David Melling : Schism and Communion

October 13, 2009

I never met David J. Melling, the author of the following essay. He lived in Manchester, England, apparently taught at the university there, was a communicant at a Greek Orthodox church, and, besides authoring a lucid introduction to Plato and being one of the editors of The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, wrote a short, readable introduction to Byzantine Chant notation that is available online (http://www.scribd.com/doc/4766762/Reading-Psalmodia). For some years, he hosted an Orthodox webpage, titled Arimathea, that was notable for its sanity and unpretentious learning. A few years ago I learned of his death. A brief notice of his funeral is given on the webpage britishorthodox.org:

Abba Seraphim attended the funeral and burial of David John Melling (1943-2004) at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation of God at Salford, Manchester, on 28 September 2004, where His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira presided. Speaking afterwards, Abba Seraphim praised the indefatigable work of David Melling, who not only worked tirelessly to make the Orthodox faith and tradition accessible to British people, but was also an energetic and zealous worker for the Greek community in Manchester, among whom he was greatly loved and respected. “He was also a firm friend to the Coptic Orthodox Church as well as other Oriental Orthodox communities and he did much to give practical support to the implementation of the dialogue between the two families. With his own deep commitment to Orthodoxy as well as his expert knowledge and understanding of non-Christian faiths he promoted deep affection and mutual respect where, sadly, suspicion and hostility too often result.”


This past weekend, while working on my computer and examining old files, I found the following essay by him, which I had copied off the internet on June 16, 1997. Because David Melling’s Arimathea page is no longer up and running, and, more importantly, because the essay still deserves to be read, I publish it here.


(Photograph of David Melling; added, 8 September 2012, Feast of the Conception of the Theotokos. Thanks to Mr. Derek Jackson, of Manchester, England, for sharing this picture of his friend.)


SCHISM and COMMUNION

Early in his ministry as a Non-Juror Anglican priest, the saintly William Law published a sequence of “Letters to a Lady inclined to enter the Church of Rome.” (1732-3) His advice to the Lady was that she, like other laymembers and junior clergy of the Anglican Church, was in no way responsible for the schism separating her and her fellow Anglicans from the Greek and Roman Churches. There is, he argued, no way of escaping the reality of schism, since every history determines that each of us is “necessarily forced into one externally divided part, because there is no part free from external division.” The divisions cannot be escaped by simply changing one’s ecclesiastical allegiance, he tells her, since that action resolves the schism with the Church entered at the price of schism with the Church abandoned. He counsels her to stay where she is, but to love the Greek and Roman Churches with the same love she has for her own Church. Law attributes the schism that divides the Churches to “the unreasonable quarrels and unjust claims of the governors on both sides.” He sees schism as caused by the failings and shortcomings of hierarchs, and as something affecting only the external reality of the Church’s life. Law is not, of course, writing of all kinds of schism. His position flows from the belief that the Roman, Greek and English Churches, whatever their differences in theological tradition and styles of worship, are alike in being effective means of attaining “christian holiness.” He does not have the same positive view of any Christian bodies which are merely human institutions and lack the full means of sanctification.

In Eastern Christian tradition, schism between ecclesial communities is not always read as William Law reads it. Eastern theology has tended to stress the intimate unity of faith and sacrament and to see schism as a sign of heresy. Roman Catholic theology, on the other hand, has generally distinguished more sharply between schism, in which both the separated communities may be fully orthodox and retain a full sacramental life, and formal heresy which involves the rejection of the Church’s dogmatic teaching. Roman Catholic sacramental theology has tended to regard heretical sacraments as invalid by reason of heresy only in those cases when the heresy explicitly denied the Church’s dogmatic teaching about the sacraments. The consequence of such a denial is obvious: a heretical priest who does not believe in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Real Presence or the Apostolic Succession can hardly be the presiding minister at a Divine Liturgy, consecrating this bread and this wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ, since that is precisely what he does not believe he is authorised to do and what he believes does not come about even when a Catholic or Orthodox priest celebrates the Mass. Roman Catholic tradition differs from Eastern Orthodox in the relative status it accords the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. In Catholic theology, the infallibility attaching to the dogmatic definitions of the Councils is sharply distinguished from the relative degree of authority accorded their disciplinary and legal decisions. Orthodox Christians would not normally go so far as to claim the disciplinary canons of the Ecumenical Councils are absolutely immutable and irreformable, but tend to see them as reformable only by the authority of another Ecumenical Council.

