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325. May 1/14, 1982 Prophet Jeremiah

Dear Brother in Christ, Vladimir,


May the blessing of the Lord be with you!

In answer to your letter, I had better say first of all that you probably have a mistaken view as to the nature and extent of our theological courses. We have nothing at all like a “seminary,” and the few courses we do have arose solely in answer to our local need to expand the theological awareness of the brothers in our monastery. (We do have summer courses in conjunction with our Sr. Herman Pilgrimage, but that is only for a week.)

Therefore, if you are looking for a regular seminary course, with officially recognized courses and a BTh degree at the end of it, you would do better to apply to the Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville. It is true that the orientation there is very Russian, and the upper-division courses are still mostly in the Russian language, but the first two years are now chiefly in English and with some effort at studying Russian you could get through the whole course.

Having said this, I will add that we have had some non-monastic brothers participate in our courses, and it is conceivable that you might want to join them. However, our approach in these courses is less directed to formal education than to forming an Orthodox mentality—putting off some of the wrong attitudes that are picked up from the air of our contemporary society, developing a sound attitude to culture, art, literature, music, etc., which will enable one to approach theology not in a vacuum, as is so often the case. Our non-monastic brothers participate fully in the daily round of monastic life and are under strict discipline (no “weekends off to go to the city”). Our courses for next fall are not definite yet, and will depend on who will be here to take them.

If you are interested in something like this, we might be able to help you, but the only way to tell for sure is to come and visit us for a while, when it would become evident whether you could fit in with our life and benefit from it. You are quite welcome to visit us this summer. (I should add that our living conditions are a little primitive, with little in the way of modern conveniences like plumbing, electricity, etc.)

Please feel free to write anything further about your hopes, plans, etc.

With love in Christ,
Unworthy Hieromonk Seraphim

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