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228. July 4/17, 1976 Royal Martyrs of Russia

Dear Brother in Christ, Andrew,

Greetings on our Lord Jesus Christ. We were saddened to hear of the developments in England, and especially distressed to learn that you have been deprived of Holy Communion.

You, of course, are now in a very bad position: both by being identified as a “rebel” against your own Archbishop and clergy, and much more by being cut off from the very Mysteries of the Church. In such a situation, nothing that you can say or do will have any good effect as regards the issues involved; whatever you say, it will be the words of a “rebel,” which may be disregarded. Therefore, it is quite essential for you to remove this label from yourself. This can be done in a very simple way which does not involve the acceptance of opinions repugnant to you. We urge you to put aside, for the present, all thoughts of “right and wrong,” “just and unjust,” and first put right the spiritual side—that is, do what is necessary to be restored to Holy Communion.

We strongly urge you to do what your Archbishop asks of you: namely, to write a letter to each of the clergymen to whom you are accused of being disrespectful, begging their forgiveness for any crudeness, disrespect, or improper words or actions you may have shown to them. This is important both because it is in obedience you your Archbishop (to whose judgment you should be respectful even when you think it is unjust or wrong), and even more because it is a spiritual approach to the question, which in itself does not involve the question of who is right and who wrong regarding the issues. Your Archbishop has asked you to “ask forgiveness and be at peace” and “to have reverence and respect” to clergy—but he does not actually tell you what opinions you are to have. This is the proper course even supposing that you are “right” in every respect, for the unjust suffering of wrongs is of great spiritual benefit; but it should be easy enough in any case to accuse yourself of crudeness, wrong tone, etc., which creep into all of us even when we are defending the truth.

Then you should write to Vladika Nikodem himself, likewise asking his forgiveness in similar words, and adding that you have asked forgiveness (in written form) of all the clergymen as he directed you to do. If you wish you could add here that you are sorry that because of your crudeness you were not able to express adequately your concern over something which not only you, but others also, have been troubled over—but that this can perhaps be done in a more fitting way at some other time.

We suspect that deep down Vladika Nikodem himself is not entirely satisfied With the position in which he finds himself, and that his actions are due more to “political” circumstances than anything else; in which case your expression of humility and forgiveness will help him later when it may be more opportune to change positions.

The attitude which you are against (and rightly so) is such a “sick point” in our Church now that it cannot be approached by a direct “fight,” and it is actually rather unimportant if it seems to gain some local “victories.” The circle of those who are becoming concerned about “zeal not according to knowledge” in our Church, is steadily increasing, and at the proper time this unsound current will be put in its place. But these things take time and patience, and often require a temporary “retreat from battle”; if it comes to that, let us remember Napoleon and Russia in 1812!

As I said, we strongly urge you at this time to make peace as the Archbishop has asked you (no matter what you may have written to him in the meantime), on the spiritual level; this will help not only you but others outside England also. When we talk to our bishops about this, we know well that they will not be inclined to act where it involves someone who has been “excommunicated,” however unjustly. Please help us out in this!

May God be your help and consolation in your difficult trial, which requires of you now an effort of humility and peace—which will have greater results than you might think.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Seraphim, monk

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