What I Saw at the Reburial: Part II

Once Fr Gerasim was off the phone, I asked him point-blank: “Is the body incorrupt?”

“It appears so. They should be here in a little over an hour. Let’s get ready.”

In the Cathedral, a whirl of activity was now taking place. A few more people started showing up. I told one or two that Vladyka would be arriving any minute. Looking at my smartphone, I saw the time –1:00. I figured he should arrive by 2:00 or so.

Fr Gerasim told me to grab an acolyte’s vestment (I wasn’t expecting this) so I chose one and had one of the priests in the Sanctuary bless it before I put it on. All of a sudden, time started losing meaning. Somebody came into the Cathedral and told us that the hearse had arrived. Things had obviously progressed quicker than expected. The time was now about 1:30, a good thirty minutes ahead of schedule.

My heart started racing. There was no way that Vladyka’s vestments could have been removed and new ones put on in such a short period of time if his body had been in a state of decay.

There were about a dozen of us inside the Cathedral and another eight or so outside. We all rushed out to greet the hearse.

I noticed Vladimir Grigorenko was already standing outside. Vladimir was one of the subdeacons who had taken part in the disinternment and I really wanted to go over to speak to him. Instead, I merely waved. It was all very surreal, I didn’t know what was appropriate. Six of us (myself included) went to the hearse in order to grab the coffin as it was being slowly rolled out by the funeral directors. Not a word was said. Everything else could wait.

Quietly, we carried the coffin into the Cathedral and placed it on a bier which had been prepared for this event. Many of us kissed the coffin in reverent fashion and then formed a semi-circle around the coffin. Fr Gerasim pointed to me (for what reason I don’t know) and asked me to start the Trisagion Prayer.

In a half-conscious drone, I intoned: “O heavenly King, O Comforter, O Spirit of Truth…” After I was done, Fr Gerasim took over from there.

Once we were finished, I saw Vladimir emerge from the Sanctuary. He came over to me, bent down and grabbed my shoulder. Leaning in, I could tell he was serious. “You may write that his body is incorrupt” he told me in his thick, lovable Ukrainian accent.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

He then pulled out his smartphone and showed me literally dozens of photos of Vladyka’s body. “The stench was horrible. Water had flooded in and he was floating in a stagnant pond. His body should have decomposed.”

Vladimir didn’t have to say anything else. I knew enough about dead bodies to know that there was no way that such a scenario could lend to natural mummification. Especially of a body that had not been embalmed.

It was all too much to take in. I had literally arrived a little over an hour earlier just wanting to be part of his reburial. I didn’t expect anything more. Just the fact that he was going to be laid to rest in his beloved Cathedral was enough for me –enough for most of us I dare say.

To be sure, I had entertained notions over the last couple of years about his body being incorrupt but I never really put much stock into it one way or the other. I know enough to say that uncorruption is not the only criterion for sainthood. That being said, I couldn’t say that I was surprised. I’d had one experience of Vladyka since his repose (as have others) that it seemed almost natural, expected in a way. As some have written, those of us who knew him and his works in the Diocese of the South were already convinced that he was a saint regardless of the state of his body or where he was buried. The impression Vladyka made on people who loved him was that profound.

But here I was now, standing along the south wall of the Cathedral, staring at his coffin on the bier. Suddenly I was tired so I sat down on a chair and tried to collect my thoughts. More people were filing in. I’d say there were about twenty-five or so. A Reader opened the Psalter which was on the lectern and started reading the Psalms.

Fr Basil Zebrun came over to me and asked if I wanted to read. Of course I said yes. Waiting my turn, I read but only for about ten minutes. I was getting fatigued; I don’t even remember which Psalms I had read. I’d waken up early and truth be told I had maybe only four hours of good sleep, so I went and sat back down.

Listening to the Psalms, I started to nod off. I got up and asked Fr Basil where I could get a cup of coffee. He told me some places nearby and so I drove a little ways and saw an Einstein Bros. Bagel outlet but they had already closed. It was now three o’clock. Driving further I saw a Panera Bread. Even though it was Friday, I got a bagel with cream cheese and washed it down with a couple of mugs of coffee. (What I would have done for Vladyka’s famous “Bishop’s Blend” –that stuff would put hair on anybody’s chest!)

Pulling out my Android, I started texting people back in Tulsa. “Vladyka’s remains are incorrupt.”

My immediate worry was that there would be an embargo on the photos of Vladyka’s remains. Maybe I’m being unfair here but my estimation of the Americanized administrative culture of Syossett didn’t lend itself to traditional Orthodox praxis in this regard. So I sipped my last gulp of coffee and resolved to get to Vladimir in order to make sure that his photo archive wasn’t sequestered, or worse yet, purged on somebody’s orders. Vladimir’s a good guy –obedient to a fault, especially to a bishop. Me, not so much.

Picking up my tray, I left Panera and headed back to the Cathedral. It was a little after four and parking was now difficult so I had to park on the street. Word had spread quickly. A lot of people were now milling about outside the Cathedral, over a hundred at least. I would soon find out that there were about another hundred or so inside.



  1. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    In the Orthodox Church exhuming remains is usually the LAST step before glorification of a Saint ALREADY FAR-FAMED for his miracles, like St John of San Francisco& Shanghai. I see, however, that something else is at work here. Is it not the “Americanized culture” of which George complained in witnessing against “Syosset?”

    • George Osborne says

      Obviously his remains had to be transferred from the old coffin to the new one and new vestments apparently were a necessity. Honestly, Bishop, I don’t understand the animus you seem to exhibit whenever you mention Vladika’s Dimitri. You seem to be reaching whenever you comment on this subject to make negative comments. Look there are some of us who new Vladika’s and loved him warts and all. If he is a saint, God will provide. If he is not, he was and remains a blessing for many.

