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046. May 10/23, 1970. St. Simon Zealot, Apostle

Dear Fr. Panteleimon and Fathers and Brothers in Christ,

Bless us, Father!

We send our sincere gratitude for the $200, which was safely received. As it turns out, this was precisely the sum we needed for completing the purchase of the linotype itself, which is now accomplished. Truly, God sends us just what is necessary and just at the right time. Next week we are transporting the linotype here, which will be an enormous task, but Fr. Alexy has promised to come here and get it back in working condition for us. We’ve built the floor for it and hope to get enough of the walls and roof on at least to keep the rain off, within the next few days. By now, of course, we’ve gotten so far behind with the new OW that we would like to put the new machine into operation immediately, despite our inexperience, but it remains to be seen how easy this will be, what things have yet to be bought for it, etc.

Enclosed is a check for $10 from a girl in San Francisco (non-Orthodox, a potential convert) who recently informed me that my godson Michael Bain had died; she wishes this sum to be used in his memory, so I send it on to you and beg you to remember him at the Divine Liturgy. His is a very strange story which I do not entirely understand. He was received into the Church at the S.F. Cathedral about 4 years ago when he married a Russian girl, a zealot for Orthodoxy who has turned her whole family into zealots (her brother is now studying at Jordanville after overcoming his period of rebellion). I talked to him once or twice and gave him literature, and at the last moment I was called in to be his godfather. He was to be received with Chrismation, coming from Anglicanism, on Saturday night after the Vigil. He couldn’t produce his Anglican Baptism papers, and Vladika John, who was present, after a brief examination which the poor boy didn’t pass at all, found him unprepared to be received into Orthodoxy. However, the wedding was next day. For the next half hour Vladika sat in a chair, then walked around a little, in silence, appearing to be completely absorbed in thought (but probably, rather, praying), while the rest of us stood quietly in the darkened church and an unusual thunderstorm broke out, the lightning visible through the windows — a very eerie experience. At the end he decided the boy could be received then through Chrismation, and would produce the Baptism papers the next day. I don’t know much what happened after that, except that there was an obvious conflict between the quite ordinary jazz-loving American boy and his cultured, zealous Orthodox wife. But after several months there was some kind of incident, revealing some kind of psychological disturbance, and he was in the hospital with a badly cut hand and never completely recovered the use of his fingers. Vladika John visited him in the hospital and told the family that the devil was fighting for his soul. He nonetheless recovered and was attending school, until now I am informed that he has died — how, from what, I haven’t been informed as yet. There may be some lesson from it all in the end. Anyway, I beg your prayers for the repose of his soul.

We hear that Fr. Michael has come to the Synod and has written a reply to Schmemann — who truly deserves to be brought down from his ridiculous pedestal. We’re firing one shot in this direction with our new issue. We’re anxiously awaiting Fr. Michael’s article.

The Metropolia coup is over, and after it I think the air is clearer and our own consciences clean; we did what we could, and the good ship Metropolia has shown it doesn’t want to be saved from shipwreck. Let us therefore fish out the survivors and go to war in earnest for our Holy Orthodoxy!

Warm weather has come to the mountains, and we go to our nearby creek (a mile from the post office) two or three times a week to get enough water to keep our garden growing. Our mother deer had offspring last week (I think the nest is in the tall grass to the east), and we are waiting for her to display it (or them). Our squirrels drive us crazy, and one of them is also expecting. Truly, all creatures praise the Lord, even our snakes (of whom we have faintheartedly killed several). We’ve heard nothing from Hieromonk Seraphim. We are gradually building up our “skete,” in full expectation of having it turn one day into an Orthodox refugee camp. We aren’t too close to the news here, but what we get a week later (from U.S. News) is enough to evoke suitable comparisons with 1917. The whole Metropolia affair seems to fit very nicely into the political pattern of the times; I guess that’s what comes from having your “theologians” so well attuned to the spirit of the times.

Pray for us, dear Fathers,

With love in Christ our Saviour,

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