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Spoken At the Grave

A homily spoken at the grave of Elder Hilarion of Sarov, 1841.

And so, pilgrim on the earth, you have finished your journey; you have crossed the sea of temptations and misfortunes and found repose for yourself! But what kind of choirs surround you? Behold, our father and instructor: Your children have come to you from the wast and the north and the sea and the east not to behold your end, but to hear from your honey-flowing lips the words of eternal life; but you sleep, your eyes and lips are closed.

Arise! Arise! Bless! Alas, he is without breath… Father! Where are your promises given constantly to everyone? Just three days ago you said: “Forgive me, brother, farewell”–and left the world.

Alas, the change! Alas, the loss! Where is our father? Where is our instructor? What have we lost? Only the heart knows. Father! Father! Awaken, arise! Miserable poverty begs for alms: give them! Outside the gate a pilgrim awaits your consolation; a sick man, barely breathing, awaits your visitation, prayers, and remission; one fallen into temptation awaits your comfort in his misfortune; the ringing of the bells calls you to the church for singing and prayer; the sons of the Church await you there with offerings for the Bloodless Sacrifice. But no, it is true: neither the ringing of the bells, nor my voice, nor the voice of all of us is able to awaken you from such a sound sleep! Repose into the sound of the Archangel’s trumpet!

O God! Thou beholdest our sorrow, Thou hearest the groaning of our hearts, Thou beholdest the streams of tears which bedew our eyes. We dare say to Thee: Where do we have an instructor and counsellor for our salvation? Where shall we obtain consolation in sorrows and dangers? And if Thine is the word that Thou wishes all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth and of salvation is acquired in much counsel–then why hast Thou taken this wise instructor, guide, and mentor of our salvation?… We do not dare say more. They righteousness is righteousness forever, and They word is truth: Earth thou art, O brother, and to earth dost thou return, just as we all do.

Therefore, falling down, we pray to Thee, O merciful Lord: Show Thy mercy to this Thy servant who has departed from us; enter not into judgement with him, for if Thou wilt see iniquities, O Lord, who will be able to stand, even if he live only one say upon the earth? But receive into the hand of They sovereign defense us who have become orphans in the instruction of They world and truth, and be Thyself for us the guide and leader on the path of our salvation, life, and light!

Let give a last kiss to our unforgettable father and wise instructor: let us bedew his dust with tears and offer up fervent prayers for his repose in the bosom of Abraham.

And you, our father! We entreat you with our final petition, if the Lord gives you boldness before the throne of His majesty: Do not forget us, as you promised, visiting our souls and hearts, entreating grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On our lips and in our hearts let there never cease this constant cry: Memory eternal! Forgive us! Peace be to you! Go in peace to the Heavenly mansion prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Amen.


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