of Sourozh Foundation
of Sourozh Foundation
23 February 1986
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
The Lord said once or perhaps was it one of His apostles, “if you judge yourself you would not be judged”. If we passed an honest judgement about what we are, turned to God in repentance and began to lead a life worthy of the judgement we have passed upon ourselves and the repentance we have brought to God, indeed, we would have found the path of eternal life.
In these weeks in which we prepare ourselves to meet face to face with the passion of Christ, His death upon the Cross for ourselves and our salvation and His Resurrection, it is right that we should think time and again of our own condition. And the Church presents us week after week with images which are like mirrors held before our eyes. Today it is the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. And our immediate reaction is to side with the Publican. To feel that we are so different from the Pharisee and to condemn him. And yet the Lord in His parable says to us that the Publican indeed went home more forgiven than the Pharisee but it applies also that God’s blessing accompanied the Pharisee. But indeed again we are so different from one and the other and this difference is not to our advantage. The Pharisee stood before God, he arrogantly as the Greek text puts it took he stand before God because he knew that in many ways he was in the light. He lived according to the commandments, he was faithful to the law, he could say about himself that he not only did not infringe the law, that he kept it to the letter. And yet, there was something lacking in him. He was under the law, he obeyed it as a slave obeys the commands of a master or a task master but he did not commune in heart and mind, with all his will with the One Whose law is life and Whose fulfilment is love. As a slave he did what he was told to do and did it as best he could.
Now, when we think of him can we say any such thing about ourselves? We have the law of the Old Testament before our eyes, we have the commandments of Christ, indeed we have more than His commandments. We have His example and we have got an inspiration which we could derive from the unutterable, inspiring beauty of His personality, of His words, of His actions. And yet, we count on His mercy, we count on His forgiveness, we count on the love of God in order to cover up the fact that we do not follow in His footsteps. And yet there is no other way of being a Christian than being a follower of Christ. St Paul speaks to us in these very terms when he says, “Be followers of me as I am of Christ”. And the first thought that comes to us is how dare he say that? How can he put himself as an example? If we read his Epistle we see that these words are spoken practically immediately after his confession that he was an enemy of Christ, a prosecutor of Him and that it is only when Christ revealed Himself to him that he became a follower. He turned away from the past and directed all his days and all his immeasurably great energy to (?) a disciple. And this is where he begins. Are followers of Christ? Have we ever turned away from something once and for all because it was not Christ’s will, because it was disfiguring in us the image of God, because it was putting God to shame, Who had given His only begotten Son to our salvation and we were rejecting His offer of love and passing by the Cross saying, not in words but in action, that this is irrelevant to us. We never asked Him to die, why did He?
If we were honest, sincerely true, what happened in Holy Week and on Calvary would have changed our lives. And so we can not even claim what the Pharisee could claim when arrogantly he took his stand before God and said: “I am better than others. Look at the way I live.” But then if we turn to the Publican we stand also condemned. He stood at the threshold of the temple. He looked into the temple and saw in it the place where God lives, the place of the presence, a place so holy that he dared not set foot into it. He stood at the threshold beating his breast and saying, “God, have Mercy upon me, a sinner, I am separated from You, I dare not come into Your presence, I can only stand at the threshold of this vision of a holy space”.
Do we treat the house of God in this way? Do we feel the way the Publican felt? When we look at ourselves and indeed at one another do we see anything of this veneration, of this worshipful attitude, of this awe which we find in the Publican? We come into the church as so it was not a space sacred, a space dedicated to God, a space which is His own place: we talk, we greet one another, we forming (?) after a service how much noise, how little recollection, how little awe there is in us?
As so the divine presence manifested itself only at the moment when the first words of a service are proclaimed, while this is the place where God lives, a place which in world that has become secular and godless, in which God is not the ruler, the king and the Lord, a world from which He is excluded, out of which He is rejected, the Church is the place of asylum for Him, it is a place where He is at home because men and women more than a 100 years ago believing in Him have cut out of a godless world a small space and said to Him, “Lord, this is Thine, You can live here, You are safe and we will come to You because it is Your house and adore and worship You, treat this place as a sacred place and Your presence as the fulfilment of our life.”
