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214. Apr. 3/16, 1976B Friday of Sixth Week of Lent

Dear Alexey,

David brought us Nina’s note saying that she wants to send copies of Fr. John’s letter to Fr. George Grabbe and Fr. Panteleimon; and she is confused about whether to send also an “invitation” to Fr. John with the letters. Good heavens! If she is going to go on like this there is sure disaster ahead. How would you like Fr. Panteleimon as the “overseer” of your community?—that is what is coming if Fr. John comes. (Nina told us that Fr. Neketas is strongly agitating to get all the “American” parishes into a separate organization.)

I’ve sent her a letter bawling her out, and most of all for treating her own bishop as a mere figurehead who “doesn’t understand” the needs of Americans, etc. Vladika Anthony does not want Fr. John in his diocese right now, and his reasons are better than Nina suspects. Don’t let her get you embroiled in her “convert syndrome” with all its problems. I told her that she has no right to usurp the bishop’s rights by “arranging” priests for his diocese—that is his affair and it should go only through him.

With Vladika Averky’s repose, Laurence’s departure (probably as soon as Fr. Herman comes back), and the three young converts (including David) who have visited us this week—I sigh and think, is it worth it to get across the real understanding of Orthodoxy, when there are so many now who “know better,” and the ones who don’t are as weak as spaghetti? Or maybe, as our young Thomas once brightly suggested: If everyone else thinks differently, then maybe we’re really wrong? But then I think of Vladika Averky, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, and all that older generation that is now almost gone—and I want to weep for the young “know-it-alls” that have missed the point. But the understanding comes only through suffering, and how many can do that?

Pray for us. We trust in God and the prayers of Vladika John.

With love in Christ,
Seraphim, monk

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