In Memoriam: Marking the First Anniversary of the Repose of Archbishop Job
December 18, 2010
It has been one year since we were shocked to learn of the untimely passing of our beloved former archpastor, His Eminence, Archbishop Job. How unprepared we were, as a diocese, to face this tragedy, which was quite unthinkable and incomprehensible at the time. So many of us had just spoken with him, prayed with him, laughed and cried with him -- especially the clergy of the Cleveland Deanery who, as things turned out, were to be the last group of individuals to host a gathering with him on the eve of his repose. The darkness of the days and skies on which he was eulogized and laid to rest were only matched by the darkness we felt as, recognizing that death indeed comes like "a thief in the middle of the night," we bid farewell to an archpastor who, in so many ways, personified the deeper meaning of Christian witness, service, and life.
Archbishop Job's memory remains with us in so many ways -- in our personal and liturgical prayers, in recalling the blessings we received when he visited our parishes or attended a summer camp or engaged us, beyond worship, in fellowship, and in the pain we felt as he called one and all to fully embrace "the one thing needful" with honesty, integrity, and transparency. To say that the Church, one year after his repose, is changing "for the better" would be an understatement. To ignore the fact that the example he offered to us -- and the issues he challenged us to face squarely -- played no role in initiating change would be a lie. And it is in the very example of his own life and trust in God that our sorrow has been turned into that joy which transcends earthly tragedies and refocuses our vision on the Kingdom to which we all aspire.
Since his repose, much has transpired in the Diocese of the Midwest. A most worthy successor, Archimandrite Matthias, has been nominated and elected in a conciliar process that fulfilled Archbishop Job's stated vision and desires. In the Archbishop's memory, well over 100 individuals have volunteered to participate in a mission trip to build homes for some of Mexico's neediest families. Ministries initiated during his archpastorate, including his constant care and concern for fledgling mission communities as well as the unique issues facing long-established parishes in regions of the Diocese suffering tremendously from demographic change and economic woes, continue to bear fruit. At the same time, like a well oiled machine, the day-to-day "business" of the Diocese has transpired under the guidance and "prayerful watch" of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, our diocesan chancellor and administration, our diocesan council and, in the months ahead, our Bishop-elect Matthias. The past year has demonstrated that the Diocese has not only been able to endure collective shock, but also stands as a testimony to the "firm foundation of faith" which perhaps was Archbishop Job's greatest legacy -- and gift -- to us.
As we gather in our parishes to offer Memorials marking the first anniversary of Archbishop Job's repose on the weekend of December 18-19, let us be ever mindful that our prayers -- and our lives! -- must be rooted in our hope in the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in Whose presence our late archpastor rejoices with the angels and saints. But let us also render thanks to God for the presence of His servant, Archbishop Job, who literally gave his all to fill us with hope -- the very hope that has sustained us during the past year and is destined to inspire us as we continue to witness to the Kingdom of God, yet to be fully revealed, but already fully present in our lives as the People of God in the Midwest.
May Archbishop Job's memory be eternal!
-- Archpriest John Matusiak, Diocesan Secretary