This was in a way the manner in which the Publican stood at the threshold, we daringly move in, we daringly occupy the space leaving to God invisibly to be present in His sanctuary. How frightening. How different we are from the sinner who knew the greatness of God and knew his own sinfulness. Let us learn both from the Pharisee to live up to our calling, to our vocation, let us learn to be Christian in deed and in thought and in feeling, in all our being. And let us learn from the Publican this awe, this veneration, this sense of our sinfulness and the greatness of God when we come to Holy of Holies where the Holy One dwells, where He reigns supreme, where He can give us life but where we are judged by what we are and what we do.
Let us reflect on these things before we move next week to the story, the parable of the Prodigal Son and reflect again on what it means to take all things from God and to scatter them, to disperse them in vane as we do. But also, let us remember that the mercy of God is here, that it is not only terrible to fall in the hands of the living God but these hands were crucified, these hands are open to us and are offering us salvation if we only open our hearts and our lives and allow God to reign supreme within us as He reigns supreme in the place of His abode.
Impressions of the Coronation from. Fr. Antony Bloom, Priest of the Russian Church in London
THOSE who take an active part in the life of our Parish know that, long before the Coronation, it had begun to prepare itself for the great event for which we were all waiting. Two lectures had been given in our Church House to describe the Russian Orthodox rite of the Coronation of Emperor; extensive explanations had been given as to its meaning and history, and parallels drawn between the Russian Orthodox and the Anglican rite had stressed the outer analogies, and the inner identity of spirit, between the two rites.
On the Sunday before the Coronation, a special service had been held in our Church, after and in addition to the usual prayers offered at every service for «our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family, the country, its people and all who dwell therein»— a votive office was sung: all those who could leave their homes and come to Church were present: and it is from their whole heart that they presented their petitions to God that He would give to the Queen the fullness of His grace, the abundance of His gift of counsel and wisdom, of strength and charity; that He would lead her into all truth, and make her people to live in peace and concord, in worship and righteousness, during her reign, and protect her against all foes visible and invisible.
Before this service, a sermon was preached on the meaning of the service to which the Queen was about to come, and its significance for, and in the lives of, all those who are privileged to live under her God-given rule.
* * * * *
But all this was only the keeping of a vigil.
At last the long expected great day came.
I am not to tell about things that everyone has seen, or could see and hear — things already abundantly spoken of: but I shall tell of the thoughts and feelings which have found their way to the depth of my heart.
* * * * *
At the Queen’s command (as the invitation issued by the Earl Marshal said) I was given the privilege of being present at the Coronation Service in Westminster Abbey, with a group of Anglican Bishops from overseas (Jerusalem, Sumatra, New Zealand . . .), and with the Metropolitan of Thyatira Athenagoras, Apocrisiarius of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Great Britain. There was no other Orthodox with us: the other clergy of our various Churches were seated in different parts of the Abbey.
I arrived early in the morning, as I had been directed, in a car with the Vicar of St. John the Baptist, Holland Road, who was driving thither a friend of his. The latter had a permit, the former a car — and I was kindly offered the benefit of both!
One could hardly recognize either the Abbey or its surroundings. A great many tribunes, an annex to the Abbey itself, and a variety of decorations, had been built round the Abbey. Everything was colourful and glorious — both things and people — in spite of the rain. And obviously, people had come together not to «look at» a ceremony, but to take part in a great, gladdening event — to rejoice at their own feast.
Inside, also, the Abbey was quite new. From the floor to the roof tribunes had been built, solid and beautiful, with the arms and ciphers of Queen Elizabeth II. Later, I discovered that more than 7,000 people had found place under the vaults of the shrine of Great Britain’s glory. But when I arrived, people were still few. I took the opportunity to see things which later, as I rightly expected, would not be visible for me — the Altar, covered with golden dishes, cups, patens, etc., the pride of Westminster Treasury. Shall I avow my feelings? I was disappointed by all the dishes. So much better do I love its usual sober beauty!
