ENGLAND OF MY HEART
Heavenly Birth of Swiss Archimandrite Symeon
of Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, England
Archimandrite Symeon died in the very early hours of Friday 21 August 2009 at the monastery of St John the Baptist where he lived at Tolleshunt Knights, near Maldon in Essex, as a result of lymphoma. He was fully conscious to the last and died in great peace.
His funeral was celebrated at 3pm on the Friday in the monastery church, where the brothers and sisters of the community were joined by a congregatino of nearly 500 who had come from all over Britain, various countries in Europe and Russia. The body of Father Symeon will rest from now on in the crypt of the monastery, beside that of Father Sophrony (Sakharov), of whom he has been one of the oldest disciples.
Born in 1928 in the canton of Vaux in Switzerland, René Jean Bruschweiler studied law at university and began to practise as an advocate, until he encountered the Orthodox Church, and then the monastic life, through close contact with Archimandrite Sophrony. Father Sophrony had come back from Mount Athos because of health problems and settled at the castle at Sainte Geneviève des Bois. Symeon then followed his spiritual father when he left in 1959, with five other monks who had come and enlarged the community, to found a monastery in south-east England.
Father Symeon translated the works of Archimandrite Sophrony from Russian into French, the most famous being Saint Silouan, Monk of Mount Athos, as well as several important works by Saint Ignatius Briantchaninov.
Quiet, humble, gentle, pure-hearted and good, Archimandrite Symeon attracted a great number of spiritual children, monastic and lay, after Archimandrite Sophrony died. He regularly visited France for the annual congress of the Association of Saint Silouan, of which he was president and other conferences, and was assiduous in his visits to monasteries with which he had a particular association and concern, especially as a much loved and deeply revered confessor.
May he rest in peace and may his memory be eternal.