He was an aristocratic boy of 18 when he embarked on his tour of Central Europe in 1933, staying close to the Danube and bold enough to knock on many monasteries' doors and ask for boarding as a Protestant Englishman. Four years later, he ended his journey in Constantinople. His writing was not expressly religious, yet it was rooted in the fullness of British culture and therefore intrinsecally Christian. Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a travel writer, an officer, a gentleman. He was drawn to monasteries and able to portray the beauty and dignity of monastic life in a way that overtly religious writers do not often master. His description of the abbot greeting him in the refectory at St. Wandrille de Fontanelle and the guestmaster walking through the baroque courtyards at Melk Abbey belong to the most evocative descriptions of monastic life in the 20th Century.
We mourn him and we give thanks for his work, especially for the books A Time to Keep Silence (1957) and A Time of Gifts (1977).