I was seated at the junction of the Sanctuary and the North Transept, in the East gallery of the latter, looking West. I could therefore see the Throne and its surroundings very well, and all the way to it from the West Door. So each of the processions came towards me, and their slow dignity made it easy to recognize each one.
By and by, guests began to fill up the Abbey. I do not venture to describe the colourful variety of the costumes, the vivid, spectacular beauty of the scenery, the sober intensity of every action, the joy, devout and shining, of all those to whom it was given to take part in the Feast — their own feast, and that of all the peoples of the Empire. I only feel sorry for those who were not given the privilege of experiencing it, or proved unable to see or sense it. But to those who have seen and understood, the old Abbey Church of Westminster — so often misunderstood by idle and superficial tourists — has revealed all its grandeur, all its eternal glory, and will remain dear as only a flag or an icon can be.
Leaving aside now everything else, I shall concentrate upon a few impressions immediately connected with tlie person of the Queen.
When the Queen entered the Abbey all the rest faded away — or rather, all its shining beauty was focused and became meaningful. Nothing was left of the dazzling pageantry, of all the diversity. Greatness only remained. And each and all were spellbound, merged into silence deep and worshipful: not an outward silence only, but an inner sense of it.
The Queen was being brought to the Altar by two Bishops. And she walked towards her destiny merged into a deep and severe thought, with the amazing simplicity and recollection which is hers. She was going forth consciously to the Altar of the Living God, to be a living sacrifice, like the daughter of Jephthah — to die to herself, in order to live with and for her people. In the words of the Russian writer Leskov, «A life was coming to an end: a ‘Vita’ was beginning». The young Queen did not prepare her heart for a feast, but for a consecration — that is, a sacrifice. How could one not respond with one’s whole heart, one’s whole soul, and one’s whole strength, «O Lord, save the Queen : and hear us when we call upon Thee».
The Queen has brought all her youthful life, and given it up to God for her people. And not only God, but all, have accepted and received this gift. How carefully, worshipfully, are we to live now, to remain true to the gift of God, and the oath pledged on both sides**.
* * * * *
The Service begins with the Recognition of the Queen by all those who are present both in the Abbey Church and in the wide world. The Archbishop of Canterbury presents the Queen to her people and asks, «All you who are come this day to do your homage and service, are you willing to do the same?» Thus did he turn to the four quarters of the earth, and from each of them came a firm, truthful, and decided reply — «God save Queen Elizabeth». And all those who heard how that reply was given, without any hesitation, will witness that her people stand as a faithful, devoted bodyguard round the Queen, speaking of whom Churchill said, «…the Lady whom we respect because she is our Queen, and whom we love because she is herself».
After the Recognition, follow the Coronation, and the Holy Communion Service. First of all, the Queen takes the Oath that she is to rule the peoples and countries given to her by the will of God in accordance with law, justice, mercy, and freedom: that she will keep whole the Faith of her people. Of this she is to be reminded by the Holy Bible, presented to her by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland with the words, «Here is wisdom : this is the royal law : these are the lively oracles of God».
* * * * *
I will not attempt to describe the Service. All could read, see, or hear it. But I want to say a few words about the Homage. The representative of each of the orders of peers approached the Queen seated upon her throne in full regalia, surrounded by her supporters. He knelt down before her, and put his hands in hers, reading his Oath in the name of those whom he was representing, all of whom knelt at the same time, thus taking part in the action.
The first to approach was the Duke of Edinburgh. And this, it seems to me, was a great and beautiful thing — a «mystery» — the acceptance of all that kingly service meant to her: the recognition that his wife is also his queen — a sacrifice of self as great as the Queen’s; a new depth in their life; a renewal, at the greater depth of the Church of God, of the marriage vows which build the «Small Church of the Christian family».
