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140. Nov. 10/23, 1973. Apostles Herodion and others

Dear Father Lev,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We received your note and learn with astonishment that doe Acquisition of the Holy Spirit of I. M. Kontzevitch is being printed in English, it would seem, without the widow of the author (who actually wrote half of it) even being informed of it, despite the clear notice in the beginning of the book about all rights being reserved to the author (and his heirs). Vladika Nektary, the authors brother, will also not be pleased. This is not merely a lack of elementary courtesy, but also an extremely incompetent approach to the book, in view of the corrections and additions which should be made in it. Mrs. Kontzevitch will certainly not approve of any translation of her husband’s books without her first examining them, both for mistakes and for quality of translation (she knows English well). Both she and her husband have entrusted to our Brotherhood the work of editing, translating, and correcting the writings of I. M. Kontzevitch and have given us instructions concerning this. This is all the more important, by the way, in the case\of the book Optina and Its Era of which Fr. Herman was co-editor with Mrs. Kontzevitch, and which will require much revision before being presented in English. We ourselves are by no means against others laboring in the translation of Prof. Kontzevitch’s works; we only ask, in view of the desire of the author and his widow, that we see the manuscripts before publication so they can be properly revised. As long as she is alive, Mrs. Kontzevitch also must certainly see all translations before publication.

If it is really true the Acquisition is already being printed, it is truly unfortunate, especially if the book is as haphazardly done as was the “New Martyrs.” Mrs. Kontzevitch is very outspoken and will probably send an indignant letter to the Metropolitan if this is done. But even if bishops may do more or less as they please, let the rest of us laborers in Christ’s vineyard be humble and sensible and not undertake projects without knowing their full background.

Please forgive the straightforward language, but we have known the Kontzevitches for a long time and know how careful and precise they are with regard to their writings, and how much they detest literary amateurishness.

With love in Christ our Savior,
Seraphim, monk

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