John Main

Material related to John Main OSB

John Main Seminar 2011 - "Alive in Christ"


The John Main Seminar is a major event of the World Community hosted annually in different countries. In 2011 it was led by the English Dominican Timothy Radcliffe and hosted by the Irish Christian Meditation Community. The pre-Seminar retreat was led by Fr Laurence on "Fruits of Crisis". 

For more information on the Seminar theme and the speaker visit:

320 meditators from 22 countries participated. Below, there are comments from some of the participants and the gallery of the seminar. Medio Media will be publishing the talks of the seminar shortly.



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Memorial Mass Memories | Westminster Cathedral

Liz King


How does one appraise Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony? And Van Gogh’s masterpieces? In the same vein, what words can I use to describe the Memorial Mass for our beloved Fr. John held at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, December 29? Magnificent. Beautiful. Majestic. Glorious. Timeless.

Everything was perfect: the weather, the venue, the program, the music, the liturgy, the homily, the offering, the petitions and the attendance (well over 800) that almost filled the church. No detail was overlooked—thanks to the hard-working efforts of the London organizers: Giovanni Felicioni and Roger Layet and their team, with assistance from Pauline Peters and Bjorn and Christian from Germany.

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John Main Memorial Eucharist | Westminster Cathedral

Homily by Laurence Freeman OSB

(Links to memories at the bottom of this page.)
December 29th 2007

Many are needed to plant the Word and many to water it. The spread of the faith, the increase in population demand this. God’s people in the past who had but one altar still needed many teachers. How much greater now are the needs of the rich gathering of nations, for whose sacrifices Lebanon itself could not provide enough firewood.

If it were not for the reference to Lebanon as a source of firewood we might think that these words of Thomas a Beckett were contemporary. The population of the world is increasing (by 211,000 a day and by the size of Germany every year). The churches are painfully conscious of how they need to plant and water the seed of the living Word of God and how difficult this is proving. We know how many teachers of wisdom we need.

Today we come to this sacred place, one of the mother churches of English Christians to celebrate the life and teaching and continuing influence of one of the teachers of teachers whom the Lord raised up in our time to help meet these urgent needs.

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John Main

John Main OSB (1926-1982)

was born in London on 21 January 1926. His roots were in Co Kerry, Ireland. Educated at Westminster Choir School and by the Jesuits at Stamford Hill, London, he served in the Royal Signals at the end of the war after which he joined the Canons Regular of the Lateran for a short period. He left and studied law at Trinity College Dublin and then joined the British Diplomatic Service and studied Chinese at SOAS in London.

Attached to the Governor General’s office in Malaya during the Emergency his duties took him one day to meet an Indian monk and Justice of the Peace, Swami Satyananda. From him he learned how to meditate and took up the discipline of silence, stillness and simplicity as part of his Christian faith and daily prayer.

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On John Main

Bede Griffiths:
In my experience John Main is the most important spiritual guide in the Church today. He opened the way to the direct experience of God, of truth, of reality from within the Christian tradition. He was a man of great wisdom and above all of great love.

Rowan Williams:
John Main effectively put the desert tradition of prayer to work in our own day. The roots of his distinctive spirituality lie deep in the fourth and fifth centuries, especially in the works of that great expositor of the desert world, John Cassian. The World Community for Christian Meditation which continues his mission is for me, as for many throughout the world, a taste of what a commitedly contemplative church might look and feel like.  

Richard Rohr:
John Main never said things in flashy ways, he is saying a lot more than a superficial reading might allow one to see. By going to the roots of spirituality he laid a solid and radical foundation for social critique and social involvement. John Main teaches us to move beyond all images for the sake of powerlessness. I have personally been gifted by the wisdom of this man.

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John Main OSB

After you've read this page, learn more about John Main here. Also use the left-hand menu to visit the special "John Main Anniversary" page.

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