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056. July 13/26, 1970. Holy Fathers of Six Ecumenical Councils

Dear Father Neketas [Palassis],

As you rightly suspect, we don’t have much sense of the needs of publicity, but at your prodding we’ve sent “publicity packets” to the San Francisco newspapers, Time and Newsweek. We don’t have address of New York Times, so are sending their packet for you to send on, and an extra one in case you think of someone else. What about Religious News Service? We have no idea where to contact them. Our life of Father Herman is all sold out, but we sent everything else we could think of. We purposely avoided any hint of conflict between Kodiak and San Francisco, hoping the contrast of “local” vs “worldwide” will seem reasonable to the venerable editors. Of course, it’s rather late, but there should be some response at least in San Francisco. We gave them Vladika Anthony’s address for further questions.

As to our people being confused about the canonization — really, who can blame them? As far as I can recall, this new OW is the first place where it’s even hinted that there are two separate canonization services. I don’t know how successful our account will be, but it’s obvious that some kind of explanation had to come out. I suppose this issue will finally try Bp. Theodosius’ “patience” to the breaking point—but it’s about time he realized there is a war on, over the survival of Orthodoxy (or rather, over who will remain within Orthodoxy!), and he’s on the wrong side! Mrs. Fern Wallace sent us a clipping of Fr. Michael Irwin’s talk in Juneau — and he couldn’t have done any better if he had set out deliberately to discredit their cause. He admits some Soviet bishops are Soviet agents, that the whole autocephaly follows political trends set forth by the Soviet Government; Bp. Theodosius is quoted as saying the Soviet people he found to be happy and well dressed, and if some complain about the Government, well, so do Americans! Talk about stooges of the Soviets — and mixed-up ones at that; Nikodim should have reminded them not to talk about “Soviet agents,” at the least! We hope to collect a whole set of articles like this, preferably direct quotes, and base an article on them — please send us anything you come across. The Metropolia, apparently, remains the same old humbling Metropolia, and I wonder if it will even be able to follow up its advantage.

Certainly, you will be welcome at our refugee camp! Of course, we don’t know what God has in store for us, or where it will [be] possible to flee when the time comes. But there is some 1500 square miles or so of almost totally uninhabited land just south of us, the “Yolla Вolly Wilderness Area,” where even hunters and hikers are fairly rare. Up to the 1920’s, at least, according to my textbook on “California Trees,” it was the least explored part of California even from the point of view of identifying flora and fauna.

Fr. Elias [Armistead] writes: he’s coming for the canonization, perhaps “with an Alaskan or two.” He’s “desperate’ for help, and “money is no object” — he’ll gladly pay to import someone from Europe to help. Next year he’ll probably go to the Near East, or maybe throw up the whole Alaska adventure and hide in the Holy Land. ??? Frankly, we’ve about given up looking for any fruitful activity in his direction. Apparently, after all, the surest way to bring forth fruit for Holy Orthodoxy is to find yourself in a narrow, confining, almost impossible situation, with no way out but to pray and work with sweat and tears. Too much freedom, too much money, too much opportunity, too many ideas — seem too easily scattered to the wind. We must simply thank God for all our suffering and trials—there’s just no other hope for us!

We’ve seen the Byzantinish icon of Father Herman by the Metropolia—but it doesn’t look in the least like Father Herman! Fr. Cyprian’s icon is the best so far, but his face doesn’t resemble Father Herman too much either.

Pray for us.

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