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179. July 17/30, 1975. Great Martyr Margaret

Dear Alexey,
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Enclosed is the article on Kireyevsky — excellent! Just what is needed! We read it last night to the “New Valaam Theological Academy” (the name of our “summer school”) and it came as a fitting conclusion to my own long series of talks (17 hours of tapes!) on the mainstream of Western thought, from Francis to Teilhard. Teilhard, by the way — for which I mostly read our article from “Christian evolutionism” was greeted with real repugnance by everyone, as the arch-villain of Western thought. The most popular talk was probably that on 19th-century conservatism, of which the heroes were Nicholas I, Dostoyevsky, and Constantine Pobedonostsev. The students seemed to have benefited greatly, especially Christopher, for whom this is a kind of substitute for a college education — he is positively inspired right now. It was very good for me to organize all my thoughts, also. Fr. Herman talked mostly on literature, very revealingly, and will give the summing-up lectures the next two days. Paul Bassett will be leaving then for Jordanville (with very vague thoughts about his future; until he came here he was never really told that “floating” isn’t a good thing!), and Christopher also will depart for the Eastern U.S, though very likely he will return later this year. He is very sharp at getting the “feel” of real Orthodoxy, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to train his will.

We’re glad to hear of the progress on the chapel; don’t worry about Vladika Anthony. He has to know, of course, when you are ready to open a “church,” and if he is informed now he will assume that you are, indeed, opening a “church” — and that will be a trap, because you aren’t ready for that yet. Just don’t start calling your improved shed a “church” or start making big plans. You are just a very small group of Orthodox Christians far off in the sticks, not a “parish,” i.e., something “officially registered” in the “Diocese.” Right now Nina especially needs to be “unnoticed” and to grow slowly and naturally on the new soil. God knows what the future holds for all of you, but let it come as quietly and naturally as possible. This “quiet and “unnoticed” state could be very good for Barbara McCarthy too — if she will have the patience and persistence to build the house of her soul gradually, and not give way to the fatal inclination to “go to the wilds, now.”

The second article, on Freud, has a rather “anti-intellectual” tone which is going to put off some people who might be open to a critical but objective book on Freud. Even if the book itself might have something of the same tome, a little less “zealous” review might have more punch and get more sympathy for it. It would be good to “tone down” the review a little more, especially if you could look at the book yourself — but use your judgment of this. Monk Daniel, by the way is Br. Laurences ex-brother-in-law. He married Br. L’s sister several years ago, both of them were studying to become Jewish converts, then Br. L’s sister did become one, but he gave up, they separated, and somehow he found his way to our Church, without ever having contact with Br. L at all! Americans do find their way to the Truth, with God’s help!

Enclosed is a newsletter from some Catholics who should be told more about Orthodoxy. (They are not far from Jordanville and know about it.) It would be good for you to send some copies of Nikodemos, and perhaps a note.

Br. Paul (Bartlett) will probably be taking the car to SF this weekend to meet a friend of his, and our blue truck is not terribly seaworthy yet (radiator-wise), so most likely we won’t be visiting you on St. Elias’ day — which is just as well, so you won’t think anything “big” has happened just because you’ve added a few boards to your chapel. We’ll have part of the services in our St. Elias’ Skete and will be praying for you.

By the way, don’t become impatient — The Northern Thebaid won’t be ready for another month. The Religion of the Future is being reprinted at Shasta Printing in Redding, which seems to cost only a trifle more than Vladimir’s printer in SF. This will make 1500 copies, of which 800 are already sold or ordered.

Our last letter to the Anglican community in Los Gatos was returned — which probably means they were evicted, as they feared. What this does to the community we don’t know.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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