Today I sadly received the following information from Hierodeacon David (Colburn) about Archimandrite Damien (Hart):
Dear friends in Christ,
It is with heavy heart that I must inform you that the radiation treatments and chemo treatments have not curtailed the small cell lung cancer ravaging Father Damian. Thus, on the recommendation of his doctors, as of last Sunday, treatments have been stopped. In the next couple of days, Father Damian will move back to St. Silouan’s Monastery to spend his remaining days with the brotherhood. The cancer continues to grow in the brain and Father is having difficulty expressing thoughts in words, etc. May the good Lord Who lovest mankind, show His mercy. Please continue to pray for Father Damian and for the Brotherhood.
We humans, sinners that we be, can not fathom the mind of God. None-the-less, He has a plan for each of us and through our cooperation by our life in the Holy Spirit, that plan, in good time, is fulfilled. Likewise, we can not truly fathom God’s boundless love and mercy towards us. But yet, again, through the Holy Spirit we are made aware in part of the love the Lord has for each one of us. Like the loving Father He is, with open arms, He beckons, “Come unto me…,” and soon Father Damian will answer that call and rest in His loving embrace. The good Lord Who died on the Cross for our forgiveness of sins and for our salvation, in His words to the Good Thief, “Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise,” gave us an assurance that He does not abandon us, not even at the hour of our earthly repose. And so, soon all of us who know and love Father Damian will have a new intercessor in Paradise. Through his earthly suffering and pain over his lifetime, Father has been cleansed of his sins, and thus, our loving Father has prepared a place for him in eternity in the Kingdom of God that shall have no end. He Who is Love Itself will not abandon His beloved! Love could not bear it! In the twilight of life, we shall be judged by Love.
The Holy Apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, tells us, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” What comfort this gives us as we experience the bright sadness at the thought of the repose of a loved one!–when we leave our body, we go to be with the Lord. This is the plan that God has for each of us. May we all someday be reunited in His Kingdom that shall have no end.
Finally, I pray that our good, loving Lord will send an angel of peace to comfort each and every one of you as you face the days ahead. Sadness? yes, but with God’s help, turn that dark sadness into a bright sadness. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Who is everywhere present, is only a prayer away. Call upon Him and avail yourself of His loving comfort and peace. Rest assured of my love and continued prayers. Pray for me, unworthy though I be. Come, Lord Jesus!
The monastery has made me aware that for Father Damian to spend his remaining days at the monastery, they must buy a backup generator to provide electricity. The monastery is in a remote area and power outages are frequent. To buy the generator, $500.00 must be raised quickly. Please send whatever you can to make this a reality–the address follows below. But first, I want to share an email Father Damian sent “Butter Sunday” 2007:
To my Spiritual Family:
As we approach the Great & Holy Fast, I prostrate
myself before you and ask your Forgiveness for any
Offense I have done, by deed, by word, or by thought,
either through commission or omission.
I pray also that this Holy Season will be a peaceful
and spiritually profitable time for us all and that,
by God’s Grace and Mercy, we may all be brought to a
holy bright, and joyous Pascha.
All-holy Theotokos, save us.
May the good Lord Who lovest mankind, indeed show us His mercy and bring us to His bright, joyful Paschal Feast.
In Christ God,
–the unworthy hierodeacon David
Saint Silouan’s Monastery
1 Brooks Road
Ben Lomond, CA 95005-9207
Unfortunately, St. Silouan’s Monastery does not have a website or a method of electronic payment. Donations will need to be sent ASAP. I know the economy is tough, but just $10 each from 50 people will make up the needed amount. As Great Lent approaches us, please prayerfully consider helping in this great need.