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141. Nov. 10/23, 1973b. Apostles Herodion and others

Dear Brother in Christ, Alexey,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have an extraordinary request to make of you — if it is possible and if things turn out as expected. For twenty years Fr. Herman has known a female convert to our Church on the East Coast, Nina Seco. (I’ve known her, chiefly by correspondence, for over half that long.) She went through all the trials of the earliest “convert period” in connection with Jordanville, and was actually Fr. Herman’s “spiritual daughter.” (She is about our age.) Then she discovered Fr. Panteleimon in Boston and continued under his spiritual direction. Together with her friend Margaret, she laid the foundation for Holy Nativity Convent, which in the beginning was just the two of them, praying and laboring together in an upstairs apartment in Boston. The Convent grew, and a year of two ago Fr. Panteleimon imported an Abbess for it, which gave somewhat a different emphasis to the convent. Then, after Pascha of this year, Nina left the convent — she says it’s because of her own temperament and her lack of confidability in the Abbess. She’s been back to visit several times since then, and has finally come to see quite definitely that she doesn’t belong there. People tell her she should go to a Russian convent, but she has no inclination for this, being extremely devoted to the whole labor and dream of presenting Orthodoxy in the English language. Right now she’s staying with a Russian priest in New Jersey but cannot stay there beyond Russian Christmas, and she wants to come to California for a while, perhaps on the way to our Convent in Bluffton, Alberta. She doesn’t really know anyone out here except us, and she’s been inquiring as to whom she might stay with in San Francisco. (She thought of coming to visit us on St. Herman’s day Dec. 12/25, but access to us then already looks dubious, and also Father Herman has been asked to come to Jordanville just/at that time to give a talk to a Youth Pilgrimage at the Monastery (which he hasn’t seen for 12 years, after being spiritually reborn in it.).

And so the thought came to us: If she comes to California, perhaps she could spend a week or several weeks with you? (Assuming you have room, of course.) Somehow we think this would be very good both for her and for you, both of you being so devoted to the English-speaking mission. There is, however, a possible complication in that she might be coming (although it doesn’t look like it now) with a like-minded younger convert-friend Barbara.

Please let us know frankly what you think of all this, so we can know what advice to give her on her proposed trip.

We’ve had an inch or two of snow every day for 3 days, and today it looks like more snow — quite an unusual mid-November weather pattern for us, looking more and more like a preparation for a severe winter. Indeed, you had better come to us as soon as you can, and not wait for St. Herman’s day in December (where Father Herman probably won’t be here, also) If Nina will be staying with you for a while, we can arrange her visit to us by telephone (whether with one of your visits, or separately by Greyhound).

Hoping to hear from you soon,

With love in Christ our Savior
Seraphim, monk

P.s. We’ve just received the first of Alexander Kalomiros’ promised epistles to us — a long one on the Old Calendarist situation, and extremely revealing, about which we’ll speak when you come.

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