      • Anonymous says

        I think Bishop Tikhon’s skepticism and tack is both kind and wise, intentionally or otherwise. There are many factors that go into the rate of decay of a corpse. There are surely some corpses that are mummified in their coffins. Even the amount of water in the body at death would be a variable. The water in the coffin probably happened very near to the exhumation as well. All of that is meaningless. If people loved Dmitri; they ought to write about his works in bringing people to the Lord, not his dried up corpse. Bishop Tikhon deserves a thank you.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        George Osborne, you wrote,
        “I don’t understand the animus you seem to exhibit whenever you mention Vladika’s (SIC) Dimitri.” To what “animus” do you refer?
        By the way, Vladyka INSISTED that his name be spelled in Russian,rather than Church Slavonic. Russian is two syllables: DMI-TRI. Church Slavonic is three syllables: DI-MI-TRI. Remember, George that I was a close friend of his for years before you ever met him. I attended St Seraphim from 1962-65; he ordained me to the Diaconate in 1971; he was one of the hierarchs who consecrated me Bishop of San Francisco in 1987.
        He himself was an ENEMY of “short cuts”, and I can’t believe he would be enthusiastic about the fuss being made over his exhumation.
        I see that a statement of the OCA’s Holy Synod, i.e., “Syosset” is amazingly being used as an authority. That statement was a reaction to questions raised about the canonizations of Jacob Netsvetov and Alexis Tovt. Some, including Vladyka Dmitri himself, took exception to it.
        I assure you, George, I am as anxious as, or more anxious than, you to respect the memory of ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri.

        • George Osborne says

          Thank you, Vladika, for your kind note. I certainly agree with you that time and the will of the Holy Spirit over time, will most certainly sort out the issue of Vladka Dimitri’s sanctity. And, I also agree that there should not be a rush to judgement either pro or con. I remember a quip I once heard a while ago that the canonization of St. John of San Francisco was delayed due to the need for some additional funerals to take place first. Truly the good that men do is oft interred with their bones! Certainly Vladika would have been in a tizzy if someone ever mentioned his name in connection with sainthood but it is God who glorifies Himself in his saints rather than the other way around. Frankly, knowing a bit about post-mortem human physiology, I have to think God provided a pretty spectacular attention-grabber when the relics were uncovered in such condition of apparent preservation. It may have been a case of “Now that I have your attention….” I think we can all agree that if the Good Lord desires this thing, no one will be able to gainsay it even if it takes several decades to occur. Oh, and by the way, when I said some funerals may need to occur first, I wasn’t referring to you to whom I wish Many Years!

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Thank YOU, George, for recognizing how little we understand about anything.
            y the way, FOR ALL YOU AND I KNOW, many, many dead people’s remains in this country may be as “incorrupt” as those of ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri’s! Many, many! However, it’s very difficult in America to be buried without embalming–almost everyone is embalmed. You can get out of it in most states, according to undertakers, only if you are buried within 24 hours of decease. NO ONE can say with any degree of certainty that the condition of Archbishop Dmitri’s remains is unusual! For all we know, the diet, life-style, and medical history of MOST Americans prevents the degree of decaying found in earlier, different societies!
            Another note about the OCA statement: none of the saints canonized by the OCA had undecayed relics, IF THEY HAD REMAINS AT ALL! For example, the grave of St /jacob Netsvetov still has not been located with certainty, since at the time the process of his canonization began NO ONE in Alaska had any memory of him at all! He was, after all, only “discovered” because a convert Archpriest found his diary in a library and, after reading it, decided he was a Saint! Ofcourse the contents of the diary were enthusiastically taught to and gratefully received by the Alaskans as soon as the project was initiated. As Vladyka Dmitri wryly remarked relative to the canonization of Saint Alexis of Minneapolis and Wilkes-Barre: We all want to have “our own” Saint!

            The OCA has a committee investigating to see who can be canonized. The only precedent for such a committee was the action of the Russian Church which had been prevented from canonizing ANYONE, especially those who were martyred by the government! But even the Russians never went around, “Who can we find to canonize?” They didn’t need to prove anything!

            • However, it’s very difficult in America to be buried without embalming–almost everyone is embalmed.

              As an aside — The mortuary cartel is a serious issue. I sincerely hope the green funeral movement is able to roll back these unreasonable rules.

              • George Michalopulos says

                It’s a bloody racket if you ask me.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Great book: A Christian Ending. There are folks who will do a traditional Christian burial for little or no money. My parish has an incipient burial guild which cuts the funeral business out of it and returns the care of the dead and the living to the community of God.

                • That is a good book; I have read it. Unfortunately, some states require the purchase of mortuary services. A few even require a funeral director sign the death certificate. They say it’s for sanitary reasons, but how sanitary is dumping gallons of formaldehyde into the soil?

                  These kinds of laws would be worth lobbying against. One would think traditional Jews and Muslims would all be in favor of this.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    In many states traditional Jews have a religious exemption. No reason we can’t too.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      There is not a whole lot of information out there about glorification in the Church. There is Wikipedia, which I know can be wrong, so I am going to ask if the following is true:

      “When an individual who has been sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit falls asleep in the Lord, God may or may not choose to glorify the individual through the manifestation of miracles. If He does, the devotion to the saint will normally grow from the ‘grass roots’ level. . .”

      If true, then a Saint does not have to be far-famed before his passing (hope I’m using this word correctly). Even the OCA acknowledges: “While the glorification of a saint may be initiated because of miracles, it is not an absolute necessity for canonization.”

      It will be interesting to see if the OCA forms a Canonization Commission. The worst thing they can do is do nothing, because each day they do nothing, the “grass roots” thing is going to grow. . . without them.

      The OCA could use a Saint about now. We all could.

      • Monk James says

        Perhaps Gail Sheppard and others might find this interesting:


      • M. Stankovich says


        “God is θαυμαστὸς [wonderful/marvellous] in His saints [ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ]!” (Ps. 67:36) Always and forever, without question, and unquestionably. The veneration of the Saints has always begun at the “grass roots” level, often with iconographic depiction and hymnography, and short of the proposterous, no one does wrong to follow their inclination to believe in the sanctity and holiness of someone whose life was edifying and exemplary.

        The Church, however, is called to a higher standard, as made clear by the Apostle John:

        Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 Jn 4:1-6)

        Obviously, people have believed many things based purely upon their emotions – and many worked miracles in the name of the Lord who were anything but saints. Time, in this case, is a gift; an excerise of wisdom and prudence aligned with our Tradition. God will reveal whatever is necessary in His own time.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Thank you, Michael. I’m still confused, though. It seems as if few disagree with the process, most want to be prudent, but some feel that even forming a commission to look into it would be ill-advised. How does one know the right time? Specifically, how does one know that God IS NOT revealing His intent for a commission to be formed, today, as opposed to some point in the future?

