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"No one man, or group of men, can himself speak for the Church of Christ. It is nonetheless possible to speak from within the Church, in conformity with Orthodox tradition; and it is this that we shall attempt to do." Fr. Seraphim Rose Orthodox Word #1 Jan-Feb 1965 p. 17

unpublished letters of Fr. Seraphim

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nyVbEvHZa_SjV-ajLAaKiqZzs1tKubrAn-HIQeHhntQ/edit?usp=sharing



Joanna Higginbotham

My Revised General Informational Sharing: (after I took two days to read them all): English Letters of Fr. Seraphim (Rose), so far put online

Dan Everiss
Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:18 PM





In Russian: 104 letters:
 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5_FJW7IOq6yekpVT1pFX0tuWlE/view?pref=2&pli=1










My warning before reading these, very personal!,  letters from the past: ...[and perhaps these are not all of his letters written back then?]. I eagerly await, if the Platina brotherhood will post his LATER letters, as in the years before his passing. Because if they dare do that, then we shall perhaps read of his complaints and/or defenses of his monastic brother.
In hindsight now, we know the further results and outcomes of many of these people
 in these old letters, and their further deeds, good or bad, and the unbelievable twists and turns of subsequent church history, after these letters were written, especially after Fr. Seraphim's passing. For instance, for all of the genuine undoubted spiritual struggles of Fr. Herman, (who had a very chaotic formative childhood in soviet Latvia, where members of his family were tortured and murdered/martyred  by the communists, and where he thought to take his own life several times, as he related to me many years ago),
 he himself was far from a stable human being [mentally or spiritually], or a perfect or blameless  monk. His own misdeeds, of the flesh and of prelest,  ...none of which were
 caused by our diocesan archbishop, Vl. Anthony [Medvedev] who did many praiseworthy good deeds in his life!... or  by anyone else, were many and defiling, mixed with his also, many good deeds! He reached great spiritual heights, and then, because of his giving in to the carnal lusts of his flesh and because of his enormous pride, as a self-holy 'starets'/elder, he fell into terrible depths,...which is a common pattern we read about in the Lives of Saints. He died in schism and rebellion. He gave in to his passions, and then made excuses for doing it.  He harmed many souls, myself included. He drove me away from his Platina Monastery.  He drove only God knows, how many wounded souls, especially of young men, from the Church, even from God. He 'wrought havoc' in this western ROCOR diocese, in the words of a prominent priest here. He caused a division of the flock here, some seeing him as a martyric SAINT persecuted by his evil diocesan bishop, -Vl. Anthony [Medvedev], while others [actually fewer in number], stood firmly on Vladyka Anthony's side....who had to be ordered by the Synod to defrock Herman.
When Herman  first knew that ROCOR planned on defrocking him, he secretly went to the MP Bishop in San Francisco, Mark Shavikin, [ whom I had previously personally known, when he was a priest in the Metropolia],  and placed himself under his omophore!...i.e. he joined the MP!
 His absurd rebellious arrogant schism, joining himself and his Platina  monastery with the bizarre New Age, cult, 'The Holy Order of MANS', then renamed, 'The Orthodox Brotherhood of Christ the Saviour', and the [defrocked New Calendar American Greek Archdiocese former priest), vagante 'Metropolitan Pangratios Vrionis, of Queens', New York, ....after Fr. Seraphim's passing,  ( rather than to just repent), was in itself, alone, a terrible terrible!...unjustified and totally without excuse act....the actions of a severely mentally & spiritually  deranged mind and soul,...and all this I declare  about Herman Podmoshensky,  who spent a large part of his later years,
in slandering and vilifying me, because I, among others,  told the truth to my archbishop...under a solemn oath,  about his misdeeds, in order to stop him from harming more souls,  is: May God Forgive Him! and have mercy upon his soul!
Had not God strengthened me, I might have fled Orthodoxy, because of him. He made me look as the villain in this ROCOR diocese, while his glossy-eyed cultic followers referred to him as 'our living saint'....which pathetic adulation he encouraged.
I hope, but do not know, that he sincerely....repented before God, before he left this world. I hope he did. Never did he ask my forgiveness, never.
About Fr. Seraphim, I have only praise.
He was the sincere true monk and long-suffering ascetic. He suffered from the sins of his monastic partner.
On Fr. Seraphim's intensive care hospital death bed, he was heard clearly to say in Herman's face, three times before he died: "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" When later these last death-bed  words were repeated to Vl. Anthony, he replied: "But then, Fr. Seraphim cannot be a saint!"
  However, if beloved Fr. Seraphim Rose,  be a saint now in heaven, or not, regardless - ONLY GOD IS PERFECT!
But Herman (Gleb) Podmoshensky cannot possibly be a saint, and he does not deserve such praise, but only our prayers for God to forgive him.
Rd. Daniel Everiss in Oregon



THIS LINK: (shared by an Orthodox brother in Bulgaria)
 goo.gl/DJL65c



January 11, 2016
new letters being added

Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose






Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
075. March 21/April 3, 1971. Praise of the Mother of God
Dear Father in Christ Panteleimon,

Evlogeite!

Enclosed is our letter to Vladika Laurus, to which we have not yet received a reply. There is no new development in our “case” as yet.

Our Staretz, Archimandrite Spyridon, is planning to come to us for a week or more — from Annunciation to Palm Sunday, and then just after Pascha (he has to serve Passion Week and Pascha in Palo Alto), and so, God willing, we shall have the Divine Liturgy several times here.

Glory be to God for everything! In all our trials, we become more and more conscious that something is happening that is far beyond us. What the end will be, God alone knows, and it is in His hands. We begin to get a rather definite idea that “Synodal opinion” does not place much confidence in our future. In February Archimandrite Cyprian wrote us from Jordanville, advising us to pack up as soon as possible and come to Jordanville, because we are in danger of falling into prelest, and because Jordanville is dying off and in ten years there won't be anyone left to do the work. Recently Fr. Vladimir also began hinting that we would be best off in Jordanville, and Vladika Laurus last year also emphasized how much they need people there. With all respect to Jordanville, to which we are absolutely devoted, we are so conscious of the blessing of Vladika John to trod a different path, that we can only accept the opinion of these respected fathers as a “temptation” to get us off our path. The devil, it appears, is trying his utmost to get us out of here, and we are thereby all the more convinced that we are where we should be. Two days ago, as if we didn’t have problems enough already, I met an Indian at the Post Office in Platina, who asked me what we were building, and when I replied “A chapel,” he told me, “this land belongs to us Indians, and I’ll do everything I can to stop you.” I don’t know exactly what he meant, but as we are unarmed and two miles from the nearest neighbor, it is not difficult to imagine what could be done to us. And so we are literally reduced to trusting in God and the protection of our patrons, St. Herman and Vladika John. May God s holy will be done!

