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301. Nov. 23/Dec. 6, 1980B St. Alexander Nevsky

Dear Brother in Christ, Constantine,

May the blessing of the Lord be with you!

Many thanks for your letter and the check for $50. Your renewal for The Orthodox Word has been recorded, and The Soul After Death and 1981 Calendar will be sent shortly. I am replying for Father Herman, who has had a short stay in the hospital—which, thanks to God, revealed nothing as seriously wrong as we had feared.

I was especially pleased with the copy of your letter to Fr. Neketas, which made the same attempt to speak from the heart more than the head that prompted our own “defense” of Fr. Dimitry Dudko. I don’t see how we can do anything else in our days, and I fear the future of the “Greek wing” of our Russian Church Abroad if they can’t see this. Sadly, our own attempts to communicate with Fr. Neketas have broken down completely; he simply will not listen to us, and his fellow priest in Portland is speaking openly of the “betrayal” of our bishops through their “ecumenism”; he wrote Fr. Herman that he has “ecumenical venom” in him also. They must surely change, or they will end in schism.

I appreciate especially your arguments on pp. 11-12 about Sergianism and about the possibility of passing from the enslaved part to the free part of the Russian Church—a point which seems impossible for the legalism of Fr. Neketas to understand, but which nicely expresses an undoubted fact. Thank you also for standing up for Holy Russia, which is so maligned nowadays!

My only criticism of the letter is your use of the term “materially heretical”: even if you can justify its use somehow defining this matter, it is still an unfortunate phrase to apply to one’s fellow Orthodox, and bur “heresy hunters” will not let it slip by them!

Regarding your remark as to how we can be not in communion with someone whom we commemorate at Proskomedia, I think the perplexity is more seeming than real. If we are in communion with Fr. Dimitry at the present time, it is only in a spiritual or even abstract sense that could not be realized in practice without a change in his own status. We could not concelebrate with him in Russia because of his commemoration of Pimen, and he could not concelebrate with us here (if he should come to the West) until he ceased commemorating Pimen (which I suppose is what he would indeed do—i.e., join our Church). Fr. Dimitry’s own remarks on “unity within division,” as baffling as they are to the legalistic mind, are the closest attempt I’ve seen to express this perplexity of the church situation of our times.

We had a very good visit with Fr. Roman at our Pilgrimage last summer, and his talk (which appears in our new Calendar and Orthodox Word) was inspiring to many. May God grant him many years, and give us more of such pastors!

Please remember us in your prayers.

With love in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

P.s. When you read The Soul After Death, Appendix 4 contains all my answer to Deacon Lev; I do not intend to enter into the polemics of his newest “open letter.”

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