A matter of heart: For Theophane the Monk in memoriam | PostIndependent.com

A matter of heart: For Theophane the Monk in memoriam

Dr. Joel Brence

With Father Theophane’s death on Oct. 6, our valley has lost a living treasure. Even though he was in constant pain because of crippling arthritis, he was the most carefree person I ever met. He was particularly adept at touching people’s hearts, even when meeting them for the first time.

Once when he was presenting at an ecumenical gathering, Theophane ended up in the Jewish group. He told them that though the conference had helped them to appreciate various religious traditions, there was one aspect of his own tradition that had been sorely neglected, and he was going to see that it would get the full recognition it deserved. With that, he launched into, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” bringing down the house.

What is true of his “Tales of a Magic Monastery,” which has been translated worldwide, was eminently true of him and his way of interacting with people. There was something about him and his stories that was always unexpected, yet inevitable ” infinitely familiar, yet completely surprising.

The utterly magical quality which Theophane possessed has no logical explanation. What Picasso once said of his own artistic genius is also true of Theophane’s religious genius: “I do not develop, I am.” For what is without cause is without hindrance; it obeys one law only ” the law of freedom. This state which sprouts suddenly and in full glory, mysteriously and marvelously, now has a name. We may call it “Theophane.”

Dr. Joel Brence


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