My priest, Father Alexander is retiring form parish priesthood at the end of June, and taking a job at St. Tikhon's Seminary. This will be good for him: less work, and time to undergo chemotherapy for his stage four cancer. He joked that if/when he dies, it will cut costs for Olga to bury him, that she could just roll him down the hill. Apparently he's already purchased his burial plot there.
He'd already made the announcement on Friday evening to a small group at the Akathist service, and a friend told me yesterday. Then, today after Liturgy he told everyone. Father Gregory led us in standing up and shouting Axios! (Worthy!) and we sang "God grant you many years"...rather feebly and through tears.
I'm sad. I'm selfish and I'm sad. It's taken me this long just to start to "click" with Fr. Alexander, since I think he's rather hard to "read". But when he told me recently that I"m the funniest person (or one of the funniest) he's ever met, I realized that he's been getting my wisecracks all along and just never lets on. Yeah, that's me. Wisecracks. In front of the priest and bishop. The thing I said that got him to say that is when I looked at Bishop Mark and said: "I sure do miss me some of that doctrine of eternal security!" ;-)
But I think St. Tikhon's is getting a very wonderful gift in Father Alexander and Matushka Olga. What precious, precious people!
And now we pray that God would send us a very good priest who is better for us than we all deserve, and who can be a Father and a shepherd to this large flock. Please keep St. Michael's, and Bishop Mark, and Father Alexander and Matushka Olga (and their grown kids) in your prayers as we all undergo this transition in our various ways.