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065. Oct. 17/30, 1970. St. Andrew of Crete

Dear brother in Christ, Daniel,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. By God’s grace your onetime brothers Gleb and Eugene are now (for four days already) Fathers Herman and Seraphim, and still overwhelmed by the magnitude of what has happened. Our humble place is now the St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage — already a contradiction, since our rule is coenobitic, but we just can’t find a more suitable translation for “Pustyn,” which is the name given us by the Synodal Ukase. After a time of some agitation and uncertainty — ten days of rain which ended only the day before our tonsure, which was a beautiful calm, sunny day (though cold), fear that the church wouldn’t be finished (it wasn’t, but we managed to put up temporary walls and roof), both of our trucks broke down, etc. — we are now in our fourth day of calm monastic life, although of course not without trials. We were unable to follow the full monastic custom of spending five days in church, or even three (as in Jordanville), but Vladika Nektary stayed over for a second day and so we did spend the better part of two days in church and received Holy Communion both days. And now we are alone, trying to adjust to our now somewhat stricter rule of life, reading the holy Fathers and praying for guidance in our still somewhat uncertain first days until we shall be confirmed in our permanent rule of life — with, God willing, our own priest to serve Liturgy and keep our good Archbishop from worrying about us. Already we’ve had a sign of how close God is to us, for on our first trip to the post office after our tonsure we found a letter from our longtime friend Priest-monk Theodore (one of Vladika John’s orphans from Shanghai), who for several years has been priest at an Old-Calendarist convent in Greece and now unexpectedly is in America and wants to come to us right away — whether for a short or long time only God knows, but he was a member of our Brotherhood from the beginning, and his sudden reappearance now after so many years is surely providential. Please pray for him.

What more is there to say? Our new Orthodox Word weighs upon us, and now we must get back into the rhythm of a full working life. The new issue will be double and will be mostly devoted to the canonization, with a great many pictures. There is a great deal else we should be doing — getting our wood supply ready (the nearby mountains are already covered with snow and our cold season has started), finishing our kitchen on the balcony, building new kellias — but we have only four hands and must do what our strength allows. Fortunately Deacon Nicholas has taken the building of the church entirely in his hands and — except for last week when we worked full time with him — we can concentrate on printing.

Our future here — is in God’s hands. Everything that has happened so far is so much beyond us that we don’t even dare dream of the future. We are trying to go forward one step at a time, watching out for a fall, and trusting in the prayers of Vladika John, who is surely with us now — in fact, in these days we have seen the realization of two prophecies (if it is not too bold to use that word) which he made to us. But we will tell you of those in person.

Pray for us, and let us hear from you soon.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Sinful Monk Seraphim

P.s. Just imagine the names that were given us! And Vladika Anthony didn’t even realize that the day of our tonsure was the namesday of Abbot Nazary of both Sarov and Valaam! (the one who is mentioned in the service.) Glory be to God!

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