“The Departure of Father Gherasim” [Iscu] (+25 December 1951)

His countenance seemed fashioned of wax,
His body was frail as a Byzantine saint’s,
Father Gherasim was brought in one night,
His smile was warm and embraced us faint.

Now only skin covers his bones,
By days of ill his flesh became thinner
Yet he continues the heart’s secret plea:
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. “

Through white Christmas frost, our thoughts wassail
Breaking out free from the dungeon tonight,
On fetid straws Father Gherasim is dying
His breathing is labored, exhausted his sight.

The eyes of the sick like torches burn,
Ioan and Valeriu joined their hands in prayer.
Life flickered feebly in bodies infirm;
Up in the sky stars of soot felled the air.

A heavy silence reigned in the room,
But for the angels’ soft, silky flight
Children hymned songs of a star nearby.
Father worships Christ in the manger tonight.

Constantin Aurel Dragodan