Archbishop Gabriel of Comana
Our beloved Archbishop Gabriel of Comana fell asleep in the Lord in the early hours of October 26th 2013.
Having retired early in 2013 due to ill health he stayed in touch with his flock by mail and telephone and it was obvious from an early stage that his prognosis was not good. It was only 6 weeks or so ago that he telephoned with a huge voice announcing that he had been given the all clear – “I am cured and want to come and see you in Scotland”. Shortly after this glimmer of hope his health deteriorated and at the age of 67 he left us with some wonderful memories and some very wise words.
He loved to come to the UK for clergy meetings and the annual Conference. He thoroughly embraced Scotland for the Diaconate ordination of Fr Mark and my own ordination to the Priesthood in Dunblane in November 2011. Although very familiar with more elaborate celebrations he was most certainly at home in the intimacy of the small community. In all of this he was accompanied by Hierodeacon Athanasius on whom Archbishop Gabriel bestowed great trust.
As a man of great liturgical strength and charisma Archbishop Gabriel was spontaneous with his smile and humour. He had a way about him which was truly Orthodox to the core; not stuffy nor starchy but entirely approachable as a very well respected friend.
He was passionate about the future of the Exarchate and the UK Deanery and it is through his hard work and determination that we are here at all today. As a convert from Roman Catholicism he had obvious experience of both seeing Orthodoxy from the outside and then a determination to become part of the Orthodox Church. He taught us very strongly that although we may be “right believers” we exist in a Christian world and as Christians we have a great deal to learn from each other. Where ever we all are in the future, we owe Our Archbishop Gabriel of Comana a great deal indeed.
Archbishop Gabriel – Memory Eternal!