          Christ was glorified in an instant. The Theotokos was known to be a Saint when she was 4 (I think) and entered the Holy of Holies. The Apostles had to wait only a few weeks until Pentecost. God has wanted things to move VERY quickly, on occasion.

          I’m also confused as to why some would react negatively to others saying they believe he is a Saint. Couldn’t this be part of the grass roots swell that is normally associated with the process?

          It almost seems as if people are afraid of the implications of even acknowledging the POSSIBILITY that this man is a Saint. If I am reading this correctly, what is the downside of saying you believe someone is a Saint, especially if at least one of the signs is present? In this case there are actually 2 signs present. I heard, before his falling asleep, that there were many in the South who believed he was a Saint. I remember as a catechumin thinking that it would be a true blessing if I were able to meet him. If even *I* heard about this man, at a time when I was not so connected to what was going on in the Church, surely everyone else did, right? And then of course, there is what George reported about his remains. That’s 2 of the signs.

          If he IS a Saint, why wouldn’t we want to know now? If he ISN’T a Saint, same question.

          If God has determined it, it IS, as we speak. If He hasn’t, it will never be. Nothing is going to change on that front.

          Nothing is going to change about the way he lived his life, either.

          Nothing is going to change in the mind of a believer.

          It seems to me that one MUST at least entertain the idea, both in the tangible (his life, his remains, number of miracles attributed to him, etc.) and the intangible (belief) world, to determine just what sort of phenomena we’re dealing with. To me, sooner rather that later would be advantageous. You would not want more and more people believing something, if it weren’t true. More importantly, if it IS true, you would want as many of the Faithful as possible to benefit by directing their prayers, accordingly. Why withhold such a blessing?

          I remember when I was first exposed to the Church at St. Anthonys. Father Paisios saw me on a bench and asked me, “Do you love the Church?” I didn’t hesitate. He brought me into his office and made me a catechumin. He KNEW.

          Years later with all that MP stuff, I DECIDED I did not want to be Orthodox. It was only then that I realized, my being Orthodox isn’t a decision; it simply is. It is a matter of the heart. I could not then, cannot now, NOT, be Orthodox, regardless of any decision I make. I simply am.

          Shouldn’t these “Saint” things be determined by the heart, as well, and if so, why would they not be able to know, now?

          What am I missing??? I genuinely want to understand.

          • M. Stankovich says


            My sincere apology if I added to the confusion! A simple analogy: in Luke 7 there are four separate references of the Lord made on faith and miracles: regarding the Centurian’s request that his servant be healed, “I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” (7:9); by implication, seeing the funeral procession of the widow for her son, “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, ‘Weep not,'” and he touched the bier saying, “Son, arise.” (v11-17); Jesus is approached by a group who ask, “John Baptist has sent us to you, saying, Are you he that should come? or look we for another?,” and according to their faith He heals their sick & afflicted; and finally, a woman appears where Jesus is taking a meal to anoint him with oil, and when the Pharisees question the appropriateness, “Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (v.7:50) Contrast this where in two places we are told “He [Jesus] could not do any miracles there because of their unbelief [ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν] (Mk. 6:5, Matt. 13:58)

            So, what is the point? Trust your faith in matters such as these. Obviously, you have reasonably and prudently evaluated the life of Archbishop Dmitri and have reached a conclusion. Would the decision/report of a committee “validate” your conclusion? What would happen if they choose to wait five years? Ten years? What if another jurisdiction chooses to glorify him before the OCA (please refer to the history of the glorification of St. Herman of Alaska, who was glorified first by ROCOR, then the by OCA!). Absolutely nothing prevents you from the natural, organic, and traditional process of local individuals and communities assuming the role of initiators of the glorification process; of making known to the Church the life and works of individuals who would otherwise be only known to God. And that being said, what becomes so frequently lost is the fact that, should the Church not undertake a formal glorification, it says absolutely nothing about an individual’s worthiness! They simply have not been revealed in this world.

            Finally, bear in mind that the Baseball Hall of Fame has a full 15-year voting period for entrance. That, Ms. Gail, is a joke.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              As a lifelong baseball fan (some would say it is my personal “religion”–as opposed to Orthodoxy as the divinely revealed truth and way of life and salvation that transcends all man-made “religions”), I must offer a minor correction of your intriguing analogy. Major League Baseball requires only five years between a ballplayer’s final season and eligibility for election on the first ballot to the Hall of Fame. If denied admission to the august body on the first ballot, such a player may remain eligible for annual election for 14 additional years–thus the 15-year span that you cited. To be sure, your point was effective: even baseball heroes must wait for five years before they are proclaimed gods. So what is a few years–or many–for our Lord to reveal that a saint walked among us?

              • M. Stankovich says

                Fr. Alexander,

                I played a joke on my wife that we had the opportunity of a lifetime this year to attend the Baseball All-Star Game right in San Diego’s beautiful Petco Park. She finally agreed. When she finally got around to asking the cost, I told her $6,000 + free parking. Then again, there was always TV… From the cheap seats, I stand corrected.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Michael S., you wrote:
              “(please refer to the history of the glorification of St. Herman of Alaska, who was glorified first by ROCOR, then the by OCA!).”
              I believe St Herman was glorified by OCA and ROCOR on the same day?
              It was the devout monarchist, ST John of Kronstadt who was glorified by ROCOR long before the MP and then OCA recognized such!
              We should be patient and sober in the matter of considering a glorification of Vladyka Dmitri. To begin an OFFICIAL process might stir up the passions of those who may had a conflict with him over the years before many HERE ever heard of him and even a successful defense might sadden or hurt those who love him! Be patient!

              • George Michalopulos says

                I completely agree, Your Grace.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Holy Cow! I’m batting 0-2 on the facts in two days alone. I thought it was the other way around with St. Herman and the Russian Holy Family, to be honest, and I should have looked it up. Thank you, Vladyka Tikhon.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Ok, that makes sense, Your Grace. Thank you. Never thought about it like that.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  You know, Gail, it would also be good if more of us studies the heresy of “aphthartodocetism.” That’s the heresy that says Christ’s body was INCORRUPTIBLE.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    What body? 😉

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Gail, Christ’s.

