Thursday, December 08, 2005

Me & Metropolitan Anthony

So I went ahead and ordered this book from SVS Press, as a rather luxurious pre-Chrismas present to myself (I can be quite wreckless in this department and usually require supervision in bookstores). The book is about Metropolitan ANTHONY (Bloom), who fell asleep in the Lord on August 3, 2003, just one day after I left London to come back to Edmonton. I had been in his Cathedral Church of the Dormition at Ennismore Gardens just a week before. A few years previous, in Spring 2001, I had the chance to meet him and speak with him briefly, after I went to the Cathedral with my good friend Derek. He listened to me very deeply, and that encounter changed the course of my life, though he didn't "tell me what to do."

He lived, as they say, in interesting times, which perhaps many of us know can be both a curse as well as a blessing. He was the nephew of the composer Alexander Scriabin, son to a Diplomat of the Russian Empire, born in Switzerland, raised in the palatial Persian paradise and then penniless in Paris (ridiculous, I know). An ardent hater of the Church as a young man, and then, all of a sudden - after reading the Gospel of Mark - a serious Christian. A wartime medical doctor and secretly tonsured monk during the French resistance. A missionary priest and Bishop in England. Life-long volleyball player and actor (Metropolitan Anthony played volleyball and did skits with the kids at the Church Summer Camp well into his 80s). I'll have more to say about "This Holy Man." I'm finding out from the book that he could also be extremely 'salty' and quite 'tough' sometimes, but usually brimming with God's life, truth, and vigour. For now, all I'll say, is that I'm having trouble putting down this book... (just ask Krista).

May his memory be eternal!


Blogger kimberley said...

matt. i look forward to it too.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

what a wonderful story!
now I want the book.
he sounds like a wonderfully dynamic, personable, fearfully God loving man.
I'm so glad you got to meet him!
what a privilage!

5:12 PM  
Blogger seraphim/seattle said...

i have not been able to read something by him and walk away unchanged. memory eternal. thanks for making us aware of this book.

6:32 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

thanks for this post... reading the first page and a half of his book _courage to pray_ certainly changed my the point that i immediately knew that that book was what i had been looking for all my life ... i can well imagine how meeting him would have changed yours! ... Met. Bloom had just passed a few weeks before i read those pages... Memory Eternal...

3:41 AM  
Blogger Browler said...


That was quite a night, wasn't it.


1:34 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

I once had a book called Beginning to Pray which I believe was written by Anthony Bloom. Is this the man you are referring to? It was a powerful, transformative book, but I lent it to someone and did not see it again. And no I happen rather haphazardly on your blog...

1:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Yes, this is the same man!

Are we related, Patry? Maybe we're long-lost cousins?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Long lost cousins brought together by Anthony Bloom maybe. I hope you write more about your reaction to the biography.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

There are many wonderful things in the book I'm looking forward to writing here. And perhaps I might write some words about our meeting in 2001.

8:38 PM  

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