Reflections on the funeral of Archpriest John Lee

Held 1st of July 2014

Father John’s funeral was magnificent, befitting the man. As the large congregation gathered to venerate his body while the clergy read the Gospel, we were given time to reflect on just how important was the occasion; and how large a part Father John had played in so many lives. There was an air of expectation, which was fulfilled when Shanta and family, with the women resplendent in white saris, processed with great dignity into the church.

That not only the congregation but the clergy, too came from diverse parishes and jurisdictions underlined the fact that Father John had touched so many people over the years of his ministry. We were all so moved by our loss. Both Father Patrick, our Dean, and Father Stephane from Father John’s own parish spoke with breaking voices. Somehow the two and a half hours passed in an instant, as we were caught up in the prayer of the Church for its beloved priest.

Father John was not my spiritual father, but he had been my confessor since the death of Metropolitan Anthony. He had led our parish, wisely and with good grace. We all knew him as a man with no ‘side’: very human, but always a priest; reverent in his bearing, dedicated to the Church unswervingly; conscientious despite years of poor health. Now we had before us the opportunity to sing our thanksgiving for this dedication and to pay our last respects to an outstanding pastor.

And so we said our farewells. But we did not bury Father John. We buried his tired, worn body, which we are confident will rise again renewed and glorious on the Last Day, to be reunited with his spirit which is now face to face with the Lord he served so faithfully. Eternal Remembrance, Father John!

Gillian Crow