Saturday, June 23, 2012
Vol. 2 Issue 3
Vol. 2 Issue 3
A BI-MONTHLY BULLETIN OF THE
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD.
No 2 (3)
Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!
The editorial staff of “The Sower”congratulates
its dear readers with the glorious
Feast Day of Christ’s Resurrection
and wishes all of you the peace and spiritual joy
of the Resurrected Christ!
Paschal Epistle of the First Hierarch
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,
The Most Reverend Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov)
(1910 – 2006)
(First Hierarch РПЦЗ 1986 – 2001)
Christ is Risen!
I congratulate all of you, our entire flock, which is scattered throughout the nations like God’s wheat.
Pascha, the holy of holies, when Heaven bends down to our impoverished land and transforms everyone and everything with its bright light. That is why Pascha is and always will be for every Orthodox soul the actual, spiritual, final and only goal of all our lives. It is the sacred goal of all mankind to be eternally with our Resurrected Savior after the Common Resurrection.
Still we often forget that Passion Week stands imperturbably along the way to this eternal, blissful Pascha. The dismissals of the Great Thursday and Great Friday of the Holy and Salvific Passions of our Lord Jesus Christ proclaim succinctly and strongly what our Savior endured, “With abundant grace, He showed us the way of goodly humility...” and “Having suffered being spat upon and beaten and scourging, He overcame the cross and death to save the world...”. This path to Pascha is exemplified by two supreme Christian virtues – Humility and Tolerance of Suffering.
If we are not capable of even coming close to such a lofty example as the humility and tolerance of our Lord, then at least we can carry out that which the Church prescribes in these sacred days of Great Lent. One must fast in earnest as instructed by the church rules and not spare oneself in the number of half and full prostrations. If the flesh, our body begins to complain, to cry out from the effort and we resort to the ordinary, polite bowing of our heads, then remind it what the great ascetic of Christ’s Church, St. John of the Ladder, said, “My flesh, my body, you are my friend and you are my enemy ...” (Sermon 15, paragraph 86). I am linked to you for eternity, since you will be resurrected and we will be together forever. Be my friend during this short life on earth and then we will be worthy to celebrate Pascha and never forget It while here on his pitiful coil. We shall labor not pitying ourselves and obtain eternal peace.
I, humble Vitaily, Your Archpastor, wish You a radiant Pascha.
Pascha – 1998
Protopresbyter Valeriy Alekseyev
(1937 – 2011)
Protopresbyter Valeriy Alekseyev was born on February 16\March 1, 1937, in Odessa and was baptized in the church at the St. Dmitriy cemetery. His father, Boris Andreyevich Alekseyev, and mother, Vera Petrovna Alekseyeva-Grossul-Tolstaya, were both Orthodox.
Fr. Valeriy’s mother was persecuted for fifteen years as a member of the nobility and landed gentry. Fr. Valeriy’s father was a lieutenant in General Denikin’s army and earned the Order of St. George, Imperial Russia's highest military order. During World War II, he was a member of the Russian All-Military Union and Russian Corps in Serbia. He was repatriated later to the Soviet Union. He was trained as a medical doctor. He was sentenced to the prison camps for 15 years in 1950. He was rehabilitated posthumously in 1993. The family lived in a house in Odessa on the same street and near the house of the Aleksandrov family, who were parents of ROCA Bishop Daniel.
From the age of seven, Fr. Valeriy was an altar attendant in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles, which was known as the “church of the Russian officers.” Orphaned by the death of his mother, who died at an early age from tuberculosis, and his father’s imprisonment, he had a difficult childhood and equally difficult teenage years. The love of the life in the church was felt from an early age and formed the basis of the rest of his life. He began reading on the kliros of the Holy Trinity Church in Odessa, and in the 1970’s, he entered the second class of the Leningrad Theological Seminary.
He completed his studies at the Moscow Theological Seminary. Fr. Valeriy was consecrated a reader, then later a subdeacon and ordained a deacon on October 27, 1994. He was ordained a priest on November 4, 1994. He served in parishes of the Tulsk-Belevsk, Kirovogradsk, Nikolayevsk and Odessa dioceses of the MP. Fr. Valeriy was later named dean of the Izmailovsk district and taught comparative religion and sectology at the Odessa Theological Seminary. He was also the secretary of the MP Odessa diocese administration.
Fr. Valeriy never supported “sergianist” church policies and fought for the truth at every assignment in the church. After long considerations of his life in the church, a pastor’s duty, responsibility before God and his personal salvation, and the grave violations of dogma by the MP episcopate, he decided to join the Russian True Orthodox Church, which was a jurisdiction of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops at that time (it was registered as a ROCA diocese in 2004). He joined as a priest on November 2, 1997, after completing the rite of penitence as instructed by the Holy Gospel, “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.”
Fr. Valeriy was the rector of the Church of Holy Martyr Tsarevich Aleksy since March 15, 1997. He also served as dean of the Odessa deanery since February 23, 2001, was the chairman of the Spiritual Court of the diocese since February 5, 2002, and dean of the Sts. Cyril and Methodius theological seminary since 1998. In his years as a priest, Fr. Valeriy was awarded the right to wear a kamilavka, an epigonation (nabedrennik), and a pectoral cross. He became an archpriest in 1986 and was later awarded a palitza, a jeweled cross and a mitre. Fr. Valeriy was elevated to the rank of protopresbyter in May, 2010.
On April 4, 2011, at 17:00 Fr. Valeriy suffered a brain hemorrhage and was taken to the hospital. He never regained consciousness.
Protopresbyter Valeriy died on April 7, 2011, at 1800 on the feast day of the Annunciation.
From the Editor: I had the honor of becoming acquainted with Fr. Valeriy at the IV All-Diaspora Council, and met him again later, when he visited America. His kindness and warmth of soul impressed me greatly. Despite the difficulties encountered in his life, Fr. Valeriy radiated Christian love and joy. His life showed that he was a loyal son of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and a true champion of Christ.
God grant him eternal peace!
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