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060. Fr. Seraphim’s handwritten notes at the top of next letter read: “quiet intercessor, peace & harmony, translate into action (from Fr. A’s paper)

[Possibly Aug. 1970]
Dear Fr. Vladimir S. [Bridievey, OCA],

Thank you for the materials on Fr. H. which you sent to us, as well as for your letter, which touched us deeply. For the sake of the love of St. Herman which we share in common, please permit us to share a few ideas with you on the church troubles of today which give sorrow to us all.

You write that you regret that our labors for St. Herman remain so “distant and separate” from yours in the Metropolia, and you pray that “peace and harmony” will come to the Church, especially through the intercession of St. Herman by means of “translating into action” St. Herman’s example to us. We agree with you wholeheartedly and fully. But do you not see what is involved here? The difference between us is real and it will not vanish if we simply forget it. And the difference (the chief one) is so great that no compromise is possible on it. One of us must make a definite move: either we must say that our 43-year-old attitude to the Moscow Patriarchate is wrong and we accept your stand; or else you must say that your attitude is wrong and you renounce the autocephaly and all contacts with the Moscow Church. There is no middle position.

Do you not realize the seriousness of our firm conviction that the Metropolia’s concordat with Moscow is a betrayal of the Orthodox Church and of the faithful both within and without the USSR? Do you know of the propaganda benefits which the Moscow Church and the Soviet Government have already obtained from the autocephaly? (Thanks, for instance, to published statements of the Bishop of Sitka that are pure Soviet propaganda.) Do you know the whole story, from 1927 to today, of the Catacomb Church and its persecution by the Soviet Secret Police according to indications given by the Moscow hierarchs? Your Metropolia now supports this persecution by its support of the Patriarchate, and when your bishops appear in the Soviet Union as honored guests of the Patriarchate, the faith of every Catacomb Christian is publicly trampled upon. Do you see, in a word, how we are opponents of your autocephaly and protest publicly because of sorrow in our hearts that is too deep to hold back?

We believe that you and many other sincere people in the Metropolia have accepted the autocephaly out of ignorance of its full implications. But it is then our duty to inform you of the full facts and beg you to stop this path of betrayal and sacrilege. St. Herman cannot possibly be the patron of such an “autocephaly,” and we only pray that in time this will become clear to many.

Do you know the Life of St. Maximus the Confessor? All the Orthodox Patriarchs accepted the Monothelite heresy, and he was begged, for the sake of peace and harmony in the Church, to do what everyone else was doing and keep his opinions to himself. And he said: “Even if the whole world enter into communion with the (heretical) Patriarch of Constantinople), I alone will not.” That is the kind of Orthodox confession that has preserved the Church for 2000 years; that is the faith that St. Herman lived; that is what we must follow today. Indeed, we have the example of St. Peter the Aleut who died for refusing to accept Roman Catholicism, which, according to our modern ecumenists, is very little different from Orthodoxy. And we are gladly willing to suffer torture and martyrdom for this faith, but we will never recognize either the Patriarchate or the Metropolia, which have betrayed this faith.

Yes, dear Father, with all our heart we wish unity with you — but only on the ground of Orthodoxy, without any reservations of conscience, without betraying our unity with those who suffer persecution in the USSR. You are one with the official Soviet Church, but not with the faithful of Russia. Whereas we are one with the faithful in the USSR, and they have informed us of this, [handwritten letter ends]

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