John Maddex has done yeoman’s work to get the mp3 audio of the funeral vigil for Archbishop JOB up on the AFR site. I saw John literally only a handful of hours ago (as of this post) at the conclusion of the vigil, and when I got up this morning, the podcast was ready for download. Thank you, John. +JOB was John’s own father in God and influential in the lives of his family and their coming to the Orthodox faith.
I went to the vigil, which also happened to be my first Orthodox funeral, and I cannot tell you how moving and uplifting it was. Several bishops from all over were there, including Metropolitan JONAH, chief hierarch of the OCA, and our own father in God, Bishop MARK, not to mention priests and deacons, vested and in cassock, from everywhere as well. The white vestments of Pascha (Easter) made the place shine. Holy Trinity Cathedral, +JOB’s see, is a smallish place, so it was packed, literally standing room only–people even standing in the vestibule (though no one outside I do not think), some up in the balcony.
I have been to many Christian funerals, but hardly any for pastors or ministers. I have been to no funerals in which the love of the bereaved for their departed is not real and felt. But I have never had the sense of the love of all the other bishops, priests, deacons, and people of God for Archbishop JOB as I did last night. The tender regard shown for their archpastor could not but move the coldest heart. It is little wonder that already among the voices I heard there, some were talking of +JOB as though he would one day be recognized as a saint. And there is no doubt of his particular martyrdom in service to Christ for the truth.
The choir leading the singing was amazingly good, their voices clear and reverential. The service was one long perfectly balanced prayer of sorrow and hope in Christ. Even attending after a full day of work, and standing for about three or four hours all told, it was a prayer that energized one. I felt more refreshed at the end than I had felt at the beginning. And the faith in Christ for the hope of the resurrection was so palpable, I felt I could have carried it in my own hands.
Listening to the vigil will not be the same as having been there and prayed there with everyone else. But I do urge you to listen to the service. You will still likely find your faith refreshed as you join the prayers in your own heart.