This attitude to the legislation of the Ecumenical Councils explains in part the bitterness of the schism between Old Calendarists and New Calendarists in the Greek world. The Old Calendarists have consistently and vehemently denied the right of Patriarchs, Hierarchs and local synods to alter the calendrical arrangements laid down in the canons of the Council of Nicaea. Given the nature of what they see as a grave breach of Orthodox ecclesiastical discipline, some, but not all, Old Calendarists have gone further, and invoking the authority of St. Basil the Great, have seen New Calendarists not only as schismatics, but as a religious body whose sacraments are devoid of grace. Interestingly, this schism as the Old Calendarists see it does indeed conform in part at least to William Law’s characterisation of schism, since what the Old Calendarists object to is precisely what they see as high-handed, unlawful and unreasonable action by the Church’s hierarchs. This was equally an issue in the schism between the Old Believers and the Russian Orthodox Church. In both cases, what was judged by their opponents to be the illegitimate use of Hierarchical authority to alter the calendar in the one case, the service books in the other, was interpreted not merely as imposing on the Church untraditional and objectionable legislation, but also as signifying a drift into heresy that made schism both inevitable and a matter of inescapable duty. William Law, however, in speaking of the schism between the Roman and English Churches emphasises that the “unreasonable quarrels and unjust claims of the governors” were on both sides. An authoritarian and assertive Papacy had found its own claims reflected in the distorting mirror of Henry VIII’s assertion of his own divine right to rule as “Supreme Head” of the English Church. The Old Believers and Old Calendarists reflect the position not of the Vatican in relation to the Church of England, but of the Catholic Recusants, loyal to the religion they inherited from their fathers and mothers, and unable to accept the changes imposed by state authority. Conservative dissent is always an embarrassment to church authorities. It is not obvious exactly how one can become a heretic by standing fast on yesterday’s orthodoxy.

Law’s argument that schism as such is fundamentally a matter of the external reality of the Church is of particular significance if we attempt to interpret the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The mutual excommunications of 1054, while furnishing a fine example of the “unreasonable quarrels and unjust claims” which Law identifies as the fundamental cause of schism, were neither the origin nor the legal basis of the schism. Had they been so, the lifting of the excommunications by the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch would have brought the schism to an end. It continues. The schism between Catholics and Orthodox continues, yet the full ecclesial life of both Churches also continues. While the absence of external institutional unity may be a cause of suffering and something to deplore, it has not prevented either Church from producing a rich crop of saints, from engaging in Apostolic missionary work, from serving the needy, from finding within its own spiritual resources the means for renewal.

The notion that Western and Eastern Churches were ever identical in theology, ritual and social life, is pure fantasy. Theological differences existed in the days when the Church of the Roman Empire was a legal unity. The typically Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin as inherited guilt is to be found in the doctrinal canons of the early sixth century councils of Carthage and Orange, and the latter council even went so far as to condemn the typical Eastern view that what is inherited from Adam and Eve as a consequence of their sin is our mortality. The dogmatic canons of the latter council were confirmed by Pope Boniface II. Eastern and Western Churches had different rules concerning the bread to be used in the Eucharist, different rules for fasting, clerical celibacy, the ordination of eunuchs, and later, the legitimacy of fourth marriages and the permissibility of divorce even during the period when the Churches were in full communion.

The schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches did not begin, nor was it completed in 1054. Indeed, one wonders at exactly what point in history many communities realised they were in schism from the other church. The failed reunion councils, the intrusion of Latin bishops in the wake of the Crusades, the sack of Constantinople and the profanation of Hagia Sophia in 1208 and the consequences of the Fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks all helped crystallize out a pattern of relations that still managed to retain some fluidity even into the seventeenth century. The establishment of Eastern Catholic jurisdictions in the Patriarchate of Antioch and in the east of Poland helped considerably to confirm the external separation of the two Church institutions. The external separation spread and became firm. But what changed in the life of ordinary parishes? Some experienced a shift in hierarchical authority. Some experienced the arrival of new religious orders. In traditional Orthodox and Latin Catholic communities nothing took place. The life of the local Church carried on as before. Where things did change, it was not as a direct result of the schism, but as a result of the local changes taking place in the life of one Church or the other — e.g., the implementation of the reforms of the Council of Trent.

