Archpriest Thomas Hardy was laid to rest on the 16th / 17th December. His body, vested in the traditional way in white vestments was received into the Cathedral on the evening of the 16th December by His Eminence, Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany assisted by the Cathedral Clergy and Hieromonk Kornili from Munich. Vespers and matins were then served. In the early morning, the clergy gathered again in the Cathedral at 6.00 a.m. for the Hierarchal Liturgy. Metropolitan Mark was greeted by Archpriest Vitaly Serapinas, Deputy Rector of the Cathedral, Archpriest Paul Elliott, Diocesan Chancellor, Archpriest Yaroslav Gudymenko, Cathedral Cleric, Hieromonk Kornili of the Monastery of St Job of Pochaev, Munich and Fr Deacon Andrei Borisas, Cathedral Cleric. Reader George Sultan served, assisted later by Gregory Vandromme. During the very long sequence of services, Arseny Kruglov led the Cathedral Choir. A considerable number of parishioners attended the Hierarchal Liturgy, making their Holy Communion and staying in the Cathedral for the Priest’s Funeral. After the Hierarchal Liturgy, His Eminence was joined by Archpriest Maxim Nicholsky, Archpriest Peter Baulk and Archpriest Stephen Platt. The Priest’ s Funeral was served in the traditional way and Archpriest Thomas’s family joined the congregation at about 11.00 a.m. for the last hour of the service. After the last kiss which was led by His Eminence, Metropolitan Mark and the clergy, Archpriest Thomas’s coffin was sealed and his body was taken to North Sheen Cemetery where it was laid to rest with his wife.
At the Funeral, Archpriest Paul read a short message from His Grace, Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe who was unavoidably elsewhere in the Diocese:
“Your Eminence, Esteemed Fathers, Bothers and Sisters! I greet you from Vevey, Switzerland, the seat of the Vicar Bishop of our Diocese, with the assurance of my prayers for the soul of our departed Father, Archpriest Thomas. It is a source of immense comfort to me, as I am am sure to many of you, his family and spiritual children, that Fr Thomas’s funeral is being served by our Father in God, His Eminence Metropolitan Mark, who, himself touched by Fr Thomas’s zeal for the Orthodox Faith he had received, ordained him to the Holy Priesthood many years ago. I know that it is a source of comfort to Fr Thomas now, as his soul is brought into new realms of life, that the bishop who first laid apostolic hands upon his head, helping him in his first steps of the new life of a priest, is present today to help him in the final steps we each take in this life, as we reach the next.
While it is a personal sadness for me that I cannot be present today, I take consolation in the fact that I am absent in order to be present in our parish in Vevey for the ordination of a new priest. In the small ways that I was able to get to know Fr Thomas since I first met him some fifteen years ago, one fact that was always so very much in evidence was his deep, unaffected love for the priesthood he had received, and which he exercised with such devotion, humility and love. It somehow seems fitting, even beautiful, that on the day that Fr Thomas’s body is committed to the earth and takes his rest from his earthly labours, God is, through the same rite of ordination that was exercised for him, calling another man to that same life and work. May this new priest have the prayers and heavenly blessing of Fr Thomas, and follow his example; and may the Lord welcome into His divine embrace His worthy priest, granting him that abode where there is neither sickness, nor sighing, nor sorrow, but life everlasting. May his memory be eternal.“
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