With love in Christ our Savior,
Seraphim, Monk



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
074. March 13/26, 1971. St. Nicephorus of Constant.
Dear Father in Christ Panteleimon,

Evlogeite! Thank you very much for your word of encouragement, and please forgive us for preserving such a long silence. We have been very busy printing, and not until last week has there been anything new regarding our status and relationship with Vladika Anthony. After writing you we decided to do nothing more until Vladika Anthony should make some written statement; and now that Statement has come.

Last Wednesday we received Vladika Anthony’s Ukase of Feb. 25/Mar. 10, apparently sent to all priests of the Diocese, which says in part: “A coenobitic monastery for men has been opened by us.... Headship of this new monastery has been taken by me upon myself” (in ink there is added in our copy — whether it is in the original or not we don’t know — “for the time being”); “for the regulation of the monastic life of the brethren, who may increase in number, by the present Ukase MONK HERMAN is appointed BLAGOCHINNY (one in charge of ‘good order’) of the monastery. The Blagochinny is responsible for the doings of the monastery immediately before me, as its Head...”; “the publication of the magazine The Orthodox Word...the brethren should now look upon as their monastic obedience... Concerning everything else additional instructions will be given to the Blagochinny.”

In a word, our worst fears are realized: Vladika Anthony has taken us over, and although so far he has not given us any “obedience” to which we object, it is clear that our work, blessed by Vladika John, has lost all independence and will now proceed solely on instructions from San Francisco. Clearly, if we are going to do anything about this intolerable situation we must begin to act now.

We have written — in English — a letter to Vladika Laurus (we will send you a Xerox copy next week when we go to Redding again), informing him that we do not accept this Ukase and have lost all trust in Vladika Anthony, and asking his advice on what to do to become independent of Vladika Anthony.

You will see our arguments in that letter; but to you we would like to say something more. To Vladika Laurus we did not mention any of the San Francisco clergy we mentioned to you in our last letter, fearing lest word of this might somehow get to Vladika Anthony and he would cause them trouble; for this reason we wish to fight entirely by ourselves, on the basis of our rights as an independent monastery, without raising any question as to the character or motives of Vladika Anthony.

But to you we speak frankly: Vladika Anthony, under the guise of outward correctness and good form, is a “quencher of the spirit.” Vladika Nektary was here last week, and he told us: “You are fortunate that you have someone to complain to; I have no one. But if you only knew what a gnawing frustration he instills in me....” Vladika Anthony is an excellent “peacemaker,” but he crushes every good initiative. Vladika Nektary wanted to do something about Alaska, travel there, etc. — but Vladika Anthony forbade it outright. We gave Fr. Alexei Poluektov the text — smuggled out of the Soviet Union by a Catacomb nun — of an akathist to St. Nina which apparently exists no where else in the free world; Vladika A. heard of it and exclaimed: “it must be approved,” and he took it and it was never seen again. Even the Service to St. John of Tobolsk — which Vladika John served for many years — was printed in Blagovestnik without Vladika As knowing of it, and he forbade the last part of it to be printed — on the grounds that it was never “approved.” Vladika A., when he first came to San Francisco, said he would continue everything started by Vladika John; but he forbade the Liturgy to be served in the Sepulchre more than once a year, and the people in the Archbishop John Society tell us that Vladika A. is not devoted to the memory of Vladika John and they feel he is a foreigner. Laurence Campbell, I believe, grasped exactly Vladika As psychology when he recently told us: Vladika A. does not encourage veneration of Vladika John because he still has many enemies and thus Vladika A. regards his memory as a divisive factor in his diocese. Vladika A. deliberately omits the name of Fr. Neketas Palassis from the Jordanville calender of clergy because, he told us in December, “we don’t want to irritate Athenagoras”! And a few weeks ago Deacon Nicholas Porshnikov visited us and told us straight: “Vladika A. has killed my spiritual life” — that, of course, is an exaggeration, because the Deacon himself should be doing something about it, but it has meaning when you contrast it with another statement he made to us several years ago: “Vladika John saved me; without his encouragement and pushing me to be a Deacon, I probably wouldn’t be in the Church at all today” — that is all the difference between a bishop who inspires and a bishop who stifles the soul under the form of external correctness.

It does not require much imagination to see what will happen to us if we accept Vladika As “coup” over us. All our “peculiarities” as an independent monastic institution will be abolished. Already when Vladika A. serves here he forbids mentioning “Orthodox Kings” in the troparion to the Cross; “the Synod has approved another text” — but Vladika John left us another tradition which almost no one but us is keeping; our right to follow the Spruce Island tradition of celebrating a second feast to St. Herman on Nov. 15 will doubtless be abolished as an example of “self-will”; if Vlad. A. ever becomes aware of how much we are “irritating Athenagoras” in The Orthodox Word, that will have to be censured out; any special veneration of Vladika John, especially in Russian, will be blocked as too “controversial”; etc., etc., etc. If we give one inch in the beginning, we will end with a completely soulless and pointless “obedience” which has no ability to inspire anyone else. Lev and Vasya are returning to America in May and will probably come here — frankly, we think they fit here, and they seem to have no other place, and their spirits could well be quenched and their service to the Church wiped out if they don’t find their place; but do you thing Vladika A. could understand that, or care? Laurence Campbell visited us last weekend and told us of the uninspired and uninspiring condition of church life in the midst of the city; and we were horrified most of all that souls are thirsting and perishing and almost no one cares; even the clergy and shepherds are minding their own business or “establishing monasteries” (by force!) for the glory of the diocese without even seeing these perishing souls. We are content to let the world bury its dead; but Vladika John gave us a spark and a mission, and we will be faithful to that even to death.

As you see, we speak to you with absolute frankness. Our eyes have been opened, and we are absolutely resolved not to fall into the hands of a man who only wants to use us for his grandiose external plans. We are acting with great sorrow and heaviness of heart, with all love and pity for our Archbishop, but with unflinching resolve.