The heart of the life of every Catholic or Orthodox church, is the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. In the Liturgy we find ourselves called to communion with Our Lord, to eat mystically His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine, to become one with Him, to be incorporated in Him. Our communion with Christ draws us into the life of the Holy Trinity. It is by the Power of the Holy Spirit He became a human being; it is by the Power of the Holy Spirit that the mystery of the Eucharist incorporates us in Christ. The Liturgy we celebrate here in our churches is an image of the Eternal Liturgy of the Court of Heaven. The barriers between Heaven and Earth are broken as the power of the Holy Spirit makes this holy table the Throne where the Son of God becomes present amongst us. Christ is “a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek” [Heb.5, 6] the one true High Priest of all humanity. He is the Son and Word of God, Who has put on our humanity so that we may share His Divinity. He is the one perfect Sacrificial Victim who “has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” [Heb.9, 26] He offers Himself once and for all, not in the sanctuary of the earthly Temple, but entering “into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” [Heb.9, 24] His death on Calvary is the visible historical realisation of Christ’s sacrifice for us. In the Eucharistic Liturgy, the same High Priest is present offering Himself to the Father for us, and inviting us to the Mystic Feast where He Himself becomes our food and drink so that we become one with Him, becoming by His grace what He is by nature. The Son of God offers Himself to us to make us too children of God. But we stand in separate churches, hear different priests recite the ancient words of the anaphora, communicate from separate chalices. To that extent, precisely to that extent, the schism between Catholics and Orthodox is real. But we communicate together in the Body and Blood of the one Anointed, we put on the one Christ in Baptism and are incorporated in the one Anointed in the Mystical Supper. It is our communion with Him, and in Him with one another that is the fundamental basis of our relation to each other. In the most basic and the most important sense, we are in communion with one another and always have been. In Him we are in communion with each other in a sense far more important than that in which, because of the schism between the churches, we are separated. We are united in Christ by His Holy Spirit, and divided outwardly by the inherited habit of schism.

Understandably in this century of ecumenical politics and ecclesiastical bureaucracy, there is a broad pattern of exploratory discussions and negotiations underway aimed at the removal of the scandal of schism. Whatever may be agreed by such a path, for the Orthodox it will be necessary to find the consent of the Church in a way other than by Patriarchal or Synodical decree, unless the decree be that of what is recognised as an Ecumenical Council. The immediate response of the Monks of Mount Athos to the recent agreement between representatives of the Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox makes clear exactly what problems such negotiations will face. The theologians and hierarchs involved in the Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox discussions have published a report that shows a true spirit of conciliation and mutual acceptance. Unfortunately, it proceeds from and addresses the mind-set of those who are prepared to see the proceedings of Ecumenical Councils in their historical and political relativity, and are ready to renegotiate relations amongst Churches without demanding formal acceptance of the dogmatic definitions of the Seven Councils. There may be many Orthodox who share such an outlook: they do not include the Holy Epistasia of Mount Athos or the many thousands who will stand in solidarity with the Athonite Community in seeing the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils as infallible and irreformable, as divinely inspired, and as the only possible basis for unity.

A process of growing together based on mutual trust and respect offers a much more realistic model for future developments than the repetition of ancient errors by the construction of eirenic but ambiguous documents and the validation of proposals for reunion by Patriarchal fiat or Synodical decree. Face to face, local communities can experience for themselves the reality of their oneness in Christ — or they can discover precisely the opposite. The zeal for full union will come from mutual knowledge, shared experience and profoundly respectful love: it can also come from the vivid awareness of the reality of our present communion with each other in Christ. That is not to say the hierarchs have no role in promoting the removal of schism. Pope John Paul II has made a major personal contribution in the last few months with the two letters Orientale Lumen and Ut Unum Sint. Sadly, the publicity given the second of these encyclicals has almost totally overshadowed the first, a document of immense importance for Catholic-Orthodox relations, emphasising, as it does, the need for Western clergy and theologians to become far better acquainted with the Eastern tradition of theology and Christian worship. Indeed, the Encyclical shows a warm sympathy for and a profound awareness of Eastern theology. It also offers an unusual opportunity for Orthodox and Eastern Catholics to co-operate in responding to the Pope in creating opportunities for Western brethren to learn more of our shared Eastern tradition. Co-operation between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics may seem an odd thing to recommend. For many Orthodox “Uniatism” remains an offensive and illegitimate method of Vatican proselytism. Whatever the truth of such a charge, there is a need for Orthodox Christians to face the challenge of the deep loyalty to Rome shown by many Eastern Catholic communities, even in the face of contemptuous treatment by Latins, even of appalling humiliations, the ultimate being that revealed by the late Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV when he disclosed, that in the aftermath of the then patriarch’s opposition to the definition of Papal infallibility at the first Vatican council, His Beatitude had been forced to the ground before the Papal throne while Pius IX placed his foot on his head. Loyalty in the face of such provocation merits at least astonished respect.

The draft agreement between Catholic and Orthodox theologians reached at Balamand in 1993 proposes a helpful way forward here, in proposing a formal rejection by the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, of “proselytizing among the Orthodox.” Once it becomes clear to the Orthodox that this commitment is serious, (and at the moment that is very far from clear) the possibility will grow of precisely the open and co-operative dialogue between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox that the Balamand agreement envisages. It has, however, to be recognised that in both Catholic and Orthodox Churches there remain zealots and integrists who will defend forever a maximalist ecclesiology which leaves no room for any ecumenical activity whatsoever, since it sees schism as defining the boundaries of the Church of Christ, outside of which there exist heretical conventicles devoid of sacramental grace. In the Orthodox Church such interests still have a powerful voice, as Patriarch Bartholomaeos has discovered to his cost, facing demonstrations protesting against his brotherly relationship with the Pope, and denunciation of him as trying to drag the Orthodox Church into union with Rome.

There are, indeed, specific problems in the relation of Catholic and Orthodox Churches that the present Ecumenical Patriarch’s very public role has made vividly evident to many Orthodox. The Ecumenical Patriarch’s role as senior hierarch of the Orthodox communion is far more fragile than his public image sometimes suggests. In Rome he may look like the Eastern counterpart of the Pope, and the vigour with which he has exercised and even developed his role in the Orthodox Church may give plausibility to that image, but the fact remains that he is not the linear superior of the chief hierarchs of other autocephalous Churches, but only the first among equals among them, and that is something very different. Orthodox tradition, moreover, has never recognised any hierarchical role above that of the local bishop as of divine authority. Any higher layer of authority and responsibility derives from Synodical or sometimes even state decision. There is nothing inevitable or immutable in the Primacy of Constantinople. Nor can the Ecumenical Patriarch assert his authority to guarantee the Orthodox Church’s acceptance of the policy he espouses. The same arguments that establish the ecclesiastical and human origin of the patriarchates are deployed by Orthodox to reject Catholic claims of divine institution for the Roman Papacy, and of course to reject any claims to Papal supremacy. (Not, of course, to the Primacy of Rome, that is a quite different and relatively uncontroversial matter.) It is, then, very helpful to see the Pope is clearly aware that his own office as interpreted by Vatican theologians and canonists is experienced by Christians of other traditions as a major obstacle to unity. In his encyclical Ut Unum Sint he calls for a “patient and fraternal dialogue” on the nature and exercise of his primacy. This is a welcome and helpful development.

Progress in extricating ourselves from the bad habit of schism involves a reappraisal of what is central to our Christian heritage and what is transitory and peripheral, what is essential and what is merely a matter of cultural tradition. When we return to the heart and centre of our faith, we find ourselves together in Christ. If we lose the living awareness of our oneness in Christ and identify ourselves simply in terms of a particular community’s history and interests, we find a chasm yawning at our feet. The full flourishing of the spirit of schism is not merely external separation and institutional rivalry, its fruit can be tasted at the point where religious identity becomes a means of justifying political and ethnic conflict.

About these ads

15 Responses to “David Melling : Schism and Communion”

  1. Tap Says:

    Is this Claim of Pius IX’s foot on the head of Maximos IV, a true story or just dramatic fable?

  2. bekkos Says:

    Tap,

    First, there is some confusion here. When Melling states that Maximos IV, the late Melkite Patriarch, disclosed that “His Beatitude had been forced to the ground before the Papal throne while Pius IX placed his foot on his head,” it sounds as though he is saying that Pius IX placed his foot on the head of Maximos IV. What I think Melling is actually referring to is the claim that, at the Second Vatican Council, Patriarch Maximos IV revealed a story about Pope Pius IX and the Melkite Patriarch at the time of the First Vatican Council, Gregory II Youssef.

