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Father Zacharias from St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, England Visits St. Tikhon's Seminary - 02/12/08

On Tuesday, February 12, Father Zacharias from St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, England visited St. Tikhon's Seminary. Father Zacharias delivered two lectures to the Seminary Community: "Theology as a Spiritual State" and "Becoming Vessels of the Holy Spirit."

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Archimandrite Zacharias, Ph. D., is a disciple of Elder Sophrony (of blessed memory), who was a disciple of St. Silouan of Mount Athos. Presently, Fr. Zacharias is a monk in the Monastery founded by Elder Sophrony: The Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights by Maldon, Essex, England.

Fr. Zacharias was born and raised in Cyprus in an Orthodox Christian family. His mother became a nun toward the end of her life. As a young man, Fr. Zacharias left Cyprus to study Chemistry in London. Before he completed his studies, he became acquainted with Father Sophrony and his Monastery. Fr. Zacharias abandoned his studies in Chemistry and preferred instead to answer God’s calling and follow the monastic way of life in the Orthodox Church.

Elder Sophrony sent Fr. Zacharias to study at the Theological Institute of St. Serge in Paris where he spent five years, and then moved to Thessalonica for a further fourteen months, in order to obtain a second degree in Theology. Fr. Zacharias is fluent in Greek, Russian, French and English, and has translated Father Sophrony’s books from Russian into Greek.

Elder Sophrony gave Father Zacharias the blessing to write a doctoral dissertation under Professor George Mantzarides (who is a leading authority in Christian ethics in the Orthodox world) entitled Christ, Our Way and Our Life, published by St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press. He is also the author of The Enlargement of the Heart, and The Hidden Man of the Heart (1 Peter 3:4): The Cultivation of the Heart in Orthodox Christian Anthropology, both of which have been enthusiastically received throughout the English-speaking world, and beyond.

Fr. Zacharias has lectured in various places around the world on the theology of St. Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony. He has lectured at St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand in Tripoly, Lebanon, as well as at Cambridge in England, in Finland, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria. Fr. Zacharias was the inaugural guest speaker of the first lecture series devoted to St. Silouan and Elder Sophrony in the English-speaking world at St. Tikhon’s Monastery in September 1997. Fr. Zacharias also spoke to the clergy in private session and has led retreats in the Antiochian Archdiocese under Bishop Basil of Wichita in 2001 and 2007. He was also invited by the Athonite Monastery of Vatopedi to be the keynote speaker at the first International Conference held in Athens in October of 2007 devoted exclusively to the life and work of Elder Sophrony of Essex.

In his Monastery Fr. Zacharias lives according to his primary vocation which is that of a monastic, and functions as one of the spiritual fathers, humbly ministering the word of God to his brethren and the visitors.


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