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008 Sunday, 30 Dec., 1963/Jan. 12, 1964

Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

I received your letter yesterday, which answered my questions very well and was encouraging. I myself grow more and more optimistic. Yesterday we received our first official response, from a publisher. We had feared they might not give a discount (a few don’t), but they offered 25%; so 10 or 15 of the early Fathers can go on our list.

I have found two more stores on Clement St., one near 9th Ave., the other near 25th; but the original one near 24th is still the best one, I think. It is still empty, so I’m sure we can get it for $35. There would be room in it for probably two good-sized tables, about three bookcases, one desk, and several chairs, and it has a good display area in the window. I hope you will be here soon to look at it, and also to make our plans more definite. I see no reason why we should not be in business by the beginning of Lent (March 16). I will make enquiries this week about a license and such technicalities.

I encountered, by the way, a group of English-speaking Orthodox young people the other night who are forming a group of their own. I don’t know why I was invited, but it was a good way of finding out what life there is among other Orthodox. The answer is: NONE. Dead, absolutely. They are sincere, their intentions are good; but they simply have nothing to work from. Not only are they unprepared for spiritual meat, they are hardly even ready for milk. I’ll tell you about them next time I see you. (The ones I met were Syrian, Russian-Metropolia, and Ukrainian, and they are planning to expand.) Actually, we will not be in competition with them, since their plans do not go beyond “inter-Orthodox” understanding, and study of Orthodox “traditions” on a very elementary level; beyond that, their interest is vaguely ecumenical, not missionary. They are turned inward upon themselves and are trying to “understand” their own religion; whereas we are going out to bring to the world riches of which we are not worthy, but of whose value we are certain. One of the Ukrainians let slip a disdainful remark about some of the Russians he has known who think they are preserving the “real” Orthodoxy. That’s us, and I think we should do just what he accuses us of doing: forget the other Orthodox (with a few exceptions, like Mt. Athos and the Old Calendarists, who still take Orthodoxy seriously), and concentrate on Russians and on American converts. Our adherence to the Church Outside of Russia should be made clear from the beginning; that will help frighten off at least some of the well-meaning who think they are as “Orthodox” as anyone; all their cooperation would have as its object the attempt to drag us into the mire of ecumenism and compromise.

I am still putting together a preliminary draft of our introductory brochure, incorporating the ideas in your last letter. What is important, I think, is for it to be as precise, strong, and yet positive as possible.

About printing: I had hoped to get a bulletin started almost immediately, and I have some definite ideas on its nature, That is why I thought of Matushka, on the condition that we could do the work ourselves and so have to pay only for paper and ink. If we have to pay more, of course, we’ll probably have to wait a while.

Jon and I both share the Russian distrust of “organization”; it will be good if our Brotherhood can have as much spirit and as few words as possible. The reason I asked about organization, however, was because it will never do to have things so vague that anyone who considers himself “Orthodox” thinks that a sufficient reason for joining us. The restriction of active members to the Church Outside of Russia, and the composition of a strong introductory statement, should make our nature clear enough.

The financial problem seems nearly solved. $25 apiece would probably meet all preliminary expenses, and I will have, within a month or so, about $150 more (including income tax refund), which I could present to the store in the form of books on credit (as Jordanville is doing).

That seems to exhaust the subject for now. I received your mothers Christmas card, for which please thank her. We received also a nice letter from VI. Leonty, who may perhaps be very important for us in future. The mushrooms are about exhausted in this area, but we have discovered a new and most delicious variety (the “honey mushroom”) that grows on the roots and trunks of trees and is quite common.

By the way, did you say you know someone who makes picture-frames? It is time to think about details like that. Besides books and icons, we will probably be able to carry, to begin with, only Jordanville religious objects, such as crosses; later maybe we can expand to lampadki, incense, etc.

Write if you have any new ideas or information,

In Christ,

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