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042. April 29/May 12, 1970. St. Memnon

Dear in Christ, Vladimir and Sylvia [Anderson],
Christ is risen!

We received a letter from Craig Young in which he told us of his “Hindu” readings and your reaction to this. I replied with a statement of the Orthodox principles involved (avoidance of eclecticism, the change in one’s whole life (including reading habits) which acceptance of Orthodoxy involves, etc.). In his reply to this, which we received yesterday, he seemed to understand the point and to be quite ready to abandon his “eclectic” readings. He seemed to have gotten quite a shock from your reaction, and this doubtless helped his “understanding” in a way that a more “objective” way perhaps would not have.

However, he seems to think that in the midst of this there has arisen some kind of bad feeling between your two families, to the extent that they think even of postponing their reception into the Church until this is overcome. I pray that this is only a misunderstanding (which the devil is always quick to stir up especially in those about to make such an important step), and that it will be quickly cleared up. In his letter to us Craig repented of his intellectual pride and self-esteem, and he seems to me to be quite willing to enter into the Orthodox point of view on such matters. They are both “infants” in the Faith (still in the womb, in fact!) and with time and experience they will breathe in the Orthodox spirit. Now that you’ve given them their “shock,” I hope you’ll make it clear to them that there’s nothing personal involved. It would be a tragedy if virtually the only two Orthodox families in northern California were not at peace and harmony with each other!

About the “Self-Realization Fellowship,” I encountered it slightly in my “searching” days, when I was exploring all kinds of Eastern religions. It seems to be more a product of post-Protestant sectarianism of the “New Thought” variety, with a facade of pseudo-Hinduism. Its headquarters used to be not far from San Diego where I was born, and I recall passing its blue-domed (rather like Russian domes!) “mushroomburger stand” (they’re vegetarians, I gather) on the highway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

I don’t know what to make of our weather. We’ve sowed our summer garden, and then yesterday it snowed for several hours, and it looks like more of the same today.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. On May 30 (Saturday) Vladika Anthony will serve at Fort Ross, and he would like to make this a big event preceding the canonization of Father Herman (Fort Ross being our only accessible local holy place, with an indirect historical connection to Fr. Herman). Why don’t you arrange to set up a table outside and sell books (in English and Russian) and especially little things like icons, which the people will be likely to buy? This is done regularly at such events on the East Coast, but just hasn’t become a custom here. Only ask Vladika Anthony’s blessing first — I’m sure he’d be only too happy, to have this done. Pictures of the Tsar, Imperial Family, Vladika John, etc., would probably sell quite well. Icons of Father Herman, copies of OW with Fr. Herman on the cover, etc., would also be timely. (Just an idea!)

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