Anthony of Sourozh — the Person is more important than the rules

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh never fit into the standard framework of "religious leader". He was educated doctor in the Sorbonne, was an honorary doctor of divinity of Aberdeen, Cambridge, Kyiv and Moscow theological academies and said jokingly that this diploma had one medical, the other is false.

Anthony of Sourozh (1914-2003) knew about his vocation from his youth, possessed a rebellious spirit and are not looking for the Holy silence, he lived there and carried it to the people.

In the world of Anthony of Sourozh's name was Andrei Borisovich bloom. The ancestors of his father Peter arrived in Russia from Scotland. Refined and educated mother was in a relationship with the great composer Alexander Skryabin. Andrew was born in Lausanne shortly before the outbreak of the First world war, spent his early childhood in Persia (now Iran), where his father worked as a Consul, and his first childhood memory was the vast desert, the shepherd and flock of sheep.

And then — revolution, poverty, wanderings in Europe, humiliating exile disorder. Finally his family settled on the outskirts of Paris.

Andrew was sent to the school in an area with such high crime that the streets after dark even the police didn't show up. Metropolitan Anthony says: "they Beat me mercilessly in high school — generally it was considered normal that a beginner in the first year were beaten until they learn to defend themselves. Remember, I am one of the crowd rushed, rushed to the teacher, crying out for protection — it is just a foot pushed me away: "don't complain!"

And in this school were stories about Christ famous theologian. He addressed the students and praised the humility, meekness, tihost — all personality traits, the most despised of angry teenagers. Andrey to the extreme rebelled outright lies of the theologian, because they believed that in a world of survival of the fittest, and worshiped neither mercy "Superman" of Nietzsche. The teenager couldn't imagine that a grown man genuinely admired similar qualities. He ran home and grabbed the New Testament, Oh, how he longed to catch the Evangelist in a lie. He chose the gospel of Mark, the shortest and the most straightforward, quickly read a third of the pages. And suddenly felt that before him stands Jesus Christ. Closed the book and looked up, and Christ is not seen, but his presence clearly understood. The boy realized that Christ appeared to him to confirm everything written in the book. Feeling the unseen presence of Christ accompanied Andrew all his life. And many years later he expressed his experiences in his early youth to the amazing, wise creation, "Silent prayer".

Andrew entered the medical faculty of the Sorbonne. While training with him happened a curious episode. In practice, in a psychiatric hospital, the students showed a surly patient, who a few years no one spoke and kept silence. Andrew took pity on him and decided to reach him. How to do it? Within a few weeks he came to the chamber to the patient, sat beside him and gone vitoliv word. Finally, the patient looked at him and asked, "what're you silent?" — then came into contact with other people and abruptly went on the mend.

Immediately after graduation, Andrew became a monk and in 1939 went to the front. Worked as a military field surgeon. Then, during the occupation of France, was a physician of the underground. After the war he continued medical practice until 1948, became a priest, a monk, and in 1949 he was sent to the Orthodox parish in the UK, in London, despite the fact that no theological education. So Andrew bloom turned to Anthony of Sourozh.

In a foreign country he had tight. Among the parishioners were a lot of English and he knew English badly. Had to make a sermon in Russian, to pay for the transfer to mother and to read a piece of paper. After one of his talks to Anthony approached the priest, father Lev Gillet, and said angrily that she had never heard a more boring report. Father Anthony was upset, "What can I do?" "Speak without notes". — "I English can not speak. I open my mouth — so that'd say, you just laugh“. — "Exactly! Then we can laugh from the heart and won't die of boredom“.

Since then, father Anthony never recorded their talks and lectures. He spoke with a huge number of errors. The congregation laughed at him, he laughed with them and gradually learned the English language perfectly.

His coming from running and uncrowded turned into a solid multinational diocese. Anthony of Sourozh said: "Come to us passionate about the Orthodox Englishman, and I said to him: "Stay with us, pray, meet other parishioners." After some time I hear from him: "Christianity is wonderful, but Russian absolutely unbearable..." And the man leaves. But he soon returned with the words: "No, for the sake of Orthodoxy and Russian I am willing to be patient."

In 1979, father Anthony along with the parishioners bought of the authorities the temple — otherwise it would have sold by the Chinese restaurant. The money collected among the parishioners and just among good people — and 80,000 managed to collect over the year.

In the soul of father Anthony has always lived on the defenseless boy, who once were alienated and defended the teacher. He knew all the weak, sympathized with the helpless and tried not to refuse anyone who needed him, no matter what the rules. Father Anthony believed that "it is better to break a rule than to break a person" — and gave the last consolation to the dying of different religions have married brides and grooms belonging to different faiths, refusing no one, neither the Council nor in the conversation.

He was infinitely far from formal duty. One day he gave communion to a dying elderly woman, let her sins, there would go his Ordinance Yes home quickly to leave. But something in the woman's facial expression tipped him off. And he asked her if she forgave. The woman paused and replied, "All except the son-in-law!" And father Anthony refused her communion. The woman panicked, "How am I going to die not pricemoney? I'm going to die!" Father Anthony told her that she still have died, once son-in-law is not easy. The woman thought: "I can not just forgive..." Then father Anthony said that he would leave for two hours, and she'll decide to come to terms with her son-in-law or go to the light without communion. "And pray to God to grant you two hours of life for decision-making", he added. Two hours later, father Anthony returned, learned that the woman called son-in-law and reconciled with him, gave her communion, and she died peaceful.

Father Anthony was internally in goodness — and like all benevolent people, ignored the details and went beyond the ordinary limits. They were not disturbed. For him there was no concept of "time" and "accuracy." He didn't fit, tried to keep up, has appeared on radio and television, lectured, conducted meetings, conversations and seminars, why everywhere was late, cancelled meetings or did they forget about them.

One day he invited me to dinner with his friend, father John Lee with his wife and seven times at the last moment, endured the meeting. Guests seven times in a row going to it in a hurry redid things, invited the babysitter and on the seventh once again found on his door a note: "Sorry, the owner is not home." The next day John came to the Metropolitan office and angrily said that such behavior he would not forgive even his wife. Father Anthony once again apologized and said: "Let me tell you, dear John: I am very glad that we are not husband and wife," and the meeting with John was to be late less often.

In Russia, the word of Metropolitan Anthony sounded many decades due to the religious broadcasts of the Russian service of radio Bi-bi-si. Tapes of his speeches and samizdat collections of sermons, like the ripples that went far beyond Moscow. He died in August 2003 in London, surrounded by friends. His life and views is important and interesting to all — regardless of religion, painfully he was a wise, significant and kind.

"We know very little from experience that such profound silence of body and soul, when the soul reigns perfect stillness, perfect when the world fills the body, when it stops all the bustle and movement and we stand before God to the end exposed in the act of worship. There are moments when we feel physically well, we don't want to strain your mind, we are tired of words, because so many have already said; we don't want to move, and we experience joy in this delicate balance. Inner silence is the absence of any internal movement of thought or emotion, but a state of complete alertness, openness to God." (Anthony of Sourozh) published


Author: Galina Zaitseva

P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©

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