This Friday marks the 16th anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Vladimir.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (Jn 12:24)
With these words the Lord proclaimed the reality of what a life in Him entails. That our quest for life, real life, involves death. Death to our desire for independence from God, death to our passions, death to the world that denies it, and ultimately a death in Christ through baptism. It is only in this act of death that any fruit of grace, mercy, and love can be revealed.
We remember today the remarkable Metropolitan Vladimir (Nagorsky). From the steel mills of Cleveland OH, to the frontier of Alaska, from the emerging Church in Japan, and the growing Church in San Francisco, to our home in Winnipeg, Metropolitan Vladimir’s life was one of bearing the icon of Christ to those entrusted to him regardless of where he was.
What is significant for us is the fact he accomplished these things as one of the only bishops born in North America (consecrated in 1962), and only the second one since 1933 (the first being Archbishop BENJAMIN (Basalyga), 15 November 1963, who also served in Japan, and at Holy Trinity in Winnipeg). Both Metropolitan Vladimir, and Archbishop Benjamin are of those second generation North Americans, that would provide a context for a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual North American Church
He died in service to Christ, in love of Christ, and with humility to Christ. And that service, love and humility, now glorified with the Lord and all his saints, bear abundant fruits and blessings (to numerous to count) for our Church today, especially here in Winnipeg.
If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. (Jn. 12: 26)
By his prayers, may our Churches continue to grow and bear the fruit of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
May his memory be eternal.