Metropolitan Kallistos Ware fell asleep in the Lord this morning, August 24th, at the age of 87.
Met Kallistos Ware may well have been the most important Orthodox missionary over the past 60 years. Through his writings and lectures, he almost single-handedly opened up Orthodoxy to the English-speaking world. I daresay that his books The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way can be found on the bookshelves of every diaspora convert to Orthodoxy. The latter is the one book I always recommend to inquirers. Met Kallistos had a remarkable gift for explaining the doctrine and faith of the Church in a clear, gracious, and winsome way. He combined within himself that union of theological reflection and spiritual depth for which Orthodox theologians strive but so rarely achieve.
I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet Met Kallistos. My old friend Fr Stephen Freeman once toured the Holy Land with him and has many stories to tell. Hopefully all who knew him will be sharing their stories of this great Orthodox bishop in the weeks to come.
I recall Archbishop Michael Ramsey speaking fondly of him. Timothy Ware was apparently encouraged by a fellow Anglican to meet with Ramsey before making the dramatic step of conversion to Orthodoxy, no doubt in the hope that the good bishop would dissuade him. He shared with Ramsey his love of Orthodoxy and the Eastern tradition, after which Ramsey said to him, “Yes, you must become Orthodox.”
May his memory be eternal.