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Message of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the passing of Archon Depoutatos Nicholas J. Bouras

Istanbul, Turkey
12/30/2013

"If a man be endowed with a generous mind, this is the best kind of nobility." (Plato)

"The righteous shall live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17)

From our Patriarchal and Primatial Throne, we have learned most grievously of the passing into eternal habitations of the ever-blessed servant of God, Nicholas J. Bouras, Archon Depoutatos of our Great Church of Christ.

We address the plentitude of the Church: the Mother Church throughout the oikoumene, our beloved brother His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, the Most Reverend Metropolitans and Bishops, the clergy and faithful of the Holy Trinity Parish in Westfield, New Jersey that Archon Nicholas served for so many decades with faithful and constant stewardship, the Order of Saint Andrew that he served as Vice-Commander, and indeed his beloved relations and countless friends.

The falling asleep in the Lord of Archon Nicholas is a heavy loss for the Holy Archdiocese of America, but for the Ecumenical Patriarchate worldwide. His advanced years yield no lasting comfort in the face of the loss of his extraordinary life that was lived so well and so long. A mighty pillar has been withdrawn -- not fallen, for we are all called to pass beyond this world. But he was an unshakeable pillar upon whom all of you have leaned for generations to provide wise counsel, stability, constancy, and a generosity rarely found in the world today.

Indeed, it was Archon Nicholas' generosity -- unfeigned and pure -- that brought to him and to you a noble presence, a presence that guided not only his beloved parish of the Holy Trinity, but also the Order of Saint Andrew and the whole Archdiocese with sage wisdom, unimpeachable understanding, and a living faith. These spiritual gifts (cf. I Corinthians 12) were part and parcel of his daily life, which he lived responsibly, fully, and righteously.

It has been less than a decade since the Order of Saint Andrew bestowed on its most noble and distinguished son the Human Rights Award named for our ever-memorable predecessor on the Throne of Saint Chrysostom, the late Patriarch Athenagoras. As so many of you know, Archon Nicholas was truly reluctant to accept this high honor. His was both a natural and grace-filled humility that always sought the advancement of the cause, not the praise of any individual. He assiduously avoided the light of acclaim and admiration; rather he sought to shine the light of love, truth, and justice to illuminate the world around him.

His successes in life are far too numerous to recount with a mere listing. His undying love for his beloved wife, Anna, his heroism in the Second World War, his genius at industry, his generosity and sensitivity with his co-workers, his steadfastness and faithfulness in all Church affairs, and as we know here at the Phanar, his utter and complete devotion to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In all his endeavors, the strength of the steel which endowed him and allowed him to be so wonderfully generous to others was manifest in his strength of character.

Of special love and interest for him in the past few years was the Church of his heavenly namesake, which was destroyed on the fateful day of September 11, 2001. He was the first to contribute in a truly magnanimous way to the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero. We pray and expect that a fitting tribute to Archon Nicholas be suitably readied in the new church structure. Such a merciful and giving presence can never be forgotten!

For Archon Nicholas was not unlike his heavenly patron, the Wonderworker of Myra who hailed from the regions of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. The generous and noble mind of Saint Nicholas of Myra was somehow mystically imbued into Archon Nicholas J. Bouras. It was as if the spirit that flowed from these ancient lands of our Ecumenical Throne transcended time and space to find a new home in the heart of Archon Nicholas. And in his noble heart the spirit of Saint Nicholas, that "Canon of faith and Exemplar of humbleness" found a space large to dwell, for Archon Nicholas conducted his life in the way of righteousness, and the Lord made his heart spacious (cf. Psalm 118:32).

Indeed, dear and beloved children in the Lord: Archon Nicholas lived as a one who knew the secret to a happy and fulfilling life. He was righteous in his ways, generous in his heart, faithful in his soul, and noble in his spirit. His passing from us and from this world to the fullness of God and the world to come is a most worthy passage, and his attainment of rest the sure and certain outcome of his life.

As he is rightly and most befittingly mourned as one so dearly loved and esteemed, let us also celebrate the his noble accomplishments -- the chief of which was his generous mind. His achievements will last well beyond our memory and the girders and structures created by his inventiveness and industry. Indeed, as the Spirit bears witness: 'His accomplishments shall accompany him to his rest,' (cf. Revelation 14:13).

May the memory of Nicholas J. Bouras, Archon Depoutatos of the Holy Mother and Great Church of Christ be eternal. Amen. So be it!

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Christmas 2013

Your fervent supplicant before God,

✠ Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch

View the original letter of His All-Holiness

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