Since our last letter to you we have become much calmer and much firmer. All the events of Christmas are of minor importance beside the main issue: are we to continue independent, in the tradition and with the blessing of Vladika John, or do we become the slaves of someone who thinks only of the Church’s outward prosperity and success and probably thinks he is assuring us a good “career” in the Church? In spite of everything, we will follow Vladika John, and if need be we will flee completely to the wilderness or become “fools” in order to remain faithful to Vladika John.

In these last months we have been very conscious of how close God is to us. On Feb. 1 we finished the Canonization issue with Daniel Olson’s help (another one who fits very well with us but would wither away under Vladika A.!), and no sooner had we returned from delivering the issue to the Post Office and seeing off Daniel, then immediately our truck broke down and would not move an inch. We thanked God and began carrying water a half mile from a newly-discovered spring (not on our property) and carrying mail, groceries, and gasoline up hill from town on foot — very difficult, but good for us. Then, in the middle of the new OW, our generator broke, and Fr. Herman for the first time heard me fall close to despondency: “maybe what we’re doing is not right, after all” — but in 24 hours Deacon Nicholas arrived with two mechanics (without knowing about our desperate plight), fixed our truck enough to take it back to San Francisco for major repairs, and left us another truck on which we took the generator to be repaired, and just now mailed the new OW. But then again in Redding the Post Office inspectors discovered a technicality according to which we cannot have a 2nd Class Mailing Permit unless we open an office in Redding; but this has resulted now in a change whereby we will mail here in Platina instead of Redding (assuming everything is approved by the Post Office bureaucrats). And then last Wednesday we received Vladika As Ukase — but in 24 hours Vladika Nektary arrived with the Kursk Icon, which he allowed us to carry around our mountain, and we received Holy Communion from the Reserved Gifts.

Therefore, in spite of our troubles, we are bold and joyful; for truly God and His saints are with us.

Our next step will depend on Vladika Laurus’ practical advice as to what we should do next. We hope to speak at length with Vladika Nektary when he comes to celebrate Liturgy for us in the next week or so, and also with our Starets, Archimandrite Spyridon, who wants to serve on Annunciation (or, we hope, Pascha itself), and then we will act. We will probably call you after receiving a reply from Vladika Laurus.

Please forgive our frankness; but we are sure you understand the spirit in which this is written. How we wish we could talk to you. So much has happened in this last year, and so much has become clearer — by the prayers of St. Herman and Vladika John, we are sure. Pray for us,> dear Father. Enclosed is a question sheet on manuscripts, which we hope you will be able to answer.

With love in Christ our Saviour.



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
073. March 12/25, 1971. St. Theophanes the Confessor
Your Grace, Dear Vladika Laurus,
Bless us, Vladika! Evlogeite!

We hasten to inform you of an extremely serious situation which has arisen with us, and which already threatens the whole future of the missionary work which we have conducted now for seven years. We beg you to give us your help and advice. We are writing in English, inasmuch as that is the language of our publications and our everyday life, and because our whole existence is for the sake of English-speaking people, above all Americans, who form the majority of our 1500 subscribers.

First we should tell you that we are laboring to the best of our strength in the monastic life, rejoicing in God’s great mercy in granting us to wear the angelic habit. The trials that have come upon us since we received the monastic tonsure we understand and accept as a part of the hard and narrow path of Christs Cross which we have taken on ourselves, and not for a moment have we regretted receiving the tonsure.

Please read what follows not as any kind of “complaint” — for we are not protesting against any individual act, and we are not in any immediate trouble — but rather as a statement of principle concerning the nature of our existence as an organization within the Russian Church Outside of Russia. However, we must tell you at the very beginning that our Archbishop Anthony does not understand this principle and in fact is trying to substitute for it his own plans, and in a very short time, if we do not act very soon, his misunderstanding will lead to a crisis that could bring an end to The Orthodox Word and to our work in the name of St. Herman. The Synod itself has acknowledged the value of our missionary work, and we are therefore all the more certain that to preserve this work we must act decisively, even if by this we must incur the anger — which we believe would be completely unjustified — of our Archbishop.

Already before our tonsure we had occasion to believe that Vladika Anthony was beginning to form unrealistic ideas about us, and we sent you a copy of our letter to him in which we tried to give him a more realistic picture of us. To this he replied with a letter saying that he fully understood and agreed with us and would apply no “episcopal coercion” of any kind on us. We had complete trust in Vladika Anthony and thought that he did understand us. We had made clear to him that whatever official status we might have (whether as a “monastery” or not), we could only operate with complete independence from the local Diocesan Bishop, just like our monasteries in Jordanville and Boston, and he readily agreed with us, telling us that one of us would have to be the Head. We informed him that we were preparing our Rule and would present it to him by St. Herman’s feast day in December, to which he also agreed. We realize now that in order to obtain the status that was necessary for us we should have appealed directly to the Synod instead of allowing our local Bishop to be intermediary for us; but such was our trust of Vladika Anthony that, even though we did not know all that he was doing and saying at the Synod, we had no suspicions whatsoever that any kind of misunderstanding would arise later.

On the day of our tonsure, October 14/27, we heard for the first time that the Synod had blessed the opening of the St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage, which we accepted with joy, and also that Vladika Anthony had been appointed Head (“for the time being”) — which upset us very much. But we still did not understand what was happening, and we waited for the Synod’s Ukase to see exactly what it said. For the next two months we were extremely busy with the Canonization Issue of The Orthodox Word, with difficulties caused by bad weather, etc., and we did not find out anything more definite until Christmas, when we went to San Francisco. At the end of December we saw the Synod’s Ukase for the first time, and then at Christmas we were subjected by Vladika Anthony to a terrifying “inquisition” lasting several hours, in which when we tried to make clear our position he merely threatened us with his rights as “Head” of our monastery (all the way to supervising our daily correspondence), telling us that an independent or stavropignialny status for us is “out of the question” and that we had no right to write a Rule for our own monastery, but that he would give us one. If we do not agree to all this, he told us, we are guilty of “self-will” and “disobedience.” After this we were completely shocked and shattered and did not know what to do. For several nights we could not sleep, and we thought of writing to you and a few other of our friends in the clergy; but we were in such a state of shock that we really did not know what to say, and we were afraid that our letter would merely sound like another “complaint,” of which you probably already see too many. Also, we simply could not believe what had happened, and we waited for some written document from Vladika Anthony that would give us something definite to act on. We are very glad that we waited before writing to you, because now we have a written document to base ourselves on, and in the 2 1/2 months that have passed since our last meeting with Vladika Anthony we have gotten over our shock and are able to think and act clearly and calmly, without any agitation in our souls and without any bad feelings against Vladika Anthony. In spite of everything, we have the utmost respect and love for him, especially because of all that he has done for the canonization of our patron, St. Herman; we have no intention of questioning or disturbing his legitimate ecclesiastical authority, and it is only with the greatest sorrow and heaviness of heart that we are now about to undertake those steps which will preserve our independence from him. However, this is an obligation which we owe, not only to our own work, but to Vladika Anthony; because before God he cannot take responsibility for an activity he is not familiar with, in a language he does not know.

