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165. Sept. 21/Oct. 4, 1974. Holy Apostle Quadratus

Dear Brother in Christ, Alexey,
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We received the two sections on Evolution. “Christian Evolutionism” I read over hastily, and it looks good — probably we can leave any final revisions until the whole article is ready for final form. The “scientific” part, however, Father Herman and I read together and found problems. Basically, everything we want to say is there, and the tone is good (it’s even a little too understated at times!); but the meaning doesn’t come through simple and clear, there being so many side questions — or rather, the side questions are not yet welded into the whole so as to leave one single, convincing impression: that evolution is philosophy, and science had nothing to do with it — with a strong hint (which comes from just presenting the evidence itself) that the scientific evidence of anything is against evolution. Therefore, I will try to rethink and re-outline and re-arrange the material and see if the meaning can be made somehow more transparent.

As for the final Patristic section: I am still compiling citations and making notes, hoping to get as broad an attack as possible on the question. I seem to recall that in Fr. Panteleimon’s tape he mentions the fact that the Saviour’s genealogy back to Adam might contain some “symbolical” names? — i.e., that there might be whole gaps of hundreds or thousands of years? That’s an important point. There is no doubt that the Holy Fathers regarded these names precisely as a list of fathers, but since no one ever doubted this before they don’t have many explicit statements on the subject. Incidentally, the Fathers were very concerned to reconcile the genealogy in Luke with that of Matthew, and the answer of St. Gregory the Theologian and other Fathers is that the few differences in the two stem from the practice of the younger brother taking the older brother’s wife to raise up offspring for him, if he was childless — and one genealogy calls the father the one who was the real father, and the other takes the one for whom he was a father, so to speak. You might look in the Scriptural index of any Fathers you have and see if anyone comments on Luke 3:24ff.

We are eagerly awaiting Dr. Kalomiros’ new reply, which should contain the last of the “Patristic proofs of evolution” which we will have to tackle.

There have been 7 of us here for several weeks now. Over the weekend we had an eighth — a wanderer who knew Fr. Herman years ago and whose “spirit” told him to come here (his “spirit” also grants healings and levitations). He left a little wiser, realizing that his spirit is a demon and that Orthodoxy is probably the truth — but what will happen to him from now on we can’t predict. Incidentally, he confirmed for us the validity of most of our “charismatic” article — he said it was the most reasonable account of his own experience that he had read. He acquired his “talent” in a standard mediumistic way — immediately on coming into contact with a Bible his grandmother (a tongues-speaker) gave him! When he told his grandmother about his experiences, she immediately “praised God” and burst out in a tongue. Such as world we live in, and such temptations.

Br. Michael is back again — pray for him. And we have a Russian wanderer, Constantine, who landed here out of a fog of unbelief. Christopher will be baptized, God willing, on Tuesday Sept. 25/ Oct. 8, in our creek by Fr. Alexey [Poluektov], and then return to Hawaii. Please pray for him especially; the devil is trying to work him over.

The new Nikodemos is wonderful — an excellent use of “monastic” sources to benefit people in the world. Is there any response yet? I have been looking over Kireyevsky on the Western vs. Orthodox mentality theme and will try to get a tape to you fairly [soon.]

The summer is fading only very gradually, but already we feel the approaching, winter. Firewood is started, and the Calendar begins in a week or so, hopefully. Hunting season is on, and our deer are staying close to us — in fact, as I type this outdoors I am surrounded by five deer, three of them drinking out of our “spring.”

Our “guesthouse” is nearing completion, and if we can find a stove to put in it, there will be overnight accommodations for hardy souls this winter.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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