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172. Feb. 18/March 3, 1975. St. Cosmas of Yakhromsk. St. Leo of Rome

Dear Brother in Christ, Alexey,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. Enclosed is the tape on the new installment of Kireyevsky, on the Holy Fathers. The most important and difficult installment, of course, is the next and last one: on Kireyevsky’s “new principles for philosophy,” which has been valued by no one that we know of except Kontzevitch. We feel it is very appropriate precisely to the present-day “spiritual awakening” in Russia, which is not taking the Holy Fathers for its basis and will simply be another exercise in “Western influence” if it doesn’t.

We’ve found out that there was a letter from our Bishops concerning the new calendar church of Greece — it was a private letter, and it seems that its wording was ambiguous enough to cause more disputes (I believe it says that the calendar dispute “caused a schism” instead of directly saying who the schismatics are). In general the Church questions today are just not as simple as they used to be, at least as they are in our comfortable historical perspective, and many submerged rocks lie ahead. An important key to the whole church situation seems to lie precisely in “Sergianism,” which will become a sharper issue than ever now that the Catacomb Church of Russia begins to make itself known and felt again. The heart of Sergianism is bound up with the common problem of all the Orthodox Churches today — the losing of the savor of Orthodoxy, taking the Church for granted, taking the “organization” for the Body of Christ, trusting that Grace and the Mysteries are somehow “automatic.” Logic and reasonable behavior are not going to get us over these rocks; much suffering and experience are required, and few will understand.

Luke Walmsley was very much uplifted and encouraged by his visit to Etna, and evidently it was so arranged by God’s Providence, which is unfathomable. He has suffered so much from people who took the Church cruelly for granted, simply did not value it — and the sight of strugglers living in the world was very good for him. Please pray especially for him; his path is still very difficult ahead.

Our road is finally open all the way, and Susan should be able to come up all the way if it doesn’t rain in the next two days. We expect to see her on Wednesday with Paul? Apparently we will be seeing Nina this weekend. May God grant her the struggling and suffering through to bring forth real fruits, without getting bogged down in the mire of rational thinking and solutions. If only we do not think we know too much, there is hope for us; there are many signs that God is with His small flock even in these terrible times.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Seraphim, monk

P.s. Many thanks for your kind hospitality. May God grant you prosperity in your “building” on all levels.

P.p.s. All the people we know in Greece are in the Auxentios Synod — Dr. Kalomiros, Father Theodoritos, Esphigmenou Monastery, etc., and the Russians we know on Mt. Athos warn us against the Matthewites. We should be very careful with regard to them, no matter what “reasonable explanations” we might hear about them. May God grant us to understand each other with the heart and not just the brain.

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