Disclaimer: In some of our articles, especially under the Modern Issues section, we present readers with challenging issues to examine, reflect upon and research. The material is neither supported nor rejected by us, and no one is responsible for its content, other than the original source. Therefore readers are requested not to make any complaints, but to take time to reflect on the material from an Orthodox perspective.

027. February 15/28, 1970

The Right Reverend Theodosius
Bishop of Sitka and Alaska
Box 697
Sitka, Alaska 99835

Your Grace:

We enclose some copies of our recently-reproduced icon of Father Herman, which we beg you to accept with our compliments. Also, separately we are sending by air mail a copy of our latest Orthodox Word, which is devoted chiefly to Father Herman. You will note that in our article on Fr. Gerasim we did not pass by in silence his outspoken views on the “Metropolia” question; these were important to him and, we believe, to Orthodoxy in Alaska. In presenting this and our other article on the Metropolia, we have no intention merely to engage in polemics, but rather “to speak the truth with love.” We assure you — as you will see from our mention of you in the Fr. Gerasim article — that we have nothing whatever to say or think against you; since the time when our Archbishop Anthony introduced you to us in our former San Francisco bookshop we have had nothing but respect for you and sympathy for the immense task which you and your priests have in spreading Orthodoxy in Alaska.

Now, as we are sure you recognize, a time of crisis has come. If the Synod of Bishops Abroad has hitherto looked upon the Metropolia as something like “semi-canonical,” this will no longer be the case if the “autocephaly” is approved. We have heard from several sources that this whole project is being forced upon the Metropolia by a small group whose actions are little known and not approved by the majority. We have every hope that you yourself do not approve of it. If so, you have the opportunity to make a decision that will doubtless set the course for the future of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

We do not know what attitude you have towards the Russian Church Outside of Russia. It may be that you have received negative impressions from some few in our Church who at times become too enamored of polemics, or perhaps from some of the unfounded slanders which still circulate about our Church. But you have met our Archbishop Anthony and probably other of our leading hierarchs, who certainly do not give the impression of “fanatics”; and you know personally Abbot Panteleimon and (we believe) Father Neketas Palassis, and perhaps others of non-Russian background who, like them, have come to the Russian Church Abroad out of the conviction that here alone today is Orthodoxy being defended straightforwardly and outspokenly, whereas nearly everywhere else Orthodoxy has become the tool of politics and of everything else except love of truth. It is our fervent prayer that you too will follow their example; indeed, being of Russian descent yourself and bishop of an area where love of Russian Orthodoxy is still high, you would only be “coming home” to the Church where, for a time at least, all Russian hierarchs abroad were united in their witness of age-old Orthodoxy in the face of Communism and every other form of hatred or compromise of Christian Truth. As for the alternative — one can only imagine the pain that would come over the Orthodox soul that had to witness such a sight (which would, now become possible) as someone like Metropolitan Nikodim handling the relics of Father Herman — a man who (as the latest St. Nectarios reprint from a National Council of Churches bulletin informs us) is ready “to swear on the Cross and the Scriptures” that a certain statement protesting religious persecution in the USSR contained “fictitious” signatures, while he certainly knew otherwise and while; these “fictitious” people were undergoing interrogation and imprisonment (for “political” reasоnѕ, as Metropolitan Nikodim says!). Could one’s conscience be silent at this?

We ourselves have no official status within the Russian Church Abroad, apart from personal rank of Church Reader which we both possess. We write; this letter to you prompted by nothing but our love of Father Herman, of Orthodox Alaska, and of the unchanging Orthodox Truth which — alas! — only a small flock seems interested to preserve today. As the lamentable situation caused by the “autocephaly” becomes ever more tangled and bitter, we cannot but see the hand of Father Herman himself calling those who will hear out of the politics and confusions of the conflicting “jurisdictions” onto the firm ground of unshaking Orthodoxy. Indeed, Father Alexy Ionov, who has come to the Russian Church Abroad with his parish over the “autocephaly” question, had been assigned to write the Life of Father Herman for the Metropolia!

We are certain that you will find a warm reception among us if you yourself choose this course, and a maximum of support. For ourselves, we shall certainly offer you every assistance we are capable of, whether through the pages of The Orthodox, Word or in any other way we can help the cause of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

We would be honored to receive a reply from Your Grace to this letter.

Respectfully, with love in Christ our Saviour
Father Herman Brotherhood

Share
Download PDF