Heavenly Shore

Heavenly Shore


“Through prayers and acts of charity for the departed, Christians demonstrate the relationship between this world and the world to come. The Church in this world and the Church in the next is one and the same – one body, one being- just as the roots of a tree, below ground, constitute a single organism with the trunk and the branches above ground. From this it’s obvious that we who make up the earthly Church can be given help by the saints and the righteous in the heavenly Church, in the same way as departed sinners in the next world can receive help from us here on earth.”   – Saint Nicholas Velimirovich

How can we not weep to see a child lying face down in the sand, dead, washed up on shore? In the Light of the words of Saint Velimirovich, we can pray that in death the child has closed his eyes and washed up on heavenly shores. In our times an image like this can float around the web unnoticed, just another scene in the many, we can even forget that certain images are real and there is such strong feeling behind them. This child had no choice but to follow his family in flight from the terrible war at home.  500 meters from dry land their boat capsized and he and his brother Galip were gone from their father’s grasp. The respect of the souls of Aylan and Galip Kurdi now lies with us, as saint Velimerovich says, “Through prayers and acts of charity for the departed, Christians demonstrate the relationship between this world and the world to come.” So let us pray for the souls of these children, that they may participate in our Church that is the same in our world and the world to come.

The passions of the each can become the pain of many as they manifest themselves in great sufferings and death. Death is only countered by Love, pure divine Love which is Life. We participate in the greater Love every time we reverence our Savior or embrace the flaws of our neighbor, as they are our own. Simple actions of peace and virtue are great contributions to the battle against worldly suffering. War and sex and objects of pain continue to be popularized in our country and around the world. The participation in these things can dilute the flames of love. If we take an image as powerful as the one we have seen, a direct reflection of the fallen world, and turn it into a simple act of prayer, of love, we can continue to fight the war of darkness with the flames of Love. In this way we can commune in the Church that is here and in the Kingdom, the heavenly shore that is our solitude both here and there.

We pray that Galip and Aylan Kurdi and all refugees like them, who died in the sea we all try to swim in search of new life, can be found on the Heavenly shore.

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About author

Dean Franck

Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.