    Secondly, as to whether this claim is a true one (viz., both the claim that Maximos IV actually said this, and the claim that this foot-on-head incident actually occurred), I do not know. I do know that the claim is reported as fact in the current English Wikipedia article on Gregory II Youssef (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_II_Yusuf). There are references there; one of them is to the Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (1999), p. 313, where, in an article on the Melkite Church, written by Melling himself, essentially the same claim is made. Here is what Melling says there:

    Patriarch Gregory II Yusuf (1864-97), aware of the disastrous effect its dogmatic definition would have with the Orthodox, was a prominent opponent of the definition of papal infallibility at the Vatican Council (1869-70). The reaction of Pope Pius IX (1846-78) to his opposition was only revealed publicly by the great Patriarch Maximos IV Sayegh (1947-67). After the council an emissary was sent to secure the signatures of the Melkite Holy Synod to the definition. They signed it, but with the qualifying clause used at Florence attached first. When Gregory II next visited the pope, he was cast to the floor at Pius’ feet by the guard while the pope placed his foot on the patriarch’s head. None the less, he and his successors remained loyal to union with Rome.

    The other reference is to an article, titled “The Melkite Greek Catholic Church,” by Michael J. L. La Civita, the editor of the magazine ONE, the journal of the Catholic Near Eastern Welfare Association. In that article, La Civita says the following:

    During Vatican II, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Maximos IV revealed that Pope Pius IX humiliated the patriarch, having him cast to the ground by members of the Swiss Guard and then addressing the patriarch with his foot pressed against his head. But Gregory’s defense of the Eastern Christian tradition is cited as the main influence behind the landmark apostolic letter, “Orientalium Dignitas Ecclesiarum,” issued in 1894 by Pius’s successor, Pope Leo XIII.

    Until credible evidence is presented to the contrary, therefore, I will have to assume that this is a true story.

    Peter


  3. [...] thanks to De Unione Ecclesiarum for the text of this [...]

  4. Fr Paul Says:

    It is to be remembered that it was the protocol at the time to kiss the pope’s slipper (a custom which had already provoked scandal at the Council of Florence. Kall9istos Ware once told me that he thought Paul VI’s famous, spontaneous kissing of the feet of Athenagoras was meant as reparation for this). Perhaps Gregory demurred and was thus physically compelled to perform the customary obeisance. Perhaps the detail about the Swiss guards is an embroidering of the story and Pius just used the patriarch’s reverence to make a brutal point. Pius is supposed to have said “Gregorio, testa dura, finalmente ti abbiamo dove ti volevamo” – “stiff-necked Gregory, at last we have you where we wanted you”.

    I was astonished by the beatification of Pius IX.

    In any case, perhaps it is time for a moratorium on the canonization of popes – at least after the inevitable raising to the altars of John Paul II. The papacy is beginning to look like a cozy club of friends who canonize each other.

  5. bekkos Says:

    Thanks, Fr. Paul, for the clarification.

    Peter

  6. Tap Says:

    Thanks for Dr. Gilbert and Fr Paul for the clarifications. This just seem unbecoming of a Pope. Any possibility that this story was initially told in a semi-parable. ?

    My scenario:
    The Pope having his leg on the neck of the Patriarch being an allegorical way of relating a threatened withdrawal of communion. (something the Melkite Patriarch valued)=== in the subsequent retelling of the story, the initial sense has been lost and the “incident” has taken on a life of it own.??

  7. Anthony Papagiannis Says:

    Peter, I was moved to read your reference to the late David Melling, a close friend from the years I trained in Manchester. What a lovely man he was! We often chanted together in the Church of the Annunciation there; I can only say that he had taught himself to read Byzantine music notation by using a rare publication that had the same hymns written in Byzantine and so-called European notation on facing pages. He was a diamond of many faces: he once treated us to a Christmas banquet he had cooked all alone. In the midst of some discussion he would go off at a tangent and recite poetry or texts in Latin, Hebrew or Russian with equal ease. I visited his grave in the cemetery of South Manchester some years ago, and I have a picture of his grave. May he rest in peace.

  8. derek jackson Says:

    David J Melling was a very close friend of mine, i supplied him with all his cars and service work, spent many an afternoon at his home in chorlton, redecorated his hall stairs and landing with another friend of mine and davids (steve morris), general diy, coffee and tea and chats, he was a lovely man, i have some photos of him, quite rare for david as he didnt like to be photographed, he also visited my home on college road, he wrote read all the ministrations at my moms funeral in august 27th 2002 as a personal favour to my dad and i. i was with david within 10 minutes of his passing and also a pall bearer at his funeral. i was with him on many an afternoon when he was working on The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, i have very fond memories of my best friend david. david taught himself to read & write arabic in 2weeks for a lecture he was giving in cheshire, i drove him there on the night and waited for him to return. i will never meet a man like david again, i so happy to have been a part of his life and for him to have been part of mine.
    if you would like the photos to place on this site or to share with friends and colleagues contact me at dj506@hotmail.com
    i am derek jackson.

