The noted British author, thinker, and activist Paul Kingsnorth was united to Christ in holy Baptism at the Romanian Orthodox monastery in Shannonbridge, Ireland, on the feast of Christ’s Baptism on January 6 this year.
“As a Western newcomer to Orthodoxy, I have a lifetime’s learning journey ahead of me, but I already feel like I have arrived home,” he commented on this momentous step.
Kingsnorth, 49, who lives in rural Galway, Ireland, is known for both his fiction books and essays on the environment, as well as the environmental-activist Dark Mountain Project, which he founded in 2009 and directed until 2017. However, he was never a materialist, like many others in the movement, he says. Instead, he has been searching for the deeper Truth for many years.
“I first discovered Christian Orthodoxy four years ago when I walked into a small church in Bucharest. That powerful experience stayed with me, but I could not have known that it would lead me on a journey that would lead to me becoming a member of the Romanian Church,”
Kingsnorth told the Basilica News Agency.
“I felt both joyful and peaceful afterwards … and cold! But a stronger sense that I had arrived somewhere I was meant to be. My reception into the Church has been a great privilege, and the [Romanian] community here in Ireland has been so welcoming to me and my family,” the writer said.
Father Tudor Ghi??, who baptized Kingsnorth, recalls that he impressed upon the famous writer that being a Christian is a never-ending work that should bring spiritual joy, deeper than the initial feelings of enthusiasm upon finding Orthodoxy.
On his own website, Kingsnorth writes that he was on a long spiritual search that led him through Zen Buddhism, Taoism, mythology, Sufism, traditionalism, Wicca, and various other practices. However, something was always missing.
Then, in 2020, as the world was turned upside down, so was I. Unexpectedly, and initially against my will, I found myself being pulled determinedly towards Christianity. It’s a long story, which I might tell one day. Suffice it to say that I started the year as an eclectic eco-pagan with a long-held, unformed ache in my heart, and ended it a practicing Christian, the ache gone and replaced by the thing that, all along, I turned out to have been looking for. In January 2021 I was baptised and received into the Eastern Orthodox Church. I don’t know where the path leads from here, but at last I know how to walk it.
Rod Dreher, an Orthodox author and admirer of Kingsnorth, who once recommended him to read Kyriacos Markide’s The Mountain of Silence, writes that,
“Paul is different. He sees the emptiness of our mechanical civilization with much wiser and more searching eyes than Houellebecq, but he also has hope, because even before he was a Christian, Paul believed in the sacred. He sensed the presence of the divine immanent in nature. He only needed to make contact with the Source.”
In September, OrthoChristian reported that Orthodox actor and musician Jonathan Jackson moved to Ireland to help support the newly-established Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring Romanian Orthodox Monastery in Shannonbridge.