Book Notes: This Holy Man: Impressions of Metropolitan Anthony – part 1

This Holy Man:
Impressions of Metropolitan Anthony
by Gillian Crow
Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press
251 pages

I was very impressed  by this biography. It is NOT a hagiography, and that’s the whole point of the book I believe. To show that saints are not super heroes, but loved sinners, sinners who know they are loved by their Creator and Lord, and who try to help others recognize the same truth for themselves. This entails lots of try and error.

I hope the notes I took from this book will help you on your own journey. I highly recommend you read the whole book.


In a sermon given in November 1987 Metropolitan Anthony repeated words familiar to his flock as the essence of his interpretation of the Christian life:  that it was only by becoming the living message of the Gospel that anyone could truly say they had received that message.

Metropolitan Anthony would often repeat the saying, “No one will find eternity unless they see it shining in the eyes of Christians.”

Father Afanasy insisted on restraining André [Fr Anthony before being a monk]’s piety when it became excessive. One day he asked André how long he spent in prayer each day, and instead of approving the zealous reply, he commended him, “Well, for the next six months I forbid you to pray at all. Just say, the last thing at night before you fall asleep, ‘At the prayers of all those who love me, O Lord, save me.’ And we will do your praying for you.”

Father Anthony was adamant that there could be no divide between an intellectual grasp of theology and a living relationship with Christ. He always insisted on the reality of the experience of faith, including his own, whatever the background of his audience.
p. 101

Fr Anthony page 109
Page 109

To be seen as an icon of God could be for a person’s redemption. It is impious to venerate icons without venerating our neighbor, for in serving our neighbor we adore God.”

Christ saw the beauty of the divine image in every person who came to Him,” he would say. “Perhaps it was hidden or deformed, but it was beauty nevertheless. We must do the same. Each of us resembles a damaged icon. When anyone gives us a painted icon that has been damaged by age or circumstances, or profaned by human sinfulness, we always treat it with tenderness, with reverence and with a broken heart. It is what remains of its former beauty, and not what has been lost, that is important. And that is how we should learn to treat ourselves and each other.”
p. 194

Come back on Wednesday to read more notes on this book


Which one talked to you the most? Why?
Have you read this book?
What did you think of it?
What’s your favorite book by Fr Anthony Bloom?

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