Your Eminence, Your Grace, Reverend Fathers, Deacons, family, friends, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is with profound sadness that we commemorate today the repose in our Lord of Fr. Andrey Somow who has found peace after a lengthy battle with lymphoma. The scripture states that we are the Lord’s both in life and in death. There’s no finer example of this than Fr. Andrey, who was both faithful to his calling to the ministry, a faithful husband to his wife of fifty-plus years Matushka Henriette, a loving father to his children and a dear friend to so many of us.
As his son, I could speak for hours about his life, his virtues and accomplishments, however I don’t think that even a speech of such magnitude would do him justice, so I’ll be brief and to the point.
His life has touched so many of us in positive ways, as did his constant optimism and willingness to be of assistance to others.
His service to the Church was steadfast, even up to his final weeks of life.
He believed in conducting his affairs with the highest level of integrity and acted accordingly…
Of course my father also had some unique personal attributes, which made him precious to many of us and, on occasion, challenging to some others.
For one, he was a perfectionist. Some in the Church have described him as a “traditional Russian Batiushka” partly because he was adamant that the service is to be celebrated correctly and he corrected many altar servers (including myself) when we got out of line.
He possessed a deep-rooted, servant-like nature and rarely thought of himself, which often made it very difficult for him to accept gifts, generosity or assistance from others or even from family members.
At certain times he had a sense of humor while at other times he appeared to have little place for humor and it required some tact to navigate between the two.
However regardless of his style and manner of being, none of us here can deny that at the end of the day his heart was always in the right place and everything he said and did was out of a great love and respect for other persons and for God.
Many will even attest to how much time he spent sharing their concerns and troubles, and interceding for them to the point of risking his own health and well being.
For these reasons and more, his repose in our Lord has opened a void in our family and for many others, which will never be filled. But at the same time he’ll continue to live on and to accompany each of us in our hearts and minds and the loving ways in which his life has touched us will always be a part of us.
Over the five decades that I’ve been honored to know him as my father, my personal relationship with Fr. Andrey evolved from a father-son relationship to the closest of friendships. We were even able to discuss openly his spiritual and physical journey from this life. During his final days, Fr. Andrey was very aware that the end of his earthly life was approaching and he humbly accepted and embraced the calling to be with our Heavenly Master.
The book of Romans states that:
“None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” [Romans 14:7-9]
I always knew that my father lived for the Lord.
Now I know that my father truly is with Our Lord.
Dearly beloved dad, rest in peace and may your memory be eternal!!!
On behalf of our family, I wish to thank everyone for coming today and for supporting us with your thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. May God bless you all.