AUTHORS/ Sherrard, Philip
Philip Sherrard was a poet, translator, theologian, and interpreter of the Orthodox tradition. He was a prolific writer on theological and philosophical themes, addressing the origins of the social and spiritual crisis he believed was occurring in the developed world, and specifically exploring modern attitudes towards the environment from an Orthodox perspective. Together with Timothy Ware (Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia) and G. E. Palmer, he produced a complete translation of the Philokalia (to date four of the five volumes have been published). He was also a notable translator of Modern Greek poetry, and produced several books on Modern Greek literature and culture. A pioneer of Modern Greek studies in England, he was influential in making major Greek poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries known in the English-speaking world.
Philip Owen Arnould Sherrard was born on September 23, 1922 in Oxford. His family had many connections with the literary world of the period: his mother, Brynhild Olivier, had been a member of Rupert Brooke's circle before the First World War, and his half-sister was married to Quentin Bell, the nephew of Virginia Woolf. He was educated at Dauntsey's School and at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he obtained a degree in History.
Sherrard first came to Greece as a soldier after the liberation of Athens in 1946, and soon afterwards he met and married his first wife, Anna Mirodia. The culture and traditional way of life that still pertained in the country made a profound impression on him. In 1951-52, and again in 1957-62, he served as Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology at Athens. In 1956 his doctoral thesis on the Greek poets Solomos, Palamas, Cavafy, Angelos Sikelianos, and Seferis (King's College, London) was published as The Marble Threshing Floor. In the same year in Athens he was baptized into the Orthodox Church.. He made frequent piligimages to the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos, and became profoundly imbued with the prayer and silence of Orthodox Christianity. His book on Athos was first published in 1960, with the title Athos: The Mountain of Silence. His writings often interpret the cultural background of Greek poetry and life through the spiritual wealth of the Orthodox tradition.
In 1959 Sherrard bought part of disused magnesite mine near the small shipping town of Limni in the island of Evia. He planted trees and plants where the former mine installations had been, and helped to restore the homes of the former directors who had lived there before the mine was abandoned at the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1970 he accepted a lectureship in the History of the Orthodox Church, a post attached jointly to King's College, London and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). After his resignation in 1977, he moved back to Greece, where Limni now became his permanent home. In 1979 he married his second wife, the publisher Denise Harvey. They endeavoured as far as possible to live a simple life according to the principles of the Orthodox Church, without many of the conveniences of modern living, such as electricity and the telephone.
In 1980, together with Keith Critchlow, Brian Keeble, and the poet Kathleen Raine, he was one of the founding members of the journal Temenos, a review devoted to the 'arts of the imagination'. This eventually led to the foundation of the teaching organization, the Temenos Academy, based in London. He died in London on May 30, 1995, at the age of 72, and was buried near the Orthodox chapel he had had built on his property.