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Fr. ANDREY SOMOW’S GOOD BYE MESSAGE

December 5, 1999

Reverend Fathers, dearly beloved brothers and sister!

Today we have gathered together to do something pre-destined to us a long time ago. All ours steps, our life’s ways are set by our Lord God. His plans are fulfilled strictly and surely, even when we try to stop or change their realization. To Him, to our Lord God it was pleasing to entrust to me the care of your salvation, and He made me temporarily your pastor, the rector of this beautiful Holy Resurrection Church, which just recently has celebrated its 75th Jubilee. To Him it is pleasing now to free me from this function. A huge, underserved honor has been given to me, the unworthy and ill-prepared servant of the Church.

25 years ago, according to God’s providence, I, although unprepared, was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in the City of Montreal. Almost immediately after, I was transferred to this beautiful city of Vancouver, where at that time, the Right Reverend Bishop Joasaph, loved by everybody was serving God in this church. He was old and feeble, and needed help and I was glad to be able to assist him in his services. Since then, he passed away, and other Reverend Fathers came one by one to serve in this church – Hegumen Kirill (Bulashevich), Hieromonk Panteleimon (Belko), Fr. Victor Sokolov and Fr. Evan Lowig. Finally over six years ago, came my turn, as a newly ordained priest, to test the will of God on myself, when I had to take over the responsibility of being the pastor and rector of this parish.

Throughout the years of my service, I didn’t wish you anything less than the strengthening of your Orthodox Faith and succeeding in a virtuous life. Please continue in the future to care about these two cornerstones of the true Christians, so that as you will live a true Christian life adhering to God’s Commandments you will deserve an everlasting life in His Heavenly Kingdom. Besides a strong faith, have love amongst you – this is the notable sign of Christians “Love one another as I have loved you. By this all mil know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Never forget that God is Love, and that those who dwell in love, dwell in God. Through love, we may win over even an enemy, through Jove we can gain to our Faith the non-Orthodox people.

The missionary activities of our Church rely heavily if not exclusively on our love towards non- Orthodox. Our church of’ the Holy – Resurrection has gained the non-Orthodox through love. Just remember our dearest Bishop Joasaph. His heart was overflowing with love for everyone, and we all felt his tremendous love towards us. While being a student at UBC, our beloved Archpastor Bishop Seraphim, visited this church during that time and the love which he had experienced here filled his heart. The seed of Orthodoxy fell on good ground and multiplied a hundredfold. Let’s love one another as the Lord teaches us.

As I leave my position as rector, I am giving my most reverend thanks to God that He didn’t turn away from me in spite of my unworthiness, and gave me the right to serve at His Holy Altar. I also thank all who helped me to carry the difficult, but also very joyous burden and responsibility of being the rector of this church. Thanks to all of you who worked for this church and to those who have filled this church praying for our common salvation. In my thankful recognition, I address first of my brother clerics, the con-celebrants at the Holy Altar, the sub-deacons, the acolytes, the readers, the churchwardens, the church singers, the presidents of the church committee and its honorable members, the presidents of the Sisterhood and the numerous volunteers who have fulfilled many tasks throughout the years.

I cannot name all of you because of the lack of time and place, but your good deeds are known to God and will be certainly rewarded in time. I also would like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my life and especially throughout the years of my service here, at Holy Resurrection. Matushka Henriette sacrificed all her time for the church – thank you my dear, faithful friend and companion. Thanks also belong to Constantine, especially for his ministry to Project Mexico.

As I am stepping down from my position as the rector of Holy Resurrection Church, I would like also to ask of you for Christian forgiveness. Forgive me, those of you who are present today and those who are absent, forgive me for thinking sometimes rather of my temporary rest rather then of your eternal salvation. Forgive me if I failed to instruct you enough on the rules and requirements for a righteous Christian life and didn’t fulfill in a way my priestly obligations. Forgive me if while being weak rather than meek I have offended or hurt anyone of you. Believe me, it was never my intention. Forgive me if by a wrong word or act, I gave you reason to judge me or blame. Forget all grievances and troubles, which you may have experienced from me. I hope and believe that your love for me is extensive and that it will cover all my shortcomings.

With words of peace and love I began my pastoral service here and with the same sentiment I am addressing you today, as I am passing on my service at the Holy Altar of this church to the newly appointed pastor of Holy Resurrection, the Very Reverend Archpriest Fr. Michael Fourik. At this time, I am asking you to receive him an especially worthy servant of God – with great love and friendliness. I also ask you to receive with the same love his beloved wife, Matushka Elena, as well as their children – Nancy, Nestor and Kirill. Do love Fr. Michael as the true messenger of God, and obey him as your spiritual leader. Remember what the Apostle taught us: “Obey your leaders and follow their instructions, they watch for your souls…” (Hebrews 13:17).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit shall he with you!”

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