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314. August 21 /Sept. 3, 1981B Apostle Thaddeus

Dear Father Gregory,

Christ is in our midst!

Many thanks for your letter. We have heard from several others also of the “party” spirit at the Pennsylvania conference, which is sad but is now what we have come to expect. We plan no public disputes over anything, and I pray that God will keep us out of being dragged into any; there will be no peace in the Church until we are all able to stand a little above the issues of the day and have a little tolerance for differing opinions. Easier said than done! Just now we hear of the big outcry our Greeks have raised against our article on Elder Tavrion, the “final straw” being that the Metropolitan himself sent and endorsed it for publication. Father George Macris in Portland is trying to force our old Russian parishioners there (who attend his English services when we can’t come for a Slavonic service) to write letters of protest to the Metropolitan, and the poor old ladies don’t understand what it’s all about! What a narrow strait-jacket of logic they want to force us into, and how little it suits the real needs of the Orthodox mission today! We plan no answer tjo this outcry, but presume the bishops will sooner or later have to make a statement that we do not regard the Moscow and other Churches as “without grace,” even if it might cause the schism of our Greeks. We plan nothing further on Blessed Augustine either, apart from re-issuance of our earlier articles on him; those who hate him do so for personal reasons and won’t be convinced by anything we could say.

We had a very successful Pilgrimage here, with many more pilgrims than expected (150 the first day, and nearly 200 people altogether during the week). There were no “super-correct” zealots noticeable, no protests against the frequent mention of suffering believers in Russia (including a talk on a courageous priest [Fr. George Calciu] of the Romanian Patriarchate)—just normal people awaking to the need for a deeper Orthodoxy (or to the need for Orthodoxy at all—there were several converts made during the Pilgrimage, and two baptisms of older converts). I think there are big things just beginning to happen in the soul of America (parallel to the awakening in Russia), and we should be there to guide all those we can into Orthodoxy. There is also a beginning of awakening in Orthodox of other jurisdictions through contact with our Church, and this should certainly be encouraged by not pushing them away with statements that they have no grace, etc. In view of all this, our Greeks are just not “where it’s at”—they’re fighting windmills with their jesuitical logic and justifying their own “purity,” while what is needed is loving and aware hearts to help the suffering and searching and bring them to Christ.

Why don’t you come out for next year’s Pilgrimage? I think it will expand your horizons about the missionary field.

We haven’t heard from David Pirkle. I would be interested to hear how he was confused by the Pennsylvania conference, since we occasionally have to encounter such cases.

I’m sorry to hear of your experience with Arsenius; things like that can be humbling! But God is stronger than our weakness! I hope you aren’t being tempted to move to the big city—? Stay where you are, and you will see it bear fruit.

Many thanks for The Sacramental Life. I read it and liked it, with only two questions: As far as I know, our Russian Church has never heard of the “re-chrismation” the Greeks practice (probably picked up by them under the Turkish Yoke), and I wonder if it might not become a temptation for our “super-correct” ones. Also, on p. 72, I wonder if the phrase “even in some sense of becoming God” might not better read: “even in some sense of becoming divine.” Could you send us 20 copies against a supply of something you need? (Our money situation right now is probably as bad as yours; we are still many thousands short of what we need to print Dogmatic Theology, but are starting anyway.)

May God preserve you strong in your trials, and thanking Him for them. Please pray for us all. My greetings to Matushka and the children.

With love in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

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