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‘They Were

After liturgy, St. John the Theologian Orthodox Mission, July 3, 2016 (Photo by Rod Dreher)
After liturgy, St. John the Theologian Orthodox Mission, July 3, 2016 (Photo by Rod Dreher)

Today was the first Divine Liturgy our mission parish celebrated since we learned we were losing our priest. Things were subdued, to say the least. I found myself paying much closer attention than usual, aware as I never have been of the preciousness of what I was seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and, receiving the Eucharist from Father Matthew’s hands, tasting.

The pain of loss is strongly felt among us. But last night in vespers, and today during the liturgy, I felt a strange and most welcome sense of calm. To be honest, it was the same feeling I had in the final days of my father’s life, even at the moment he drew his last breath. It was a strong intuition that this must be, and that all will be well.

Last night, I e-mailed my friend Evgeny Vodolazkin, the Laurusauthor, to share with him the sad news. When I came home from church today, he had responded:

Yes, dear Rod, it is sad news indeed. But you know, a great Russian poet Vasily Zhukovsky wrote once, that about good friends one should not say with pity: they are no more with us, but should say with gratitude: they were.



about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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