Archimandrite Panteleimon, founder of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts, fell asleep in peace this morning, Tuesday, December 14/27, at 5 a.m., of kidney failure, at the monastery.
He was born John Metropoulos in Detroit, Michigan, on June 21, 1935. When his elder brother was incurably sick he made a vow that if his brother were healed, he would become a monk in the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon on Mount Athos. His brother being healed, John went to Mount Athos and fulfilled his vow, receiving as a monastic name that of the Patron Saint of the monastery.
While on Mount Athos he made the acquaintance of the saintly Elder Joseph the Cave-dweller (†1959), who spiritually took him under his wing. Because of problems with his papers, Father Panteleimon had to return to the United States in 1958 and, while in Boston seeking to return to the Holy Mountain, he received a letter from the Elder Joseph in which he gave him the obedience to found a monastery in the United States. Daunted by such a task, he lived here and there in the Boston area, often almost homeless, until the Holy Transfiguration Monastery was founded by him and the late Father Arsenius in 1961.
Over the fifty-five years that the Brotherhood has existed, it has been spiritually guided by Father Panteleimon. While his achievements are many, it should be noted in particular that he encouraged and even insisted upon translating the Church services, such as the Menaion, Pentecostarion, and Prayer Book, and patristic texts such as The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, into English, the language of the land, which he considered a missionary and Apostolic labor; painting icons according to the traditional style of Byzantine iconography as championed by the blessed Fotios Kontoglou; producing incense in the Athonite style; and supporting ourselves by the work of our own hands rather than depending on donations. Above all he taught us to keep the Orthodox Faith with love and exactness as we have received it from the holy Fathers, avoiding the two extremes of compromising our confession of faith on the one hand, and of a fanaticism that considers that only oneself will be saved on the other.
In 2012 he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and retired to our hermitage of the Holy Apostles on the coast of Maine, where he spent the next three years in prayer and in composing a paper entitled “The Controversy of the Holy Name on the Holy Mountain in 1912” which the monastery hopes to distribute in the near future. In February of this year he became so sick that he was rushed to the hospital in Boston, where they found his kidney function so low they did not think he would be revived, having blacked out. Yet he did, and they considered it something of a miracle. From then he was forced to return to the monastery in Brookline, where he finished the paper, composed his last will and testament, and then began to decline quickly in November. By the mercy of God he was bed-ridden for only the last week, with fluid in his lungs for the last few days. He is now at rest, with a deeply peaceful expression on his face. The funeral will be held at the monastery on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA