This is a photo taken by Fr Mark at the funeral of Metropolitan Laurus on Friday. It's not very good quality, but I like that in the icon directly over his body, the saints appear to be watching the event and talking among themselves.
When he began to appear on television screens four years ago, he seemed a strange man for the Russian public. Bearing the high title of Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, he was dressed accordingly. He met with President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Alexy II and then signed on May 17, 2007 the historical act on communion of the Orthodox Church in Russia and abroad, thus putting an end to the tragic division of the Russian people in the 20th century. He was ceremoniously met around the country and showered with orders and prizes. But his image starkly contrasted with the image of a church authority or, for that matter, any other leader that we are used to.
The apparently feeble old man was inarticulate and barely audible. During solemn services, he moved around without due pomp. He constantly seemed pensive or sleepy. Receiving awards from top Russian leaders, when it’s just about time for a high-flown patriotic speech, he would say modest thanks, but mainly a homily – on the Holy Trinity, for example, or on Divine Love...
Read the rest here.