Memory Eternal Reader Nicholas


From Archbishop Chrysostomos:
Evlogia Kyriou.
 His having predicted that he would die on Thursday, at the end of Matins this evening, I was informed that Reader Nicholas Trahan from our parish of St. John Chrysostomos in Saugus (Boston), Massachusetts, has just quietly died, after an akathist service was chanted in his presence.

        Reader Nicholas, who leaves behind his wife, from whom he was divorced, and two teenage daughters (twins), was diagnosed with terminal cancer last Fall (acute myelogenous leukemia). He decided that he would, in the face of a hopeless prognosis, not treat his disease, but accept it as God's Will. This last weekend he saw his ex-wife and his two daughters, bid them farewell, and prepared himself for death in a most exemplary way.

        The funeral will be conducted by Father Gregory Telepneff at the parish in Saugus, and the body will be buried in Stratford, Connecticut, where a memorial service will also be conducted. Memorial services will also be conducted here at the monastery. I would ask that all of our clergy and parishes, as well as monastic institutions, remember Reader Nicholas for forty days, as is customary, in services.

        Just two short notes about Reader Nicholas. During his final months, Dr. George Kosar, a longtime friend and associate of Nicholas at the Sarov Press, which they both founded, looked after Nicholas, covering his expenses when he no longer had medical coverage, allowing him to die peacefully at his home, and not in a hospital facility, and affording him the dignity that he deserved in his last days. I have no words to describe my deep admiration and respect for Dr. Kosar (who is also a Reader at the St. John Chrysostomos parish), whose loyalty to Reader Nicholas, to our monastery, to the parish in Saugus, and to Metropolitan Cyprian our Synod of Bishops has been exemplary and inspiring.

        Secondly a further note about Reader Nicholas himself. After his divorce, he came upon difficult times. His illness, despite his courage and abundant faith up to the very last moment, was at times rather horrendously debilitating. When I stopped to see him on my return from Greece last Fall, I found him quite weakened and did not, in fact, think that he would live as long as he did. Nonetheless, he got up from his bed, greeted me, and embraced me as his "Papa," as he began calling me towards the end.

        Nicholas' last days, I am told, were especially difficult and he suffered a great deal of discomfort. Yet, he several times asked others to write to me, asking his "Papa" leave to die and expressing the same faith that I saw when I visited him on my return from Greece. The clear transformation and transition that I saw in him, the faith that he maintained to the end, and his spiritual growth at the close of his life leave me profoundly moved. I had not, candidly, expected to see such a striking strength in him. Yet, it was there.

        I hope that sharing these things with all of you will also give you the kind of inspiration that I took from Reader Nicholas' death. He is proof that one man with faith can do much, elevating himself and inspiring those around him. I am not fond of emotional displays or tributes.

        In this case, however, I had no choice but to express myself as I have, since the circumstances have demanded it.

        Aionia he mneme autou! May his memory be eternal!

        I thank all of you who prayed for Nicholas during his illness. A photograph of Reader Nicholas during a trip to Russia is attached.

1 comment:

Joanna Higginbotham said...

I remember this Reader Nicholas from Stratford Connecticut at St. Nicholas' in Stratford, Connecticut on Honey Spot Road. I was there from September 1998 to mid-lent 1999.
I remember having a short argument with him about Fr. Herman of Platina whom I defended at that time.
When I returned to visit in 2001, he was gone, and so were others.
Memory Eternal, Nicholas - you were right about Fr. Herman.