This is Father George Johnson’s announcement for our parish, about our beloved brother in Christ, Father John Moses:
Our Dear Brother, Archpriest John Moses, Reposes in the Lord This past Thursday just after midday, Fr. John Moses lay his burden down and gave up his soul to God. He was found by friends come for a lunch date. They immediately called 911, but he could not be revived. He had wrestled for a long time with the ravages of diabetic complications, making him a regular object of our parish prayer. In his final sermon only last Sunday, he expressed a hope that his doctors might effect some surcease. But, typical of him, his own sufferings were not the burden of his sermon.
He described the life in Christ as one of service. If anything, Fr. John wanted a lightening of his burden so he could better serve. His description of service emphasized both the “Mary” and “Martha” kinds. But he also emphasized that the whole warp and woof of our life must be seen as service: service to our spouses, service to children and parents, service to neighbor; and that not grudging but gracious. Fr. John embodied that grace. In every interaction he exuded graciousness, kindness and brotherly love.
We have been blessed to know Father and his family since their coming into Orthodoxy more than 25 years ago. We were part of those who welcomed them at the time and on the spot. We gave them every help we could in service and materials. They deserved all of that and more. Father John sacrificed an established 20 year career as a Methodist minister of a successful parish. To support his family and the establishment of an Orthodox congregation, he became a janitor for a Protestant church, performing his duties prior to serving his own Divine Liturgy.
When we established Holy Apostles, Fr. John and Matushka Alexandra and family came and helped us serve our very first Vigil and Divine Liturgy for our patronal feast. Photos aplenty on our website keep that memory aglow.
At his parish of All Saints of North America in Middlebrook, VA, he established a large lending library of English Orthodox titles. He and his mission hosted our diocesan English Spring Choir Conference in 2003.
Fr. John established and led “Volunteers in Mission,” an ad hoc group of people skillful in handicrafts, that went up and down the diocese helping mission parishes with building needs wherever and whenever asked. One such project was the setting up of an iconostasis in our chapel to enhance our ability to worship there, in preparation for our Cross Procession in 2012.
Fr. George and Fr. John were both elevated to Archpriest the same day and hour at the 2010 Lenten clergy retreat at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA. A picture of that gathering is on our back wall.
Father served for a number of years on the Council of the Eastern American Diocese. He supported and established other mission locations, including that dedicated to the Holy Myrrh Bearing Women in Harrisonburg, VA to which the Middlebrook community moved and to which he retired under his increasing infirmity. He inspired his family members to enter into clerical life to serve in mission work. A dedication like his was born and lives in his brotherinlaw, Holy Myrrh Bearers pastor, Father Gabriel, and his sister, Matushka Tatiana, and in his soninlaw, Fr. Deacon Thomas.
Completely in line with his whole life, Fr. John hoped that, at his death, all funereal contributions would be toward the building fund for Holy Myrrh Bearers.
We at Holy Apostles hold dear many memories of his bright, sparkling presence during his times with us. With his plain spoken and straight forward manner, Fr. John was able to make clear to all the deep things of God, as his final sermon exemplified. He represented for us all the ideal American Orthodox Christian.
We have lost to this world a totally devoted and powerful missionary. When a decisively able civil war general was killed, his colleague and superior said, “We all must do more than formerly.” So it is with us. We can but echo Prophet David and say of Fr. John that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel.