The first annual Memorial Service of the late Metropolitan of Pisidia, (formerly of Korea) Sotirios, was held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour in Kapyeong, Korea.
The Divine Liturgy and Memorial Service was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand, with co-celebrants the Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea and Exarch of Japan as well as seven priests.
Numerous faithful from all the Parishes of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea participated in the event in order to express their gratitude to their late spiritual father. The family of the late Metropolitan Sotirios was represented by His niece Mrs. Eleni Trampas, who traveled from Switzerland.
Before the start of the Memorial Service the Metropolitan of Korea said the following:
My dear brothers and sisters,
Our blessed Spiritual Father, Metropolitan Sotirios, whose first annual Memorial we celebrate at this Eucharistic gathering, left us as a sacred bequest, among others, the following words:
I’m not afraid of death.
“For I desire to depart from this world and be with Christ, who is better than all” (Phil. 1:23). What I fear and think about daily is my plea before the Judge on the day of my judgment.
I’m not afraid of death. This shocking message is sent to all of us from Heaven where he is now.
His message was and has always been about the Resurrection. And when he lived among us in body, but also now that he lives among us in spirit.
I am not afraid of death, he told us, when he saw that the time of his departure from this world was approaching. In fact, he waited with longing for this hour, to be with Christ, whom he loved so much in his earthly life and worked so much for His glory, ministering with self-denial to each of his neighbors indiscriminately.
I am not afraid of death, he repeated because he believed in the Resurrection. Because he firmly believed in what it is mentioned in the Creed: “I expect the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come”.
How can one not be afraid of death, one might wonder. Is such a thing possible? To reach the fearlessness of death, one must have loved Christ a lot in his life; he must have struggled a lot to imitate Christ; he must have believed strongly in Christ, as the only true God.
Therefore, for us to attain the fearlessness of death; to overcome the fear of death, which is the condition of the transitory man, we must necessarily love, like our spiritual Father did, first of all, Christ «with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind…» and secondly, «to love our neighbor as ourselves» (Mt. 22:37-39).
My dear brothers and sisters,
The annual Memorial Service of our spiritual Father, which we celebrate today, will have a positive sign for each of us only if we imitate His faith and love for Christ and our neighbor.
Let us come, please, to venerate His tomb, to draw spiritual strength, so that we live “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27). This is how “the ends of our lives will be Christian, painless, shameless, peaceful”, and we will deserve to have “a good apology at the terrible judgment of Christ”. Amen.
After the end of the Memorial Service, everyone was directed to the tomb of the blessed Metropolitan Soterios, the funeral Trisagion Service was held, which was followed by the common meal of love in the forecourt of the Monastery. A special 20-page booklet, dedicated to him, was distributed to all the participants, starting with a letter by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, followed by his biography, the ergography, and his Will, and finally by the farewell letter of the late Metropolitan Soterios, which he sent on November 24, 1975, to his parishioners of the parish of Agia Skepi Papagou-Athens, just a few days before he left for Seoul.
Therefore, let us all be inspired by the life and sanctified example of this great missionary Hierarch of the Church, who is now in Heaven, as HE Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand expressed as a wish, who also recited the paternal greetings and blessings of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Flock of the Korean Orthodox Church.
Source and photos: Metropolis of Korea