  9. bekkos Says:

    Thanks, Derek. Maybe I’ll take you up on that offer to post a photograph of David Melling here on the website; I don’t think I’ve ever come across a picture of him. The testimonials from friends of his like you reinforce the impression I get from his writing, that he was a very good man, who lived his Christian life deeply.

  10. derek jackson Says:

    hi bekkos from derek.
    david was a truly beautifull man in all senses of the word. so brilliant of mind and yet he made it such a big deal to phone me to come round to his home and make coffee and offer cakes and when i enquired as what he wanted of me he replied, can you change that bulb for me in the kitchen, it was such a menial task for me, but he said it was not his fort’e as i was so good at everything, david offered to write all my references of which i still have a copy of one from 2003 before he passed. when my mum passed 10yrs ago this week my father and i called at his home to ask and before we could he offered to read and present at my mums funeral. its like he was sent from god to us. the irony of it is he is buried 30 yards from my mums grave.

    i also have another very intriguiing story that involves david if you would like me to share it with you some time.

    obviously you will know i am in the uk and manchester.
    my numbers are … [deleted by Bekkos]
    please feel free to call me if you so wish otherwise i am happy to continue in this way, when my father and i go to visit my mums grave we always make a point of placing a flower on davids headstone for david even though he didnt believe in the hereafter

    kindest regards derek.

  11. bekkos Says:

    Derek,

    I’ve got your telephone numbers here; I think I’ll delete them from the website, just so you don’t get any crank calls.

    Peter

  12. derek jackson Says:

    thank you peter, if i had a direct contact for you, it may be easier and more secure, for future contact both ways.

    derek

  13. susan margaret wrigley Says:

    I was shocked to realise David had passed away. I worked for him as his PA some 15 years ago at Manchester Metropolitan University and I have to say he was an absolute pleasure to work for. Those years were the happiest in my career. We had such fun and I remember sitting with him in his study full of books putting the world as well as the University to rights. He would come into my office in the morning with his fedora on stop and ask what the day would be like “is it doom and gloom or is it good, Sue?”What a lovely clever man I could listen to his voice all day long – the students loved him.

    Sue Wrigley

  14. Andrew Says:

    I can’t pretend that I know a great deal about the subject matter, however I can say how lovely it is to see David’s work still being held in such regard. He was first cousin to my late grandmother and I was fortunate enough to live with him for a short while, at his home in Manchester, a year or so before his death. He was, indeed, quite remarkable as an individual. And though it is common practice to speak highly of, and remember fondly, those who have left us, in David’s case those who knew him cannot do so enough, because it is all true. Thank you for sharing his work and remembering him.

  15. Safiq Patel Says:

    David was a wise, thoughtful man. He cooked tasty orthodox suppers and whereever possible built links and connections with people of all faiths and indeed people with no faith. He was a sound source of knowledge on many topics. Orthodox Christianity was David J Melling’s great passion in life. He was well informed on many issues of current religious debate. I had the pleasure of sharing accomodation with David Melling. David Melling was truely special in many ways. He did much to empower and instill good sound values in me over the years we shared accomodation. Sadly I was late to learn of David’s death and so missed attending David Mellings funeral. He was a solid man, unwavering and sought comfort and guidence with god daily. David Melling is deeply missed and his contribution to my academic and religious development and to the lives of many people is an immense treasure. I rather feel there are very few men like David Melling in the world. In personality and in religion he was truely an amazing man. God Bless you David my friend. You are in my prayers, meditation and reflections daily. In brotherhood with Christ from Safiq. Former student and scholar with David Melling.
    Finally I should inform readers that David was not merely a teacher at University but a Dean of Faculty and later a Pro Vice Chancellor. He had a unique ability to focus minds and has contributed to the learning of many thousands of Graduates at The Manchester Metropolitan University and at Manchester University as well as being guest scholar at Universities all over Europe and the world.
    It is a pleasure to read about David J Melling here. His valuable presence and advice I miss almost daily.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers

%d bloggers like this: