Leon Liddament 1 July 1943 - 3 September 2010
Leon Liddament 1 July 1943 - 3 September 2010 ETERNAL MEMORY!
Leon Liddament was one of the most instantly loveable people that I have ever met. He was an Orthodox Christian by nature, free of all guile or malice and utterly without affectation and as such an example of what being an Orthodox believer among his own people can be. He did not take on any of the external characteristics of the Russian tradition into which he had been received, but remained his own person until the end of his earthly life.
He and Archimandrite David simply fitted into their local environment,showing no partiality in their encounters with any and everyone who came to them, calling to mind the teaching of Christ: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. This saying could have been applied to both Leon and Father David who were at the heart of our mission to these islands for many years, working unobtrusively on the ikons by which Orthodoxy became much better known than before the middle of the Twentieth Century and leading people to a recognition and rediscovery of the Faith of our forefathers.
After Father David's death, Leon continued, with the devoted support and collaboration of Sylvia, to build on the original work of the Brotherhood of Saint Seraphim, painting ikons until he became too ill to do so. It was his wish that Saint Seraphim's should remain a Pilgrim chapel under the protection of the Mother of God, to provide a service both for local people and pilgrims alike, a place of prayer and a garden of peace and contemplation for all who need it, whoever they might be, and a centre for ikon workshops.
I regarded Leon as one of my dearest friends, although the great distance between Walsingham and Combe Martin made it difficult for us to meet often. He came to stay in North Devon every year, usually around Palm Sunday and again in the summer. He became very popular in the Orthodox community here. It was good to discuss the problems that afflicted the Orthodox in Britain calmly, and also simply to enjoy a meal together. He was very generous and always immensely good company.
It came as no surprise, therefore, that Leon's funeral brought together a wide range of local folk from all backgrounds as well as English clergy from the Antiochian and Russian communities in Britain and from our own Exarchate. His body was welcomed into Saint Seraphim's on Wednesday evening and remained there overnight and during the Liturgy on Thursday morning. The weather was warm and sunny when we took Leon to the Holy Transfiguration church for the funeral service. The burial was at Saint Peter's, Great Walsingham. The entire congregation walked behind the hearse through the lane to the graveyard. It was a very Orthodox and also a very traditionally English village scene as befitted such a unique and precious person.
May his memory be eternal.
Father John Marks