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Christina Sacorafas Mosher, Victim of the I35 Bridge Collapse, Laid to Rest August 20, 2007 at Funeral Service at St. Marys Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis

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Aug 23, 2007

The Parish of St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, the Metropolis of Chicago and the nation experienced a terrible loss with the tragic death of Christina Sacorafas Mosher in the Minneapolis bridge collapse on August 1, 2007. Christina was in route to St. Mary’s church to teach a youth dance class. She called just before 6:00 pm to say she was caught in traffic. A few minutes later, the bridge she was on splintered and collapsed plunging dozens of cars and tons of concrete and metal into the water below. On August 2, the news reached the Metropolis offices in Chicago that Christina was one of the many that were feared missing.

On the morning of Thursday, August 2, with the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago, a letter was sent to each priest and parish in the Metropolis of Chicago asking to offer a special prayer at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 5, 2007, “so that in communion in the Body of Christ, the petition to the Lord will be answered.”

Fr. Richard Demetrius Andrews of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in St. Paul, Minnesota works with the St. Paul Police Department as a Chaplain and was notified of Christina’s situation early Thursday. That morning he met with the family and friends of Christina at the Red Cross Family Center near the bridge collapse. On August 12, Fr. Andrews was asked by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office to participate in an Interfaith Prayer Service for the recovery personnel, including Fire Department and Navy Divers that had been working tirelessly at the site. The youth at Fr. Richard’s parish during their Vacation Church School made a banner that was presented to the relief workers. The recovery workers placed the banner on the dive platform so they would be able see it each time they entered and exited the water.

On August 16, Christina Sacorafas Mosher’s body was found after having been missing for fifteen days. Soon after hearing the news Father Paul Paris of St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church stated that. "She was a very vibrant personality. A lovely person, radiant smile. She was very much a part of the community."

The Visitation & Trisagion were held Sunday, August 19 with Fr. Paris and Fr. Theodore Filandrinos (Emeritus) of St. Mary Church and Fr. Andrews of St. George officiating. Monday, August 20 the Funeral Service was held at St. Mary Church and His Grace Bishop DEMETRIOS of Mokissos, representing Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago, officiated. Christine’s family members that were present included her parents Aphrodite and Nick; sister, Cynthia; aunt, Jennie Miller; uncle, D.A. (Vasilia) George; cousin, Despina (Angelo) Georggin; uncle, Nick A. George; aunt, Ellene H. (Mathew) Kritikos; cousins, Sheryl (John) Vasiliadis, Lessa D. (Bill) Dentinger, and Michelle (Scott) Berge; and special friend, Greg Kalogerson. Also, family members of other bridge collapse victims attended Christina’s funeral.

Following the service, Bishop Demetrios spoke to her family and the assembled saying, “There is no manner for us to explain away the hurt, the sudden loss of our sister in the Lord, Christina. There is no rationale for the event that took her from those who shared in her life. There is only a manner for us to live in reaction to this. Saint Paul reminds us that she is not dead—if by that we mean that her life has come to a final end. Saint Paul reminds us that the dead are not dead, for this means to be separated from Life, and Christ Jesus is the Life of the world, who separates Himself from no person.”

Fr. Richard Andrews then read a letter from Metropolitan GERASIMOS of San Francisco to Christina parents who live in Encitas, California and stewards of his Metropolis. He said, “God gave you your daughter to nurture and love for an infinite period of time, but now He has called her to His eternal Kingdom where there is no pain, no sorrow, no grieving but life everlasting.”

Upon hearing of the bridge collapse and that Christina was missing, His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America contacted her family members to speak and pray with them. His Eminence also composed a letter to Christina’s parents which Fr. Andrew also read. In it he says, “The passing of your beautiful daughter has touched the hearts of those who knew her and of those who heard about her. It is my hope and prayer that during this excruciatingly painful hour you stand strong in faith in God’s divine providence.”

Fr. Paul Paris then recognized the dignitaries in attendance including: Minnesota Mayor R. T. Rybak; Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanick; and Hennepin County Inspector in the Sheriff’s Department Jeff Storms.

The Burial Service was at Roselawn Cemetery in St. Paul and the Makaria-Memorial Luncheon at St. Mary Church.

On August 1, 2007 thirteen people perished in the I35W Interstate Bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Peter C. Georgalan
Coordinator, Community Affairs
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

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