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229. July 13/26, 1976 Archangel Gabriel

Dear Father Cyprian,


We received and read your letter with great joy, feeling in [it] the fragrance of true Orthodoxy which is so much threatened now both on the left side and the right. We hope that there will be frequent contact between us in the future, for we also feel at times somewhat isolated in our position, especially with the fanatical tone which is now spreading among the American members of our Church through the influence of Fr. Panteleimon. This fanatical tone is causing discord and distrust between Greeks and Russians in our Church and is making it much more difficult for our bishops to stay on the royal path, without inclining to left or right. We believe our Russian Church Outside Russia is in an exceptionally good position to stay on this royal path, speaking boldly against the apostasy of the left without making unnecessary “definitions” about the status of their Sacraments, and at the same time not being under pressure of a strong “fanatical” group such as you have in Greece. We fully sympathize with your situation and certainly approve of your decision not to break communion with hierarchs with whom you are in basic accord in questions of faith, apart from this unfortunate “political” decree.

For some time we have intended to write you asking for perhaps a small article about your monastery, and your letter now gives us an occasion to do this. I believe that your experience could be of help to us in America. Would it be possible for someone to write for us a brief account of your monastery, with a special emphasis on the principles and point of view which you try to follow? It would be especially valuable if you could give us a description or some examples of the harmful consequences of the “correctness” disease (which we also call “knowing better”). I realize that this is a very sensitive topic and one would not like to mention names or express oneself in a way that might offend some of our well-meaning zealots who err out of inexperience, more than anything else. But with proper caution I believe that this could be done in a way that would not be offensive and would be a warning to those who are not yet thoroughly infected with the “correctness” disease. So far in America this disease has not struck too deeply, and we do not have any real examples of people who have gone far astray because of it; we would rather warn them now on the basis of your more thorough experience than to simply wait for the catastrophes to happen to us here in America—and we see clearly that they are going to happen.

We would be very grateful to you if you could help us in this way, and also send a few photographs of your monastery and new church, and of you and your monks—and also with account of your Typicon, especially venerated saints, etc.

We were very touched to hear once more of your devotion to our dear Vladika John. Could you write to us briefly of how you celebrated this day?—what kind of services, sermon, etc.—for our records? We also celebrated his memorial with deep feeling, and a few days before it our monastery was saved from a terrible forest fire by his prayers. We have printed a book in Russian for this 10th anniversary, and soon we will be finished with a special issue of The Orthodox Word dedicated to him, which we will send you as soon as it is finished.

We ask for your holy prayers and blessing.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Seraphim, monk

P.s. Do you have any particular comments on our recent “Metropolitan Philaret” issue of The Orthodox Word—especially our introduction to his epistle?

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