Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rest in Peace, Father Elias

Father Elias Wen
(1896 - 2007)
The servant of God, Father Elias Wen, fell asleep in the Lord at 2:30PM PDT on Saturday, June 9, 2007 at age of 110 years old. He was the oldest living Orthodox priest to date.

Father Elias Wen (Chinese: 文子正; Pinyin: Wén Zǐzhèng) was born in China, 1896. At the age of seven, he converted to Holy Orthodoxy at the Chinese Orthodox Mission in Peking. Between 1905 to 1925, he studied at the Mission, entering seminary in 1916. He was ordained a deacon in 1924, and a priest seven years later.

In 1946, he became rector of the Cathedral of the Mother of God, Surety of Sinners, serving under the Archbishop of Shanghai, St John Maximovich. Along with several members of the clergy, including St John, he fled to Hong Kong in 1949, when the communists came to power. He was later assigned to the Cathedral of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow, in San Francisco in 1957, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Until the age of 100, Father Elias conducted all Sunday and holiday services at the Cathedral, and sang on the kliros daily, morning and evening. It has been difficult for Father Elias to make the trip to the Cathedral the last few years, so the Cathedral clergy visits him and administers the Holy Mysteries to him at home. Father Elias walks unaided, his mind is sound, but he has difficulty with his sight and hearing.

In the words of Father Elias, the greatest punishment for him is being unable to sing on the kliros on a daily basis.

Memory Eternal!

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