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326. Letter estimated to be from early June 1982

(Handwriting transcribed)

Dear Fr. A— [Alexey Young],

Christ is —!

Gleb will be in Redding Sunday to go with you to Chico, as he says you agreed on with him.

I hope you will have some serious talks with him on his future, both this week and later this summer. From me or Fr. Herman, of course, he takes everything with a grain of salt, since we are so close and he is at the “rebel” stage (mildly, but still clearly).

Just a few days ago he decided that he wants to go to Jordanville this fall. I saw right away that this is no seriously thought-through decision, but is simply a way to keep from staying with us, where he is “bored;” and it was inspired not by any desire for real benefit to be gained in Jordanville, but simply “to see how things are there,” brought about by seeing the worldly attitude of Basil Anderson (who is “successful” in Jordanville because he is the only one who can run their big offset machine, and will be graduated solely on that basis and not on course work, or so he says).

Of course, I am glad that he did take seriously my warning that he has to get a seminary education if he wants to be a priest; but seeing his light-minded attitude to the whole matter, I gave him a heavy going-over and told him I could never bless him to go to Jordanville so immature and light- minded (all the American boys we’ve sent there in recent years have had disasters in the first year, and they were more mature than Gleb). He responded with rebellious insistence that he would go even without our blessing, even if it meant not being admitted to the seminary and just “auditing” or floating around.

In one sense, it was good that he got all this out, because he usually hides his deeper feelings, and I was even glad to see him becoming a “man” and sticking to his opinion. The next day (after a sleepless night for me) we were reconciled; I told him I respected his freedom, that no matter what (even if he went wild or became a Jordanville weirdo, which I told him were the 2 alternatives in front of him) he should always consider our monastery as his home, etc.—which caused him to weep (a rare thing with him). But I asked him, whatever he does, let it make sense, let it be part of a plan for his whole future, and not some whim of the moment, which is what his Jordanville thoughts are right now (in fact, the day before our fight, he had told me, very self-confidently, that I was “duped” if I thought anything good could come out of Jordanville graduates!)

As things stand now, he is still fixed on the idea of going in the fall, without even asking what courses are offered in Jordanville to 1st-year students, or what courses I had planned to give him here. Today I told him he’d better get started with application requirements; he was surprised that he had to make a formal application, have a medical exam, affix photos, highschool transcript (or equivalent(?), and even more surprised that he had to do something about it, not me. He did understand that the money for all this should come from his summer earnings, which is something positive (so please don’t tell him where the money comes from—there won’t be much of it in any case).

At the present time my main effort is to get him to see certain things as they really are and not as his emotions color them. For example: last week he was speaking eloquently to several of us about how easy it is to survive as a Orthodox Christian today even with all the temptations around us: you just have the guts to take a humbling “due” that Fr. Herman gives you and trust your spiritual father, and you will survive. I reminded him that when I absolutely forbade him to go to Jordanville so young, and that it was “spiritual suicide” for him, he rebelled and absolutely refused to obey; but until I pointed it out to him, it hadn’t even occurred to him that he had shown lack of trust in me, thereby removing from himself the very thing which he had recently boasted would save him! When the contradiction was brought home to him, he smiled in recognition and promised to write it down; but it still hasn’t sunk in. Likewise, he recognizes that his reasons for going to Jordanville are worldly, and that there is in fact a danger of his losing the churchly attitude of his boyhood and becoming worldly (Basil Anderson is bad in that respect—one senses the influence of Fr. Peter and other floaters, not the pious spirit of the old monks); but all this is seen through the filter of his youthful passions, which now are headed very strongly towards “worldly experience.”

In the end I see all this as a necessary part of his growth and an unavoidable temptation. My main hope is that he will put some sense into what he does and not operate solely on his passions. Any input you can give him in this direction will be good, and will probably have more weight now than what we say. (Unfortunately, Bobby Arden and other “counsellors” like that may have more weight that any of us.)

The strongest thing going to preserve him right now is his desire for priesthood, which he still sees as a calling from God and not a paying job. The more we can remind him of that and of the necessity to act in a way consistent with it, the better. It may be that his 1st year in Jordanville (if he goes as planned) will be a big testing of this desire.

This weekend he will be boating on Shasta Lake with Bobby; he will be conducting vigil and Typica in the Redding church (already a test for him!) After his week with you, I told him I expect him to be at Liturgy, whether in Etna (where I will be) or Platina—another test, because he wants to go boating again, and would have to get Bobby to take him to Liturgy.

I will be in Etna, God willing, on Sat. June 26, and hope to have an “evolution” conference with you (I hope to have my Genesis commentary typed by then).

Pray for us.

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