When I became an Antiochian Orthodox some nine and a half years ago I rather lost my nerve when it came to continuing with this blog, and eventually ceased publishing my views about anything altogether
But now - as you can see - I have started again, and that is because the Bishop of Dunedin received me back into the Anglican Church in the middle of last month.
By then the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese had been able to appoint a new priest, born and bred in Eastern Orthodoxy, who could also stand and walk, and even run: things which I had been becoming increasing unable to do for some time as the effects of my post-polio syndrome had become ever more debilitating.
I became the priest at St Michael's Orthodox Church in Fingal Street because the parish asked me to do so in the continuing absence of the the Real Thing after the death of Fr Ilian some years before. Orthodox priests are not easy to find or support in New Zealand, because the congregations are often very small and do not have the resources to deal with the situation. I had no difficulty with a second ordination service because I knew that the archbishop had no choice - and that therefore neither did I.
As an Anglican High Churchman of the Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Jeremy Taylor and Thomas Ken (look them up!) variety, and an enthusiast for the writings of such as Vladimir Lossky, John Meyendorf, Antony Bloom, and Kallistos Ware (look them up too!) I had few difficulties in carrying out what I firmly believed was God's will. But I never managed to believe that there is a One True Church under heaven, and I neither did overcame my love for the Anglican Church or the hope that I might be able to return to it one day - in accordance with the will of God.
I am now almost entirely house-bound, but that is much better than falling over much of the time - often with humiliating and physically painful results.
But the view from my study, through the trees and over the city and the harbour, is a great delight. Better than yet more cracked ribs and black eyes any day!
I go to the Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings - at least for the present - but I would be quite incapable of taking services there (or anywhere else) even if I wanted to - which is just as well, I think.
I have received a wonderfully warm welcome since my return to St Peter's Caversham as a parishioner, and I am most grateful (not to say relieved) for that. My twenty-five years as the their vicar seem not to have prejudiced the parishioners against me.
My Eastern Orthodox years have been a most remarkable journey for me and one which my life would be much poorer without. I am grateful to the priest and people of St Michael's Church in Fingal Street and to God for my time there.