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180. Aug. 13/26, 1975. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Your Grace, dear Vladika Laurus,

Blagoslovite! We send you our heartfelt greetings on the feast of the Transfiguration and of the approaching Dormition of the Theotokos.

We have just heard that Archimandrite Panteleimon of Boston has “broken off communion” with Archbishop Averky because Vladika Averky allowed Bishop Petros of Astoria to serve in the Monastery on Transfiguration. Can you inform us for what reason he did this? Is there any reason why we should not be in communion with Bishop Petros? Dr. Kalomiros in Greece informs us that the Synod of Auxentios has, apparently, excommunicated Bishop Petros? What should be our attitude to Bishop Petros if this is true?

We should tell you frankly that we do not trust Fr. Panteleimon’s “political” acts with regard to the Greek Old Calendarists; since he began interfering with the Greek Church situation (is this with the blessing of the Synod or his own Bishop?), he has only made things much worse. Things were much better when our Russian Bishops were ordaining Old Calendarist Bishops “uncanonically,” but out of love, not for “politics.” We have a long letter (in English) from Dr. Alexander Kalomiros in which he explains what Fr. Panteleimon has been doing in Greece with regard to the Mathewites, whom Dr. Kalomiros calls “fanatics” and “legalists.” Would you like us to send you a copy of this letter? Incidentally, in this letter he says that Fr. Panteleimon is not a Greek in soul, but an American, and that is why he has so much influence on Americans and Greek-Americans, but not on real Greeks (nor on Russians). This confirms what we have thought for some time also.

We would very much like to receive a reply soon from you on the situation of Bishop Petros, and on the bad church situation which has been created by Fr. Panteleimon’s act; this will only cause yet more confusion among our converts. Fr. Panteleimon is planning to visit us later this year, and we would like to know whether we can be in communion with him, since he is cutting himself off from at least one of our Bishops, for whom we hold the greatest respect. Please help us to clarify our thoughts and position on this matter! Up until now, Fr. Panteleimon’s attitude towards Bishop Petros seems to have been based on emotions and jealousy, and if that is why he has “broken communion,” is it not time that a rebuke were given to him in order to humble-him a little? We greatly fear that he will repeat the history of so many of our “crazy converts,” and when he is rebuked for being wrong he will just leave and take much of his flock with him, like Bishop Jacob of the Hague. May God preserve us from such a scandal — our poor American Orthodox converts are not prepared for such a shock!

With love and respect in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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