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Monday, November 18, 2013

Sir John Tavener has reposed

This news makes me really sad.  Say a canon for his departed soul; his music has brought me many hours of joy, prayer, and contemplation of and love for God and His Mother.  He has now joined Mother Thekla in the Lord.

He was a rather unorthodox, or at least unconventional, convert to Russian Orthodoxy from a Protestant background with an insufficiently imbued Roman Catholic stage.  His turn from Roman Catholicism is certainly of concern to a faithful Catholic, as is his falling out with Mother Thekla (with whom he reconciled shortly thereafter and died at peace with - a fact not often publicized by those wishing to inflate the magnitude of his tension with the Church), his insufficiently mature immersion in the heterodox universalism of Frithjof Schuon (whose gnosis I have also forayed into, and whom Tavener salvages impeccably by enshrining Schuon's insights in music rather than in discursive statements which could be either true or false), and his unfortunate public comment about the "senility" of "all religions" (unfortunate not because of what he actually said over the BBC broadcast - which he immediately clarified to preclude meaning what the reporter reported him as saying - but because of the press headline misinterpreting and misquoting him).  These facts are not mentioned to dishonor the recently deceased, but rather to urge prayer for his soul, which now rests under the Mercy.  Since that side of his personality is quite well-known and well-publicized, a gentler picture of his character should be seen with his dedication of his final compositions to Mother Thekla, his re-turn to Roman Catholic religious forms in his music, his request for his works to be premiered in Catholic cathedrals, and his dedication of his Mass of the Immaculate Conception to Pope Benedict.  Perhaps now in his repose he has achieved the synthesis and peace between his Catholic faith, his Orthodox hesychia, and his universal awareness of the presence and theophany of God.

Sir John, eternal memory and blessed repose, in a place of light and peace where the saints repose.  May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest - shantih, shantih, shantih.  Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.

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