Sunday, August 03, 2003

Of your charity pray
Blog reader David Holford writes that Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) in Britain is about to die: 'Our bishop ... of Sourozh (the diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate in the UK) is very, very near to passing from this life into the next, if he has not already received his crown.

'As of Friday night, he had already passed into unconciousness and he has been anointed.

'Please pray for him.'

I've been to the Russian Orthodox (Moscow Patriarchate) cathedral in London* a handful of times, the last in 1993 on St Thomas Sunday, the week after Pascha (Easter), and got to hear the metropolitan** preach.

*The Cathedral of the Assumption and All Saints in Ennismore Gardens, housed in a handsome 19th-century ex-Anglican church that looks like a Roman basilica. The congregation is largely Russian, but while in the late 1980s almost everything was in Slavonic, I remember more English in the early 1990s (including this wonderful 'Anglicanized', if puzzling to the non-churched, translation of the Glory Be: '... now and ever, world without end. Amen'). The Russian Orthodox metropolia in England has made an effort, it seems, to reach out beyond its ethnic borders to the English, as has the Russian Church Abroad there.

**Renowned even among non-Orthodox as a religious writer. Born to Russians abroad, he came to Britain by way of France, where he was a medical doctor and served in the Resistance during World War II.

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