souls!...for whatever his reasons were..................which God alone knows for sure. - Reader Daniel in Oregon
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 19:14:26 -0700
Subject: Re: Fwd: Metropolitan Laurus and the Bells of San Francisco
May God bless you.
With no disrespect whatsoever meant to Metropolitan Laurus, about whose repose I have already sent out a message to our clergy and faithful, stories such as these, when their intent is to honor good people whom we admire and appreciate, should be accepted in a pious spirit. If these bells were also heard by non-Orthodox, or by the many hundreds of individuals within hearing distance of the Cathedral, then this is certainly a striking event. But it well could be that there are other explanations for what was heard (bells from a distant place, sounds that appeared to be bells, etc.). Whatever the case, whether the ringing was a miracle or perfectly natural, if it leads us to pray for Metropolitan Laurus, any decent Christian should appreciate this.
However, we must keep in mind that not every sign or wonder (things which we are warned not to seek) signifies sanctity or holiness. Even the deaths of simple, good Christians, who have lived their lives in an exemplary way and who have inspired us, are often marked, in God's love for those who believe in Him, by supernatural events. This does not necessarily make them Saints. Nor does it mean that everything that they did in their lives was correct or holy.
In the case of Metropolitan Laurus, time will tell whether his endorsement of union with Moscow was of God or was an error. We must not think that his personal virtues made this endorsement somehow infallibly correct. At the same time, we must not, in following our consciences, think that we are somehow infallibly correct in opposing the union. In my mind, his actions were wrong, whatever his motivations, and our resistance is correct. Ultimately, however, God will make that judgment. The virtue and goodness of those on either side of this debate are actually neither here nor there. Virtuous people can make errors.
The personal attributes of Metropolitan Laurus and the reported miracle below should not be taken, therefore, as proof that the union of the ROCA with Moscow was correct, as some have argued. This would no more validate the union than claims, from those opposed to it, that the corrupt and inauspicious death of someone in favor of the union proves it evil and wrong. Time, God's Grace, and careful circumspection alone can tell one whether signs and wonders are true, whether they are a sign of Divine affirmation, a demonic ruse, or simply the product of natural events wrongly taken as supernatural occurrences. We should not be engaged in these kinds of arguments.
Taken as it is, this report prompts one to pious reflection and joy at the hope that Metropolitan Laurus rests in the bosom of Abraham. This hope we must have for all people. All of the animosity and theatrics with which some have approached this report, condemning those who reject it, in some cases, glorifying those who accept it, in others, and thus sowing the seeds of divisiveness and ill feelings between people who were not long ago brothers in the Faith, are a disservice to Metropolitan Laurus, are rather immature, and do little to quell dissent and nastiness, which should not exist among us as Christians who may, temporarily, disagree on Church matters.
Such is my humble opinion, for what it is worth.
Least Among Monks,
+ Archbishop Chrysostomos
Date: Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 9:33 AM
Subject: Metropolitan Laurus and the Bells of San Francisco
Metropolitan Laurus and the Bells of San Francisco
(The following was written by Mr. David Jepson,
Dean of High School St John's Academy.)
On Saturday night (March 15th) I got home from choir practice rather late, and stayed up much later than normal as I had a very late dinner. I had finished eating and was reading a book at about 11:30 p.m. when my roommate came in and asked if I knew why the Cathedral bells were ringing. He had been in his bedroom, which like mine faces the street and has a view of the Cathedral a block away. In the kitchen, a couple of rooms away, I couldn't hear the bells, but I agreed that it seemed strange for them to be ringing at that time of night. I went to bed about a half hour later and thought nothing more about it.
At church on Sunday, we were all shocked to hear that Metropolitan Laurus, the leader of the Russian Church Outside Russia, had reposed. Our priest got a telephone call from a former parishioner just before the service started at 9.00 a.m.
We heard about the chronology of events later on Sunday from the matushka of one of the Cathedral priests, whose son is at the Seminary in NY. Sometime on Sunday morning, when Metropolitan Laurus was noticed to be absent, someone went to his house and discovered that he had reposed in his sleep. The police were called etc., and people there began notifying the rest of the world. No one here in SF knew about it until 8.00 or so on Sunday morning (11.00 a.m. New York time). As the day went on, word about his death continued to spread. People here were discussing going to the funeral in NY on Friday.
As we talked about these events, the issue of the bells came up. Others living near the Cathedral had heard the bells ringing late on Saturday night. When they came to the early service at the Cathedral (it starts at 7.30 a.m.), they found the bells tied up in the normal way, which seemed puzzling. Someone had to have gotten into the locked place where the bells are untied them, rung them (very beautifully, my roommate said), and tied them back up, all in the darkness of near midnight. No one in the group I was talking to, which included the wives of both Cathedral priests, knew who could have done it.
But then as we were talking, we also learned that the NY police estimated that Metropolitan Laurus had died between 2.00 and 3.00 a.m. That's between 11.00 p.m. and 12.00 midnight here. And then everything seemed obvious.
I attest that I had just begun reading the pre-communion canons when I heard bells....Orthodox Bells...ringing with the melodies familiar to us at the Cathedral. I first thought it was my CD player...when I checked, I found that it was off. David was reading in the kitchen and I went and asked him if he was playing music. We weren't. Others in the vicinity heard the bells at the same time, roughly the time when Vladyka Metropolitan passed away. (Note the bells are behind two locked security gates and everyone who has access and who knows how to properly ring the bells have all sworn that they did not ring them).
A Letter of Condolence from His Eminence Bishop Andronik on the passing of Metropolitan Lavr (ROCOR (MP))
The death of anyone is always an occurrence that evokes particular feelings and thoughts in all of us.† The death of the last ROCOR metropolitan, Metropolitan Lavr, a name which we commemorated in the holy altars not so long ago, causes us to feel doubly sad.
A year has not even passed since the Church Abroad, under his pastoral omofor, split into two parts.† God in His wisdom made the circumstances of the passing of His Eminence Met. Lavr especially noteworthy, in that it occurred on the day when Christians celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy.† This compels us to seriously consider once again the division in the Church Abroad and evaluate it from an Orthodox standpoint.† The spiritual life of every Christian and cleric of the Church of Christ should be ruled by the Holy Canons and by Truth.† This is what governed the actions of those ROCA faithful who remained within their Church, and we hope, also ruled the actions of those who decided to merge with Moscow.
What should we say in regard to the passing of the newly-reposed Metropolitan Lavr?† That he was a monk since childhood and unique in his capacity as a bishop?† What words are really important now to the soul of the reposed?† Certainly, they are the words of our prayers for the salvation of his soul.
We send our sincerest condolences to everyone who shares our sorrow and we hope that the ROCOR (MP) episcopate, its clergy and laypeople find in themselves the spiritual strength to overcome the spiritual inertia that has been created in their part of the Church Abroad and return to be one with us, their brothers and sisters within the original ROCA.
Bishop of Richmond Hill and New York