                    • Regarding departed possible saints, I believe the teaching is that as a result of the concentration of grace in the corpse that decomposition may occur much slower than with an average person. It is the same type of idea behind the veneration of holy relics. Grace is a real spiritual energy, not merely a predisposition of God.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I was being facetious, Your Grace. Christ was resurrected so there was no body subject to corruption.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Gail, if someone beheld Christ at His Nativity and said “that body is not subject to corruption,” that would be heresy. Yes, after Resurrection Christ’s Body still prominently showed wounds.
                      To say that Christ’s Body was NEVER vulnerable to corruption is the heresy I mentioned.

                    • It’s a fairly esoteric point. His Body was subject to corruption and our bodies are subject to corruption. What is not assumed is not deified. However, as Gail said, He did not have time to decompose to any significant extent since His fleshly Body was transformed into a supernatural body with both material and spiritual properties far beyond the fallen bodies we have today. That type of body is what is intended for us in the resurrection.

          • I think it’s just a matter of prudence, and perhaps there is an element of letting any political aspects subside. It’s good to see if it has legs or if there are other elements to it.

            Elder Paisios (+1994), for example, was hailed as a living Saint in his own time but he was only glorified a year or two ago—and 20 years was still considered quick. But the Spirit moved and the timing was right.

  2. Genevieve Evangeline says

    Such a beautiful thing to hear…to be so filled with grace from God that one mimics Christ even unto sleep awaiting the resurection of the dead. It is a shame we all are of such little faith, bickering among ourselves like children, refusing to heed our Chrubic Hymn to set aside all cares of life. It is the Church’s job to produce saints by encouraging the faithful to follow the way of life; and nurishing and healing our souls on the journey. God shows mercy upon whom He shows mercy. Nothing is impossible with God. May God have mercy on us, myself being the worst among all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • I recall reading that Archbishop DMITRI’s patron saint – Saint Dmitri of Rostov – was exhumed some years after his repose at the time of a flooding underneath the cathedral were he had been interred and found to be incorrupt. He was then canonized.
      I, as many in the OCA DOS, have ALREADY EXPERIENCED his intercessions.

  3. Michael Kinsey says

    The body of evidence had a horrible stench. Does it cause you to feel a Heavenly Presence while your body reacts by retching? I am glad I don’t have to make the call on this event. Perhaps a good CSI going over ( respectfully) to get a proven science point of view. Smelly human corpses cannot cause the human spirit to soar like and eagle. I am not being snide, just realistic, some thing doesn’t smell right. Here, I would expect an authentic Heavenly Proof, to assure the faithful of It’s genuine intersession. The Middle ages churches were full of people praying to dog bones, as often as to authenic relic;s

    • George Michalopulos says

      The stench was due to the gallons of water that had seeped into the coffin (which in itself is rather wondrous considering the coffin was sealed and then placed in a sealed vault). Vladyka’s body was literally floating in a fetid, stagnant puddle. There should have been nothing there but bones and rotted clothing.

      Perhaps it’s a good time to mention here that Vladyka was not buried the first time immediately. His unembalmed body lay in repose in the cathedral for several days while bishops and pilgrims came from all over to pay their respects. Several liturgies were celebrated before he was finally laid to rest at Restland.

      The comparison to St Dmitri of Rostov which another commentator is more than a little ironic. Perhaps the young Robert Royster was led by the Holy Spirit to choose the name Demetrius (the Great-martyr of Thessalonika) in the first place? In preparation for the time in which he would then take the name of the latter Russian saint upon his monastic tonsure?

    • Looking at some of those photos from the first article to me it seemed there was still quite a bit “soft flesh” in the hands, legs, like tendons or ligaments, not all dried out, so there still might be more “process” there, decomposition or calcification maybe some of both. When St. Met. Philaret of NY was opened up after 13 years his white Metropolitan Klobuk was all perfect white like just from the dry cleaner was the account. From my experience “white” has always been somewhat more high maintenance like a white car you need to wash it a little more often so fortunately no water seeped in there. Things like lifelong vegetarian diet compared to meat eating which always rots in the gut might factor in perhaps. Then also you do have to know about any “embalming” at any point just with that there could be some “preservation” Lenin’s tomb example of that extreme. Anyway people who knew the Bishop will be able to judge the best by having an overall feel.

  4. Michael Kinsey says

    The modern Churches in the US are not free of the decietfulness of self-serving cleric’s, that plagued the middle ages. I can cite the Blanco, Texas weeping icon, and personally have met the myrr dipper, who told me he did it. Fr Gerasim can verify this, as truthful, as he sent us both out together to dig post holes together. The increase of money from donations can be considerable, as in the middle ages, when relic’s were big business. The well loved bishop cannot be assailed here, as he was reposed in the Lord. Nor can not being incorrupt, cast an aspersion upon him. Sainthood is a perogitive of the Ohly Holy One, given for His Purposes, ONLY. A billion innocent unborn were killed and thier bodies were all corrupted, but thier spirits are in the bosom of Father Abraham, like Lazarus. The Just God does not punish the innocent with eternal damnation. Whatever you decise, it cannot harm the good bishop. There is a difference between wishfull thinking and being of the faithful. You all should fervently pray for Truth, and ask that It prevail in this decision.

  5. Michael Kinsey says

    Can any chemical preparation produce a mummification. Indeed, ask the ancient Egyptians Modern science is even more adept in produing mummification. It is a logical possibility, like controlled demolitioin is concerning the 911 building collapse. I have met many lying snarky twits, and heard Presidents lying through thier teeth. I don’t know anyone in the DOS, but I certainly don’t expect them all to have good and honest hearts, but, just a few.
    I am in a OCA church now, and this is my business.

  6. My 2 cents worth!
    I was holding Vladyka’s hands when he took his last breath and was present at the exhuming and transferring of his body to his new coffin. I helped remove his vestments and replace with new. There was a stench but there was also a true feeling of holiness. I speak of my own feelings only. He has interceded many times for my family while he was living. I call upon his intercession daily in my home as does my family. He may not have had a lot of miracles (that were apparent) but his love and dedication to the church as a whole, his life long commitment to the missions, the growing of the church, the loving way he ministered is enough to prove to me he is a saint not only in his life but also his death. Vladyka, pray for me, a sinner.

    • Sdn Constantin says

      Vladyka, pray for us all!

    • Probably the question of whether he is canonized or not will reflect more on the level of piety in Syosset than Vladyka Dmitri’s, which seems well established.

    • Anonymous says

      Absolutely the best thing printed on the matter. A dead man, a stench, but remember his deeds. Thank you and may the Lord grant you many years.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Anon: to my mind, the stench, which came from the stagnant water –not the body–is more evidence of Vladyka’s sanctity. His body should have decomposed under the circumstances. Instead his flesh was intact and supple. As I’ll comment on in Part III, one of the witnesses actually took video and in looking at three men gently moving him up and from side to side, it looked remarkably like Vladyka in life, as if orderlies in a nursing home or hospital were moving him in order to change the sheets on a bed.

        • One should recall the starets Zosima from the Brothers Karmazov. It is difficult to imagine that he was not intended to be portrayed as a saint.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Of course. Incorruption is not the sine qua non of sanctification. I never said it nor anybody else. We don’t know where or how St Paul was martyred. We don’t even know where his body is buried. Yet he was the greatest of the Apostles.

            All I’m saying, and I dare say the majority of the parishioners of the DOS are saying, is that Vladyka’s life was Christlike in many aspects, his archpastorate not the least among them. That being said, the fact that his unembalmed body has been found to be incorrupt says something profound about his life. Even if his flesh had rotted away to nothing, the impact his life had on American Orthodoxy is profound.

        • Anonymous says

          I find the notion a corpse won’t rot a scientific matter. Praising and deifying Christ and his disciples is less science and more faith.

          • Michael Bauman says

            False dichotomy and therefore a lie.

            • Anonymous says

              What is the main message of Christ?

              What did Christ say about burying the dead?

              • The good news is that the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now, ie, “at hand”. It arrived with Christ for those who could receive it. It is theosis and salvation.

                Our captivity in sin is over. Christ has overcome sin and death, overcome this world. He forged a clear path and sent the Comforter to guide us. That clear path is Orthodoxy, none other. Though we still suffer and die in this fallen world, human nature has been deified. It is only left for the Holy Spirit to spread through the witness of the Church to illuminate, in this life, as many as possible, to care for the least of these, and to await His Return when our bodies and all material reality will be perfected into imperishability. Then will come the terrible Judgment, goats separated from sheep. Sheep to live forever in supernatural bodies with Christ and the Saints in a New Jerusalem.

                And He is coming quickly, probably within many of our lifetimes.

                Christ meant to leave it for the spiritually dead to worry about each others’ materiality. But this has nothing to do with signs of holiness among recently departed Orthodox which is an age old indication of sanctity.

                • Anonymous says

                  Let’s discuss further the second question. The first you answered well I’d say.

                  You said “Christ meant to leave it for the spiritually dead to worry about each others’ materiality.” I think that is a bit of a miss, but sure sounds good.

                  I have always understood it that the living disciple wanted to go bury his father and Christ said to go and proclaim the glad tidings instead. I find the similarities striking that the Orthodox are more concerned with the deceased body of a past father who was already buried once than proclaiming the answer to the first question. Especially when you answer the first so well and especially when it is sort of the second violation of Christ’s message. Since I’m no theologian, perhaps I got it wrong somewhere along the way.

                  I am probably guilty of failing to proclaim the message as bad or worse, but seems reserved for priests.

                  Its much ado this adorning of the dead – again.

                  • AMS,

                    No one is particularly concerned with the quality of preservation of the body except insofar as it is a sign of holiness. No one is concerned about vestiments or revesting the body except in respect of the episcopal dignity and holiness of this vladyka and that when he is raised, he may be raised vested, if God wills it.

                    Concern for the dust to which the body returns is not the issue. God can make sons of Abraham from stones and new, supernatural bodies for us out of divine energy, if/when He so chooses.

                    • Anonymous says

                      So, this is done in case he rises from the dead?

                      I did not know this, thank you.

                      I still don’t know if Christ would agree with the practice.

                    • “I still don’t know if Christ would agree with the practice.”

                      Well, the Church has an easy way to tell WWJD. We look at what has been done consistently by the Church over the ages. Being the Body of Christ, that is what Jesus does.

                      Also, it’s not done “in case” he rises from the dead. It is Orthodox teaching that he will rise from the dead when Christ returns, flesh returning to his bones, and then to meet his Maker and be judged.

          • Anonymous/Stankovich,

            No doubt a corpse will rot if given a chance in this fallen world. But what if there is actually a God Who can send His Holy Spirit to revive even dead flesh?, or even transform it into supernatural flesh? Such a Spirit could preserve flesh as well, if the saint in question had “acquired Him”, so to speak. That is one possible sign of sanctity in Our Faith. Without Faith, of course, one has Nothing. But Nothing does not exist. That is to say, without faith, all one has is illusion.

            • Anonymous says

              Let me just stop your own illusion about reality. I have never met Michael Stankovich. I don’t speak to him except here and if he were on the street, I’d have no idea it were him.

              I find it sad that Michael has allowed himself to be exorcised by you. Some of his friends have told him what I have already seen.

              He is very intelligent and has a mind full of the rich history of the Orthodox Church and for that alone; respect him as a brother in Christ.

              Now, you will again pretend to not listen because you got nothing else to say.

              • Anonymous M. Stankovich,

                You misunderstand me. I am very happy to allow you to remain in your illusion(s) if you so wish. It’s just that I will not make them my illusions as well.


    • Kalo Paradiso Vladika! He let any parishioner be with him who loved him and needed to be, opened himself in love completely until his last breath as in life. The very image and likeness of Christ. Sacred and utterly healing to me to be with him and absolutely consistent with every grace-filled moment with him before he reposed on Old Calendar Dormition, to join Panaghia to whom he was devoted. We know him and love him utterly. What is is. Thank you Rdr Daniel for sharing. Axios. Love in Christ, Nicole

    • Doesn't matter says

      Why is a lay person touching a priest’s (archbishop’s, even!) remains like this? Goodness, this is a breakdown in church order!

