Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America reposed yesterday, and I want to share a couple of things about him.
Before his retirement in 2011, we were blessed to intersect with him a number of times, though he wasn’t our bishop. Sometimes we would attend services where he was expected to be present. We’d arrive for Orthros/Matins, which as you know is usually very poorly attended. Off to one side of the church at the cantor’s stand would be an elderly monk, in his cassock and monastic skufia, quietly chanting the responses while a priest served at the altar. Who’s that monk? Oh, it’s Metropolitan Maximos! When it came time for the Divine Liturgy, he’s put on all his bishop’s vestments, transform into His Eminence, and preside graciously. But I tend to think that he was happiest as a humble monk chanting the services in a dim corner of the church.
North American Orthodoxy has long suffered from a shortage of monastic life, and sad to say, many hierarchs have been actively hostile to monasticism. Metropolitan Maximos stood out as someone who understood its importance: the first monastery (I think) of any kind in the Greek Archdiocese, and the first of Elder Ephraim’s American monasteries were established in his diocese under his care.
May his memory be eternal!