Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Traditionally, if any event in the Church coincided with a church festival, then next years it is celebrated in accordance with the church (but not secular) calendar. Therefore, we celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of our Bishop on the 4th Sunday after Easter.
This year we celebrated the 15th anniversary of his consecration. By the invitation of Fr. Daniel Burlakov, rector of the parish of Saint Mary in Tomsk, our Bishop celebrated the Eucharist and the anniversary there.
The Bishop said to us,
A bishop is not a position, it is a bridge from Christ to priests. The bishop ordains priests, and then they serve on his behalf. Is it easy? Outwardly, it may seem that being a bishop is not much different from being a priest. A shirt of glamorous (as one American said to me) color, a mitre on his head and a crosier in his left hand. But you know, I almost died when five bishops laid hands on me 15 years ago, and I’m still dying [cf. 1Cor. 15:31].
And every time I die when I ordain someone to the priesthood; it seems that I physically feel how strength comes out of me, and after that I want to fall and lie down, and not get up. This is some kind of mysticism, you may say, and you will be right. Yes, this is mysticism. Someone would have told me about it earlier, just 15 years earlier, I would not have believed it.
But the Church decided that I should become a bishop in Siberia, and I hope that this was not a mistake. It was not a mistake. And when I feel how tired I am, how unworthy I am for this ministry, when I say that I am too sinful and unclean, as it is, remember, in the Gospel, when Peter shouted, “Get out of my boat, Lord!” [Lk 5:8], the Lord does not get out of my boat. On the contrary, He tells me that I must stop whining but should move on.
To move on, how scary is to move on. Well, I don’t know if I’m happy about today’s anniversary. It is been a tough 15 years, and I wish it all ended as soon as possible. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
But God has His plans and His goals. And it is well said that He does not send us more trials than we are able to bear [cf. 1Cor. 10:13]. So it is what it is. Probably, we just need to stop thinking about ourselves, and, when putting our hand on the plow, do not look back [Lk 9:62], but continue our work.
Our work. This is what He has given us. So, if it be His will, we will not die, but we will live and proclaim the works of the Lord [from Ps. 117:17]. And we will continue our ministry, in which someday, instead of the current constant stress, we will find the long-awaited rest.
Thank you all for always praying for me, and specially for being patient with me. I love you, brothers and sisters, and holy fathers, and by your prayers I will try to continue to serve the Lord and you.
Also during the Mass, the Bishop gave confirmation to Vera Dmitrievna, who once began to visit the church after her granddaughter.
Please pray for our Bishop Vsevolod and Lutheran clergymen, and for the parishioners in Tomsk, and for Vera Dmitrievna.