  7. Michael Kinsey says

    One last comment on this. TAKE CARE, that ye be not decieved, the Christ’s first revelation of end time events. This Command, if strictly obeyed, will save, many souls for Eternal Life.

  8. Gail Sheppard says

    I understand, Your Grace. Christ’s body was subject to corruption.

    • Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev), writing about the dogmatic authority of our liturgical texts, wrote this: “Another thought expounded in the Synaxarion is that Christ’s body, being subject to corruption (phthora), did not undergo decomposition” (diaphthora). This terminological antithesis was introduced by St John of Damascus to counteract the teaching of the aphthartodocetists on the incorruption of Christ’s flesh.”

      • Monk James says

        Met. Hilarion Alfeev’s thoughts notwithstanding, we have to be very circumspect when we rely on the texts of the services as standards of faith. We’re particularly vulnerable to dualism here, since not all of our liturgical writers were able to make the subtle distinctions necessary for an accurate expression of the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition.

        For example, in the oikos after the kontakion of the funeral service, we sing to God: ‘You alone are immortal’ (incapable of dying). We sing “holy God, holy Mighty, holy Immortal, have mercy on us!’

        Another hymn in the service for burying monastics has us sing ‘O gaping Earth, receive what came from you, for what belongs to God has already returned to Him Who gave it…’

        Like God didn’t give us our bodies, our entire existence’?! This is almost the perfect description of dualism.

        There is no point in acknowledging the eternity and deathlessness of God if any of His creatures is also incapable of dying.

        Yet we also sing hymns to ascetic saints (Mary of Egypt comes to mind) in which we describe the human soul as immortal, but this is an example of dualism, that flesh perishes but spirit endures.

        Not only is there nothing (apart from wishful thinking) in the Tradition to support the notion of the intrinsic immortality of the human soul, our Lord Jesus Christ (MT 10:28) specifically tells us to fear Him Who can destroy us, body and soul in Haides. This is God Himself, Who is always in control of His creation.

        So it’s likely that, when we close our eyes on Earth for the last time, the world will end (at least as far as we’re concerned) and that we will cease to exist. Our next experience will then be our resurrection with Christ Who has come to raise us who have faith in His promises.

        Of course, there are people who try to theologize an ‘intermediate state’ in which we’d spend the ‘time’ between death and resurrection, but they all fail in their explanations since they don’t seem to realize that there is no time in eternity, there are no temporary states or periods. In God’s eternity, there is only NOW.

        Well, back to our original conversation.

        Since our Lord Jesus Christ is 100% human at the same time as He is 100% divine, the very fact that He died in His human nature tells us that — had He not risen from the dead — He would have decomposed like any other corpse.

        But the prophets foretold that this would not happen, and Jesus fulfilled to the letter all the prophecies concerning Him.

        Christ is risen, truly risen!

        ‘Whoever has ears ought to hear!’

        • I quoted the highly educated and well-published Metropolitan Hilarion not only because I happen to share the opinions on liturgical texts that he expressed in the address that I quoted, but also because he has put himself out there in a serious way throughout his years in the church. His “thoughts” on a variety of subjects, meticulously documented, are in the published record of peer reviewed journals, books published by serious publishing entities, and conference presentations — publicly open to criticism and attempted refutation.

          Monk James is welcome to submit for publication contrary views, attempting to refute Metropolitan Hilarion, in one of the many theological journals available. With the good monk’s linguistic accomplishments that he regularly claims, he should have no problem writing such an article for one of the many English, Greek, or Russian language academic journals available, and I will be happy to read said artcle whenever it sees the light of day.

          Paraphrasing one of our former presidents, our respect (although not necessarily agreement) should go to the man who actually gets into the arena to compete in the contest of ideas. All else, no matter how earnestly self-attested, is somewhere in the vicinity of all other off-hand tweets and pajama postings.

          Any reasonable reader can see for himself that the liturgical texts quoted above neither speak of dualism or intrinsic immortality of the soul or whatnot. Metropolitan Hilarion’s correct assertion is that our liturgical texts are the product not of one writer’s opinions, but that their presence in our service books are the result of their having been accepted and attested to by the Church over generations of prayer by saints. I will go with the good Metropolitan.

          • Monk James says

            We are having this conversation HERE, not in journals and elsewhere.

            Without sending me off to have a dispute with Met. Hilarion Alfeev, perhaps ‘Edward’ is so sure in his theological opinions that he can HERE refute my suggestion that some of our liturgical texts are corrupted by the heresy of Dualism?

            If not, then this becomes merely a sort of personalist (reverse ad hominem) fallacy in logic: ‘Edward’ agrees with Met. Hilarion Alfeev’s opinions but disagrees with my opinions, therefore MetHA must be right.

            Will ‘Edward’ tell us who and how many saints agree with MetHA, and since when, and why?

            And when and by whom were the texts I identify as dualist composed and accepted as orthodox? By whom were they approved to be included in our prayers?

            It’s a verifiable fact that things weren’t always as we find them now, and that the texts of our prayers (not to mention our liturgical practices) have evolved over time, not always for the better.

            I adduce the communion spoon as a prime example of undesirable change, since Jesus Christ our Lord tells us to eat His Body and drink His Blood. The spoon doesn’t work for this in distributing Holy Communion to the laity, except for the convenience of the clergy.

            I hope that ‘Edward’ will clarify his position for us.

            • I am happy to clarify, although it will really be more of a restatement, since what I wrote was already clear. “Monk James” sets himself up as an authority — and a very high one, since he ends his post with the words of Christ, applying them to his own assertions “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (I use a less wooden translation.)

              If an Orthodox monk is to make the claim that not only is a theologian of Metropolitan Hilarion’s stature wrong, but that our liturgical texts themselves contain the heresy of dualism (heresy as a result of carelessness or ignorance of proper expression is still heresy), then the burden of proof is entirely on said monk to back up those assertions. Something that gravely serious and important surely deserves a more appropriate forum than Monomakhos, much as I enjoy these little chats. All of the questions Monk James asks me are ones that should be asked and answered in a proper journal article or book and should in addition really be formally brought to the attention of the hierarchy — unless, that is Monk James either doesn’t believe that dualism is a serious theological error or heresy, or unless he perhaps isn’t quite so sure of himself after all.