Enclosed is a copy of Vladika Anthony’s Ukase of Feb. 25/Mar. 10, which we received last week, and which makes clear what he thinks he has done: he has opened a Diocesan monastery with himself as Head, and we are in absolute obedience to him.

Dear Vladika: you know us as loyal sons of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, in everything obedient to lawful ecclesiastical authority, not in the least inclined to “rebellion” of any kind, and that in The Orthodox Word we have defended the Synod and every one of its bishops with such firmness and devotion that it is no exaggeration to say that a large number of our readers look up to the bishops of the Synod with extreme respect, as virtually the only pillars of Orthodoxy and true bishops in the world today. Further, we must tell you that so far Vladika Anthony has not given us any specific “obedience” against which we protest; therefore, we repeat, this is not a letter of “complaint,” and Vladika Anthony himself could not give you any case where we have disobeyed him.

The question, therefore, is much bigger: the whole organization of the “St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage” was devised entirely without us, who are its only members, and now that we see what is involved we must decisively declare: the Ukase of Vladika Anthony establishing a Diocesan monastery with himself as Head, is not acceptable to us and we do not accept it. Not only in principle must we oppose a Diocesan monastery which cannot preserve the independence that is absolutely necessary for a work such as ours, but we have discovered to our great sorrow that Vladika Anthony himself is a man we cannot and do not trust. He has badly deceived us — of which, perhaps, he is not even aware, for we now suspect that he has never even listened to what we have told him, but always had in mind his own completely different plans for his own monastery — and he is now trying to force us to accept what he has accomplished by his deception for the sake of obedience.

But such “obedience” — for the sake of a worldly end — is very clearly spiritually illegitimate. We are the disciples of Vladika John, who blessed and inspired our work from the very beginning and, we firmly believe, is with us now in spirit; it is to his blessing, in fact, that we ascribe entirely whatever success we have had so far. And from him we have learned: above canons, church discipline, etc., comes the spirit. If by obedience, by faithfulness to the letter of canons, or by any other thing good in itself, the spirit of a man is crushed and is extinguished, then there is something terribly wrong. Vladika Anthony has already accused us of a tendency to “disobedience” and “self-will” — and, while admitting that we are in all ways sinful, we can only say that in the present case these accusations are beside the point. Before such virtues as obedience have any meaning, they must have a place in a definite context, in a common task, in a fruitful work. Such a context would be, for example, a monastery with a Elder responsible for the souls of everyone living in it (such as Fr. Panteleimon’s monastery in Boston), or an established working monastery such as Jordanville; in our case, the context is The Orthodox Word and our missionary printing labors, which for seven years now we have followed with great labor and sacrifice, in everything being obedient to the Church and to each other, so that never did one of us exercise his “own will,” obeying rather each other and the common task that united us. Without this we would never have survived; but with this and the blessing of Vladika John we have survived this long and now seem called by the Church to expand our work and bring forth greater fruits.

But now Vladika Anthony, not knowing our work (he does not read The Orthodox Word and knows almost nothing of the American mission) is trying to impose his own “work” upon us — a “monastery” governed by him from San Francisco, where one of the “obediences” at the present time happens to be the printing of The Orthodox Word. But since he does not know us or our work, all of his plans and Ukases are based purely on external appearances — on what kind of role it looks as though we could play in his diocese, or (he used these exact words with us once) on “what will they think at the Synod?” We tell you frankly, Vladika: this is not serious; it is some kind of game with him, enforced precisely through the “episcopal coercion” he promised he would never use on us, and the result is precisely that it harms our common work and instills in us such a sense of gnawing, inner frustration that if it is allowed to continue it will completely destroy our missionary work and extinguish the spark, the spirit, that Holy Orthodoxy has given us, and that Vladika John knew how to fan into a flame of desire to serve the Holy Church. Perhaps that flame is weak in us, but it exists, and it is quite possible for it to be extinguished.

It is not our intention to start a fight, or to force anyone to accept our word against Vladika Anthony’s — because undoubtedly he will have a completely different version or interpretation of everything that has happened to us. We can only make it clear that, whatever may have happened in the past, in the future we can have no tie with Vladika Anthony: he cannot be any part of our monastery (if the Synod affirms that we are a monastery), and our monastery cannot be a Diocesan institution. If Vladika Anthony has opened a monastery, we are not a part of it. We promised obedience to him, “God helping us,” and in our conscience we cannot believe that God will help us to destroy the blessing of Vladika John and that small beginning of service to the Holy Church that we have begun with his blessing. Doubtless Vladika Anthony thinks we are inexperienced and he must “take us in his hands” and “make something of us” for the sake of the growth of the monastery. We have our own candidates who may in future be joining us — but if Vladika Anthony is to be our Head, we must tell them to stay away or go elsewhere, rather than to become a part of his totally unrealistic plans. And we will tell you frankly: Vladika Anthony has no one who would be interested in joining “his” monastery, and in fact that is why he has to act through us.

All of this is probably shocking to you, and you may wish to advise us to be patient, to accept what ever Vladika Anthony imposes on us for the sake of obedience, or to try to “negotiate” or “compromise” with him. But we tell you firmly: no compromise is possible. Vladika Anthony does not listen to us, and in fact he thinks we have no right to tell him anything. He has already shown us his intentions, and as long as he has any direct authority over us we will be filled with mistrust, suspicion, and gnawing frustration. These are the fruit, not of legitimate authority, but of usurpation.

