Letter: Monks as bishops

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Andrew Brown takes the opportunity in the last paragraph of his reflections on the death of Cardinal Basil Hume (Comment, 19 June) to insult the Orthodox Church. He claims that idea that the churches need more monks as leaders "has already been tried and comprehensively disproved" in the Orthodox Church.

The leaders of the Orthodox Church in this country, Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Metropolitan Antony of Sourozh, are both outstandingly spiritual men, and widely respected both within and outside the Orthodox community. Neither was "hand-picked by [any] government".

It is also worth reminding Andrew Brown that widowers are also eligible for the episcopate, and some of the finest Orthodox bishops are drawn from among them.

It is a pity that your correspondent should misuse the death of an outstanding monk and bishop, the motto of whose order is "Peace", to denigrate a church for which he had great respect and affection.