              What I have outlined is what experts and authorities do — they present their ideas in serious venues and subject them to scrutiny. “Monk James” does not portray himself as a casual internet commenter, even though that seems to be all that he is. He rather portrays himself as an expert to whom others should defer. That is something no one should accept when there is no evidence for academic competence or accomplishments such as journal articles, books, and peer reviewed conference presentations on this or similar subjects.

              Drive-by slanders directed at Orthodox liturgical texts and practices, with serious implications for the faithful who encounter those slanderd shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone. Without rigorous argumentation and evidence that are beyond the scope and competence of Internet chat forums. Especially not from someone claiming to be an Orthodox monastic and an expert on matters liturgical and theological.

              And not only are the texts slandered, but every cleric who has prayed them believing their words to be proper formulations of the faith is slandered as being theologically incompetent. I will add an additional piece of homework for Monk James: in his article, he can also show us which Fathers or respected hierarchs of the church agree with his assertions that our texts contain dualism and statements about the intrinsic immortality of the human soul. If he is right, it is highly unlikely that he will have been the very first one to notice the presence of heresy in our texts.

              Since I have never claimed to be an expert on these subjects, I have no duty to do the homework that “Monk James” should already have done himself before making such assertions. I have read Metropolitan Hilarion’s writings, and I have offered to read the scholarly publications of Monk James that tell the other side of the story. I think that is pretty fair and even handed, and is far from prejudging the matter.

              A self-proclaimed expert who is unwilling or unable to do the hard work of submitting his ideas for review by competent editors and reviewers is no expert at all, but just another guy on the Web shooting off ill-informed opinions when he has nothing bether to do.

              Clear enough?

              • Monk James says

                First, please let me explain that I put ‘Edward’ in quotes because this is not a real name. For ‘Edward’ to put my name in quotes is just petty, since I’m a real person posting with my own name. Perhaps that little dynamic will tell us a lot about who/what we’re dealing with here.

                Then please let me say that ‘Edward’ has advanced no theological or even philosophical points to explain his disagreement with the ideas which I expressed earlier.

                I suspect that ‘Edward’ might be unaware of the theological implications of dualism, and that he might not understand the concept altogether, and so is unprepared to recognize it and its heresy when it appears, even in our service books.

                I’d be grateful for his explanation of at least the hymn from the monastic funeral which I adduced here earlier, especially how it cannot be dualist.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  “May I remind the witness he is still under oath?”
                  MS: “Yes, your Honour.”
                  “Is, in fact, his name “Edward.”
                  MS: “Yes, your Honour,” his name is, in fact, “Edward.”
                  “You may step down.”

                  While you may continue to bait Edward, I have more than adequately addressed your faulty admonishments. What you are suggesting is tantamount, in the tradition of Teilhard de Chardin, to the Evangelist “fisherman” having benefited from an “evolutional” process of writing, since they were not “able to make the subtle distinctions necessary for an accurate expression of the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition,” being mere fisherman and all. Your excerpt from – presumably the Canon – of the burial service (attributable to “The Monk John,” and as I have noted, by tradition, that monk is St. John of Damascus) contains “dualistic” heresy; heresy you are attributing to the Champion and Defender of the Holy Icons! This is astonishing. And pardon me, but your attitude strikes as one “offended” by the demand that you support this claim with some evidence independent of yourself, as is our Patristic Tradition. The Holy Fathers joyfully quote the Holy Fathers before them, while you reference no one but yourself. And while everyone is entitled to his/her opinion – even a new and unheard speculation – everything is founded in the Scripture & the Patristic Tradition. What is the reason for your defensiveness in calling upon you to demonstrate your fidelity to the Tradition of the Fathers? Explain yourself, then demand of others.

                • I put “Monk James” in scare quotes not because of any dim view of internet monasticism that I might hold, or because I doubt that Monk James is a real person. I did so as a subtle way of pointing out that Monk James believes that pointing out that I am anonymous is actually some kind of argument that makes up for not responding to substantive questions.

                  Yes, “Edward” is a screen name. Yes, I am anonymous. I will go further and add that my posts are written at home and often quite literally in my pajamas. I have never held forth pretenses of being anything but a an anonymous internet poster, and I have never acted as though anyone should treat what I write as authoritative. The same cannot be said for Monk James.

                  No, I am not going to respond to Monk James on substance (those who have had good faith exchanges with me know that I am quite capable of it) — mainly because he hasn’t responded to my questions, nor has he responded to Mr. Stankovich’s quite substantive and detailed posts at all. Why cast pearls before Monk James?

                  But since this is a dreadfully important subject, I will boil down my question to a single one for Monk James:

                  If there is clear dualism in one of the most revered and most used services in the Trebnik — the funeral service — why has Monk James, as a supposed expert in liturgics and liturgical languages with a deep love can care for the Church done nothing about it? Why no formal complaint to his Synod of Bishops demanding that heresy be removed from the service books they authorize? Why no scholarly article detailing the places where the heresy of dualism is present in our services, calling faithful theologians and clergy to expunge and/or revise them?

                  I can come to only two explanations: Either Monk James doesn’t believe that the theological implications of dualism are all that serious, or Monk James isn’t sure enough of his opinions to share them in a real forum where they would be subject to real review and criticisms by real experts. It’s one or the other.

            • M. Stankovich says

              As near as I can tell, you have yet to present a single example of heresy in the examples from the liturgical texts you have presented. Not a single example. You have provided quotations from the Burial Services – which are traditionally attributed to St. John of Damascus – and Edward has referred to Met. Illarion’s reference to him. I have referenced him, presumably from the same work, referred to as, The Fount of Knowledge (PG 94:521-1228), drawn from a section regarding the last things, the soul after death, separation of the soul from the body at death,corruption of the body in the grave, and so on. This is what you refer to as “dualism?” Perhaps you need to explain yourself before you suggest that the Church has let heresy slip into its liturgical Canon – and worse – at the hand of one of its greatest theological minds and liturgical composers. There’s something very wrong here…

          • Edward,

            I would get over Met Hilarion. I admire his work but he has had some of the same problems with doctrine that led Pat Kirill to approve the draft of the Relations document. A bit too much Latin influence. You can see it in his online catechism unless he’s revised it. They’re getting their act together over there but apart from a few starsty, I don’t rely on their opinions unless it agrees with the stated opinions of the Church Abroad or the ROC before the Revolution.

      • M. Stankovich says

        First, the Liturgical Theologian Archimandrite Kyprian (Kern) rightly taught, “If you hear it sung, sanctified in in the liturgical canon of the Church, believe it. And conversely, if we do not sing it; if you do not hear it sanctified in the liturgical canon of the Church, we do not believe it.”

        Continuing the thought of St. John of Damascus :

        And it was not only in word that He [the Lord] brought out the resurrection, but also in deed. First of all, He raised Lazarus who was dead four days and already stinking & putrefied (Jn. 5:28). It was not a soul devoid of a body that He raised, but a body with its soul; not another body, but the same one which had putrefied. For how would one know or believe in the resurrection of one who had died, were it not for the proof offered by his characteristic peculiarities? Moreover, He also raised Lazarus, who was to return to death again, to show His own divinity and to give assurance of His and our resurrection. (PG 94, 525)

        And finally, as I am not completely sure of the thesis posed here, I would simply note several points made by Fr. Florovsky in his essay, “The ‘Immortality’ of the Soul,” in Volume Three of his Collected Works, Creation and Redemption. He notes that “recently,” we have placed so much emphasis on the immortality of the soulas to lose perspective that is not “comparable” to the immortality of God (and if you read St. John of Damascus, for that matter, it is not even comparable with the nature of the angels: “For that which has no beginning has no end: but that which through grace is endless is assuredly not without beginning, as, witness, the angels.” Ex. Orth. Faith, PG 94), but is purely at the “fiat of the Creator,” who, in effect, “[ἔκτισε γὰρ εἰς τὸ εἶναι τὰ πάντα] brought everything into existence (Wis 1:14)” simply to exist with Him. This is simply astonishing to consider! Nevertheless, such is our denial that “Then comes the end [τὸ τέλος]” and what St. St. Paul declares as the “final enemy [ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς]: death. (1 Cor 15:26) Fr. Florovsky notes that we do not seem to appreciate the irony that our “immortality” is thus a pejorative, wedded and correlated with death. And let there be no mistake: St. Paul clearly tells us that this time is yet to come, when our Lord, having returned as He promised us, and “when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor 15:28) As St. John of Damascus concludes:

        And so, with our souls again united to our bodies, which will have become incorrupt and put off corruption, we shall rise again and stand before the terrible judgment seat of Christ. And the Devil and his demons, and his man, which is to say, the Antichrist, and the impious and sinners will be which will not be a material fire such as we are accustomed to, but a fire such as God might know. And those who have done good will shine like the sun together with the angels unto eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ, ever seeing Him and being seen, enjoying the unending bliss which is from Him, and praising Him together with the Father and the Holy Ghost unto the endless ages of ages. Amen. (PG 94, 676)

      • Phil R. Upp says

        Christ’s BODY was never subject to “corruption.” There was no sin in Christ and by definition, no corruption. Life itself cannot die. Christ did not have to die; he died voluntarily to destroy death.

        • M. Stankovich says

          The word destruction (φθορά) has two meanings. Thus, it means human sufferings such as hunger, thirst, weariness, piercing with nails, death that is separation of the soul from the body and the like. In this sense, we say that the Lord’s body was destructible, because He endured all these things freely. Destruction, however, also means the complete dissolution of the body and its reduction to the elements of which it was composed. By many this is more generally called corruption (διαφθορά). Thus the Lord’s body did not experience, as the Prophet David says: ‘Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to corruption.’ Therefore, it is impious to say with the insane Julian and Gaianus that before the resurrection the Lord’s body was indestructible in the first sense. For, if it was thus incorruptible, then it was not consubstantial with us, and the things such as the hunger, the thirst, the nails, the piercing of the side, and death which the Gospel says happened did not really happen, but only seemed to. But, if they only seemed to happen, then the mystery of the Incarnation is a hoax and a stage trick; it was in appearance and not in truth that He was made man and in appearance and not in truth that we have been saved. But far be it, and let those who say this have no part of salvation. We, however, have gained and shall obtain the true salvation. Moreover, in the second sense of the word destruction, we confess that the Lord’s body was indestructible, that is to say, incorruptible, even as has been handed down to us by the inspired Fathers. Nevertheless, we do say that after the Saviour’s resurrection the body of the Lord is indestructible in the first sense, too. And through His body the Lord has granted the resurrection and consequent incorruptibility to our body, also, Himself becoming to us the first fruits of the resurrection and incorruptibility and impassibility. Tor this corruptible must put on incorruption,’ says the divine Apostle.

          St. John of Damascus, The Fountain of Wisdom, Chapter 28, “On destruction and corruption,” PG 94.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I think St. John of Damascus is my favorit father. I used to think it was maximus the Confessor, and still love his works, by there is something about St. John of Damascus I really enjoy and what you quoted is a great example of this.

            Take care Michael.

            • M. Stankovich says

              It is with no irony, Peter, to discover that St. John was dedicated to, and loved the writings of St. Maximus the Confessor. Perhaps this is the “something” that makes the writing of St. John so attractive!

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                You know I never knew that. You may be right. Thanks for that Michael. I’m going to read a little of both of them tonight before I go to sleep and after I say my prayers. Thanks again Michael. Take care and good night.

                Peter A. Papoutsis

        • St. Paul uses a phrase in his epistle to the Romans that would seem to speak to this.

          “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh…”

          The specific phrase to which I refer is “in the likeness of sinful flesh.”

          Perhaps I am mistaken (and I welcome correction), but I understand “sinful flesh” to mean that although “He committed no sin” He was willingly incarnate in a manner that subjected Him to all the weaknesses and limitations in which all sinners share, including being subject to time, space, hunger, thirst, temptation, pain, death…and yes, even corruption. In other words, His humanity was no different than our own. It was THIS humanity – not perfected, glorified humanity – that He assumed. It is THIS “sinful flesh” that He put to death by His own will that He might release it from sin, raise it from death, deify and glorify it in order that human nature (and thus we) need no longer be subject to limitation and weakness.

          “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”