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From an interview about the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 10, 2003
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      From an interview about the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
      RRN - Strana.ru/Portal-credo.ru, 5 August 2003 - The last assembly of
      Sourozh eparchy (London) in July took place without her head, Metropolitan
      Anthony Bloom. The question about the eparchy's status practically did not
      come up even during recesses. How the situation will be resolved in the
      near future came up in an interview between Strana.Ru's correspondent and
      Archpriest Vladimir Arkhipov, who was present at the assembly.
      -- Father Vladimir, it is no secret that there were strong speculations
      about the possible transfer of the Russian Orthodox Church's Sourozh
      (England) Eparchy's to the Constantinople patriarchate. Would such changes
      in the Sourozh Eparchy take place following Metropolitan Anthony's death?
      - I can say that I spoke with Vladyka Anthony on this subject, and he
      obviously did not want this. I think that the transfer will not take place
      because Metropolitan Anthony was a person extremely loyal to his Church and
      his confession. I know that he did everything possible to keep the
      simmering conflict from boiling over. He did whatever he could.
      I believe that all his disciples (should they remain in control of the
      eparchy), particularly Vladyka Basil (Osborn) who was designated by the
      Synod as the administrator of the Sourozh eparchy, will also do everything
      possible to prevent the transfer. Should a situation arise when
      circumstances would become beyond their competence or strength, then one
      cannot exclude that the Sourozh eparchy's parishes could decide to go to
      the Constantinople patriarchate. In this case the decision does not rest
      entirely with them. As for their wishes, they will try to remain faithful
      to Vladyka Anthony, to his intentions and his wishes.
      ? What do you consider Metropolitan Anthony was (and is) for the Russian
      Orthodox Church?
      - The Lord sends such people to us very rarely.
      This was a person of exceptional honesty and veracity within himself,
      before his God and before every individual. Without such qualities ?
      honesty, veracity or, as he liked to say, transparency ? there can be no
      real faith. It cannot be engendered in the heart of some other person. God
      will be unable to speak in another heart.
      Metropolitan Anthony was a standard, a contemporary example who happened to
      be a holy man. This was a person who understood Christianity with clarity,
      guarding everyone by his example from turning Orthodoxy into a branch of a
      He took such a position that no one of his flock nor anyone who wanted to
      follow his example would be tempted to turn to seek of signs and wonders
      which, as the Gospel cautions, will not be given. Metropolitan Anthony
      avoided any kind of emotional exclamations with respect to numberless
      "renovations" of icons, weeping ones, and other "miracles" which now fill
      the Church and human consciousness. He treated all this soberly and with
      This was an example of a sober, clear, and an enlightened understanding of
      the Gospels and his life consisted of his personal relation to Christ.
      Anyone who wanted to follow him could see in him a real, living example of
      such a relationship.
      ? You met Metropolitan Anthony some time ago and knew him well. Could you
      share some personal recollections  about him?
      My personal recollection is of a profound gratitude. He blessed me to
      become a priest many years ago. Actually, we developed a father-son
      relationship and in the last several years it has become even stronger. I
      have personal recollections about his exceptional warmth, peace and his
      pure and crystal-clear relations with God. Whenever I saw Vladyka Anthony I
      felt a lifting of all my expectations, feelings and thoughts.
      I saw him often and I also had several opportunities to visit him in London
      so my memory of him is of a relation to a father. Although I have another
      spiritual and neither one can replace the other, but there was always a
      feeling of gratitude, and an appreciation of his ability to maintain such a
      pure and loyal relationship to God and the Church at times when he needed
      to bear the Cross. The circumstances surrounding him do not reflect his
      true state which far from everyone can understand or accept. Vladyka
      Anthony had a clear and exceptional understanding that the cross he bore
      was not a simple one. He understood this but never declined to bear it,
      expressing only gratitude to God for everything.
      He avoided and ran away from any kind of pomp, an external affectation,
      which inevitably accompanies hierarchal services. This was one of the
      directions he took in his services in the eparchy, which did not please
      everyone. He was firm about this: to avoid any kind of external actions
      which were not related to the service of a bishop. Because such external
      entourage distracts the people from the one who serves God. Vladyko
      understood this very well saying, "I am a bishop who does not lord it over
      you but who serves you." This is a very important point, a very important
      principle. A bishop who is not power-seeking but one who seeks to serve.
      It is rare for people who have attained such a high position, or any
      position, who manage to maintain such principles
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