On Thursday, February 27, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov visited Gleason Funeral Home in Whitestone, NY to perform a memorial service (Panikhida) for the repose of the newly-departed parishioner of our church, Natalia (Dolores) Soho.
Members of the family of the deceased and some our parishioners gathered there at 7 pm to participate in that service. The Panikhida was headed by Fr. Igor, along with our Choir Director, Olga Roussanow conducting the singing and our Sacristan, Andrew Malyshev serving. The former Rector, Abbot Zosimas (Krampis) attended the service and joined the choir in singing the memorial service hymns.
On the next morning, on Friday, February 28, the Burial service for the newly-departed Natalia had been performed at St. Nicholas Church in Whitestone. Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the service while Olga Roussanow conducted the choir singing. Again, Abbot Zosimas arrived to assist in singing and to pay the last respects to the deceased.
Following the Gospel lesson Fr. Igor preached a sermon. He pointed out that every person is a king or a queen of his or her own life. We can rule over our choices and prepare for ourselves a proper future in the eternity. He told a parable about a shipwrecked sailor who was rescued by some tribe on the remote island in the ocean. That tribe made the sailor their king. Later he learned that it was their custom each year to make some man a king, a king for a year. Soon he discovered that every year when his kingship was over, the king was exiled to a barren island, where he starved to death. The sailor thought about that and he decided to use his power. Since he was a king, he put his carpenters to make boats. He commanded the gardeners to transplant fruit trees to the island. He got farmers to grow crops, masons to build houses. So when his kingship was over, he was banished not to a barren island, but to an island of abundance.
We are all kings in this world, kings for a little while, able to do what we wish with our life. But inevitably there comes a day when our kingship is over – a day when we return to our Maker – there to spend eternity either on the abundant island of heaven or a barren island of hell.
Fr. Igor recalled the newly-departed was doing a lot, at least in our parish, to prepare herself a place of abundance in eternity. She labored for the benefit of her church and to benefit her own soul, so we may hope that she retired now to a place of blessed rest. But we who still remain living our earthly lives should take a heed and do good works while we are in dominion of our lives to prepare for our eternal existence.
After the Burial service our Rector went to Flushing Cemetery where he finished the burial of the newly-departed by serving a Litia and sealing the grave.