Rev. Voorhees Evans Harris was born at AnnapoIis Royal Nova Scotia.on April 16th, 1856, the son of Robert Jefferson Harris and Rebecca Ditmars. His brothers included the Hon. Robert E. Harris, late Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, and Dr. John Harris, a physician of Yarmouth. Educated at the Annapolis Public Schools and County Academy, he matriculated at King’s College Windsor in 1874, where he won many distinctions and honours graduating in 1878 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
After a year as headmaster of St. Peter’s School, Charlottetown, he was ordained in 1879 and was appointed to the Parish of Londonderry Mines, then a thriving steel manufacturing town. In 1883, he was appointed Vicar of Amherst, during the absence in England of the rector Rev. Canon George Townshend, becoming Rector in }892. Here he carried on cm extensive work, building up the Parish and extending his ministrations to Fort Lawrence, .Tidnish, Jogoms and River Herbert, Collingwood, Maccan and other points. During his eighteen years in this Parish he built four churches, a Parish Hall and a rectory.
1902 he resigned as rector and after a year in England and the United States, he was appointed Rector of Sackvi1le, Halifax County, with Bedford, Beaver Bank, Hammonds Plains, Waverley and Windsor Junction. Here he was ever active in extending the boundaries of his work and building new churches at Bedford and Hammonds Plains. In 1910 he was appointed Clerical Secretary of the Diocese retaining the office until 1925. During this time he gave every Sunday to visiting vacant parishes, or to bringing the ministrations of the Church to a large number of members of the Greek Orthndox Church (mostlv Russians) then on construction work at the Halifax Ocean Terminals. He studied their language and was able to minister to them in their own tongue. During most of this time he carried on the work of Hospital Chaplain and never spared himself day or night in bringing comfort to the sick and dying.
From 1896 to 1924 he was a member of the General Synod of the Church and from 1881 until 1924 a member of the Provincial Synod of Canada and for some years was Secretary of the Upper House. He was Secretary of the Board of Governors of the University of King’s College, Windsor and Halifax and was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Civil Law in 1915. For some time he was a lecturer in Pastoral Theology in the Divinity School.
In 1918 he was appointed a Canon of All Saints Cathedral Halifax.
Because of failing health he retired from active service in 1927 and died Dec, 10th. 1927, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Annapolis Royal. Archbishop Worrell, in an address delivered at his funeral in All Saints Cathedral spoke of him in these words –
”What was the secret of that great quality he possessed’? It was his absolute sincerity, a sincerity of principle, sincerity in every way. He did not, stop to think of what others would advise, – what he thought was right, what he fe1t in himself was the true side, that was the thing which he was at once ready to stand for. His sincerity was the thing which marked him all his life. But there was another trait, strongly marked, and that was his humility. He never sought for anything for himself. Just for the good of the Church, just for God: just what he could do for other people. Through all of his life there was that saintliness of character which was I think, one of the most charming things about him – to come in contact with one who was indeed a Saint of God, and I feel that in him was the secret of the deepest spirit of love. He did indeed believe in what he taught; he preached indeed what he practised, and I believe he practised in every way what he preached. His faith was always strength for him. He lived not so much for earthly advancement, he looked not for it but he ever looked for that eternal country, for that heavenly Kingdom where he should serve for ever Him whom he so faithfully served on earth.”
Father Rev. Voorhees Evans Harris was a “Philhellene”. In his will he left $700.00 to the Greeks of Halifax to be used towards establishing an Orthodox Church. The Hellenic Community proclaims him as their benefactor and consider him to be the originator of the Hellenic Church of St. George, because it was his first donation that started the contributions towards the buying of a church. Inside of a year frorn the day his son Mr. R. V. Harris, K.C. told us the contents of his father’s will, the church had already been bought. The Greek people of Halifax, gratefully acknowledge their thanks and respect to Mr. R. V. Harris. May the ever-memorable Rev. Voorhees Evans Harris eternally Rest In Peace. He was truly an Apostle of Christ. All his life’s work from beginning to end was done for the good of Christianity,
Respectfully we wish that the earth that covers him be light, and his memory everlasting.
Rev. E. Athanasiou.