"Love Never Fails."(1Cor 13:8)
|H.G. Bishop Karas|
"Our Beloved Father and Shepherd The Thrice Blessed Bishop Karas has Departed from this Evanescent World"
We have been physically deprived from his smiling angelic face, but we know with certitude that he is with us in spirit, praying our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf.
The Church teaches us that there is no death for the servants of the Lord, but only a transfer. The transfer of a Saint is a feast, and for this reason the prayers at the funeral ceremony which were held on the third day after the Feast of the Epiphany, on the day of the Feast of the Wedding at Cana, were said in the tone of joy.
His Thrice Blessed Beatitude, His Grace Bishop Karas was an exemplary leader:
He was the Monk united with Christ, for he left the world and its passions to follow the Lord. In his eulogy, His Grace Bishop Serapion said that, at the beginning of his illness, the Thrice Blessed Bishop Karas was away from the Monastery. This was a difficult time for him, but when he returned to the Monastery, his health improved, and there was a great change, because the Monastery was the place where he found rest. However, he was later forced to dwell in a location close to the medical facilities, for his treatment.
He was the compassionate Father who cared for his children in the Monastery, and also for his children in the congregation. He listened to their problems and prayed for them. Many people can witness that their problems were solved through his prayers. He was concerned with those who were in difficulty, who grieved, who were sick, and who were in trouble. He personally visited his children who were in hospital; he prayed for them and anointed them with holy oil.
He received those who came to him with his smile and his generous hospitality, and he said to the lonely ones, "We are your family and your brothers." At times, he personally welcomed those who came to the Monastery from far places. He gave each person his blessing and they all left filled with joy. He also gave pictures and icons to his visitors.
He was a guiding Shepherd. Every single day he took care of the needs and comfort of his children, and thought of the future of the Monastery. For this purpose, he bought the land near San Francisco and he delegated one of the Monks to follow up the procedures for the beginning of the construction. Thus, he planted the seed for a new Monastery in this new location. He supervised the spiritual growth of his children, by guiding them on their spiritual path.
He was the watchful Abbot. He stopped the wrongdoing and the wrong doer; he imposed punishment upon the transgressor when needed, and he was equitable toward the oppressed. If necessary, he would apologize to an offended visitor and would not leave him until he was comforted.
He was the Father and the Teacher. We have learned from his meekness, his serenity, his trust in God, his endurance, his patience, his tolerance, and from the way he faced the difficulties with a smile, even when he was in pain. We have learned from his life more than from his words, for his life was the vivid image of the virtues that we have mentioned, and it was more eloquent and more substantial than a homily.
We have also learned from his words and sermons, for he often spoke of love, the love of God and our love for each other. He always said to his children to constantly pray the Jesus Prayer, "My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me; my Lord Jesus Christ help me." He distributed rosaries to his children the Monks and the Brethren, to help them pray the Jesus Prayer for he gave great importance to this prayer.
He was the Father who cared for everyone. He rejoiced with the children; he sat with them, played with them and blessed them.
He was the Father who gave. Many people can witness to the time and effort he gave, and he gave from the heart.
He was the Father who endured. He endured great pain, and we will mention only a few examples:
He endured pain. He endured with patience and resignation the pain of the terminal illness that would take him to the Kingdom, until he ended his mission on earth.
His Grace Bishop Moussa said that the Thrice Blessed Bishop Karas had abundantly witnessed to Christ, to the Church and to the Monastery by his sanctity, his asceticism, his purity, his generosity and by enduring great pain. He struggled well, he endeavored, he kept the faith, and he was granted the crown of righteousness.