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316. Sept. 4/17, 1981 Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses

Dear Father Demetrios,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST!

Just a note to ask you to return the display about our monastery and missions, if you haven’t already sent it back to Etna. We haven’t even seen it ourselves, so please send it here.

I’m sorry you have to return so many of our books, but even more sorry to see the prejudice against them in that part of the country. Even the Russian Conference in San Francisco bought many times more than that, because they haven’t been told that we are “apostates,” “betrayers,” and all the rest. Fr. Panteleimon must be behind it, since he has told us not to send any more books of any kind to the monastery and has canceled The Orthodox Word (besides demanding that we pay for Psalters, incense and everything else—save for a few supplies—that he use to give so abundantly).

Can’t you and some like-minded priests do anything about this drying up of Christian love? The latest scandal over Elder Tavrion is a disgrace—the hate campaign in the Greek parishes (even extending to some of our innocent Russian ladies in Portland, who are supposed to sign ready-made letters against us!) simply cannot be reconciled with any kind of Orthodoxy. Fortunately, our bishops have again come out with an appropriate statement that sets things straight, and it is significant that, besides warning clergy and laymen who uncharitably judge their own Metropolitan, they warn over the danger of a “schism” if this “know-better” mentality continues.

I have no hope whatever that our Greek clergy will take this warning to heart; they seem determined to push our whole Church into the soulless, heartless, pharisaical dead-end into which they have already pushed themselves. Undoubtedly they are calculating that priests like you will unthinkingly follow them into schism, leaving only a lot of “stupid Russians” in the Synod.

Can’t you and other priests like you who still have not been totally alienated by the Greeks, speak up before the fatal step is made? Tell them they have to humble themselves, cease thinking they know so much more than the whole of Church tradition, start being truly obedient to bishops and the church authority, and cease their Gestapo-GPU tactics against sincere priests and bishops who may happen to disagree with their party line. Judging from this last outburst, the schism is close, and I’m afraid the “silent majority” of our priests and laymen will only heave a sigh of relief when the troublemakers are gone—leaving behind them a bad harvest of ill will, and continuing their name-calling and hatred in a louder tone from their new “jurisdiction.”

May God preserve us from all of this! Please forgive my frankness, but I feel the time is very late, and anyone who can do anything had better do it now. I know God will continue to preserve His Church and I believe He will prosper the true Orthodox mission which is just beginning in our Church; the 150-200 souls who attended our pilgrimage and courses this year are eager to learn more, and not at all caught up in the artificial fanaticism that the Greeks propagate. But the tragedy of souls caught in a self-willed schism will be incalculable.

Please pray for us, as we do for you with love. May God grant true love and peace to His much-suffering Church, both here and in the atheist lands!

With love in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

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