Monday, May 07, 2007


I've been reading around in the recent festschrift for Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West, and the material is excellent.

There are those rare occasions when a passage describing another's pilgrimage resonates profoundly with one's own - and such was my experience when reading the following excerpt from Father Andrew Louth's biographical sketch of His Grace:
"In 1954, Timothy offered himself for ordination in the Church of England, went to a selection board organized for what was then called CACTM (The Church's Advisory Countcil for Training for the Ministry), and was accepted for ordination. During his time at Magdalen, especially through Brother Peter of the Anglican Franciscan order, Society of St Francis, he came to know and experience much of the best of the Anglican tradition, with its combination of deep devotion, both personal an liturgical, a sense of mission, and an energetic concern for the needs of the poor and underprivileged. By the time he finished Greats, his doubts over Anglicanism were beginning to grow, and he chose to stay on at Magdalen to read for the Honour School of Theology, rather than begin his theological studies at an Anglican Theological College. For during his time at Oxford his interest in Orthodoxy had deepened and developed. He received little encouragement in his journey to Orthodoxy: far from it, he had been very much discouraged, both by his English friends (who warned him of 'life-long eccentricity'), and by the Orthodox bishop he had approached (Bishop James [Vivros] of Apamaea, of the Greek Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom in London). But Anglicanism itself he came to feel he could no longer embrace. What troubled him was the diversity of Anglican faith, leaving him with the oddness of affirming as an individual preference what he saw as something to be received as Tradition. Anglican involvement with the Church of South India, which troubled many fellow Anglicans, seemed to underscore such openness to ambiguity. The pull of Orthodoxy - its unambiguous embrace of Tradition, the continuing witness of its martyrs, its profound life of prayer, as well as the bonds of friendship being forged with such as Nicolas and Militza Zernov, and the influence of the theological insights of theologians like Vladimir Lossky, Fr Georges Florovsky and Fr John Romanides - became overwhelming." (pp 15-16, italics and bold added)