RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoBirkbeck
Extent10 boxes
TitlePapers of William John Birkbeck
DescriptionPapers of the theologian and liturgical scholar William John Birkbeck (1859-1916) concerning relations between the Church of England and the Russian Orthodox Church, Birkbeck's studies in Church history, theology and liturgy and his involvement in the Anglo-Catholic movement as well as ecumenism.
ArrangementThe principal division is for records created and accumulated by William John Birkbeck and records created and accumulated by his wife, Rose Katherine Birkbeck after Birkbeck's death. Files contents are arranged chronologically. Please note that only small section of the collection had any original order (letters from father Boniface Wolf) therefore the arrangement is largely artificial.
Greek languages
CreatorNameWilliam John Birkbeck and Rose Katherine Birkbeck
AdminHistoryWilliam John Birkbeck was born at High House,Thorpe, on February 13, 1859. His parents were William Birkbeck and Elizabeth Margaret Cator.
Educated at Eton (1872-1877), he graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford (1877-1881). On October 4, 1883 he married Rose Katherine, daughter of Mr. Somerville Gurney. From 1897 he and his family lived in Stratton Strawless, Norfolk.
For five years, from 1883 to 1888, he devoted himself to the study of plainsong, visiting Maredsous, a monastery in Belgium, and later he continued the same study in Russia, studying ancient Russian music with the aid of Professor Smolenski at Moscow. From 1882 until his death he travelled to Russia exploring its history and culture, getting to know members of its elite and visiting various parts of the country. He participated in celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the Adoption of Christianity in Russia in 1888 and the coronation of the Tzar Nicholas II in 1896. Birkbeck was also involved in an ecumenical movement participating in the Viscount Halifax mission to Rome in 1895. Also in 1895 he published a book called 'Russia and the English Church' consisting of the correspondence between the Rev. William Palmer, an Anglican divine, and Alexis Stepanovich Khomyakov, a Russian layman and theologian.
William John Birkbeck died shortly after his return from Russia on 9 June 1916.

On Birkbeck, see:
Jeffrey Bibbee, ' "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church": The Dream of William John Birkbeck' (Auburn University, 1999)
Jeffrey Bibbee, "Anglo-Catholicism & the Orthodox East: William Birkbeck & the Quest for Unity 1888-1916", The Anglo Catholic History Society Publication no. 20.
Michael Hughes, "Picturesque Visions and Hopeful Dreams: W.J. Birkbeck, Stephen Graham and British Responses to Russian Orthodoxy on the eve of Revolution",.'Sobornost' (2012)
Michael Hughes, "The English Slavophile: W.J. Birkbeck and Russia", 'Slavonic and East European Review' vol 82 issue 3 (2004) pp 680-706
AcquisitionDeposited on loan by Lord Norton in 1970.
CopiesMiscellany from the papers of William John Birkbeck (uncatalogued):
Negative Microfilm: Lambeth Palace Library Box 720
RelatedMaterialPrinted material including the following publications transferred to printed books:

- Van Damme, P.J., Enchridion Chorale, Gandavi, 1874
- Rolfe, C., Chancel Screens and Roods, Berkshire Archeological Society, 1874
- Newbury House Magazine, Aug 1890
- Newbury House Magazine, Sep 1890
- Newbury House Magazine, Nov 1890
- Proceedings of the Anglo Russian Literary Society, 1894
- Viscount Halifax, The Reunion of the Christendom, London, 1895
- Cardinal Vaughan and the Russian Church, 1897
- Collins, W.E., Unity Catholic and Papal, The Church Hisorical Society, London, 1897
- Riley, A., The Present Attack on the Catholic Revival within the Church of England, English Church Union, West London District Union, 1898
- Wordsworth, J., On the Rite of Consecration of Churches, The Church Hisorical Society, 1899
- The Church Hisorical Society, The Law of the Concordat, London, 1905
- Eltchaninow, La regne de Nicholas II, Paris, 1913
- Viscount Halifax, Birkbeck W.J., Oldroyd, Rev A.E., Some considerations affecting religion arising out of the war, Church House, 1914
- Mansurov, P., The Russian Church in 1915, Anglican and Foreign Church Society, London, 1915
See Lambeth Palace Library printed books catalogue (classmark H27.5B5).

For other archives see National Register of Archives.
PublnNoteHughes, Michael, 'Archbishop Randall Davidson' (Abingdon, 2018) [Lambeth Palace Library H5198.D2H8]

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Related name records
DS/UK/3584Birkbeck; William John (1859-1916); Theologian and liturgical scholar1859-1916
NA2300Russian Orthodox Church
Related place records
NA3604/Russian Empire
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