Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: A Life

By Avril Pyman

An insightful and rigorously researched biography of Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, the former leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain.

ISBN: 9780718894498
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Andrei Bloom (1914-2003) better known as Anthony Bloom, or Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, led an extraordinary life. He was an individual who sought to be in touch with his God yet in solidarity with and responsibility for a tragically disconnected society; a man of God who “knew the world”. From the difficulties of Russian émigré life that conditioned him as “a monk without a monastery”, through the trials and suffering of war and revolution, to his calling as Priest and Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, he moved between many changing landscapes, striving always to take his bearings in prayer and contemplation.

In spite of the collapse of their whole way of life, his parents brought him up to be a generous and courteous friend to those around him. As a surgeon and doctor in German-occupied France, he would provide treatment to those in need irrespective of ethnic or ideological affiliation. In his character, joy in the good and the beautiful was compounded with ardor and tragic depths. This biography explores how Metropolitan Anthony sought the mind of Christ to cultivate and control his own loving heart and occasionally harsh exigence.

Avril Pyman draws on a mosaic of available evidence to offer deeper insight into the life and times of a remarkable spiritual teacher, charismatic speaker and priest whose cosmopolitan background, character and experience of science and medicine made a unique and significant contribution to Orthodox Christian thought and practice throughout the world.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 296
Illustrations b&w

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Dr Avril Pyman was awarded her PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1958 and continued as a British Council research scholar in Leningrad. Pyman taught Russian and Russian Literature at the University of Durham and is now retired. She is the author of many articles on and translations of Russian literature and of The Life of Aleksandr Blok (2 volumes, 1979-1980); History of Russian Symbolism (1984) and Pavel Florensky – A Quiet Genius, 2010).


List of Illustrations

1. From Prince to Pauper: Origins and Childhood, 1914-1922
2. Alienation and Revelation: Growing up in Exile, 1922-1929
3. Conflicting Vocations: The Formation of a Monk “in the World”, 1928-1937
4. Surgeon in the French Army and Monk in the Surgery, 1937-1949
5. Priesthood, Move to London, Ministry in the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, 1949-1957
6. Fame in a Divided World, 1957-1963
7. The International Arena, 1963-1974
8. The Consolidation of the Second Diocese of Sourozh, 1974-1989
9. Mission to Russia and New Problems in England, 1983-2003
10. Agony

Glossary of Proper Names
Index of Proper Names


Endorsements and Reviews

Dr Pyman re-creates the life and times of Metropolitan Anthony as only an old friend could. We encounter one of the great Christian apologists of post-war Britain, someone for whom ‘to live is Christ’ – and a man Russian to the core, impossible to understand apart from the larger-than-life world of the Russian emigration and its complex relationship with the Soviet and post-Soviet ‘motherland’.
Elizabeth Theokritoff, co-editor, Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology (2008)

Avril Pyman’s life of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh provides readers with an amazing portrait of a complex and fascinating figure. Young Andrei Bloom, student, then physician, then monk, then priest, came to radiate a vision of Orthodoxy as universal Church that drew Western converts while also touching Russian émigré believers and some in Russia itself. Metropolitan Anthony could not have hoped for a finer biographer than Avril Pyman, whose superb scholarship is enriched by her lively narrative and personal insights.
Joan Delaney Grossman, Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California at Berkeley, and co-editor of William James in Russian Culture (2003)

As vicar of Cambridge University Church I am vividly aware of the enormous influence of Metropolitan Anthony on generations of students – including myself – through his preaching which attracted huge congregations (more than any other preacher in his era). This biography shows how his influence as a preacher was rooted in his personal experience of Christ and his life of prayer. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh helps us to enter into the same quality of experience that he shared with so many in his lifetime.
John Binns, author of An Introduction to the Orthodox Christian Churches (2002)

The educated reader would find this a good general introduction to a complex and compelling man.
Christopher Villiers, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 2

Avril Pyram … fills a considerable gap. Relying on the MASF archive, on published and unpublished sources as well as on accounts of persons who knew Metropolitan Anthony and her own recollections, the biographer explores the complex personality of this spiritual father of our days, his theoretical insights, his pastoral work, an his activity as an outstanding broadcaster and preacher.
Adalberto Mainardi, in Theologishe Revue, Vol 115, No 1