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205. Jan. 3/16, 1976 St. Genevieve of Paris

Dear Alexey,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a brief note to return Vladimir’s note and one letter of Kalomiros—the other, unfortunately, I’ve mislaid between my two cells and will have to search more for. Forgive me! I still haven’t written Kalomiros, but hope to shortly.

I’ve read through and underlined most of the Sederholm book, and will try to get one tape on it done on Sunday; also a sermon of Vladika John then. I’ll look for something on Lent, and then probably one on Pascha for the next issue? Looking through old issues of his diocesan bulletin in Shanghai—he was obviously penetrated with the idea of “enlightening the people,” constantly teaching them. That’s why the idea of a periodical is important—a constant giving of spiritual food, even if only a little at a time. Today the Church atmosphere has become so worldly, however, that it’s next to impossible to do this effectively on a diocesan or even a parish level—better tiny groups, but with oneness of mind and soul.

Br. Laurence helped us get out the Calendar, and now he will probably be leaving before long. It’s near the end of his third year, which is the standard period of monastic trial, and it’s abundantly evident that he is not in harmony with our life here, does not want what we are after or can give. Fr. Herman and I allowed ourselves to reflect for a moment on what could have become of Br. L. if he had been able and willing to give up his self-insistence. He could have become extremely inspiring, inspired and fruitfvd in our conditions! But from first to last he didn’t want it, and there’s nothing more we can do for him. I think we did do him some good in his three years, at least in outward behavior, and that could even help him to survive in Jordanville if he goes there. We feel sorry for him, as he is psychologically so helpless and immature, and quite insecure in spite of all his demands and insistences. May God grant that he leave peacefully, without fits or hard feelings.

As for ourselves, we feel tremendously inspired by the new year, the conclusion of at least a big part of last year’s work, and the great prospects ahead, if only God will continue to grant the present opportunity. The spring weather also helps! The new OW may be out, God willing, by the end of next week. There remains a little polishing of our presentation of Vladika Andrew (the second of our “living links”)—please pray that we will be able to say about him (in our one-page introduction) what will be fruitful and inspiring for others.

I trust David got some benefit from being here, at least by attending the services. He is unsophisticated—but not really simple! He has the same complexes as our complicated converts and also will have to go on a path of humbling if he is to survive as Orthodox.

We got a long letter from John Hudanish, who wants to visit us with someone or other next month. Frankly, there is something very artificial and fake about his attitudes, which was only emphasized by the fact that he wrote in Russian, with some very artificial expressions. The battle of the Old Believers for the survival of their traditions (though of course one can’t but sympathize with it) is not the same battle we Orthodox Christians are fighting to keep alive the spirit of Orthodoxy! Everywhere the spirit is being quenched, and the preservation of old customs isn’t going to help when the spirit is gone!

Our Brotherhood has been mercilessly attacked by N. Struve in the Paris Messenger for our article (which Vladika Averky published in Russian) on Solzhenitsyn and the Catacomb Church. We’re glad they at least read what the “fanatics” are saying!

S.

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