However, we will listen most carefully to whatever you may advise us to do. In particular, we beg you to help us with practical advice: how can we achieve our independence? We wish henceforth to talk with the Synod not through the intermediary of Vladika Anthony, but directly. Should we appeal to be declared a stavropignialny monastery? We had always thought it too far above us even to be called a “monastery,” but the Synod has already approved this in principle, and Vladika Anthony still thinks highly enough of us to appoint one of us as Blagochinny. Or, if the Synod will not bless us as a monastery, what status can we have directly dependent on the Synod? We do not ask anything “special,” but only that status Fr. Panteleimons monastery and Jordanville have enjoyed from the beginning: independence, not for the sake of self-will, but for the sake of the common work which the Synod has already blessed. You and others among the bishops and clergy know both us and our work far better than Vladika Anthony does

In the meantime, we urgently request of you:
(1) Not to sign any documents about us based on material coming to the Synod through Vladika Anthony;
(2) If Vladika Anthony’s Ukase of Feb. 25/Mar. 10 is going to be published in Orthodox Russia or elsewhere, please try to stop it, as it does not correspond to reality and will only cause trouble if it becomes widely known.

Please do not think that we are despondent. We are in good spirits, even though we are quite worried about our future. This attack upon us has convinced us more than ever that we are doing a God-pleasing work and it has strengthened our resolve to continue and stand firm in it. Our few months of monastic life have already given us so many trials and temptations — yet in every one of them Gods help has been close, and we only marvel at how close God is to us. Our last trial began when we received Vladika Anthony’s Ukase last week, and we were very much troubled — but in less than 24 hours, completely unexpectedly, Vladika Nektary and Fr. Boris came with the Kursk Icon, and our trouble was turned into joy and the certain realization that God is with us!

And now we approach the difficult time ahead as a literal Golgotha — for we fully expect Vladika Anthony to be furious when he finds out what we are trying to do, and he will doubtless do everything against us that he can. But at the same time we rejoice, knowing that the sufferings before us are much less than our sins deserve, that only from such a narrow and difficult path can spiritual fruits come forth, and that in everything God and His saints — St. Herman and Vladika John — are with us.

A final point: in Vladika Anthony’s Ukase the name of our Staretz, Archimandrite Spyridon, is mentioned. We are on the best of terms with him and we would hope that after, God willing, we achieve our independence, he will continue as our Staretz. But in the meantime, for obvious reasons, we do not want to involve him in our difficulties, and so we emphasize that the responsibility for this letter and for everything we may do in future rests solely with the two of us.

We ask your holy prayers and will welcome your advice. Please be assured that we will not do anything rash, and will act only after having consulted others among the clergy who know us well.

With love and respect in Christ our Saviour,
Monk Herman Monk Seraphim

THE ORTHODOX WORD
Orthodox Christian Books and Icons
PLATINA, CALIFORNIA 96076



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
072. February 26, 1971

The Minister of the Interior
Government of Greece
Stadiou and Dragatsaniou Sts.
Athens, Greece

Your Excellency:

We have heard that the Archimandrite Cyprian Koutsoumbas has been reduced to the lay state by the official Church of Greece. We beg you to use your authority to protect him and his priesthood against any act of violence from the official Church of the Government.

In America we know Archimandrite Cyprian Koutsoumbas as a highly respected priest of the Old Calendarist jurisdiction, which is recognized by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church Outside of Russia and many bishops outside of Greece. We, in common with many Orthodox Christians in America, wish to believe that the Greek Government will respect the sincere religious convictions of those in Greece who have separated for canonical reasons and for reasons of conscience from the official Church, and will allow Father Cyprian to freely practice his Orthodox faith and exercise his priesthood without interference from the Government.

If, despite our hope, Archimandrite Cyprian should be subjected to any kind of violence on the part of the Church or Government, we and many thousands of Orthodox Christians outside of Greece can only regard this as an ACT OF PERSECUTION against the true Orthodox Church and faithful, about which we would be obliged to inform the readers of our Magazine.

With respect Seraphim, Monk
Herman, Monk

Editors, The Orthodox Word



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
071. Jan. 31/Feb. 13, 1971. Sts. Kyr and John
Dear Sister in Christ, Catherine,

Many thanks for your letter of a month or more ago. It's a comfort to us whenever we get a live response from out there in the somewhat indefinite region of American Orthodoxy. Our whole purpose is to keep up contact and mutual inspiration among the isolated Orthodox “sparks” out of which, God willing, the flame of genuine American Orthodoxy will blaze up.

Where do you go to church when you can go? Do you have contact with Fr. Michael Azkoul in St. Louis? He’s probably our closest English-speaking priest to you. Right now he’s building a congregation starting from the living room of Dr. John Johnstone.

I hope our latest Orthodox Word will make up a little for your having missed the canonization of St. Herman.

The Pryzbylski's, as I recall, recently subscribed on their own.

Please keep in contact with us, at least occasionally and keep us informed on the state of Orthodoxy in the great Midwest. And pray for the sinful monks Herman and

Seraphim, Monk



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
070. Jan. 23/Feb. 5, 1971. Priest-Martyr Clement
Dear Sister in Christ, Nina [Kojevnikov],

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ! I was glad to receive your letter — not because I have any particular means to help you, but because all of us who have been baptized in Jesus Christ are one in Him, and it is our joyful duty to bear one another’s burdens, as the Apostle Paul tells us. This is all the more true of me, since I myself have gone through somewhat the same experience you seem to be going through. Coming from a Protestant background, I rejected it completely and became an agnostic and atheist, and then started searching for some meaning to life in various philosophies and Eastern religions, until I finally came to the point where I thought there was no meaning to life at all, and I wondered why I should keep on living. And then I went for the first time to a Russian Orthodox Church, and something in my soul responded to this, and I began a gradual but sure recovery from my spiritual disease of despair and lack of faith.

Many people today say that God has turned away from us and does not listen to us. But I have found that just the opposite is true: it is we who have turned away from God and followed vain philosophies and our own selfish desires. But God remains always the same and is always ready to receive us with great love.

