"Let Us Stand Beautifully"
Eulogy by Father Robert M. Arida, 12 February
The introduction to the Anaphora of
the Divine Liturgy calls the clergy and faithful to "stand aright,
to stand with fear". For
the most part this translation of the Greek text is accurate. Indeed
we are summoned to be attentive and fearful. We are to be aware
and cognizant of what we as the local Church are about to do.
As we stand around the relics of our
beloved Archdeacon Roman we have the opportunity to acquire another
insight and understanding to the words "Stomen kalos..." and how
these words are an expression of the life and person of the newly
I would like to suggest that the deacon,
when calling the hierarchs, presbyters and faithful to be attentive
and fearful, is also calling the church to "stand beautifully". "Let us stand beautifully", let us stand
the way we were created to be as we offer our gifts to God are words
which draw our minds and hearts to Archdeacon Roman.
Yesterday, at the Cathedral, I clumsily
stated that the repose of Archdeacon Roman leaves us all deficient.
A beautiful life is no longer among us.
A beautiful life no longer walks with us.
Yet the life that no longer stands with us leaves us a great
and sacred legacy. This legacy is the power and glory of
beauty revealed in and through a humble man. The beauty of Archdeacon Roman -- his humanity – was
enjoyed and valued by those who had eyes to see and ears to hear. His beauty was forged in the ascetical
arena where he struggled to become less so Christ could become more. In this arena he loved Christ by loving
and caring for others especially those who are easily forgotten
and looked down upon. His
beauty came from the cross of Christ.
Archdeacon Roman's life affirmed and confirmed the truth
of the cross which, for those who are being saved, "is the power
of God" (1 Cor.1:18). "Through the cross joy comes into all the world" (Matins Resurrection
Sticheron). And it
was the joy, humor and wit of our humble deacon that brought Christ
to us and to so many others.
Sadly, however, we must not forget
that the beauty of our Archdeacon was not always seen or appreciated. For some his "way" was not appealing and
even perceived as detrimental to the image of the Church in America.
Yet around his body are gathered the old and young, rich and poor,
scholars and students, professionals and laborers, citizens and
immigrants, believers and non-believers.
Our Archdeacon was truly all things to all people.
His ministry sought to leave no one deprived of encountering
Christ. His way was that of Christ and the cross.
Our beloved Archdeacon showed us the
beauty of a whole life. As a Christian and as a deacon of the Church,
the way of Christ and the cross were for Archdeacon Roman inseparably
bound to the altar. It was serving the Lord's table that defined
his diaconate. It was serving the Lord's table that moored
his life here and now to the kingdom which is to come. Certainly,
it would not be an exaggeration to say that our Archdeacon's identity
was formed and nurtured by his service to the banquet of immortality. All of his life, all of his work, rooted
in the Eucharistic celebration, was offered to the world. He cared
for the mentally handicapped not as a stranger nor as a professional
but as friend and brother. He worked with new Russian immigrants
as a father who embraced the lonely and discouraged. He offered
protection to any one in need. Never leaving the Kingdom or the
world, Archdeacon Roman showed us that the two are to be one as
God intended from the beginning. Archdeacon Roman's life joined
together the things of heaven and the things of earth. Like a beautiful
mosaic his life was a portrait of human dignity which ascended the
heights of humility and the glory of the cross.
Dear Archdeacon, we thank you for your
life. We thank you
for the rich legacy you have left us.
We thank you for revealing to us through your diakonia the
beauty of Christ who has overcome sin and death so that we might
have life in abundance.