Monthly Message from Fr. Timothy - October 2020
THE CENTENNIAL REMEMBRANCE OF THE BLESSED REPOSE OF OUR HOLY FOUNDER
THE PRIEST +GEORGE DOW MALOOF
TRISAGION PRAYERS OF MERCY: SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER
October 23rd marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the blessed repose of the servant of God, Father +George Dow Maloof, the founder and spiritual father of our parish. He fell asleep in the Lord peacefully on 23 October 1920 at his apartment above his beloved St. George Church at 32 Hudson Street surrounded by his loving family and parishioners. He had completed twenty years of selfless service to the people of God in Boston. History records that he was a tireless laborer in the vineyard of the Lord. Fr. George enjoys a reputation for holiness as a pastor, missionary, teacher, peace-maker and spiritual father.
Newspaper accounts of the day report that thousands of mourners gathered on Hudson Street to remember their beloved priest and spiritual leader. His funeral was delayed more than a week so that clergy and laity could arrive from out of town. They arrived from Montreal, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Allentown, Washington, D.C., Kansas and Texas. Bishop Germanos Shehadi of Zahle, a life long friend of Fr. George, led an official delegation from New York. Bishop Germanos officiated at the funeral services surrounded by priests from near and far. Syrians, Russians, Greeks and Americans, Orthodox and Catholics all came together to honor the revered priest.
Witnesses claim that the area around the church and home where the mortal remains of Fr. George lay in repose was filled with the sweet aroma of roses. It is said that the fragrant sent remained for weeks following his funeral. Some of the faithful took snippets of his beard and hair as relics. Clergy and parishioners took turns reading Psalms in his presence. On Sunday morning, 31 October, Bishop Germanos presided at the Divine Liturgy and led the Funeral Service for a priest. The street was crowded as the funeral procession left the church and proceeded to Mount Hope Cemetery in Mattapan. The body of Fr. George was laid to rest in a new grave at the top of a hill overlooking the cemetery where he had buried so many of his beloved parishioners and countrymen.
When Fr. Herith Ibreham visited us from the Balamand, he noted that the life and work of Fr. George was well known in his homeland as a ‘holy man with a kind and generous heart’. Father noted that the name of Fr. George has been included on a list of prospective men and women whose glorification as Saints is now being considered by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
As his spiritual children here at St. George Church of Boston, we can best honor his memory by actively supporting the cause of his canonization as a Saint of the Holy Orthodox Church. As is the custom in our tradition, we can invoke his intercession on our behalf and ask Fr. George to pray to God for us.
We can use his image as a focal point of our prayers and venerate his memory as we attempt to emulate his example in our lives. Holy cards with the picture of Fr. George have been printed and are available at the candle stand. Parishioners are encouraged to take one and recite the prayer printed on the card. We hope to make his reputation known, and we encourage you to share this card with your family and friends.
To canonize someone means that the Church has decided to add that person to the official canon [list] of saints. There are many reasons for including a person on the list of Saints. The most obvious is that the person is known to have lived a 'saintly' life in service to Christ and the Gospel, Fr. George was such a person. His life should serve as an inspiration for all of us.
For most of the Churches' history, saints were ‘recognized’ without any formal declaration or canonization. The local parish simply began to remember in their prayers well-known holy Christians from their community. The faithful asked the holy person to pray to God for them. They also asked for the person to help in time of need. People often visit their grave to offer prayers and ask for their intercession. The faithful received comfort from their prayers, just as they had received comfort from the holy person when they were alive.
The process of ‘recognizing a person as a saint’ is determined mainly by the local Orthodox community. For those who know his story, Fr. George certainly qualifies as a Saint of the church.
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of his repose, TRISAGION PRAYERS of MERCY will be offered here on SUNDAY, 18 OCTOBER after which we will visit his grave at Mount Hope to offer prayers for his intercession.
As we commemorate the centennial of his repose, we earnestly ask our father the Priest George to intercede for us and offer his prayers before Almighty God for the welfare of his spiritual children.
With Blessings Fr. +Timothy
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