* * * * *
While entering the Abbey Church, and during the days that followed, I watched the crowd; I looked into the faces of all whom I met; I listened to the comments made by various people — from the simplest folk up to the varied company the Archbishop of Canterbury called together at his Coronation Garden Party. Each and all were full of a true, vivid gladness, without a shadow of indifference, or of envy; a joy personal, direct, that the Lord had given to the Country and to the Empire a Queen who in her short lifetime had won the love and respect and wholehearted devotion of all. It really has been a «spiritual spring of life and joy», a time of renewal, of raising of our best hopes, of a vital and cheerful move towards the building up of a new life, the life of the Kingdom of God. And this shall be, if only we, all, unfeignedly, soberly put our hands to the plough and, with the Queen and for the Queen, give up our lives into the hands of God.
* It is not clear in what language it was written/said originally. Coronation took place on 2nd June 1953
** Cf. the Queen’s Address to her People — «I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust».
Christian East. 1953, summer. Vol. II. N.5-6. P.125-128
В № 2 ‘Приходского вестника’ Лондонского прихода за 1953 год был напечатан текст настоятеля, иеромонаха Антония, будущего Митрополита Сурожского, его впечатления от Коронации взошедшей на Британский Престол молодой Елизаветы II. Коронация состоялась 2 июня 1953 г. Вот этот текст:
«На многая, многая лета!»
Как это знают все те, которым дано часто бывать в церкви, наш приход задолго до Коронации начал вдумываться в предстоявшее великое событие и готовиться к нему: был прочитан в Приходском Доме доклад о «Чине Коронования Русских Государей» с тем, чтобы всякий присутствующий на Короновании или следящий за ним издали мог сравнить оба Чина и глубже понять тот и другой; в воскресенье, предшествовавшее Коронации, после литургии был отслужен молебен, в котором участвовали все, кто только мог прийти, и на котором было сказано несколько слов о значении Служения, в которое вступает Королева и о том, к чему обязывает оно верных Ее подданных; и наконец, настал великий день. Я не стану говорить о том, что все видели, услышали, о чем многое уже написано; но по просьбе некоторых скажу немного о том, что я сам видел, и о тех мыслях и чувствах, которые глубоко врезались в душу. По воле Королевы я присутствовал на ее Короновании в самом Вестминстерском Аббатстве; место мне было назначено среди миссионерских Англиканских Епископов, вместе с митрополитом Фиатирским Афинагором, представляющим в Великобритании Патриарха Константинопольского; других представителей Православных Церквей с нами не было: они были размещены в других частях храма.
Пришел я, как было указано, рано; ехал в Аббатство на автомобиле вместе с Настоятелем соседнего английского храма, который отвозил туда, кроме меня, своего знакомого профессора: у одного оказался автомобиль, у другого пропуск, а меня «прихватили» по дружбе; впрочем, жалеть им об этом не пришлось, так как по всему пути и городовые и следящие за движением военные усердно отдавали честь нашему автомобилю, как только их взгляд падал на клобук «заморского гостя»!
И площадь, на которой стоит Аббатство, и самое здание были неузнаваемы: многое было пристроено и надстроено, галереи шли вокруг Храма и окружали его со всех сторон; всё было убрано и празднично — и предметы и люди — несмотря на дождь; так очевидно было, что сошлись люди не только ради зрелища, а ради торжественного, радостного события, на свой праздник! Изнутри Аббатство не меньше изменилось, нежели совне: от пола до самого потолка поднимались галереи, прочные и убранные, обшитые материей с вензелями и шифром Королевы Елизаветы: позже я узнал, что 7500 человек незаметно уместилось в Храме — Памятнике Великобританской славы. Но когда я прибыл туда, народа собралось еще немного; я воспользовался этим, чтобы осмотреть то, что непременно должны были закрыть собой мои соседи: именно — Алтарь с Престолом, разукрашенный богатствами Вестминстерской ризницы; много было поставлено прекрасного, но я скорее пожалел об этом: обычный, строгий вид его мне дороже,
Место мое находилось на первом ярусе галерей, почти у скрещения северного трансепта и Алтарного придела, от которого меня отделял столп; обращено оно было на запад, то есть в сторону, откуда должна была войти Королева, и по своему расположению позволяло видеть каждое из входящих лиц с момента появления до того, как оно занимало свое место; налево от меня на возвышении стоял Трон, так что всё происходившее впоследствии вокруг него было видно отлично.
