Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen: The Three Hundred Year History of a Russian Orthodox Church in London, by Protodeacon Christopher Birchall. Holy Trinity Publications. The Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev. Jordanville, NY 2014. Paper/hardback.
Once I picked up this hefty brick of a book (700+ pp!), it took an effort of will to put it down. What a spectacular voyage through time I might have had, if only I could have affored the time to immerse myself in this intense encyclopedia of Russian church life in England. Since 1988 I have been studying history of the Russian Church Abroad, yet when I stumbled on photographs of Fr. Mikhail Polsky (author of New Martyrs of Russia) visiting the grave of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery in London, and of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn carrying an icon of resurrection at the paschal service in the ROCOR cathedral at Emperor’s Gate in London, I was utterly entranced. I have my own blog dedicated to ROCOR history, and I know how hard it is to find such outstanding photos.
This study is the fruit of more than twenty years of research. The only other English language book on ROCOR history of the same monumental scope that comes to my mind is the second edition of Not Out of this World: the Life and Teaching of Fr. Seraphim Rose by Hieromonk Fr. Damascene Christensen. Despite its prodigious mass of detail, this book is couched in a highly accessible style.
I am delighted to learn that the abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery the V. Rev. Archimandrite Luke will be attending the launch of this watershed achievement in Church scholarship that is being celebrated with appropriate enthusiasm in the UK:
For more information on the book, including excerpts, photographs, and ordering information, visit the Web site of Holy Trinity Publications: