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026. Nov. 1/14, 1966

Dear brother in Christ, Gleb,

Well, it seems to be my lot in life to give people long faces. You had a very long face when you left last night. I hope it was not any kind of uninie [depression], but simply serious resolve. Tonight I kept Lawrence-Rex out in the rain even while we prayed, for his intolerable childishness and impertinence (when someone instructs him for his own good, he simply spits back), and when I left he was still outside, but very sober and glum.

Last night, after my uninie that made you so solemn, Br. Lawrence gave me a pouchenie: I do not talk enough, for instance to people like our new Br. Eugene. I received this pouchenie in silence, as usual, but in all honesty I think he is wrong. If anything I talk too much.

When I say this I do not think I am trying to justify myself; forgive me if I am wrong. I mentioned to you this weekend that I thought our skete was no longer a dream, but real. It is already so real to me that I can see it failing after we have started — for many reasons, but to begin with for one reason•, in our shop there is much talking and little action, and this kind of talk could destroy us. For you and me I am not afraid. We know what we want and when we are free we will be able to work 100% for it. But Br. Lawrence seems to get worse instead of better. This criticism of every little small point is like a cancer, and he seems unable to correct it because he has apparently no spiritual self- awareness. Fr. Sava corrected him on this tonight but it seems useless. I wonder if he is serious, and what it will take to get him serious.

And Sava himself — he came today for three days, and already Rex is worming in, flaunting the authority of our brotherhood because he knows he has a soft touch on the inside which he can use against us, Sava talks to him — for whose good? You may have a soft touch for him and think he’s just “spoiled” — but I suspect he’s quite rotten at the core and will do us nothing but harm. I hope not, but his actions indicate that he cannot be taught anything; I feel very uneasy about him.

Probably all this is giving you a long face again; please forgive me. But perhaps my main function in the brotherhood will be to introduce seriousness by pointing to the work that must be done. So far our Brotherhood has been a picnic, with much laughing, but what happens when the sorrow and tribulation and real work begins? Are we ready for it? What can we do to prepare ourselves for it?

I can try to give work quotas; but I don’t think any ustov would do much good now. We need a single minded seriousness about the work before us; otherwise any little thing can deflect us from our path. What would happen, for example, if the four of us are on our skete, and Rex drives up? If we are no stronger than we are now, it would split us. Will we be strong enough to do the work, keep up the services, get up in the morning, refrain from unnecessary talk, drive away visitors, keep all the canons, and yet keep harmony?

Do you know what we are embarking on? It’s beyond us! And yet with serious ustov and by God’s grace, we can do it. Since there is no one else, you and I must do the leading; if we are strong enough, it can cover up at least some of the weakness of our brothers.

Brother, life is passing, and we shall die. Let us be even more resolved to bring into reality what we dream about.

You can tell me if what I see is true, or if I am simply filled with a sense of self-importance.

But now enough of over-seriousness. Time is running out on our magazine, but if we start now on the Vladiko issue we may get it done in January. By Thanksgiving I want an outline and basic material of the St. John and Vladiko articles, and a complete table of contents with approximate number of pages. If it’s more than 40 pages we’re in trouble. The Kursk icon article can be short, since it’s already in O. L. and will soon be reprinted.

I was thinking this weekend, but didn’t mention — What about our January issue? We have nothing, and we’ll be so exhausted by the Vladiko issue we’ll never be able to throw anything together. But today Fr. Amvrossy called — he’ll be ready soon with a substantial article on St. Mark for the January issue (his feast is Jan. 19), all about his writings, etc. — I think again something very important. I’ll hunt illustrations. Then there’s the Tinos icon, and 2 or 3 small things will fill it up. Leave this issue to me. I think Fr. Amvrossy will come through. Again he’s wacky and lax, but he’s an important man, and I think we can help him to produce something substantial.

Well, brother, I’ve made you very pensive and serious. Today there was a comedy of errors — I went 4 times to the hardware store and came back each time with a bigger piece of pipe. Sava found a hole in the pipe and tried to repair it with candle wax. Br. Eugene came back and offered enigmatic comments. Misha came in and went to work with some gooey brown glue. Br. Lawrence came in, observed water, glue, and people everywhere, and offered criticisms of everything. Robert came, then Rex — and in the end (thanks mostly to Misha) the sink was fixed and even the toilet leaks more quietly.

Pray for me, your determined but sinful brother,
Eugene

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