Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | June 22, 2008

Noted in Passing

Today’s Sunday New York Times notes that “The Very Rev. Henry Chadwick, an Anglican priest, professor, editor, translator and author whose historical voyages into early Christianity won praise for depth, insight and evenhandedness and helped shed light on modern religious problems, died Tuesday in Oxford, England. He was 87.”

I have not read his writings, nor am I familiar with his themes or anything about him… other than that as an ex-anglican I felt some sympathy with what is referred to as his most quoted line and given at the end of the obituary:

“Nothing is sadder than someone who has lost his memory, and the church which has lots its memory is in the same state of senility.”

Orthodoxy is blessed by its memory. What we seem to struggle with lies in not holding so fast to the details of the memory that we fail to allow them to breathe… and thereby warm our hearts.


  1. Great Quote. One of his books was very helpful to me when I was first heading East. May his memory be eternal.

  2. You beat me to it. I read the obituary and zeroed-in on the same quote. I was going to post, but will link to your post instead. Your ending observation is well made, indeed.

  3. Deb – I’m glad he was a good and helpful guide.
    John – Welcome back! Forgive me for “scooping”… not my intent.

  4. I have to agree with the second half of the quote, the part about the Church. However, the first part…well, losing your memory is not the worse way to go. Really. My dad is in late stages of dementia, and he is not unhappy. At least most of the time; of course we all have our down days, but his are few. He is, on the whole, content. Doesn’t know enough not to be.

    Watching him, I’ve lost my fear of it. Which is probably a good thing, in case it’s hereditary!

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