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281. Nov. 8/21, 1979 Archangel Michael

Dear Andrew [Bond],

May the blessing of the Lord be with you!

We were glad to hear from you, and we welcome your new publication News (or is it Orthodox News? It could be an important and encouraging publication, which is much needed in our days of gloom and negative thinking. Something better than the “Grabbe newsletter” is much needed! May God bless your labors!

The letter from Lazarus Kelly is indeed a sad reflection on the wrong spirit of so much of our church life. But actually—it isn’t so sad after all. He found that the “fanatic” spirit isn’t right, and he’s just a newcomer; so the “Boston spirit” isn’t grabbing everybody after all, is it?

You may not realize it there, but a full reaction is setting in in our Church against this narrow spirit of fanaticism. For the time being it may still look as though fanaticism is still in fashion, but things are changing. The whole attitude towards Fr. Dimitry Dudko in our Church is one sign of it— all the Russians receive him with open arms, and there is no talk about his “grace” at all—anyone who can talk like that is Orthodox, period. The problem of his bishops, intercommunion, etc., still remain—but all the time it becomes more obvious that these questions, in the Russian Church at least, are temporary and superficial and do not hinder the deeper unity between us and true sons of the Russian Church like Fr. Dimitry. Incidentally, his “rebellious” attitude towards his “correct” and “bureaucratic” bishops is also instructive for us.

Even your Fr. Alexis is changing a little. Of late he has made a point of entering into closer contacts with some of us here in America who are obviously “anti-Boston.” In his last letter to us he even began to speak positively about the new Greek Archbishop in London—he obviously begins to realize that fanaticism is out, our Church hasn’t accepted it, although he is still somewhat bound to the “Boston line.” But even the latter may be changing. We’ve had a rather blunt exchange with Boston and Seattle in recent weeks, and perhaps at last they will see that the rest of us are simply not going to follow the “party line.”

I’ve been invited to speak at Jordanville on St. Herman’s day (Dec 12/25) when there will be a youth pilgrimage. The people in back of it are of the anti-Boston clergy, and this pilgrimage, God willing, will be part of the call to spiritual life and awareness not in the framework of narrowness and fanaticism. Please pray that I will be able to say a fruitful word there. Fr. Herman spoke at the pilgrimage there in 1973 and gave a flaming word, but people weren’t as prepared for it then as they are beginning to be now. Only I’m a dull speaker compared to Fr. Herman, so please pray that I will be able to get some “punch” over.

The Fathers at St. Gregory’s have sent a copy of a letter for publication in The Old Calendarist, thinking that perhaps we would be against it. On the contrary, we welcome such letters, which throw light on a subject which is still almost unknown in our Church, or else clouded over by the political maneuvering of our Greeks. We will be publishing some things of Fr. Chrysostomos ourselves in upcoming issues of The Orthodox Word.

I’m sending separately an air mail copy of the 1980 Calendar—we sent you 40 copies by sea mail last week, hoping they will arrive at least by the first of the year (that gives them two months travelling time).

With love in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

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