On the glorious feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (Thursday, June 6th) our beloved friend and benefactor Maurice Sill departed this life at the age of 94, only two days after his birthday. On the morning of the Feast, he attended the Divine Liturgy at his home parish of Christ the Saviour in Wayne, West Virginia. He confessed, received Holy Communion, and was in very good spirits, walking around the church with much vigor and saying: “I feel great!” After returning to his home at the Woodlands retirement community, he wanted to go on a nature walk with his grandson Seth in order to see some wildlife. After resting for some time on a bench, enjoying the outdoors, he reposed in the Lord.
Those who know Moe cannot imagine that he would have wanted to pass from this life in any other way. He was with a loved one, in the nature he so loved, and had prepared his soul through Confession and Holy Communion on a great feast of our Saviour.
When his priest Fr. Jonah Campbell and Archdeacon Sergius from our monastery arrived to pray for his newly departed soul, three white ducks wandered down the trail and peacefully sat near Moe during the entire time the prayers were being read. When Fr. Jonah sprinkled with holy water, the ducks drew even closer. However, when all was finished the ducks immediately stood up and peacefully walked away. God sent his little creatures as a consolation and a sign of His blessing.
Fr. Jonah anointed Moe and those present with holy myrrh from two miraculous icons of the Mother of God: the Hawaiian Iveron Icon as well as the "Softener of Evil Hearts". In addition, a relic of St. Panteleimon was placed on Moe’s chest during the prayers. Fr. Jonah gave a short homily, mentioning that St. Isaac of Syria taught that when a man makes peace with God and with his own soul, then all of creation is at peace with him. Moe’s passing demonstrated this beautifully. Even in repose Moe seemed to be peacefully smiling.
We pray that just as Christ ascended into heaven and eternally enthroned our human nature in the bosom of the Holy Trinity, He will also grant His servant Maurice to dwell eternally with Him. Moe, who together with his wife Nadia donated the land upon which Holy Cross Monastery now stands, truly made peace with God, with men, and with all creation. May his memory be eternal!