|Fr. Roman Braga of blessed memory.|
Attached below, you will find two extraordinary pieces that I hope you will take the time to read carefully.
The one on Archimandrite Roman Braga was written by Dr. Dan Henshaw. Dr. Henshaw was Fr. Roman's personal physician throughout Fr. Roman's last illness and final death process. It amounts to an eyewitness bedside account of the death of a person who was "righteous" in the full biblical sense of that term: "Blessed are the righteous ... "
If we can speak of the "art of living," then we need to acknowledge the "art of dying," and that is present in these deeply-felt reflections. In fact, Fr. Roman's entire life was a preparation for its inevitable end. (Something to think long and hard about). His death may not have been "painless," but it appears to have been "blameless and peaceful," and we can be assured that he presented a "good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ." Ultimately, there is more here than the much-desired "death with dignity." Dr. Henshaw delivered this talk at the memorial meal of Fr. Roman on the day of his funeral and burial. The pain and suffering of Fr. Roman's death process are not hidden, but again, you sense "other realities" also at work here. In fact, I believe that we are here given a momentary glimpse into the paschal nature of death that we seek based on the paschal mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ.
In short, there is much to be learned and meditated upon in this brief, but powerful witness from Dr. Henshaw.
The other essay by Archimandrite Vasilios is a profound supplement to what Dr. Henshaw witnessed in Fr. Roman. It is a deeply-conceived and thoroughly Christocentric reflection upon the meaning of life and death from a revered elder and man of deep prayer. This essay takes us into the deepest depths and layers of Orthodox Christianity.
I would like to thank Presvytera Deborah for preparing these two works for distribution to the parish.