Постепенно Храм стал заполняться: пестрое разнообразие костюмов, живость великолепной поистине картины, сдержанную, наряженную, торжественную оживленность всех, радость каждого, кто участвовал в торжестве и радовался и своему счастью и радости всех, я не берусь описать; мне только жаль тех, кто не смог ее видеть или не сумел пережить ее. Но для тех, кто видел и кто понял, старый Храм Вестминстерский, который так часто критикуют туристы, явил всё свое величие, всю свою вековую славу и стал дорог, как только может быть дорого Знамя или Храмовая Хоругвь!
Оставляя теперь в стороне всё прочее, остановлюсь на тех впечатлениях, которые непосредственно связаны с Королевой.
Когда Королева вошла в Собор, всё прочее перестало быть, ушло; не осталось ни блеска внешнего, ни пышной красоты, которая до того радовала и волновала: осталось одно величие, и оно всех заковало в молчание, не только внешнее, но внутреннее. Королеву вели к Алтарю два Епископа; и шла Она, словно погруженная в глубокую и строгую думу, в изумительной простоте и собранности. Шла Она сознательно к Алтарю Бога Живого на заклание; умереть себе с тем, чтобы нераздельно жить со своим народом и для него; словами Лескова можно сказать: «Жизнь приходила к концу, начиналось Житие»; юная Королева не на славу, а на подвиг уготовала свое сердце: «Со всей искренностью отдала я Себя на служение вам» — сказала Она в тот же вечер Своему народу, — «как и многие из вас обязались Мне служить». Во всю Мою жизнь и от всей души буду Я стараться оказаться достойной вашего доверия». Как не ответить всей душой, всей силой и крепостью нашей словами Псалма: «Господи, спаси Царя, и услыши ны, в оньже аще день призовем Тя!»
Королева принесла жизнь Свою и отдала ее Богу для Своего народа; и не только Бог, но все приняли этот бесценный дар юной жизни; с какой бережностью, благоговением следует жить, чтобы не солгать против свидетельства собственного сердца…
Но и не сердца только.
Первым действием Коронования является Признание Королевы всеми теми, кто присутствует на Священном Обряде, и в самом Храме и вне его: Архиепископ Кентерберийский представляет Ее народу и спрашивает, готовы ли все верой и правдой служить Ей; обратился он с этим вопросом на все четыре стороны, и с каждой «страны света» прозвучал ему в ответ единодушный, искренний, решительный ответ: «Бог да хранит Королеву!» И всякий, кому было дано слышать, как отвечал народ, без колебания скажет, что стоит он плотным кольцом, верным и преданным, вокруг Той, о Которой сказал Английский Премьер: “Мы ее почитаем, потому что Она наша Королева, и любим Ее за то, какова Она».
За признанием следует Чин Коронования и Литургия: сначала Сама Королева приносит присягу в том, что будет править порученными Ей от Бога странами согласно Закону, Справедливости и Милости; что будет блюсти и охранять веру Своего народа; об этом должно напоминать Ей Священное Писание, «Книга Премудрости»; Царский Закон; Живое Божие Слово».
Службу я описывать не стану: все ее могли увидеть или прочесть; но одно слово не могу не прибавить о присяге. От каждого сословия один подходил к Престолу Королевы, его соединенные руки брала Она в Свои и держала, принимая его присягу от имени всех, кого он представлял; другие же в это время преклоняли одно колено на землю, соучаствуя таким образом в самом действии. Первым подошел к Своей Супруге Герцог Эдинбургский. И в этом действии было нечто значительное и поистине «таинственное»: в этом было принятие всего пути Ее Королевского служения и жертвы; взяв на Себя подвиг правления, Жена стала и для Супруга Своего Королевой; глубина той присяги, которую принес Герцог, неизмеримо глубока: в ней и отказ от собственной жизни, равный самоотвержению Королевы, и обновление в новом соотношении и на новой глубине сознания и бытия обетов супружества: «Я Филипп, Герцог Эдинбургский, делаюсь Твоим верным слугой и буду хранить Тебе веру и правду, на жизнь и на смерть, пред лицом всякого человека, — да поможет мне в этом Бог».
