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059. August 14/27, 1970. Prophet Micah

Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel,

Rejoice in the Lord! We were happy to hear of your trip to Australia, and especially that you were able to meet Fr. Vladimir Evsukoff. We do have quite a few subscribers in Australia, and we suspect that there could be quite a few more if we could find a way to reach them. Any suggestions?

We were very happy that you were able to supply the Geelong parish with an icon of St. Herman — but that probably means that many other churches in Australia were without one, thanks to a not very efficient distribution system. We received a very touching letter from Abbess Tamara of the Eleon Convent in Jerusalem. When Archimandrite Anthony Grabbe returned from New York she asked him: And where are the icons of St. Herman? To which he had to confess his total forgetfulness. She thought of having the Convent iconographer paint an icon, but only a few days remained. And then she thought of The Orthodox Word, and looking through back issues she found our small icon in color, and that was the icon of the feast in Jerusalem. We sent her some more of the other icons, so by December they will be better prepared!

Thanks for the clippings. We have quite a few now, most of them with slight variations on each other, but none so hurting as the AP story of Aug. 10, which appeared in some form in the NY Times (which we haven’t seen yet). In the Monterey Peninsula Herald it was headlined: RUSSIAN CHURCH CANONIZES U.S. ‘HΙΡΡΙΕ’ MONK, and began: “In a centuries-old ceremony, a Russian monk described as a ‘hippie’ of his time has become the Orthodox Church’s first American saint. Ίη modern terms you might call him a hippie,’ said the Rt. Rev. Theodosius, bishop of Sitka and Alaska. ‘He was a real conscientious objector, a pacifist.’” Even without the sacrilege of “hippy,” all the Metropolia material on Father Herman makes him a representative of the “social gospel.” The official booklet with his Life and Service (which we finally obtained yesterday) states: “Father Herman first championed all these causes (civil rights, freedom of the individual, respect and dignity of all people, especially the long suppressed and often ignored minorities) within the context of the Christian Faith. He was a contemporary American…and a worthy patron of the newest of the Autocephalous Orthodox Catholic Churches.” This is the voice of a “mature,” “Orthodox” Church? I think the Metropolia is already well on the way to something else entirely, the vague “Christianity-in-general” that floats in the air today at the mercy of every wind of senseless new doctrine.

From what we hear, the Metropolia’s canonization in Kodiak was, at least outwardly, a great success. We are happy for the Alaskan people, who now have an intercessor to whom everyone can pray, but our hearts are pained at the prospect of these and other simple people being led away from Orthodoxy entirely by their leaders. The Metropolia tells us that their canonization was a “demonstration of the young powers” of the new autocephalous Church — but if one looks at the basis on which the future “Orthodoxy” of this Church is to be based, one can only conclude that their canonization was rather a last sign of the old Orthodoxy which they are leaving behind, a part of that Orthodox capital which they received from Holy Russia and through the Synod, and which they now think they are enough to do without, striking out on their own. One need only look at their Service to St. Herman to see what they can do on their own. This, their first Service in English to the first American Saint, should be a model for all the future, based on the best Slavonic model so as to transmit the genuine Orthodox spirit and forms of piety to future generations. But what do they produce? An amateur, not at all well grounded in church services, is left free to write whatever he feels like, and then he signs his work! As a result, the link with the past becomes very weak, and once one or two more services are written based on this model (they already speak of canonizing Metr. Innocent) there will be nothing at all left of the solid framework upon which 1000 years and more of Orthodox piety has been based. Without this framework everything becomes dependent upon individual feeling, and the result is pure Protestantism. One can’t help but think of the Roman Catholics: probably a thousand years ago they were still more or less Orthodox, but having separated themselves from the Church and followed leaders who took as their standard various contemporary currents instead of unchanging Orthodox standards of piety, they gradually evolved for themselves a piety no longer in the least recognizable as Orthodox, permeated with prelest. Today the situation is worse, because the contemporary currents that will be taken are no longer even vaguely Christian, but at best are a humanistic “social gospel” or worse — as Bp. Theodosius has already suggested — Hippyism, which is already strongly permeated with open satanism.

With all this in view, I think we should thank God that our Synod is separated from the Metropolia — and not through any “uncharitable” action of ours, but through the deliberate act of the Metropolia itself — and now offers a refuge to those who still sense and want real Orthodoxy. The times are late, and it must needs be, as Apostle Paul says, that there be heresies, that those who are proved may stand out. God help us to stay on this difficult path, in the face of increasing attacks and eventual persecution. Appropriately, we begin in our new issue of OW a series on the Catacomb Church in the USSR — perhaps giving us a foretaste of what is to come even in America. The last US News & World Report (a very sober and reliable news magazine, not at all like Time or Newsweek) reports what is undoubtedly a nationwide conspiracy to kill policemen and blow up police stations (they have struck several times in the S.F. area in recent months) and quotes some authorities who say that at this rate there will be open civil war in America within 5 to 10 years.

About Spruce Island: I somehow feel that the Metropolia will now conveniently “forget” it; if they cannot find anyone to go there, they will of course not send any relics there at all, and Fr. Gerasim’s worst fears will be realized. Thanks be to God that we have a least a small relic in San Francisco. Actually, it has apparently always been assumed in the Metropolia (we have a 10-year-old letter of Fr. Macarius Targonsky to prove it) that Fr. Gerasim’s own homesteaded property on Spruce Island (but apparently not including the church) would go to the Synod on his death. But whether there was a will, or what the situation is now, I don’t know. Fr. Michael Lightfoot of San Diego recently went there to try to find out. But don’t breathe a word of this to Fr. David Black, or else Bp. Theodosius will leap to some kind of defensive action! We’re afraid even to ask any kind of question of the Alaskan clergy, since they’re all so much behind their Sovietized bishop. (I enclose a clipping on this subject.)

From your letter I presume we never sent you the separate service to St. Herman, as we thought we had. It’s enclosed, together with icons to give to Australia or anyone else. Our lead came and we expect type today and hope to begin printing the new OW by Saturday. Pray for us.

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