26 August 2022

Timothy [Metropolitan Kallistos] Ware - Memory Eternal!

Metropolitan Kallistos died on Wednesday. His The Orthodox Church was a major influence on my journey out of Anglicanism into Orthodoxy on my way to Rome. 

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more;
neither sighing but life everlasting.
Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of man:
and we are mortal, formed from the dust of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return:
for so thou didst ordain
when thou created me saying:
“Dust thou art und unto dust shalt thou return.”
All we go down to the dust;
and weeping o’er the grave we make our song:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Father John Hunwicke, who knew Metropolitan Kallistos personally, has written an appreciation of his life at Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment:

May the Lord remember his Episcopate.

His and my paths did quite often cross, although I would never claim him as a friend. 

Firstly, I knew him when he was a newly minted Orthodox layman, formed by his relationship with the Zernovs at Number One Canterbury Road in Oxford. This was on the occasion of my first visit there; Timothy had been a brilliant Greatsman and was now a resident student. Dr Z unloaded me onto him to be 'looked after'. Within those hospitable walls one found a culture firmly rooted in Orthodoxy but warmly open to 'ecumenical' dialogue ... the days of the dear old Eastern Churches Quarterly (the youthful Ware put together a complete run of the ECQ by rummaging in the Back Room of the Newman Bookshop) and of Sobornost; Sunday mornings spent with elderly emigrees ladies dressed in black and laden with jewels and prostrating themselves at the Greater Entrance.

These were days when, in the streets of Oxford, one could earn great kudos by mentioning the Cappadocian Fathers and Derwas Chitty (I was later to discover that Orthodoxy could be rather more fun when it had a Cypriot or even peasant dialect in South London along the Camberwell New Road).

Ware's subsequent journey into fashionable Liberalism was securely signposted by the changes he made, in successive editions of his popular Penguin manual on Orthodoxy, with regard to Contraception. He, personally, favoured the admission of Anglicans to the Sacraments of the Orthodox Communion.

When the Church of England was on its way towards the admission of Women to what it termed Episcopacy, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in England were each invited to nominate a representative to the 'Traditionalist' Committee which eventually, in the cellars of Gordon Square, produced Consecrated Women. The English Catholic bishops gave us (God bless them: this was in the happy days before the oppressive miseries of Bergoglianity) Fr Aidan Nichols. Aidan was always present; always friendly; always the contributer of brilliant insights. I supported (unsuccessfully) his proposal that our volume be titled The Voice of the Bridegroom.

Fr Aidan put endless hours into our project, which eventually resulted in the Ordinariate. Bishop Kallistos, however, was clearly never completely comfortable with us. It was his view that the admission of women to major Orders was a matter upon which "The Church" had never passed judgement. It seemed to me very obvious that he was determined, for whatever personal reasons,  that the question continue to be regarded as 'open'.

He was on one occasion very voluble when I had been ... not quite accurately ... minuted as having speculated at the previous meeting (which he had not attended) that perhaps Orthodox Christianity did not need a strong Magisterium because it had such a strong notion of Tradition.

And he also once publicly attacked me because, when I had fulfilled the role of Celebrant at the Anglican Eucharist during an Ecumenical conference in Walsingham, I had included the Filioque. My naive assumption had been that if qua Anglican priest one had been asked to celebrate an Anglican Eucharist, that is what an Anglican should do.

But I simply adored his gentle, dignified English accent. It was skilfully crafted to identify him as a very good speaker of English in whose accent, nonetheless, one detected traces of an original foreignness. And I once heard him explaining a matter of Orthodox teaching, and concluding: "Well, that's our Orthodox teaching. Now perhaps you will tell me what you Anglicans believe." 

As if ...

He was just about as English ... I nearly wrote 'as Anglican' ... as they come.

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