В тот вечер, обращаясь с приветственной речью к народам Империи, Королева сказала: «Как трогательно звучит обет верноподданства с обещанием верности и защиты».
При выходе из Храма и во все последующие дни я всматривался в народные толпы, в лица отдельных людей, вслушивался в речи всех сословий и званий от самых простых до самых разнообразных представителей Империи, встреченных мною на завтраке, последовавшем за Коронацией, и на приеме Архиепископа Кентерберийского: от всех веяло неподдельной живой радостью; не небрежные улыбки, не зависть, а радость, личная, непосредственная о том, что дал Бог Стране и Империи Королеву, сумевшую стяжать себе и искреннюю любовь и глубокое уважение, и всесердечную преданность всех; поистине, дни эти можно назвать «весной духовной», временем светлых надежд, благородного обновления, животворящего порыва, который, верим, не останется бесплодным, но в единстве всех процветет богатой жатвой с Божиего всесозидающего благословения.
In 1968 a zealous young reporter and campaigner travelled to London from her native Athens with a tricky assignment: fellow opponents of Greece’s military dictatorship wanted her to galvanise support from the Anglo-Greek community. Their prime target was a dashing scion of a powerful maritime clan who was scholarly and idealistic.
Lydia Potamianou succeeded in her task. At a social gathering she met Costa Carras who, with a slim figure, aquiline nose and inquisitive gaze, appeared a little like an ancient Athenian sage. Champagne flute in hand, she impressed him with her worldly knowledge and the talk turned to their homeland.
The pair fell in love. After marrying in 1970 they became partners in the struggle for both Greek democracy and the protection of Greece’s cultural heritage. For Carras, the causes were interlinked, Greece’s dictators, he argued, were doing irreparable damage to the country’s patrimony. The couple’s biggest project was co-founding the Greek Society for the Environmental and Cultural Heritage, which was likened to the National Trust.
After democratic freedoms were restored, Carras helped to draft provisions for the 1975 Hellenic constitution, including the stipulation that ‘the protection of the natural and cultural environment constitutes a duty of the state and the duty of every person’. He also used the constitution to fight legal battles that helped to save precious locations, including the environs of Acropolis, Delphi and Marathon. Some ecological disasters were warded off, such as a plan to divert the course of the Achelos River through central Greece. there were also disappointments, including the dislodging of Byzantine antiquities by a metro project in Thessaloniki.
Costa Carras was born in England in 1938 to John Carras and Maria (nee Vernikou), who served in the London Fire Brigade in the Blitz and contributed to Greek humanitarian relief during and after the Second World War. It was from her that Carras inherited the desire to fight for political change; when Athens was under a dictatorship between 1967-74. Maria financed an anti-junta publication, The Greek Report. At the age of two, Carras was evacuated from London to join his maternal kin in New York, returning six years later to attend Harrow, which he found cold and lonely. School holidays with grandparents, on the sun-soaked islands of Chios and Sifnos, were a solace.
It was tough being a Greek at a grand English school, when the two nations were at loggerheads over Cyprus, and Carras was bullied for standing up for the Greek cause. He was, however, determined to further his interest in world affairs , acquiring a cherished collection of maps and flags of all the countries belonging to the UN, and forming a close friendship with Robin Butler, who later became private secretary to five prime ministers and head of the civil service.
His reputation was somewhat restored after his stellar school performance as King Lear was selected by The Illustrated London News as one of its best productions of 1956, professional or amateur. It demonstrated a gravitas that would prove useful in frightening opponents during fierce public debates. In private his acting talent shone in heated games of family charades.
After school Carras gained a first in Classics from Trinity College, Oxford, and could have become an academic had duty not called him to the family business, then headed by his forceful father.
He had neither the taste nor the aptitude for business but, with little choice, made extended visits to Japan where his father was building new ships, investing his earning in a Greek bank, a shipyard, a resorts and a Greek vineyard, with mixed results. The younger Carras had the difficult job of managing these assets, though his own preference was for shipping. The wellbeing of seafarers was a cause close to his heart and he always insisted that his vessels boast a decent library, which was available to the entire crew.
In private moments, he began to develop an appetite for art history and conservation, persuading English friends to support the little-known monasteries of Mount Athos.
The return of Greek democracy in 1974 was bittersweet; catalysed by the dictators’ coup in Cyprus, it triggered a Turkish occupation of the island’s north, uprooting more than 200,000 people. While some Greeks forgot those travails, Carras did not. He used lordly British connections to form a parliamentary lobby group called Friends of Cyprus, which has since worked to promote a settlement. At a time when prominent Greek and Turkish Cypriots, were barely able to meet, he brought them together in London and, when possible, on the island.
When war followed the fall of communism in the Balkans, he established the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, which involved the joint effort of hundreds of historians from the regions in creating teaching material on the conflict.
Carras also brought his wealth of historical knowledge to less conventional institutions. After he was arrested in 2008 for possessing unlicensed artefacts (an incident seemingly engineered by powerful figures who resented his opposition to the construction of an Olympic swimming pool) he spent his four-day incarceration giving history lessons to detainees. It was typical of Carras, who, even as he moved between different milieus, causes and interests, found ways to connect them. His environmentalism, for instance, was rooted in Christianity; he saw care for the planet as a Christian duty.
In the final stages of cancer, Carras renounced all of his public commitments except one – a foundation honouring Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh, the Russian Orthodox Church in Britain and Ireland. Something in the bishop’s preaching and persona had touched his young heart, and everything else, he would say, flowed from that.
With his wife, Carras spent the final three decades of his life in the historic Placa district in Athens, where their beautiful but unassuming house served as a base of hospitality and campaigning, Lydia survives him with their son, Iannis, a historian, and daughter Maria-Thalia, an art curator and writer.
By the time Carras died, most of his neighbourhood, as well as historical sites throughout Greece, owed their protection to the tireless campaigning of him and his wife.
Obituary by Bruce Clark, a long time friend of Costa, which appeared in The Times on the 8th April 2022.
Costa Carras reposed on 28th February 2022 in Athens, aged 84. Born in London to a ship-owning family, he studied philosophy and ancient history at Oxford where he was president of the Student Christian Movement. After studying economics at Harvard, he worked for many years in shipping in London.
He took part in the fight against the Greek dictatorship of 1967-74; and was involved in the effort to bring the junta’s crimes against the Greek people to the Council of Europe, which resulted in Greece withdrawing from the Council in late 1969 before it could be expelled. In 1972, seeing the need to protect Greece’s cultural and natural heritage, with his wife Lydia, Costa founded the Elliniki Etairia Society for Environmental and Cultural Heritage (ELLET). Since when it has remained in the vanguard for its significant achievements, persistence, sensitivity to issues, inspired ideas and tireless work. He was also the longest serving Vice-President of Europa Nostra, the federation of European conservation organisations. Costa played an important role in opening channels of communication between Greeks, Turks and Cypriots. He was a founding member of the Greek Turkish Forum, of the Friends of Cyprus and of the Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, and maintained an active role in these bodies.
He was co-chairman of the British Council of Churches’ Commission on Trinitarian Doctrine in the 1980s; and organised the ground-breaking 1988 meeting on religion and the environment in Patmos as a lay Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From 1978 to 1999 Costa served on the Assembly of the Diocese of Sourozh under Metropolitan Anthony. During this time, along with Bishop Basil and Andrew Walker, he made a significant contribution to the drafting of the Diocesan Statutes. He also co-edited with Andrew Walker ‘Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World’. Costa was Chairman of the Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Foundation up to the time of his death.
Father Alexander Fostiropoulos had the opportunity to spend several days visiting Costa at his home, and minister to him, during the week before his death. He was also able to return to Athens to be present and serve at his funeral on 3rd March 2022.
In Memoriam Father Peter Scorer, 15 October 1942 – 11 September 2020
On 11th September we will mark the anniversary of the death of our beloved Father Peter, who for many years was the Chairman of the Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Foundation, for which he worked tirelessly.