PITSBURGH – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America officiated at the funeral service of Metropolitan Maximos, formerly of Pittsburgh, which took place on Saturday November 7 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Archbishop was assisted by Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Metropolitan Melhiscedek of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, five priests, and two deacons.
Prior to the funeral service Matins and Divine Liturgy were celebrated according the liturgical tradition of the Church on the repose of a hierarch.
The body of the most respected hierarch Maximos arrived at St. Nicholas Cathedral on Friday afternoon November 5t and many hundreds of faithful passed to bid their final farewell to their spiritual father and hierarch of many decades.
Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh read a message of the former Archbishop of America Demetrios and Archbishop Elpidophoros in his eulogy, said among other things the following:
“O guide of Orthodoxy, Teacher of piety and solemnity…
With the hymn of his patron Saint, we gather together in the Cathedral that was the See of our beloved and ever-memorable Metropolitan Maximos: to remember his person and his pastoral ministry, to console one another in this moment of loss, and to bless his memory.
“We commit his soul to God, and we commit the remembrance of his life to every heart and mind who holds the recollection of his love in a special experience, unique to each.
“The life and ministry of Metropolitan Maximos is not easy to encapsulate in a single encomium, no matter how eloquent or embellished it might be. But one thing is certain – he was a true `guide of Orthodoxy' and a `teacher of piety and solemnity.'
“His entire life was dedicated to the knowledge of God: whether he was studying assiduously at Halki or Louvain, or teaching at Hellenic College and Holy Cross, or teaching and preaching for decades as your Spiritual Father, as the first Bishop of this Diocese of Pittsburgh, and then as your first Metropolitan.
“The words of Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his famous eulogy and oration after the death of his nearest and dearest friend, Saint Basil the Great, come to mind, and could be said as easily of our blessed Metropolitan Maximos:
`He pursued philosophy, a holy renunciation of the world, and communion with God, by concerning himself, amid things below, with things above.'
He was, as Saint John Chrysostom says of the exemplary priest, a man with his feet on earth and his mind in Heaven. He was energetic and dutiful, inquisitive and didactic, and always dedicated to his spiritual children. This devotion to those whom he shepherded – whether they were his students at the `Scholi', or the parishioners and clergy who commemorated his name in the Divine Services – Metropolitan Maximos was always the kind and good shepherd. He sought the best for everyone, and went out of his way to minister to the needs of each.
“You all knew him in his ministry in America, but let me tell you of his love for the Mother Church of Constantinople.
“He was a true Ομογάλακτος Αδελφός, a brother of the Theological School of Halki, where this young man of Chios, the son of a noble priest and presvytera, opened his remarkable mind to the study of our Holy Orthodox Faith. He took his brilliance and entered the stream of the Ecumenical Movement at the University of Louvain, where he excelled in academic accomplishment. His study of Saint Basil the Great's, On the Holy Spirit, is a classic to this day, and can still be read today by the students at our Seminary. His strong convictions about Orthodoxy opened his mind and heart to the experience of other Christians. He had the confidence in his own faith to encounter the faith of others. His contributions behind the scenes provided important help to the rapprochement between the Sister Churches of Elder and New Rome.”