It was fifty years ago that Anthony Bloom, later to be known as Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, was consecrated bishop on St. Gregory of Neo Caesarea’s Day, November 30, 1957. There are many people who remember him now. And each one has his own memories.
He was able to express the most complex ideas in the most simple language making them understandable for both complex and simple minds.
He was able to speak to many making each one feel in the center of his attention as an important and valuable person.
He was never a ‘sweetie.’ He cared that nobody hissed at his neighbor in his church. When he celebrated a service, all departed from church as if after a joyful event.
He loved Russia. He said had he been younger and not bound with his ministry he would have gone there.
He taught that the Gospel spoke of love, that love is the ultimate meaning of Christ’s good news, and he made this gospel-love real for all who met him. One could meet him thousand miles away from London when he spoke on BBC. For many it was a drink of truth in the desert of materialism.
He won his hearer with his speech-manner, his intonation, his special manner of pronouncing words, and his wonderful pure Russian language. But it was of course not how he spoke but what he spoke that attracted people.
He said that when he was fourteen he opened a book of the New Testament and felt God’s presence. And during the rest of his life he was tirelessly looking
He was a preacher. A man of prayer. A pastor. A laborer. A minister of the great and tremendous mysteries of God.
And of course a bishop he was... Within the Russian Church he shaped a unique diocese, in which there was ‘neither Greek nor Jew.’ It was there that citizens of Europe’s most mistand from Russia country, England, could recognize in the Orthodoxy their own ancient faith. They saw it and they wanted it back.
Now when he’s gone we really miss him. The British Isles’ vast Orthodox community has lost their father in Christ - and has got their saint praying for them in heaven. And it is prayer that is the most needed and meaningful this in Christian faith.