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022. no date [during Archbishop John’s lifetime, before Jan. 66]

Dear Fr. in Christ Panteleimon,

I must ask you again to forgive me for my long delay in writing you about Against False Union and in returning the manuscript, but it is only now that we have finished the latest OW that I have had the time to read it once more and offer my comments.

In general, of course, the book is very good and is very needed today. We would have liked to publish it here, but it is quite true that our hands are full right now just printing the magazine. The only important criticism I would make of it concerns the author’s very imprecise and even erroneous views of the whole question of Communism and the Russian jurisdictions; I think that here he is rather naive in seeing as external and secondary a question that is actually quite subtle and extremely important. The statement on p. 82, for example, that there is “full essential communion” among the different jurisdictions, is simply false. There is no communion whatever between the Russian Church Abroad and any of the other groups, and for very good reasons. The Moscow Patriarchate is subject to the anathema laid against the Soviet government and all who cooperate with it, laid upon it by Patr. Tikhon; obviously there can be no “essential communion” with those who are subject to the Church’s anathema. As for the Paris jurisdiction, it appealed to Constantinople not only to escape Soviet influences, but even more (since its spirit, after all, is close to that of the Soviet Church) to escape the traditional Orthodoxy upheld by the Synod of Bishops Abroad. Its apostasy is not accidental but quite deliberate, as is that of the American Metropolia. And the differences have nothing to do with “legalistic concepts” but with the upholding of Orthodox Truth and tradition.

I believe the author is deceived in regarding Communism as purely a political phenomenon that wears no “masks.” Perhaps he is thinking of it in terms of the Turkish Yoke — an external yoke whose intent was to enslave a nation and allow the conquerors to live well. But Communism applies an internal yoke, since it is essentially a spiritual movement (in an inverted sense). Its aim is not to conquer the world and enslave the nations, but to fight God, primarily by destroying faith in the hearts of men. There is no comparison in previous history with such a system. Communism’s whole aim is to prepare the world for Antichrist, and its most subtle work is to gain control of the Church and make it over into a new Church for Antichrist. This it is very successfully doing with the Patriarch of Moscow and is now attempting to do with the whole Orthodox Church through its representatives at Rhodes. To believe that Communism is satisfied with political influence is, I believe, completely to misunderstand its nature.

As to specific corrections, it is perhaps impractical at this late date to offer many minor corrections. However, I would strongly recommend one major change: the entire omission of the paragraph on p. 82 which raises the question of the Russian jurisdictions (begin with line 5 of p. 82, ending with line 1 of p. 83). The omission would not affect the continuity of the thought (its effect is only to cause a slight pause) and leaves out no essential point (since it is only an illustration of a point already made). What it does do, I believe, is to obscure the point already made by giving as an example a situation that raises new and very complicated questions of Communism, which is nowhere adequately discussed. (What is more, it seems to me to treat rather barely the whole question of jurisdictional dependence.) Such an admission would also certainly facilitate the reception of the book among circles in the Russian Church Abroad.

I am returning the manuscript separately and certainly hope for the widest possible circulation for the book.

Concerning the article “The Patriarchate of Constantinople” — in view of the most recent sign of the rapprochement of Rome and Constantinople, perhaps some brief comment or interpretation of it has appeared in the Greek press which we could use in our magazine, either as a footnote to the article or in our “news” section. We should start printing that issue about the middle of January.

Thank you for the book of St. Mark. We will finish taking the pictures soon and return the book then. I only hope that we can succeed in transferring the spirit of such a marvelous book into our English version.

I have already written Nina Seco about Archbishop John’s reply to the Greek situation. He doesn’t want to make any decision until the Synod meets next Tuesday. He is favorable to the idea of a traditionalist Greek jurisdiction; the only complication would seem to lie in the precise means of establishing it, and especially in the connection with Bp. Peter?

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