“And of a Sudden All Things Moved Onward in their Course”: The Funeral Service of Patrick Leigh Fermor (16 June 2011).

Leigh Fermor Service

Tom Sawford has been kind enough to upload the entire program for Paddy Leigh Fermor’s funeral service.

The service was held on Thursday, 16 June 2011, at St. Peter’s, Dumbletown, near Paddy’s home.  Tom describes the Worcestershire setting as follows:

Yesterday we buried Paddy in the rich, copper coloured, breccia marbled soil of Worcestershire, next to his wife and soulmate, Joan. Their graves overlook the entrance to the small churchyard of Saint Peter’s in Dumbleton which dates from Norman times.

Amongst the one hundred or so mourners were members of his family, his friends, and many others  who came simply to pay their respects to a man who had given so much to them either through his friendship, his wartime activities, his writing, or just his simple acts of kindness and support.

The service, led by the Reverend Nicholas Carter, was moving, absorbing, and in fact quite conventional. But was it Paddy who added the interesting twist of a reading not from the New Testament, but from the Apocryphal Book of James, otherwise known as Protevangelium?

Read Tom Sawford’s full description of Paddy Leigh Fermor’s funeral here.

Durrell 2012 highly recommends Tom’s WordPress blogsite — He Drank From a Different Fountain — which is dedicated to all things related to the life and writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Tom has also taken the time to re-post Paddy’s tribute to Xan Fielding.  Xan, who died in 1991, was a former SOE agent and a brilliant translator.   He was also a dear friend to both Larry Durrell and Paddy Leigh Fermor, so this extra posting is much appreciated.  A site well-done, for a worthy cause.

James West has made an excellent black-and-white photograph of St. Peter’s Church, Dumbletown, Worcestershire.  Joan Leigh Fermor’s grave can be seen at the center of the shot.

The text selected for the service is indeed a curious “twist” — the Protoevangelium of James, read in a translation made by M. R. James.

Now I Joseph was walking, and I walked not. And I looked up to the air and saw the air in amazement. And I looked up unto the pole of the heaven and saw it standing still, and the fowls of the heaven without motion. And I looked upon the earth and saw a dish set, and workmen lying by it, and their hands were in the dish: and they that were chewing chewed not, and they that were lifting the food lifted it not, and they that put it to their mouth put it not thereto, but the faces of all of them were looking upward. And behold there were sheep being driven, and they went not forward but stood still; and the shepherd lifted his hand to smite them with his staff, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the stream of the river and saw the mouths of the kids upon the water and they drank not.

And of a sudden all things moved onward in their course.

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