METROPOLITAN METHODIOS OFFICIATES AT MARINE'S FUNERAL

Photo by Barry Donahue

His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios officiated at the Funeral Service for Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarchos, 21, who died of combat wounds July 23 while serving in Afghanistan.  He was the oldest child of Yarmouth Police Officer Sgt. Steven Xiarchos and his wife, Lisa, and the brother of Alexander, Ashlynne and Elizabeth.  The funeral was held at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Hyannis on Friday, July 31.  It was attended by Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick, many marines and countless friends of the Xiarchos family.  Metropolitan Methodios offered the following eulogy for the young hero who gave his life "in defense of our nation and its honor---who shed his blood in a far-away land so that the tree of human dignity and freedom may be nourished." 

Beloved members of the Xiarchos family,

Senator Kerry, Governor Patrick,

My brothers and sisters in the household of God,

 

          We gather this morning to pray for the repose of the soul of a beloved son and grandson, of a brother, a classmate, a friend.  We gather to embrace a soldier, a marine, a man of discipline and skill, a man whose daily life and service to this nation were characterized by honor, courage and commitment.  We honor the memory of a young man deeply loved by everyone. 

          The presence of so many mourners yesterday at the wake and this morning in this church is a manifestation of the great respect and esteem which the Greater Yarmouth and Cape Cod Community had for Nicholas Xiarchos. 

          We have all come to honor the memory of an heroic American patriot who gave his life in defense of our nation and its honor---who shed his blood in a far-away land so that the tree of human dignity and freedom may be nourished.

          The lamentation of the sorrow of the Xiarchos family echoes in the hearts of every American citizen who is present this morning in spirit.  They are joined by citizens of nations throughout the world that enjoy freedom in their countries thanks to the sacrifices of Nicholas and all the brave men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of our nation.

          We are also joined today by countless men, women and children who long for the day that the sacrifices of heroes such as Nicholas Xiarchos may result in their freedom and the restoration of their human rights and dignity. 

          Long ago I read the following thoughts authored by Charles M. Province, Founder of the General George S. Patton, Jr  Historical Society,

 

It is The Soldier, not the minister,

Who has given us freedom of religion.

 

It is The Soldier, not the reporter,

Who has given us Freedom of the press.

 

It is The Soldier, not the poet,

Who has given us Freedom of speech.

 

It is The Soldier, not the campus organizer,

Who has given us Freedom to demonstrate.

 

 

It is The Soldier, not the lawyer,

Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

 

It is The Soldier, not the politician,

Who has given us the right to vote.

 

It is The Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag and

Whose coffin is draped by the flag

Who allows the protester to burn the flag

 

          These last few days, two verses from Holy Scripture came to mind.

          “Greater love hath no man than this -- that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).   

          “So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5, 16). 

          Nicholas serves as a radiant light of heroism and patriotism, who laid down his life for his friends and the country he loved.  We thank God for Nicholas.  We thank God for blessing his family, his fellow marines, this community, this Commonwealth and this nation with Nicholas’ example, his sense of duty, his desire to help make the world a better place.

          May Almighty God welcome Nicholas into His loving embrace, and grant him eternal rest among the saints.

 

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