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203. Dec. 3/16, 1975 St. Sabbas of Zvenigorod

Dear Nina,

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ!

It was good to hear from you. For now—rejoice in your isolation, and learn to be somewhat “aloof” from that world out there—even the Orthodox world. Whatever is developing in your soul will come out better and straighter for being away from the tumult of the world. In fact, many of your “answers” will probably appear by themselves if you just sit patiently for a while and continue to let things settle in your soul. The big “problems” outside will mostly take care of themselves. Only keep yourself nourished on the sources, keep building an Orthodox world for yourself, which will survive when everything else may fail.

We heard from Barbara also, who seems fairly peaceful. She didn’t mention anything to us about coming back to Etna.

Yes, it was Vladika Nektary’s namesday. Fr. Herman talked to him by phone, about which he seemed happy, but weighed down by the world. ,

Our winter has begun not harshly at all, only a few small snowstorms, and the last snow is almost melted now. But we can’t predict what will be for our feast. Christopher helped greatly in the printing dept., but just “had to” go home, and so we saw him off several days ago. His heart and mind function nicely (except when moods take over), but the will is totally undeveloped. He is terribly immature, and perhaps he will be all right when he grows up a little more—but in contemporary America it isn’t easy to “grow up”!

What is “on time” for the Calendar mean? I thought we were already terribly late! If January first is what you mean, then God willing we will be on time—we would like to start mailing it by Saturday, but much much remains to be done. We’re printing 1500 this year, and we are swamped with immense piles (39 of them, each over a foot deep) of paper. How this will ever be folded and put together and sent out—-well, God and the saints will have to help. Fortunately, our little Gleb has a passion for collating, and produces tremendously. I hope the Calendar will inspire some people; it certainly inspired us—between moments of fatigue.

God willing, will see you soon. Pray for us. We are cheerful, which is probably helped by being so cut off from the world especially in the last weeks, and having so much work. The machines work fine, but there is just so much to do—2500 copies of each issue of OW, which is quite a job. John Hudanish visited us, after wandering for hours over our snow-clad mountains. Obviously the man needs what all we Americans need—much suffering, endured with patience and thanksgiving!

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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