"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

When I was still in Ottawa more than a decade ago, I had a friend who was beginning his doctoral dissertation on Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, about whom, until that time, little scholarly work had been written in a systematic style--which should not surprise us given that the popular archbishop was far from being a systematic thinker himself. That did not, however, prevent such books of his as Beginning to Pray and Living Prayer from becoming hugely popular, and remaining in print decades after they were first published.

In the last decade, we have seen a number of works emerge about him, including the collection edited by Gillian Crow, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: Essential Writings.

Crow is herself the author of a biographical study, This Holy Man: Impressions of Metropolitan Anthony.

At the end of this year, it seems we shall finally have a serious scholarly biography: Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: A Life by Avril Pyman (Lutterworth, 2016), 288pp.

Pyman is a well known scholar of Russian realities, and author of previous studies including A History of Russian Symbolism and the author, moreover, of what is perhaps the definitive biography of Pavel Florensky: Pavel Florensky: a Quiet Genius. 

Amazon describes this forthcoming book as
A biography of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, based on published and unpublished materials, interviews with surviving contemporaries and the author’s own experience as a pupil of Russian émigrés, of life in the Soviet Union and of the Russian Patriarchal Church in London.
The publisher, Lutterworth, gives us further details:

Andrei Bloom (1914–2003) better known as Anthony Bloom, or Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, led an extraordinary life. He was an individual who sought to be in touch with his God yet in solidarity with and responsibility for a tragically disconnected society; a man of God who "knew the world". From the difficulties of Russian émigré life that conditioned him as "a monk without a monastery", through the trials and suffering of war and revolution, to his calling as Priest and Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, he moved between many changing landscapes, striving always to take his bearings in prayer and contemplation.
In spite of the collapse of their whole way of life, his parents brought him up to be a generous and courteous friend to those around him. As a surgeon and doctor in German-occupied France, he would provide treatment to those in need irrespective of ethnic or ideological affiliation. In his character, joy in the good and the beautiful was compounded with ardor and tragic depths. This biography explores how Metropolitan Anthony sought the mind of Christ to cultivate and control his own loving heart and occasionally harsh exigence. 
Avril Pyman draws on a mosaic of available evidence to offer deeper insight into the life and times of a remarkable spiritual teacher, charismatic speaker and priest whose cosmopolitan background, character and experience of science and medicine made a unique and significant contribution to Orthodox Christian thought and practice throughout the world.
We are also given the table of contents:

List of Illustrations
1. From Prince to Pauper: Origins and Childhood, 1914–1922
2. Alienation and Revelation: Growing up in Exile, 1922–1929
3. Conflicting Vocations: The Formation of a Monk "in the World", 1928–1937
4. Surgeon in the French Army and Monk in the Surgery, 1937–1949
5. Priesthood, Move to London, Ministry in the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, 1949–1957
6. Fame in a Divided World, 1957–1963
7. The International Arena, 1963–1974
8. The Consolidation of the Second Diocese of Sourozh, 1974–1989
9. Mission to Russia and New Problems in England, 1983–2003
10. Agony
Glossary of Proper Names
Index of Proper Names

At this link you can read excerpts from two chapters.

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