His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros Eulogy for Anthony (Tony) Kammas
July 3, 2020
Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Brooklyn, New York
Beloved Maria, Elisavet, and Pantelis,
Dear parents, Kleo and Pantelis,
Family and Friends of Anthony,
Brothers and Sisters of Saints Constantine and Helen Cathedral,
I know that all of you must still be in a state of deep sadness and shock today, as we gather to comfort one another and bid farewell – all too soon, to a young and vibrant husband, father, child, and a truly outstanding son of our Omogeneia.
I can only imagine what you are feeling, Maria, what these beautiful children are feeling, and what a bereaved mother and father are feeling. Tony’s departure from this world is unjust, unfair, and a mystery beyond our unraveling.
We ask God for answers, and we hear only silence. We ask for a different outcome and that silence endures. In truth, it will only be in silence that you will eventually come to terms with this loss, which today is unbearable, and will always leave a gap in your lives and a hole in your hearts.
What then to bridge this gap? What then to fill this hole? Today? Not a thing. Today is a day to feel the weight, the βάρος, the indescribable burden of this sorrow. Almost all of what we chant today is for us, the living, the survivors. To comfort and assuage our hearts. To help us dry our tears. To ease our pain at this parting, a separation all too soon and all so painful.
But as we offer our prayers and chant our hymns, let us take the time to remember Tony. To remember him in all his goodness, his humanity, his love for all of you.
His was a life of love and a life of devotion and service: to his family, to his Church, to his Hellenic culture and heritage. The emptiness felt in his home today is mirrored in the emptiness that will be felt in this Cathedral community, where he dedicated so much of his time and energy. In fact, he spent the morning of his last full day on this earth, this past Sunday, here at the Cathedral. He came to serve as a board member that day, on the first Sunday the church reopened.
His accomplishments in the world are most worthy of enumeration: member of the Board of Trustees and a dedicated volunteer of this historic Cathedral; New York City Finance Co-Chair of the New York Republican State Committee, a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Chamber of Commerce, a board member of HALC, the Hellenic American Leadership Council. A man of community and a man of the Omogeneia! A leader in all things Greek, and Orthodox, and American. All of our lives are richer for his presence among us, and all our lives will be poorer in his absence.
But there are none as deprived as his Maria, his Elisavet and Pantelis, his loving parents Kleo and Pantelis. For you, whose lives have been shattered by his sudden departure, allow me to say that you will be in our prayers, our thoughts, and our hearts in a very special way. We will not forget you in your grieving, and we will be there for you when the numbness of these days has passed and you re-engage with the life that you built with Tony, a life that will continue, even if very differently than before.
But Tony will be with you – not in a physical way, but in all the good and loving memories that you can cherish. In all the foundation stones you laid together for your life together. That foundation is still strong, even if it feels so very weak today. That foundation is solid, because of his love for you and because of your love for him.
In the coming days and weeks and months, this is how you will bridge that gap in your lives and fill that hole in your hearts. It will never be perfect, but that is the mark of a true wound – some scars always remain as a testament to memory.
But with time, the greatest healer of all, that which causes you sadness today will become a cause of remembrance, memories that you will cherish forever.
It is our affirmation of hope in the moment of despair, faith in the day of doubt, and ultimately, love in the face of loss.
May our Loving and Merciful God grant unto you all some peace, comfort, and the consolation that comes from our knowledge of life everlasting.
And may He grant to the soul of his beloved servant Anthony, eternal rest in the bosom of Abraham, repose in the tabernacles of the righteous, and a place in His Heavenly Mansions. May his memory be eternal.
Αἰωνία του ἡ μνήμη!