Just a few lines, to share some great news. This weekend, I was in Cambridge for a FOMA (Friends of Mount Athos) Conference dedicated to His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos. It was a great event, with some wonderful speakers and an impressive guest list. I shan’t write more on the conference itself, because I’ve taken some notes and I’ll expand them over the next few days.
All I want for now is to let you know that I’ve had a chance to speak with Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate) and that His Eminence gave me his permission to visit the Russian parishes in the UK, so I may speak to people about our monastery. This meeting has been on my mind for such a long time – I am so grateful to His Eminence for his generosity, and so happy for his vision regarding Orthodoxy in the UK.
After the support we have received from the Antiochian parishes – who’ve been part of the story of the monastery since day one, both in the UK and in the US (thank you and may God bless you!) – our small monastery has now found a new group of friends and supporters in the Russian parishes. All this support is essential for us – not only from a financial point of view (although, obviously, this is the short-term priority), but in a much deeper way. This monastery is built on a vision of pan-orthodox unity; in everything we have done so far, we have been very careful to hold on to this vital principle – we should never turn into an ethnic ghetto, but contribute to the unity and love that are natural to the Body of Christ.
Please pray for His Eminence Elisey; may God grant him many years. Also pray for His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos Ware – he has become one of the best friends of our monastery in ways I could not even hope for. Prior to my meeting with Archbishop Elisey, Metropolitan Kallistos took the time to send him a personal letter of introduction for myself and our Monastery which I am sure contributed decisively to Archbishop Elisey’s decision to welcome and support us.
During the conference, I met a few of the people who have been praying for the monastery from the beginning, and I’ll tell you now what I’ve told them in Cambridge: I don’t know what you’re doing and how you are praying, but keep it up, my friends. It is clearly working.