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285. March 31 /April 13, 1980 Bright Saturday

Dear Fr. Neketas,

CHRIST IS RISEN!

We haven’t received any answer as yet to my letter to you of last October, but we have received several new issues of the Tlingit Herald, still published and distributed by you, and the insulting, arrogant series of attacks on what we have been defending as the Orthodox teaching on life after death continues unabated. You must regard it as very important to “demolish” thoroughly what we have said (and what Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, Bp. Theophan the Recluse, Archbishop John Maximovitch, the publications of Holy Trinity Monastery, and many others have taught) in order to continue sponsoring discussions of such a quality.

Father, what would be the point of Father Herman appearing at the Seattle conference in July? You’ve already (through Deacon Lev’s works) tried to discredit his labors for Orthodoxy, sharing in Deacon Lev’s deliberate attempt to “embarrass” him (I take this word from one of Deacon Lev’s letters where he described what he was going to do). Father Herman’s appearance in Seattle would obviously provoke unpleasant scenes, if not from you or Deacon Lev, then from some of your readers who have now learned to regard our Orthodoxy as quite dubious, indeed “heresy-filled” (to quote Deacon Lev’s description of one of the Orthodox texts which we continue to regard as Orthodox).

Some people have tried to explain your position to us. One person (a Russian priest) thinks that we just have to accept that this is the way “Greeks” behave—that if they disagree with you or want to fight with you, they call you every name in the book, try to thoroughly discredit you by honest or dishonest means, and think they are proving their “Orthodoxy” by this. I sincerely hope that this is not the basis on which you act.

Another person, one of your own parishioners, says that you are an “innocent victim” of Deacon Lev—that you have such blind trust in him that you aren’t even aware of the insulting tone and intent of his writings on life after death (as well as on some other subjects).

It’s not for us to guess what you have in mind, but you are certainly succeeding in alienating us and many others from you, including your own bishop.

Let this brief letter be another cry of our anguish over what you are doing. You have made us feel most unwelcome in Seattle. If Fr. Herman did come, it would be a most strained occasion, and who knows what seemingly innocent opinion, shared (like the teaching on life after death which we have printed) by numerous Orthodox theological authorities in the present and past centuries, might be picked out for another discrediting attack by Deacon Lev or someone under his influence?

With heartfelt grief, but still loving you in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

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