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031. Mar. 19/Apr. 1, 1970. Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria

Dear Father in Christ, Neketas,
Bless us, Father! Rejoice in the Lord!

We are always happy to hear from you. One feels the noose begin to tighten with which the “official” Church will try to strangle, and one treasures all the more every contact with like-minded souls who want the real Orthodoxy. We’ve heard no more about the Metropolia, but the general picture is clear: whether now or after some delay, whether Iakovos joins now of after a year or two, the “autocephalous” Church is here, and everyone who has not love for true Orthodoxy will rush to join, and they will wage war against us — not because we are any external threat (only a few will leave them), but because their consciences aren’t clean, and the Synod represents their conscience. I think 1970 is the crises year for American Orthodoxy: towards the Metropolia, the Greek Archdiocese, etc., our attitude has not been entirely definite yet, but now they force us to define ourselves and them, which is all to the good. A few of their people who might have continued with them and gradually lost their Orthodoxy until it was too late to get it back, will now step away from them. And it will all [be] to the good if the Synod now (as in 1927) excommunicates them and informs everyone that their bishops are not bishops, their priests are not priests, their sacraments are not sacraments; if Iakovos joins them, he falls under the same ban. Up to now our older priests haven’t understood the Greek situation, but now (if Iakovos joins them) they will — because they do understand the Soviet Church situation. One of our SF cathedral priests who was somewhat soft on the Metropolia has come out now with a good attack on them because, as he says, regarding Moscow the situation is absolutely clear, there is no room for any other interpretation than ours.

We received an interesting comment from a nun in Novo-Diveyevo: this whole scandal arose because Father Herman does not want to be canonized by the Metropolia! I think there may well be something to that. From the history of Spruce Island we know that Fr. Herman has been severe with those who unworthily approach him, and he was definitely on Fr. Gerasim’s side! If (as it now looks) the canonization was intended by the Metropolia leadership to be a part of their political trickery (for Meyendorff says that only a “Local” Church can canonize saints), Fr. Herman will do something and is already doing it. Fr. David Black writes us that they have two monks for Spruce Island — one of them we know as not serious, the other is probably Hieromonk Seraphim [Bobich] from St. Tikhons Monastery, who just wrote us that he has left the Metropolia for the Synod and will go to Mt. Athos — he says they wanted him to go to Spruce Island, but he won’t because he would have to remain in the Metropolia. Now the last of the best element is leaving the Metropolia, and their long- desired union can be achieved all the easier. Bp. Theodosius, by the way, responded to our appeal to him kindly (through Fr. David), if formally, and sent us icons of St. Theodosius, which, whatever the intention, touched us deeply. If any whole piece of the Metropolia can be saved, it is Alaska — as far along as it already is on the same general path of decline with the rest of America, nonetheless it has deeper roots and it has Father Herman, and being an isolated diocese it might still revive with a transfusion of real Orthodoxy. Father Nicholas Harris in Anchorage writes us asking for 5 copies of the Fr. Gerasim issue — we know nothing of him. Anyway, we’re praying especially hard for Alaska, and if it could be saved then Schmemann and Iakovos could keep the Atlantic and Pacific and the Moon as well!

We must get to printing. This issue is going nicely after a late start, and we hope to have it mailed by the end of next week. Spring is here, and we’re beginning to plant a few crops that don’t need much water. We’re glad to hear of Presvytera’s recovery — please give her our greetings. As for the article on Fr. Panteleimon’s visit; it perhaps wouldn’t be too late to put it even in the May-June issue. Approximate dead lines are: for March-April, one week after Easter; for May-June, June 5-10.

We are looking forward to the Kalomiros article on evolution. What about his other article that you started printing on the Synod etc? If that won’t come out soon in the Witness, could we get a copy of it separately? Later this year we want to print a 50th-anniversary Synod issue, with the main article by Vladika Ioann, and we are looking for another article from the missionary and/or Greek point of view — any ideas? We thought of asking Kalomiros to write one if he hasn’t already written a suitable one.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

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