ORTHODOXY OF MY HEART
The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir,
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Below is his official obituary. Our prayers go to all who knew and loved him, and for the repose of his holy soul.
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Father John Maitland Moir, Priest of the Orthodox Church of St Andrew in Edinburgh, founder of many smaller Orthodox communities throughout Scotland and Orthodox Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh, died peacefully in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on the 17th April 2013.
A man of profound holiness and bedazzling eccentricity, of boundless compassion and canny wisdom, utterly selfless and stubbornly self-willed, serenely prayerful and fiercely self-disciplined, Father John will surely earn a place as a unique and outstanding figure in the ecclesiastical annals of Scotland. He was born in 1924 in the village of Currie where his father was the local doctor; his fondness for his mother was always mingled with quiet pride in the fact that she was a member of the lesser aristocracy. The privileged but somewhat severe upbringing of an only child in this household together with a chronic weakness in his knees kept him apart from the hurly-burly of boyhood and directed him from an early age to more spiritual and intellectual pursuits. After his schooling at Edinburgh Academy, he went on to study Classics at Edinburgh University during the war years, his never robust health precluding any active military service. After the war, and a short spell as Classics Master at Cargilfield School in Perthshire, he moved to Oxford to continue classical studies at Christ Church and theological studies at Cuddesdon Theological College.
His interest in Eastern Christendom was awakened in Oxford and he eagerly seized the opportunity to study at the famous Halki Theological Academy in Istanbul in 1950-51. During this year he also travelled in the Holy Land and Middle East and forged friendships in the Eastern Churches which he maintained throughout his life. On his return to Scotland he was ordained in the Scottish Episcopalian Church, which he was to serve faithfully for the next thirty years. His first charge was as Curate at St Mary’s in Broughty Ferry, then for a period of six years he taught at St Chad’s College, Durham. He returned to Scotland in 1962 as Curate in Charge of the Edinburgh Parish of St Barnabas and as Honorary Chaplain at St Mary’s Cathedral, then in 1967 he moved north to the Diocese of Moray where he served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Moray and latterly as Canon of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness. His devotion to his pastoral and liturgical duties as well as his personal holiness and prayerfulness inspired a sense of awe in his loyal parishoners. Only his habit of wearing the kilt beneath his cassock provoked a reprimand from his Bishop, who was more than somewhat bewildered by Father John’s fervent and unbending Scottish patriotism. The Scottish Episcopalian Church which Father John loved and served was, he believed, a Church with special affinities with the Eastern Churches: his eyes would light up when explaining how the Liturgy of Scottish Episcopalian Church, like those of the East, Continue reading “The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir, Scotland (1924-2013)”