In the Holy Gospel Our Lord reproves the Pharisees and the Old Testament people in general. We can underline these words “Old Testament people” pointing to their rottenness and falling to pieces. God compares them to whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. (Mt. 23:27). And, by contrast, the new people, the new Israel, the New Testament reverse the situation. Starting with the first Christians, misunderstood by the rest of people, who came to the tombs of their first martyrs and saints, we don’t consider tombs as the place of rot and filth, but venerate them as the source of particular Grace of God. It used to be centuries ago, and it is so now. 

What is the difference between the relics of righteous people and the corps of corrupting Old Testament people who’d remained in that state until now? The tombs of sinners are filled with decay and cadaveric poison. While the tombs of the righteous fulfilled with the Grace. This is the essence of their nature. They accumulated the Grace of God during their whole lives. As per St. Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, a Christian’s purpose of life is incessant attainment of the Glory of God. Holy Father Seraphim gives a very simple example: seek something that brings you more Glory, shape your life order according to it and draw it, draw it! He means “draw” the Glory and fill your body with it, so that it stopped being the residence of sins and demons and became the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Like a vessel that keeps filling with the Grace of God. The saints did not just fill the vessels of their bodies and souls with it, they overfilled them and the Grace flowed out to the world. That is the miracle and the mystery of holy relics. 

Why am I saying these weird words? I say it without looking over my shoulder and seeking for somebody’s opinion or approval. I say it as I know who mother Silouana is. We all know. The contemporaries of St. Symeon the New Theologian were confused by his veneration of his spiritual father St. Symeon the Devout as it was a veneration before canonization, rather solemn and special. He even paid his price for that. But he knew who he was talking about as he had been near him.  

During all those years we were near mother Silouana. That is why we know whom we bury today. Some people got in touch with her in their every day life. Relatives knew her as a mom, granny, family member. While we know her from a different angle. We know her as a saint. And we are not afraid of declaring this fact, we are not ashamed of speaking the truth aloud.  

Holy Father Seraphim had not been canonized for a long time. And, even if according to the Church canons the worshipers couldn’t sing: “Pray God for us!” and sang: “God, rest the soul of your servant Seraphim” instead, even in those times they got the Grace in abundance from him.  As he used to say: “Don’t worry, come to my little tomb and address me as a living one”. 

I do not perceive this situation as a usual death. Due to this is not a usual death. Mother Silouana was not a usual person. She was special, rather special. On the one hand, we, being only humans after all, say: it is a pity to let you go, mother, it is sad we will never talk to you, embrace you. On the other hand, trusting our spiritual state we realize that she may do much more for us now.  As she is close to God. S. We will keep knocking at her door like we used to and ask: “Mother, please, pray for us”. We didn’t just come and knock, we knew that we would ask and it would work. Let us come to her the same way! Glory to Our Lord! 

You know, when mother Silouana passed away right after the vigil on the day of commemoration of her saint Silouan the Athonite, I pronounced the following bold words: a new saint is born in our monastery. She may appear the sole saint. But I feel it this way. 

Lord, help us!

A death may turn to sorrow, disappointment, even a break down. At the same time it can be perceived in an oppositely different way…