Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Great evangelist of our time has reposed

I would say, possibly second only to Bishop Ireland, no other English-speaking person has brought more people to Orthodoxy. The number of people who have walked into my church on a Sunday or sent me an email mentioning they are reading one of his books and "have questions about Orthodoxy now" well exceeds any other author. I only met him once, but was able to inform him of that fact, and he was suitably unsurprised if humble. Hopefully someone will do a documentary or biography on him that captures his effect on the Church and the world.

(SVS) - With faith in Christ and hope in the resurrection, we share news of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, a leading Orthodox Christian theologian, teacher, and author. 

His Eminence authored, among many other works, the immensely popular The Orthodox Way, published by St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) Press, and the Seminary was blessed to have him speak on campus on multiple occasions. In September 2011, the Seminary Board of Trustees and faculty bestowed upon Metropolitan Kallistos an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of the many gifts His Eminence contributed to the Orthodox Church and to Christians worldwide.

Metropolitan Kallistos was born Timothy Ware in Bath, England, on September 11, 1934. He was raised Anglican but discovered Orthodox Christianity in his youth, and he was finally received into the Church in 1958, at the age of twenty-four. 

In 1966, he was ordained to the priesthood and was tonsured as a monk, receiving the name Kallistos, in honour of St. Kallistos Xanthopoulos. The same year, he became a lecturer at the University of Oxford teaching Eastern Orthodox Studies, a position which he held for thirty-five years until his retirement in 2001. His Eminence was elected and consecrated titular bishop of Diokleia (of the Patriarchate of Constantinople) in 1982, becoming the first Englishman to be consecrated as a bishop in the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of the eleventh century. In March 2007, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated the Diocese of Diokleia to Metropolis and Bishop Kallistos to titular metropolitan of Diokleia. 

For many years following his retirement as a university lecturer, Metropolitan Kallistos continued to publish and to give lectures on Orthodox Christianity, traveling widely. He was considered by many to be one of the most important Orthodox Christian theologians of his generation.

May the memory of Metropolitan Kallistos be eternal!


  1. Eternal memory!
    Clever about Bishop Ireland, but wouldn't the right word in his case be "drove" rather than "brought"?

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  3. He reflected his generations general naivete around the sexual revolution, "science", and how secularism winds its way *into* the Church and its theological reflection. That said his influence, particularly in the 70's to 90's can hardly be over stated. Memory Eternal!!

  4. He seemed to be drifting a bit in his later years on subjects that I don't think the Fathers would have been so open minded on. But he was unquestionably one of the great figures in contemporary Orthodox apologetics. Memory eternal!

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  6. Ah... I see the comments moved quickly into contexting a man of God who brought more to the church than most of us might in a 1,000 lifetimes. God help us! FWIW, I'd prefer a larger, more charitable view of the good Metropolitan as conveying more of God's love and mercy and our limited understanding than on conveying precisely the right information about God. And I suspect in this he got more right than could be said of most of us as the cry for "mercy more than justice" seems always and everywhere to get at the sense of the Fathers without getting lost in specifics and the context of their own times. Triple the Memory Eternal.

    1. James, did you just context Met. Kallistos as an equal-to-the- Fathers or Pope Francis? I'm only half joking ;)

      Seriously though, this (false) dialectical opposition of "mercy more than justice" is too often the "progressive''s" lament over and against the "traditionalist". Beyond this, what the good Metropoliton got wrong about homosexualism (to name one example) was not wrong merely "informationaly", or a matter of customs of the age, but as a matter of Reality itself and eternally bound to Christ and our very salvation.

    2. I'd rather we don't get caught in trying a combox theological dialog, but FWIW, I think the equation of "mercy more than justice" as a "modern trope" (which you're not exactly saying but to some degree implying) is a miss. The liturgy cries for mercy 130+ times and we sing "arise of God judge the earth" only at Pascha - and I think only as a guard against our usurping that role.

      Equally, I think most of us in our naves are blessed with what we think are easier sins to forgive... or at least are thankfully not worn on our foreheads. Others aren't better or worse - they're just others. And the paths of those outside our church towards salvation may nonetheless continue unaided (by us), unguided by the church's narrow ways (acknowledged as the best way), and very much alone. I can think of very little harder in this world as it presses upon us in the fullness of time - which inevitably it does.

      FWIW, I've studied theology for years... decades. Yet fairly, I don't think I know beans about how God works the salvation of His people. I think I can recognize it when I see it.... but it takes a lot of turns. And He does work far outside the Church, and yes the Church offers much help to those inside... but it is not the limit of God's mercy, His love or His grace either. I just hope showing up and following the guideposts helps. But if I'm irredeemable - which is quite probable - I hope as the psalmist puts it in the 9th hour, that He can put me closer to those who do love God than those who don't, and that ultimately if God covers all their sins... and He might cover mine as well. May we both be so blessed.

      And it is in that sense that I think Mercy more than Justice nails it. But your mileage may vary.