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038. April 21/May 4, 1970 Monday of St. Thomas Week

Dear Father in Christ, Michael [Azkoul],
Christ is risen! Bless us, Father!

It is probably two years now, if not more, since you wrote to us and submitted a manuscript for publication. The beginning of a long letter which I started to write to you at that time lies buried somewhere together with your manuscript among our still-unpacked things. I beg your forgiveness for such neglect. As there are just two of us to do all the work of our small “community,” some things simply don’t get done, and although our new location outside the distracting city allows more concentration, we are still far behind in everything.

In the last several years we have read with interest some of your articles in The Logos and elsewhere. We have been especially pleased to see someone outside the Russian Church situation write with such sympathy and understanding of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, and we have admired also your clear grasp of the principles involved in the present-day battle of Orthodoxy with apostasy.

As I recall, the article which you submitted to us we regarded as rather too general for our use, as we try to concentrate on practical issues as well as standard Orthodox sources. If you still wish to cooperate with us, however, there is another kind of article which we could use.

With the March-April Orthodox Word we are beginning an occasional series of articles on “Renovated Orthodoxy,” in which we hope to pinpoint some of the leading currents and figures that are trying to lead Orthodoxy off the straight and narrow traditional path into positions that, if not always identifiable as heresy, are nonetheless no longer Orthodox. The first article, by a leading Russian theologian, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, points out the Protestantism of Fr. A. Schmemann’s “liturgical theology.” We ourselves hope later to write an article on the ethereal “esoteric chiliasm” of Archbp. John Shahovskoy. For another topic we thought you might be able to give us an article: the theological-philosophical background, assumptions, implications, etc., of the activities and words of Athenagoras, Iakovos, et al. There is at least one outright heresy involved here, which Iakovos recently expressed by saying “all Christian denominations make up the Body of Christ”; but there seems to be much more involved than that. Athenagoras seems to be a chiliast, talking of the “third age of the Holy Spirit,” seeing visions of a “common chalice,” etc. Their “reforming” zeal seems to extend to the overturning of everything Orthodox and traditional while bowing down to the cheapest kind of atheistic humanism. (See Fr. Patrinakos’ editorials in recent issues of the Orthodox Observer- — he even says that we don’t have to pray for good weather any more, because man now “controls” it! I can send you copies if you don’t have them.) Etc., etc.

What is the inspiration behind all this? Where is it leading to? What are its theological-philosophical first principles? In short, what we would like to see is a documented exposition of the essence (from the Church and philosophical points of view) of Athenagoras-Iakovism, so that his disease can be pinpointed and hopefully cast out of the Church.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Asking your blessing and your prayers,

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

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