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177. May 16/29, 1975. St. Ephraim of Perekom

Dear Brother in Christ, Alexey,

Enclosed is a new letter from Alexander Kalomiros. The news that our “Greeks” have broken off contact with him is most distressing, though no longer unexpected. This breathes a most unhealthy “party spirit.” Just the other day we received a “semi-open” letter of Fr. Mamas to Fr. George Grabbe, protesting Metr. Philaret’s signature together «with Ireney and Iakovos on an appeal for help to “dissidents” in Russia. This didn’t particularly disturb us, although we can see how it might be disturbing to some, especially in view of the vagueness of church awareness today — but the letter of Fr. Mamas has the same spirit as Fr. Ephraim’s letter to you — “teachy,” superior, condescending, “expert.” Further, Fr. Panteleimon publicly “rebuked” Metr. Philaret (even though gently) at a banquet in the latter’s honor, to which the Metropolitan (supposedly) humbly apologized. On sensitive questions like this which do not directly affect the purity of Orthodoxy, one would prefer to see less self-assurance and more humility. What of the time several years ago when Holy Transfiguration Monastery painted an icon of St. Gregory the Theologian and gave it to Billy Graham’s magazine to print? Some were scandalized at this, but I’m sure Fr. Panteleimon was ready, not with a humble apology, but with an expert “You see, it’s this way….” I’m afraid Dr. Kalomiros’ words on “group pride” are very much to the point, and it spells danger ahead. We much prefer Dr. Kalomiros’ own agonizing, suffering approach to the preservation of True Orthodoxy — it is not at all an easy, idle thing to stand for the truth, as the tone of the Boston “open letters” seems to indicate.

It seems we’ve aroused Dr. Kalomiros to write a book on Genesis! I certainly hope it is in a different spirit from his old epistle to us on evolution! Which again reminds us that our evolution book is dragging…

In general, we are most sympathetically disposed toward Dr. K. and his lonely, difficult struggle. The Russian situation is difficult enough, but the Greek is impossible!

Probably you have received the “semi-open” letter to us from Fr. Alexander Lebed. We plan a brief reply, mostly quoting Vladika Averky, whose idea (and not our own) it is to use the term “True Orthodox.” What a relief it is not to have to dig up our own arguments, but to leave it to those older and wiser. I suppose we’ll have to send copies to the people he sent his letter to, even though we don’t much like the idea.

Christopher will probably be leaving shortly for Seattle. I’m afraid we can’t help him much. He’s not interested in studying at Jordanville at all, and in fact seems to have become “bored” and “tired” (!!!) of Orthodoxy — too much “struggle” for him. Paul, alas, has much the same problem, and even the tremendously inspiring translation work we gave him for the summer fails to interest him. (If only he has the guts to finish it anyway and set it up on the linotype, we will have a splendid new book!) How can one be bored when there’s so much to learn and do that a lifetime isn’t enough for it?!! If only God will give us a few more years to get out some more publications! We are getting many signs of response from readers, encouraging us to give as much as possible while there is time. The fall of Saigon has hit us deeply — the ambiguity of the post-war period seems to be clearing up, and the Communist “wave of the future” is swelling up!

I glanced through Fr. George Lewis’ article on “Sex Education” and found it not very interesting — probably because he begins with the world and never leaves off a very matter-of-fact, pedestrian approach to the question. On the contrary, we should begin with the Holy Fathers and raise the mind above the world before entering into battle.

Must get to work. Tomorrow, God willing, the last page of the new OW is finished.

With love in Christ,

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