Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia
Our founder and original Parish Priest (1966–2001) served as an Assistant Bishop in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain since his consecration in 1982.
Timothy Ware was born in Bath in 1934, and was educated at Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford. While he was still a schoolboy he discovered the Orthodox Church, although it was not until 1958 that he was received into Orthodoxy. He travelled widely, spending time in North America, Jerusalem, on the Holy Mountain of Athos and at the Monastery of St John the Theologian on Patmos and engaging in academic research. In 1963 his classic work “The Orthodox Church” was published; in 1964 “Eustratios Argenti: A Study of the Greek Church under Turkish Rule” appeared, and in 1965, the year in which he was ordained deacon, he completed a doctoral thesis for Oxford University on the Ascetical Writings of St Mark the Monk. As a deacon he served both in Patmos and on the staff of Archbishop Athenagoras II of Thyateira and Great Britain. In 1966 he was appointed Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Christian Studies at the University of Oxford. He was ordained to the priesthood and tonsured as a monk, taking the name Kallistos, at this time, and was tasked over and above his academic work with establishing a Greek Orthodox Parish here. At the time the Russian Orthodox Parish of the Annunciation was worshipping in St Gregory’s House and offered hospitality to the newly formed Greek Orthodox Parish of the Holy Trinity, before the two Parishes together oversaw the building of the church which now stands on the Canterbury Road site, and which was shared in equal partneship by both communities.
Many of us still remember Fr Kallistos from this time, and how the rigours of his academic work were combined with his parish duties. His teaching in sermons and talks, his love shown in Confession and pastoral care and above all his prayer with and for his people will be abiding memories. We rejoiced when he was elected and consecrated Bishop of Diokleia in 1982 – the first Englishman to be consecrated as a Bishop in the Orthodox Church since the schism of the 11th century – and although this meant that increasingly we had to share him with a wider world we continued to benefit from his love and care. It was always a joy to be with him as he served the Holy Liturgy and although in recent years his increasing frailty meant that he could not be with us as much as he or we would have wished everyone looked forward to seeing him in church when it was possible. We are grateful to Simon and Frances Jennings who organised the care for him in his declining years and to all who helped to keep him with us for as long as was possible.
In his essay “‘Go Joyfully’: The Mystery of Death and Resurrection” Metropolitan Kallistos reminds us that “Death is a separation which is no separation… The chasm of death is not impassable, for we can all meet around the altar of God.” In our temporary parting from him we can continue to remember him in our prayers, and we can be sure that he is also praying for us. May his memory be eternal!