Right now you probably feel that there is no hope for you. This may be very painful for you, but it is actually a good sign — if only you do not give up but continue to beg God’s mercy. Real spiritual death is the state where one no longer desires God or feels anxious because of not having His grace, but instead is satisfied with those worldly things which actually separate us from God — wealth, honors, and the rest. Because you are anxious and unhappy — that means you are still alive spiritually, and there is indeed hope.

However, do not expect any sudden light, revelation, or whatever. True faith comes from a small seed which is planted in our hearts by God Himself, and which is nourished and gradually grows through God’s grace and through our own actions which are in accordance with His commandments and the tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church, which has been given by the Holy Spirit and handed down to us through our Holy Fathers.

You do not say what you are doing in trying to open the door of faith, and so here I will give you a suggestion: God is everywhere and sees and hears everything; therefore you do not need to cry out to him loudly or dramatically — but you must be persistent. The seed of faith which you have within you will sprout and grow only if you water and tend it every day, and not just when you feel like it. Therefore:

(1) Every morning just after getting up and every night before going to bed you should read the morning and evening prayers in the Orthodox prayer book — at least the opening prayer “O Heavenly King” (where we call on the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us) and a few of the other prayers. (If you do not have a prayer book, tell me and I will get you one.) Say a brief prayer also for those who are close to you, asking God to preserve and save them; and for those who have died, asking God to grant them eternal rest. And add a prayer in your own words for your present situation: О Lord, grant me faith in Thee and set me on the path of salvation — or something like that. Even 5 minutes in the morning and evening of such prayer, spoken from your heart, will begin to open the door of faith for you.

(2) Read every day at least a chapter or even a few verses from the Four Gospels: begin with the first chapter of St. Matthew and read all the way through the book of St. John, and then start all over again. The whole foundation of our salvation is there in the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and it is there that you will learn to love Him and have faith in Him.

(3) We have already sent you (after Mrs. [Tania] Blinoff told us about you) the book Unseen Warfare. Try to read a little of it every day too, if possible, for it tells about the spiritual warfare which is the whole meaning of our existence on earth.

Do not read any books on “spirituality” by Catholics, Protestants, psychologists, or anyone who is not Orthodox, because they will only mix you up. There may be wisdom or insights in some of these, but only in our Orthodox Faith is there to be found the whole path of salvation, the infallible way of coming to God. Many people spend a lifetime trying to find what is only to be found in the Orthodox Church; but God has granted you the good fortune of being born in His Holy Church, and you only need to return to what is yours already. Even I, from a Protestant background, felt that I had “come home” when I found Holy Orthodoxy; how much more you will feel the same way when faith begins truly to grow within you.

When you pray, please pray for the sinful monks Herman and Seraphim, who are trying to serve God in the monastic calling. Please write again, and feel free to ask any questions, and I will try my best to answer them.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Monk Seraphim


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
069. Jan. 4/17, 1971. The 70 Apostles
Dear Father in Christ, Panteleimon,
Evlogeite!

The spiritual bond between you and your Synodia and our small Brotherhood has always been most close. Years ago you offered us refuge if we should ever need it, and we offered the same to you when you came and saw for yourself the wilderness which God and Vladika John have given into our keeping. And so now we turn to you before anyone else in a time of great trial and crisis for us, begging your counsel and your prayers. We will also consult with several of the Russian clergy (bishops) before making any decisive step, but your advice will be of especial value to us, inasmuch as our very existence is for the sake of the American Orthodox Mission. And we feel most strongly that at this moment our existence is in grave danger.

The danger before us is by no means a new one in the history of the Church; it concerns the independence of a monastery in the face of the power of the local bishop. I will give you a rather detailed account of the events of the past months so that you can get as full a picture as possible of our situation.

In several brief meetings with our Archbishop Anthony in the months before our tonsure, the subject of our status after tonsure was discussed in rather general and indefinite terms. I was a little disturbed even then that on two occasions Vladika took Fr. Herman aside to speak to him privately on these matters (undoubtedly because he is Russian and thus easier to communicate with), because in everything we have done we have always acted together and in absolute unanimity, doing nothing without the other's blessing. But such was our trust and confidence in Vladika Anthony, and our sense of the blessing and presence of Vladika John and the rightness of our path (on which we have been led quite beyond our own will and our own powers), that we could not harbor suspicions of any kind right up to the day of our tonsure. We were aware that Vladika Anthony was to be, purely formally and temporarily, our “Abbot” for the sake of tonsuring us, and that then or soon he was to appoint one of us to this position, as he had promised. This also we did not especially welcome, but we understood that once a “monastery” was organized (which we had not asked for; we only asked Vladika to tonsure us, being afraid of too grandiose ideas) some kind of “Abbot” was of course required, although our principle of mutual counsel would continue as before. Then, shortly before our tonsure Vladika Anthony shocked us by inquiring whether we would consider moving away to some place with water and conveniences for the sake of those who would join us; and we were hard pressed to get Vladika to see that there was no one in sight who was about to join us, and that in any case it would not be water and conveniences that would attract like-minded people, not to mention the fact that it was due to the evident help of Vladika John, after our fervent prayer to him, that we obtained this land. We were so concerned over Vladika Anthony’s seemingly unrealistic plans for us that we immediately wrote him a letter explaining our position more fully (we sent a copy of this letter to Bishop Laurus); and he replied in writing with seeming understanding and with the statement that he would apply no “episcopal pressure” of any kind on us.

Finally, the day of our tonsure arrived, and we cannot doubt that God’s blessing led us to this decisive act of our lives, truly a second baptism. After the tonsure Vladika Anthony announced the opening (by Synodal Ukase) of the St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage, with himself as Abbot for the time being. His title was proclaimed by the deacon during several ektanias, which made us, despite ourselves, a little uneasy. Then, after the trapeza, he announced, in the presence of Vladika Nektary and our Staretz, Fr. Spyridon, that both of us were to be ordained hieromonks within five days. This caused astonishment to both of us, as we thought that Vladika had informed us that this question would not be raised for some time. In our present state of overwork and with no place to serve Liturgy during the winter (our church is not even half finished), the question was impractical in any case, and such a rapid and radical change of our status we felt to be a threat to what we already had. Our urgent plea to be allowed to establish ourselves in the monastic life finally dissuaded Vladika, although he was greatly displeased and announced that he felt personally offended, but that our “disobedience” might be spiritually beneficial for us. Vladika Nektary comforted us after this incident, and indeed came to our defense in front of Vladika.

