Metropolitan Kallistos Ware


The College is deeply saddened to share the news of the death of Emeritus Fellow The Most Rev Dr Kallistos Ware, Metropolitan of Diokleia.

Metropolitan Kallistos was a highly influential Orthodox Theologian, greatly respected in the Orthodox church, the wider ecumenical world and within Oxford University.

Born in Bath and educated at Westminster School, Timothy Ware first arrived in Oxford as an undergraduate at Magdalen College, where he read Classics and Theology. At the age of 24, having been raised Anglican, he joined the Orthodox Christian community. In the eight years that followed he spent time travelling through Greece and the Middle East, staying for some time at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Patmos. In 1966 he was ordained to the priesthood within the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was tonsured as a monk, receiving the name ‘Kállistos’.

The same year, he was appointed Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford. Known affectionately to generations of students as ‘Super-K’, Bishop Kallistos was a distinguished member of the Faculty of Theology for 35 years until his retirement in 2002, during which time he devoted himself to teaching patristics. In 1970 he was elected Fellow of Pembroke College by Special Election. While continuing to teach at the University and serve in the Greek Orthodox parish in Oxford, in 1982 he was ordained an auxiliary bishop with the title of Bishop of Diokleia in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In 2007, five years after his retirement, Ware was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.

Archbishop Kallistos’ contributions to the church and to understanding of Orthodoxy in Britain have been immense. His writing and lectures have fed understanding and appreciation of the theological and spiritual riches of the Orthodox Church: he wrote extensively on the Orthodox Christian faith;  participated generously in numerous ecumenical meetings, dialogues and conferences with the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Pentecostal Churches; was the Orthodox observer at the Lambeth Conference in 2008; and he co-chaired the Anglican-Orthodox International Theological Dialogue between 2009 and 2016.

Over the last 18 years, Metropolitan Kallistos has been a very regular visitor and speaker in chapel and at College events. Students continued to love his wit and generosity of spirit, imagining him to be a ‘Gandalf’ figure of the Christian world. He was profoundly inspiring in terms of ecological responsibility, a fresh thinker about the place of women in Christian ministry, and generous in his inclusion of all. Alongside Archbishop Rowan Williams and world church leaders, he was a guest of honour at the International Inspiring Service conference and banquet held here in December 2018, where he was universally recognized as doing just that.

Metropolitan Kallistos has guided ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue with wisdom, generosity and commitment, exemplifying his own understanding of theology as, ‘a work in progress, always an unfinished programme; however eloquent we are as theologians, we never express more than a small part of the truth’.

The College flag will fly at half-mast in tribute to Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware