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192. Oct. 8/21, 1975. St. Tryphon of Vyatka

Dear Alexey,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. This is to accompany the enclosed tape on Kireyevsky, out of which I hope you can make a coherent conclusion. Also enclosed is your article on Patriarch Tikhon—good, but remember, in case it should ever come up, that he had his weak points, both in America and as Patriarch (he approved the new Calendar for a time, until Metropolitan Anastassy and others showed how dangerous this was); his greatness is in his confession and martyrdom, suffering with and for the people.

Nina sent us the letters from Boston—“oily” and repulsive to us. This is entirely the wrong spiritual tone, and is besides rumor-mongering under the guise of virtue. The bishops to whom we have been close have never taught us this foreign, papalist idea that they and an “inner circle” of initiates are an elite who can freely discuss church matters, and the masses must not be allowed to do so. When it came to important events in the Church they were always free to communicate their views, without flattering us that we were part of the “elite” who can know about them. But quite apart from that, note the glaring contradiction: only the bishops and the elite, not the faithful, were supposed to know what Fr. P. did—but in the letter to Nina it says that the reason Fr. P. did it was “to demonstrate to the faithful under Synod and among the Old Calendarists in Greece some consistency, and that we have no contact with Bp. Peter” (I’m quoting from memory)—yes, to demonstrate to the faithful; the only reason this is now covered up by an elitist philosophy is because the demonstration didn’t come off as planned—it had side effects! Fr. P. and his followers know better—this is the fatal convert syndrome. They obviously want to remain in our Church, because it is politically most beneficial to be “foreigners” and have maximum freedom, such as our Russian clergy don’t have; but the reason we think they won’t stay with us too long is—precisely that they don’t correctly calculate the whole church atmosphere; that is, they think they know what the “Russians” are thinking, but really the Russians just aren’t telling them. Enough on this boring subject.

About your trials: most of them are natural parts of life, and God allows several of them to pile up because you are capable of bearing them. The numbness, which comes chiefly from exposure to politics in a sacred place where it does belong, will pass. You must learn to suffer and bear—but do not view this as something “endless and dreary,” here you are wrong: God also sends many consolations, and you will know them again. You must learn to find joy in the midst of increasing doses of sorrow; thus you can save your soul and help others.

There is so much for you and us to do yet, so let’s not give up. Yes, learn how to work the press, but don’t take a “leave” from publishing—just keep plugging away at it. There’s so much that’s inspiring to print, after first absorbing it in your own soul and helping chew it for our converts. We also are anxious to get ready some of our bigger projects this winter.

Brother Paul returned to the world on Saturday, after finishing his project. Pray that we will be able to present it well in the new Calendar.

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk


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