302294Our dearest priest, Fr. Jacob Myers, reposed in the Lord on the evening of January 16, 2013. Many people knew Fr. Jacob much better and far longer than I did, but I have two memories of him that have always stuck with me, and speak volumes of him, I feel. Anyone who spent much time around Fr. Jacob knows some basic things – he loved to joke and laugh, he was a man of deep prayer, he always seemed to have a camera handy, he always managed to record anything that anyone had to say, and he had a deep love and concern for the less fortunate of our society. His work at the parish of St. John the Wonderworker in Atlanta will be an everlasting legacy to his memory.

My first meeting with Fr. Jacob was the summer before I went to seminary, at the Diocesan Assembly hosted by the parishes of Atlanta in 2003. After Liturgy one morning at St. John, my priest, Fr. Paul, introduced me to Fr. Jacob. Also, there was another young man headed to seminary, John Barnes. We were all ready to sit down to brunch, but Fr. Jacob pulled me and John aside and said he had something he wanted to share with us. We went up to the temple, and he took us before the shrine to St. John Maximovitch, the Wonderworker. In this shrine, there is a cassock once belonging to St. John, kept in clear case. Fr. Jacob opened the case, and handing us the cassock, told us to each take turns wearing this blessed relic of the wonderworking saint. We were to stand and to pray. He then went down to the meal, and left us in the temple to pray. It was an incredible blessing that Fr. Jacob gave us as we prepared ourselves for seminary – the blessing of this great saint’s prayers and intercessions before Christ.

I always enjoyed being around Fr. Jacob at all of our various diocesan events. I was frequently able to sit with him, to talk with him, and to enjoy his company. One year (I can’t remember exactly when), all of us priests were flying to Florida for the annual diocesan clergy conference. I flew to Atlanta, but during my flight and layover I had developed a terrible migraine. I was fearful that I would miss my flight because I was too ill to even sit in my chair for long. By God’s providence, Fr. Jacob (along with several other priests) was also on our flight. When he reached the terminal he immediately came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told him that I had a terrible migraine and might have to delay my travel. He pulled his carry-on bag into his lap, and from the back pocket he pulled a liturgical vestment – a shield. Yes, this was another relic of St. John Maximovitch. He told me that he always traveled with this relic. He stood and, placing the relic on my head, he began to pray for my healing. [I’ve often wondered what the people in the airport must have thought of this display – two men in cassocks, one holding a piece of cloth on the other’s head and praying aloud for healing!] It is no exaggeration to say that my headache disappeared as he prayed for me; a miracle he immediately ascribed to St. John. After the conference, I discovered a great gift from Fr. Jacob at my house one day – a relic, a part of the cassock of St. John that he had prepared and sent to me as a blessing. I will always cherish this memory of Fr. Jacob and St. John.

Fr. Jacob will be missed by his flock, his spiritual children, his friends and acquaintances. We pray always for his blessed repose!

His soul shall dwell with the righteous!
Memory eternal!

Matthew Jackson