What is the aim of every council? It is, through the exercise of collective discernment, to attain a common mind. Yet this common mind is not simply the sum total of the convictions of the various participants.
Metropolitan Kallistos says that Elder Sophrony wanted his monastery to stay loyal to the tradition of Orthodoxy, but at the same time be open to the spirit of the world. He explains how monks in Essex Monastery practiced hospitality, and why Elder Sophrony wanted his monks be well-educated, so they could give proper guidance to those who asked for it.
I first entered the Russian church of St. Philip’s in Buckingham Palace Road in the year 1952, when I was seventeen years old. I was still at school (the English sense of “school,” which does not mean university). It was my last year at Westminster School in London, just before I entered the University here in Oxford.
It is very clear that when St. John in his Epistle and our Savior in the Gospel speak about love they do not just mean something sentimental, something emotional, they mean something far more profound. The kind of love that they envisage, a universal all-embracing love, a love without limits, can only be a result of prayer, of ascetic effort.