I felt moved to tears by your responses. Thank you both so very much for taking the time and trouble to respond in this way. I shall print off the pieces you suggest and look at them carefully.
The elderly priest known to my friend was a man of massive intellectual gifts who knew the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of the Russian Orthodox Church very well. He was totally humble and devoted to being a parish priest. He refused all offers of preferment, and enjoyed the company of children hugely. He gave her great peace of mind when her second son was born with handicaps and the possibility of death. He baptised him twice: once in the hospital, and once in the church as a kind of thanksgiving. There was something extraordinarily peaceful, loving and understanding about him which made him very attractive to people of all kinds.