(Registered Charity No. 1047287)


Newsletter No. 21: April 2011



The 2011 AGM: Saturday 21 May at St Anne’s College, Oxford

This year’s AGM falls on the feast day of Saints Constantine and Helena. We are therefore delighted to invite all our members and their guests, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, to attend a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and the Annunciation (1 Canterbury Road, Oxford OX2 6LU) which will be served by our President, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, at 9.00 am.

                        The church is only five minutes’ walk from St Anne’s College where coffee will be available in the Mary Ogilvie Foyer from 11.00 am. As usual, proceedings will be chaired by Metropolitan Kallistos and will begin at 11.30 am. Following the new pattern set at last year’s meeting, there will be three speakers.

                        In the morning, Fr Nikolai Sakharov, a monk of the monastery of St John the Baptist at Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, will speak on the subject ‘Father Sophrony’s Contribution to Orthodox Spirituality’. Fr Nikolai was awarded a doctorate by the University of Oxford for a thesis concerned with the theology of Fr Sophrony, who was his great-uncle. This was subsequently published in 2002 by St Vladimir’s Seminary Press under the title I Love, Therefore I Am: The Theological Legacy of Archimandrite Sophrony. Fr Nikolai holds an academic position at the Moscow Theological Academy in the faculty of Biblical Studies. Fr Sophrony was a monk of the Russian monastery of St Panteleimonos on Mount Athos from 1925 to 1947 where he was a disciple of St Silouan. After leaving the Holy Mountain, he spent some years in Paris before moving to England in 1959 where he founded the community of which Fr Nikolai is now a monk. He died in 1993 and is buried at the monastery. In the words of his obituary, published in our Annual Report for 1993: ‘We are profoundly blessed in England – more than many of us realize – that this great and holy teacher should have settled in our land, bringing with him such wealth of spiritual insight.’

                        Our second speaker is Paschalis Kitromilides, Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens and Director of the Institute of Neohellenic Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation. Professor Kitromilides has published many studies of the Greek Enlightenment including (in English) The Enlightenment as Social Criticism: Iosipos Moisiodax and Greek Culture in the Eighteenth Century (1992), Enlightenment, Nationalism, Orthodoxy: Studies in the Culture and Political Thought of South-Eastern Europe (1994), and An Orthodox Commonwealth: Symbolic Legacies and Cultural Encounters in Southeastern Europe (2007). Mount Athos is central to his interests, witness his paper ‘Athos and the Enlightenment’, delivered at the 1994 Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies in Birmingham, and his chapter entitled ‘Vatopaidi and the Greek Cultural Tradition: The Contribution of the Athonite Academy’ in the sumptuous two-volume history of that monastery published in 1998. His presentation to us is entitled ‘Athos and the Enlightenment: An Illustrated Lecture’.

                        Our third speaker is Nicholas Richardson, Emeritus Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, where he was Tutor in Classics from 1968 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007 Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford. He will give an illustrated presentation entitled ‘Golden Domes and Images of Heaven: Impressions of the 2010 Pilgrimage to Russia’. His talk will comprise a brief reminiscence of last year’s memorable pilgrimage: the week spent on a boat on the River Volga, visiting monasteries, churches, and museums on the Golden Ring, followed by three days in Moscow, where the high point was the Liturgy for the Feast of the Dormition, celebrated by Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia in the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin.

                        A buffet lunch, usually of a very high standard, is available in the college and must be booked in advance (price £17.50). It is followed by the official business of the AGM itself and as usual there will be elections. Three members of the Executive Committee have reached the end of their term of office and will tender their resignations: David Cadman, Alasdair Cross, and Graham Speake (Secretary). All three have indicated their willingness to stand again. Any further nominations for these positions should reach the Secretgary in writing at least one week before the meeting. Guests are welcome to attend the AGM but may not vote.

                        After tea there is a further opportunity to join the Orthodox community at 1 Canterbury Road for a Vigil service at 5.30 pm. The languages used at this service will be primarily English and Slavonic.

                        Attendance at the AGM is free. The charge for attending the rest of the day (including morning coffee and afternoon tea) is £10.00 each (students £5.00). Completed forms and cheques (payable to the Friends of Mount Athos) should be sent as soon as possible to Michael Naldrett, Flat 2, 17 Primrose Gardens, London NW3 4UJ.


Project for the restoration of footpaths and wayside shrines and fountains

This spring another expedition, the eleventh, will be dispatched to the Mountain for a fortnight in May. The list for this year is already full and there is a waiting list, but the project leaders, John Arnell and Andrew Buchanan, will soon be assembling a team for next year and any members who wish to volunteer their services are encouraged to contact either of them (;


Pilgrimage to the Monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights

Following the success of last year’s pilgrimage and the talk to be given at this year’s AGM by Fr Nikolai (see above), we have decided to make our visit to Tolleshunt Knights an annual event in our programme. This year’s pilgrimage will take place on Saturday 9 July. Both Orthodox and non-Orthodox members and their families and friends are invited to participate. Those who are interested should contact the organizer, Dimitri Conomos (see separate sheet enclosed).


Pilgrimage to Georgia: 22–31 October 2011

A very few places are still available on this year’s pilgrimage to Georgia which is being led by Metropolitan Kallistos and will include a meeting with the Catholicos-Patriarch Illia III in Tbilisi. The total cost, including the flight from London, will be roughly £1100 to £1200. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact the organizer, Dimitri Conomos (, as soon as possible.