“Praying Means Learning to Love” About Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Prayer and Carrots

Metropolitan Anthony: «I remember once praying in my room (as a child. – Ed. Note) in the most exalted spiritual mood, when my grandmother opened the door and said, “Come on, let’s peel some carrots!”

I jumped to my feet and said, “Grandma, can’t you see that I was praying?” She replied, “I thought praying meant being in communion with God and learning to love. Here’s the carrots and a knife”».

Master of the Rose Garden

Metropolitan Anthony: «My first memory of death dates back to a very distant time, when I was in Persia as a child. One evening my parents took me with them to an ex more visit to see a rose garden known for its beauty. We came and were received by the owner of the house and his household. We were escorted through the magnificent garden, offered refreshments, and sent home with the feeling of having been received with the warmest, most cordial and unrestrained hospitality imaginable.

It was not until the following day that we learned that while we were walking with the owner of the house, admiring his flowers, being invited for a meal and received with all the courtesy of the East, the owner’s son, killed a few hours ago, was lying in one of the rooms. Although I was still quite young, that gave me a very strong sense of what life and death are and also a sense of duty of the living towards one another, whatever the circumstances».

At War

Metropolitan Anthony: «I remember one soldier, a German, who was captured. He was wounded in the arm, and the senior surgeon (Metropolitan Anthony worked as a military doctor before taking the tonsure – Ed.) said, “Take his finger off” (it was festering). I remember the German saying, “I am a watchmaker”.  You see, a watchmaker who loses his index finger is a hopeless case. Then I took him in hand and worked on his finger for three weeks. My boss laughed at me and said, “What nonsense, you could end this whole thing in ten minutes, and you spent three weeks messing around with it. Why? We are at war, and you are fiddling with a finger!” I answered, “Yes, we really are at war, and maybe I am fiddling with his finger because the war itself lends its significance to it, and now it plays a colossal role, because the war will end, and he will return to his city either with or without a finger”».

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Anthony (of Sourozh), Metropolitan. About Meeting. Klin. Christian Life Foundation, 1999.

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