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  • Writer's picturePhil

+rowan + anthony

Wednesday and Thursday of the First Week of Lent

“We should try to live in such a way that if the Gospels were lost,

they could be re-written by looking at us.”

“It is only in becoming the living message of the Gospel

that we can truly say that we have received the message,

The disciples of Christ should be such that people looking at them

would be puzzled, perturbed, challenged by the awareness

that they have encountered men and women

who were like no one else, not on account of their wisdom or reasoning

but because they were different: they had become new creatures.”

So wrote Metropolitan Anthony, who for many years was the leading figure in this country of the Russian Orthodox Community, but whose influence spread far beyond the confines of his Orthodox denomination.

His distinct spirituality was Russian Orthodox, but through his many books and sermons he has had a profound effect (and continues to do so) on Christian and non-Christian people alike in his down-to-earth approach to prayer.

Here's an example:

“If you think of the number of empty minutes in a day when we are doing something because we are afraid of emptiness and of being alone with ourselves, you will realize there are plenty of short periods which could belong to us and to God at the same time.”

Metropolitan Bloom tells of an elderly woman who asked him how to pray.

He suggested she sit in her room each morning, knitting in silence for fifteen minutes. After a while she came back to him and reported “The silence had a density, a richness, and it began to pervade me.” She added, “At the heart of the silence there was Him who is all stillness, all peace, all poise.” When we stop during the day to remember him

and when we seek him in silence, even the busiest life can be blessed with peace.

Metropolitan Anthony, one of my two favourite Archbishops.

My least favourite has to be His Holiness (!!!) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, who seems to be saying that because President Zelenskiy permits gay pride marches, then innocent men may be summarily shot, and women and children bombed to kingdom come.

His understanding is that just as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they were steeped in unnatural sexual sin, so Ukraine’s destruction is a similar day of judgment; a prototype for God’s eschatological judgment and salvation of the cosmos. This isn’t only devoid of mercy and compassion; it is profoundly anti-Christian.

Which brings me to my other favourite Archbishop, Rowan Williams, who in the light of Kirill's indescribably-evil stance over the Ukraine invasion, wrote a plea to him via "The Times" -


8th March 2022 -


Last weekend Orthodox Christians in many countries celebrated

“Forgiveness Sunday”, the day before Great Lent begins.

Many will have hoped to hear from the Orthodox Church in Russia some acknowledgement of the shocking — not to say blasphemous —

absurdity of Orthodox Christians engaging, at this season of all seasons,

in indiscriminate killing of the innocent, insanely reckless attacks on nuclear facilities (endangering their own homeland as well as the wider environment), the unashamed breach of ceasefire agreements, and an attack on one of the most significant Holocaust memorials in Europe. It is not too late for the leadership of the Church in Russia to call for (at the very least) a credible ceasefire as Lent begins. Those of us who owe a lasting debt to the thought and witness of Christian Russia through the centuries find it hard to believe that all the moral norms of warfare, painstakingly explored by Christians in both East and West from the earliest ages onwards have been forgotten.

The Right Rev Lord Williams of Oystermouth Archbishop of Canterbury 2002-12; Cardiff

How the Patriarchate of Moscow can view as Christ's will that the maternity and children's wards in Mariupol hospital should be destroyed by a Russian air strike beggars belief. My prayer is this letter of Archbishop Rowan's.

Maternity and Children's wards: Mariupol hospital


Lord, I do not fear this day

for you are with me

wherever I might go.

Your light shines ahead

Your footsteps lead the way.

Lord, I do not fear this day

For Your strength will sustain me,

You love revive me.

I do not fear this day...

for you are with me.


Heavenly Father, hear our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Lord we ask for peace for those who need peace,

reconciliation for those who need reconciliation

and comfort for all who don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Lord may your Kingdom come, and Your will be done.

Lord God, we ask for you to be with all – especially children who are suffering

as the crisis in Ukraine deteriorates.

Lord for those who are anxious and fearful, for those who are bereaved, injured

or who have lost their lives, and for those who have lost loved ones.

Lord hear our prayers.

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