Boundless Grandeur, the Christian Vision of A.M. "Donald" Allchin

By Quinn, Frederick | Anglican and Episcopal History, March 2017 | Go to article overview

Boundless Grandeur, the Christian Vision of A.M. "Donald" Allchin


Quinn, Frederick, Anglican and Episcopal History


Boundless Grandeur, The Christian Vision of A.M. "Donald" Allchin, edited by David G. R. Keller, Forward by Rowan Williams, Introduction by Kallistos Ware. (James Clarke & Co., Cambridge, U.K.: 2015, Pp. 203. $35.00.)

Donald Allchin (1930-2010), is one of the major figures in modern Anglicanism, deserving a full-fledged biography and an anthology of his collected works, for which this admirable volume is an excellent beginning. These thirteen short and longer pieces by people who knew him introduce Allchin as a priest as a priest of the Church of England, explorer of Eastern Orthodox spirituality, and warden of two Anglican contemplative women's orders near Oxford. As a residentially canon of Canterbury Cathedral, he developed a growing interest in Welsh spirituality, learned Welsh, and in 1994 moved to Bangor, North Wales, where he lived with the poetry, saints, and holy places of Wales. Allchin was an Anglican original. He was oblivious to church politics, as interested in the lives of farmers and day laborers as of prelates and university dons. Rowan Williams, whose doctoral work he supervised at Oxford, said he recognized his gift "as being more to do with living on the edge of the institution in a rather different way.. .simply a visible presence on the edge of the church's 'business' work, reminding people of other and more fruitful explorations to be had, if only they would turn to the larger horizon" (xiv). Williams said that Allchin, who made many visits to Eastern Europe was "never an ecumenical negotiator; always an ecumenical witness." Eie was a lifelong friend and colleague of a pantheon of Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic figures. He was like a family member with the Vladimir Lossky's in Paris and visited the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, in Kentucky in 1963, 1967, and 1968. Their friendship was launched by a shared interest in Shaker art and spirituality. Their conversations usually extended over three days.

Some of the book's pivotal commentaries include a personal tribute by Barry.

Orford, who like Allchin, was priest librarian at Pusey House, Oxford; Geoffrey Rowell, who described Allchin's major study of the Danish theologian N.S.F. Gruntvig, and several writers who chronicled Allchin's immersion in Welsh culture and spirituality, including his detailed work on the poet and hymn writer, Ann Griffith. …

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