Last night I was scanning through some posts on Facebook when the falling asleep of Metropolitan Philip was announced. As with all things social media related, one has learned to wait for confirmation from official sources. As more and more people began to post about it became clear that he has in fact fallen sleep. I knew that he has been struggling with health issues after a recent heart attack but one was not ready for this news.
His Eminence was larger than life and when one thinks of the Antiochian Archdiocese one thinks of Metropolitan Philip. My prayers are with his family and with the Archdiocese as they mourn the loss of their beloved leader.
In a tangential way Metropolitan Philip was a player in my decision to become Orthodox even though I cannot recall actually meeting him. You see when my journey began I read two books, Becoming Orthodox by Fr. Peter E. Gillquist and Facing East by Frederica Matthews Green. Both of these books were influential in my decision to become Orthodox and both of these authors are Orthodox because of Metropolitan Philip.
The period of Great Lent has become a little sadder with this news but as a Christian I also rejoice and I know that he will continue to watch over his beloved Archdiocese from a different position now.
Syedna Philip if it were not for you and your vision of an Orthodox America I might not be Orthodox today. Thank you for your many years of service to God and His Church here on earth and I ask for your prayers now and in the future.
Vesnica Pomenire! Memory Eternal!