In the three months since then we have been hard at work preparing and printing our canonization issue of The Orthodox Word in the face of cold weather, much snow, and mechanical difficulties. We are quite aware that the monastic life is not supposed to be easy, and also that we must be prepared to accept responsibilities that we would frankly rather avoid — for our very status as a missionary monastery is an open invitation to American truth-seekers and would-be monks to come and disturb our blessed peace and quiet, even if only to find out how unworthy we are. Whether God will bless a larger or smaller missionary community here, or whether we will remain two “crazy monks in the forest,” we are prepared to accept anything that God sends us in furtherance of the cause which Vladika John blessed and which brought us here: the mission of the Orthodox printed word, especially in English.

On the day before Christmas, much against our own inclination, we left on a 3-day trip to San Francisco to fulfill what we felt to be our obligations: to receive Holy Communion on the feast day, to pay our respects to the Archbishop, to visit Marina (who for months has urgently wanted to talk to me about her troubles of the last months, most of which you know about) and Mrs. Kontzevitch (who needed to talk to Fr. Herman), and to pay a brief visit to our mothers in Monterey. We left only with much forcing of our will, because the moment we left our Hermitage we felt extremely unsafe and uneasy, and the very thought that we would have to appear in church before everyone, wearing our mantias (which we thought was required of us) persuaded us that we were simply hypocrites who were going to show ourselves off and therefore increase the totally unjustified and unrealistic awe and respect which many people in San Francisco (who are far away and so respect the idea behind us without seeing our many faults and sins at close range), apparently have for us. The warning of the Saviour, “Beware when all men shall think well of you,” has long troubled us.

After stopping in Redding to pick up a metal part which we had ordered to replace a part of our printing press that had broken a few days earlier, we passed through Berkeley and stopped there to see if we could drive Mrs. Kontzevitch to church in San Francisco. She was already waiting for a ride with someone else, and so we spent a brief hour with her before going to San Francisco, where we arrived only in time for the beginning of the Vigil service, without being able to stop first and pay our respects to the Archbishop, as we had hoped, knowing that he is rather sensitive about such things. After entering the Cathedral, we immediately went into the Altar and received the Archbishop’s blessing. After the service he asked us if we would stay with him, and we replied that we would be staying with Deacon Nicholas Porshnikov, as we always do (reading our rule of prayer together with him), making a particular point of trying to nourish the spark which he has within him and which could, God willing, become a flame of great service to Christs Church. He too has an exaggerated opinion of us, but we feel responsible for him in that he has told us more than once that the very idea of our existence in the wilderness is the one thing that keeps him alive in the face of what he finds an extremely discouraging time. He told us long ago that Vladika Anthony had destroyed the spark within him, but we attributed this to his immaturity and emotional temperament; in recent months he has served only rarely, and the fact that he served at the canonization and several times recently in the new Cathedral is owing chiefly if not entirely to us.

On Christmas morning we attended the early Liturgy, as we have always done in the past (except for the day of canonization, when we attended both Liturgies), and had hoped to leave right away for Monterey; but Marina had persuaded us to have lunch at her house, and then we hoped to see Vladika briefly. From Marinas I called Vladika at his upstairs phone, and received no answer; as it turned out, he was apparently downstairs where I somehow didn’t even think of calling. Therefore, as it was already almost dark, we decided to go to Monterey and return by noon the next day to see Vladika on the way back to Platina. We read the Vespers service in the car on the way.

On leaving Monterey in the morning (neither of our mothers had given us any difficulties at all, at which we marveled and thought: our trip has been too smooth, probably Vladika will give us trouble!) we stopped at the St. Seraphim church, where Fr. Gregory was about to begin the Liturgy. We talked with him for a few minutes and then left, anxious to get to Vladika in San Francisco by noon.

Dear Father, please forgive me for burdening you with all these details; but perhaps you will be able to see in some of them where our heart and soul are and give us a word of advice. Here we are alone. We have our Russian friends and advisers among the clergy, but they do not see us as we really are, but place us in some Russian frame of reference which does not encompass that mission to which God has evidently called us and Vladika John blessed. Please be patient!

Already before we left Monterey, Laurence Campbell had called me and warned me that Vladika Anthony was extremely angry at us, and that to his (Laurence's) great disturbance Vladika was saying things about us which did not seem at all true or fair. At any rate, we were at least a little prepared for what followed.

Shortly after noon we arrived to find Vladika at trapeza. He received us with extreme coldness, and none of us said more than a word or two while eating.

Then he called us to his quarters — rather, he called Fr. Herman, and had me sit below for two hours alone. At this I was extremely upset, and imagined to myself that my brother was sitting upstairs being subjected to all the tricks of Russian psychology in order to force him into some kind of breakdown — for what crimes and to what purpose I did not know, knowing only that I would be expected meekly to accept the result, as an American “without rights.” My imaginings, it turned out, were precisely correct. I have not prayed so hard, especially to our Vladika John in front of his kellia, in many, many months. I looked at the portrait of the Tsar-Martyr and begged him to help us too! It was evident immediately that a powerful monastic temptation had struck us; and while rejoicing that our path was now not too smooth, that at least someone was no longer “thinking well” of us, I already feared for the very existence of our young Hermitage and of our entire work.

After two hours I was ushered upstairs to hear the rather quiet conclusion of the whole event. Vladika informed me that he was very disappointed in us because we did not see him first to receive his blessing to go to Marinas, to Monterey, etc., because we wore our mantias (not proper for visiting monks) — for which he thought of depriving us of them for a while so we would not show them off — because we did not attend the late Liturgy so that people (and he himself) could look at us, because we went to confession to our former secular priest instead of visiting our Starets in Palo Alto, not to mention lesser transgressions such as not staying with him, etc. To this I begged forgiveness, as Fr. Herman had done. But one other point astonished me: he complained of recently receiving a letter from us in which (as we had orally agreed with him months before) we spoke of presenting the Rule of our Hermitage for his approval, and we apologized for not presenting it by Dec. 12/25 as we had promised. He told us now that it was not for us to present our Rule to him, but for him to give us a Rule. In conclusion he had decided that he had misplaced his confidence in us and had mistakenly tonsured us without sufficient trial, and that now he would have to see how we pass through his trials of us. He then smiled, gave us a cake and two bottles of wine, and blessed us to leave.

