Archdeacon Paul Brown of the St. Joseph of Petersburg Orthodox Church in Boring, Oregon reposed in the Lord on Bright Wednesday, 2019, just at the close of the singing of the Paschal Canon for him. This indication of his salvation was a great comfort to his family and friends. The date, April 18/ May 1, was exactly fifteen years after his ordination to the diaconate. He was 83 years old.
Fr. Paul converted to Orthodoxy and was baptized with his wife and two children on the Sunday after Theophany, 1988. When exposed to the Orthodox Church he was given a copy of I.M. Andreev's Russia’s Catacomb Saints. After reading it, he told his wife: “we must be in the church they were in.” As the Russian Church Outside Russia began to lose its witness, Fr. Paul did not hesitate to move to another state to join a confessing parish. Similarly, he fervently supported Archbishop Tikhon and the Holy Synod when dissension broke out in the North American Diocese and many went into schism.
He was tonsured a reader in November, 1989, and ordained a deacon in May, 2004. His service to the church as reader, altar server, prosphora baker and later deacon and starosta was energetic and full-hearted. As a deacon he served the church indefatigably, searching for property to establish a church building for the parish, helping to build the altar and iconostas, traveling with and for Fr. Joseph, and ministering to the needs of the faithful. In serving the parish's worldly needs, he drew upon vast experience gained through a lifetime of many and varied jobs with which he supported himself and his family. In serving the Church as deacon, he humbly felt himself the least of ministers, yet his petitions raised the faithful's prayers to God.
When Fr. Paul entered hospice care before Christmas 2019, he asked forgiveness of everyone, and declared his love for all in the parish. During this precious time he ministered in love to his family, and declared: “I die happy.” After surviving this first crisis of health he endured four more months, being tough in body and spirit in spite of ill health, and reached the Feast of Feasts, our Lord’s Resurrection. He received the Holy Mysteries throughout Lent and last on Holy Thursday, and Great and Holy Saturday. On Pascha, although almost too weak to speak and confined to bed, he exchanged the Paschal greeting with all. Throughout his final illness and especially in his repose, he bore witness to our prayer for “a Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless and peaceful.”
The triumphant Paschal funeral was served on the feast of Great-Martyr George, April 23/ May 6, 2019. May God grant him the eternal kingdom! Memory eternal! Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!