His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Eulogy for John Halecky, Jr., Archon Ekdikos
January 3, 2022
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Westfield, New Jersey
Dear children, John and Nadine,
Beloved Justin, Amanda, Jennifer and Cassandra,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We begin this new year with a profound loss – a loss for you, his beloved family, for our Ecumenical Patriarchate, for our Church here in America, and for the Order of Saint Andrew, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who are so well -represented here today.
John Halecky, the man of his family — the man of his Church, is not someone who can boil down to any quality or quantity of eloquence. His devotion to both his family and his Church is sufficient testimony of a life well lived.
And as we entrust his mortal remains to the earth today – with tears, with prayers and with songs; we also hope its immortal the soul will find eternal rest in Him who has promised us that:
Whoever sees the Son and believes in him has eternal possession
life: and I will raise him up at the last day.1
This is the faith by which John lived his whole life; a nourished faith in the wonderful Carpatho-Rusyn tradition, with its rich history and a legacy he generously shared with his Greek brothers and sisters.
As a son of this Carpatho-Rusyn tradition, John brought to his participation in the Order of Saint Andrew a deep respect and devotion at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. He embodied the old saying: “Neither in Rome, nor in Moscow, but in Constantinople!” He manifests the best of its Carpatho-Rusyn roots, reflecting the journey of this ecumenical throne diocese in America — a quest for the authentic life of the Church which was known in the “old country”.
Within the Order of St. Andrew, John was a powerful force for unity and inclusion. He shared with us all his special affinity with all our Slavic Brethren. He was outspoken in his advocacy for the good of the Mother Church, and would not hesitate to express her thoughtful thoughts opinions.
It is for all of this and more that John was named National Vice-President Commander, occupying the same position as another son of this parish and Grand Benefactor of the Mother Church, the late Nicholas J. Bouras. In In fact, John was awarded the Bouras Prize in 2012 for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship, with his friend and brother Archon, late James Fountas.
John was a man of integrity and longevity. His commitment to Christ and his Church were like his commitment to his family and friends: faithful, constant, enduring. He actively practiced his faith, living the daily Christian life, and kept his family at the forefront of every one of his thoughts.
There is a reason His Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew chose John as one of the esteemed members of the official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2004 during the Feast of the Throne of Saint Andrew at the Phanar. John was there to help receive – from the Vatican itself – the restored relics of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory the Theologian. It was at a critical time turning point in the relationship between Old Rome and New Rome. John’s ecumenical awareness was a vital component of his service to the church.
I have spoken a great deal about the ministry of Jean – and I use this word very specifically, because it was a great sacrificial service to the Church. Nevertheless, it’s all of you – his beloved family and friends – who bear the brunt of this painful loss today.
For us who bear the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we do not be saddened like others who are desperate, 2 the challenge of facing the the death of a loved one still exists – that acute pain is still a reality. For like the Holy Apostle Paul says:
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 3
We know that in Christ we overcome death — because Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death underfoot, and to those who tombs He grants eternal life. But the pain of this moment can’t be avoid. In fact, we have to go through grief and pain. We can not reach Easter Sunday without first experiencing Good Friday. For verily, my beloved friends, there is no Resurrection without Crucifixion. But the essence of both it’s love :
Love for the sacrifices John gave during his rich and full life.
The love that was his motivation to give the best of himself every day.
A love that reminds us that our grief is, in reality, the love we are now unable to express, for John has made his way to that unknown land to which we must all travel.
Therefore, as we lay his earthly vessel to rest today, let us embrace this love – both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The first knows present suffering. He knows our future hope.
And as we pray for John’s eternal rest in the Lord, let us reach out to one another in mercy, forgiveness and the love that heals every wound and binds every broken heart.
May the Lord of all grant to his servant, John, eternal peace and rest with the angels of heaven, in the dwellings of the saints and in the tabernacles of the righteous, through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, and of all the Saints. Amen.
Αἰωνἰα ἡ μνἠμη αὐτοῦ.
May his memory be eternal.
1 John 6:40
2 Cf. I Thess. 4:13
3 I Corinthians 15:26