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064. Sept. 8/21, 1970. Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God

Dear Brothers in Christ, Lev [Puhalo] and Vassili,

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ! We greet you on the feast which you so love, the Nativity of our Most Holy Theotokos, and wish you abundant spiritual joy in these holy days. These summer and fall feasts have been very important for us too, and have given us many important beginnings — and soon, God willing, will give us the beginning of our monasticism, too.

We are sorry to hear of your difficulties and sympathize with you in them. But of course they are also from God and doubtless are for your benefit, as Orthodox Christians and chosen of God. Only be patient and don’t get discouraged! The Apostle indeed, doubtless seeing how easily we become disheartened, repeats his words of encouragement for us: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!” So be it!

Please permit us to be quite bold and offer you an alternative to your present plans. Of course, if you are quite definite on going to Montreal, don’t let us dissuade you, but we have the impression that you are not that definite about it.

Perhaps we should not be so bold as to “invite” you here to share our poverty, for we have almost nothing to invite you to. But in all seriousness, if you have it in your hearts, you are more than welcome to come here and share what we have for a short or a long time. I will give you a word on the pros and cons.

Con: Our accommodations are limited and primitive, consisting of two buildings: printshop and living cabin (which now has something like 4 or 4 1/2 rooms, depending on how you count), with a reasonable capacity of four or five like-minded souls. This week, on orders from Archbishop Anthony, we are supposed to have help in building a small chapel, the back part of which could double as a study-room. There is a wood stove in each building and a 2-burner hotplate, but no water except what we carry in or collect from rain and snow, and a outdoor privy. Our winter, while mild by £ast Coast standards, is severe enough by California standards: temperatures occasionally below 20 degrees, precipitation 40 to 50 inches, including anywhere between 2 feet (last winter) to upwards of 8 or 10 feet (2 years ago) of snow. From November to March, but especially in midwinter, we have almost complete isolation, including the possibility of being snowbound for a month or more (not last year, but this winter looks to be harsher); we have snowshoes, however, and the trip to town for mail and emergency rations is not really difficult (2 miles). For the time being, of course, we do not have a priest, and in the winter it may be several months between Liturgies, although last Christmas we were able to get out (to San Francisco). On Sundays and holy days we sing the Typika, in addition to the regular cycle of daily services.

Pro: A good library, chiefly in Russian, of Holy Fathers and basic Orthodox books; the daily cycle of services (as much as our strength allows), with ample opportunity to gain practice in reading and singing — we have all the Slavonic service books; daily reading of lives of saints and spiritual reading at trapeza; a common task — translating and printing for the spread of Orthodoxy in English.

Do you get the picture? It would probably be irresponsible to “invite” you to this, our Orthodox “refugee camp,” especially in winter, but if your hearts respond, do not hesitate to act. You would not in the least “inconvenience” us, so don’t give that a thought; it is we who would inconvenience you. Just remember that you have a place here. And to speak from the heart: we think you belong here, as someone who knows you in fact told us at the canonization.

Write us. And pray for us especially in these next weeks. God willing, on Oct. 14/27 Gleb and I will be tonsured here and what we have will become, such as it is, a monastic institution. Whether you are here or elsewhere (we’d like you to be here!) pray for us especially on that day.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

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