From Monday, June 18, to Monday, June 25, Drs. David and Mary Ford, along with their daughter Emmelia, were tremendously blessed to visit the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England, founded there in 1959 by Fr. Sophrony, the leading disciple of the illustrious St. Silouan of Mt. Athos. Â
In addition to participating in the services and life of the monastery, they were able to take advantage of the wisdom of those there through various private talks. Â â€śWhenever we visit this monastery, it's always an exceptional educational and spiritual opportunity for us,â€ť commented the Fords.Â
The Fords went on to say, â€śWe were very moved and honored to be part of this strengthening of the ties between St. Tikhon's Seminary and Monastery, and the St. John the Baptist Monastery. Â We especially rejoice that Metropolitan Jonah was able to make his first visit there while we were there. Â We pray that all of our various associations with this most remarkable monastery will bear much spiritual fruit for all of us in the years to come.â€ť
This is a relationship that goes back to the 1960s for our Professor of Patristics, Dr. Christopher Veniamin, and to the 1970s for Dr. Mary Ford, who began her frequent visits there in 1977 just a few days after she was baptized into the Holy Orthodox Church in Oxford, England. Â Dr. David started visiting the community in 1988 along with Mary not long after they were married. Â
Two of the more senior members of the community there, Fr. Zacharias and Sister Magdalen, have both visited St. Tikhon's. Â Just last year, Fr. Zacharias gave the commencement address and received an honorary doctorate from St. Tikhon's Seminary. Â And for several years now, Dr. Christopher, through his Mount Thabor Publishing Company, has been publishing outstanding books on the spiritual life by Fr. Zacharias, based on the wisdom of St. Silouan and Fr. Sophrony.