From Fr. Herman I learned that in the preceding two hours Vladika had indeed played fully on the Russian psychology, had shouted, bullied, pointed out the monastic vows accused him of disobedience to his Abbot, using crude language and telling him that he had not been “tonsured in a barbershop,” and in general brought Fr. Herman to tears and breakdown in front of him. Finally Fr. Herman in desperation replied to Vladika in the same manner, and to his dismay he found that Vladika liked this kind of combat and in general gave the impression of “playing” at being Abbot and threatening with his authority, etc. In substance Fr. Herman protested that Vladika had blessed us as an independent church organization and should leave us alone, to which Vladika loudly stated: “I will not leave you alone!” And he proceeded to tell him of those monastic obediences which we should owe him as Abbot: not to write anyone or invite anyone to come to us without his blessing, to sign over our property to him, to have our publications supervised by him, etc. etc.

Dear Father, I can only say that from this meeting I have received one of the greatest disillusionments of my life, and both Fr. Herman and I have been given a wound that will last all our lives. I cannot say that we had not been warned. Vladika Nektary had warned us that Vladika Anthony will allow no individual initiative within his Archdiocese and that he feels himself to be his slave, and that his attempt to take away Vladika Nektary's podvorye had so exasperated Vladika Nektary that he had replied to him: “You can talk about this to my lawyer.” Father Alexei Poluektov had told us of his extremely bitter experience with him in his own parish, and how under the guise of “confirming” the printed word he has been smothering Fr. Alexeis own printing activity, taking and keeping manuscripts without further word. Deacon Nicholas Porshnikov had described his own unpleasant experience which had completely destroyed his trust in his own Archbishop. And others had warned us in the most alarming terms, even telling us not to put our fingers in his mouth or “he will bite them off.” All these warnings we attributed to the particular circumstances of these individuals, and our trust in our Archbishop did not waver. Now this trust and confidence has been completely and absolutely shattered. Perhaps we know nothing of monasticism, but we nonetheless firmly believe that in the Church of Christ a legitimate chastisement from ones ecclesiastical superiors should be carried out in mutual trust and end in a peaceful state for all concerned; I myself was on several occasions chastised by Vladika John and always felt the rightness of the chastisement and benefitted from it. But for over a week now we are completely upset and almost despair over our very future and the future of The Orthodox Word.

Dear Father, please understand that our concern is not that we have been chastised for our monastic transgressions; whether justly or unjustly accused of them, we will gladly bow down in obedience to our Archbishop, who indeed tonsured us, and follow his advice in future trips to San Francisco. Further, our concern is not that in administering this chastisement to us our Archbishop used means which we feel to be utterly wrong and extremely painful to us, and which have only served to undermine and destroy the mutual trust and confidence which existed between us until now. This is a secondary and transitory matter, even though it has left a deep scar in both of us. And we have no personal feelings whatever against our Archbishop, and no desire to cause him any trouble or shake his legitimate authority in any way. We understand also that Vladika Anthony had only the highest motives in all that he said to us: to uphold his own authority and to apply a chastisement in order to make “real monks” of us (in his own understanding!); he even told us that one day we would be in his position and administering the same kind of chastisement to others — to which Fr. Herman cried out from his heart: “God forbid!”

Rather, what we are deeply concerned about is that this incident has revealed Vladika Anthony’s hitherto hidden idea of what we are as a church organization; perhaps, indeed, he used this incident as a pretext to make this known to us. Vladika Anthony believes — in complete contradiction of our oral understanding with him before our tonsure that we are simply monks in absolute dependence on and obedience to him alone as “abbot.” But this conception of our Hermitage can result in nothing but the total destruction of what we have built up for seven years now, and it is based on nothing but the Archbishop’s own purely external preconceptions of us.

In Vladika Anthony’s conception our Hermitage is evidently a Diocesan institution of which Vladika is Abbot and dictator, and wherein nothing will be done without his express blessing. He himself, I believe, has only come to this conception gradually, through feeling out our weaknesses, and now he feels that the time has come to strike out for his conception. But now that we look back we can see many signs that very early Vladika Anthony did not see us for what we are and are doing, but that even then he was already fitting us into his own picture of what we should or could be in his Diocese. Thus, when we first told him of our plan to move to Platina he smiled and said: “I am not against having a monastery in my Diocese.” On the day of our tonsure, when he could not persuade us to accept priesthood immediately, he shook his head and said: “But what am I going to say at the Synod?” — meaning obviously that he had already informed the Synod of his plans for us, which did not in the least correspond with our own ideas. (To this Vladika Nektary very sensibly told him: “Just tell the Synod the way it is; there should be no problem in that!” On that same day, just before the services and our tonsure (as if as a final temptation of the devil to dissuade us at the last moment from this decisive step) Vladika Nektary informed us that at the Synod and everywhere else everyone was talking about us, and report had it that we would be ordained priests within the week, would soon rise in the clergy ranks, and “you won't be here very long!” etc. etc. And what kind of spiritual picture must Vladika Anthony have of us if in October he considered mature enough to become immediately hieromonks (i.e., already spiritual fathers) and in January, for the sins which I enumerated above — which we, in spite of ourselves, cannot see as anything more than formal and external — he loses all trust in us and feels it needful to take us over completely?

Our own picture, which we have built up over seven years, is this: we must follow exactly the Synod s Ukase which founded our Hermitage: “to conduct in the monastic calling the very same missionary and publishing work which they have conducted up to this time.” There are only two changes in our present status: our Brotherhood has become a Hermitage, and we have entered the monastic calling. God willing, our missionary and publishing work will continue and expand, but it will do so only under the previously-existing conditions of independence and freedom. The Orthodox Word cannot be censored: Vladika John blessed us to print without censorship, and he only made occasional suggestions and we came to him on doubtful points. For the rest, we take most seriously into account your opinion and the opinion of other of our fathers and try to print nothing solely on our own authority. Even the Zeytoon article to which you took such exception we printed only after long talks with Archimandrite Cyprian of Jordanville, who really talked us into it and overcame our doubts; and Vladika Anthony himself looked at all the pictures in that article before the issue was printed. (At that time we did not even suspect the existence of a contrary opinion in the Greek press.) This is a policy of prudence and council and mutual trust, which censorship would utterly destroy. Again, to fulfill our monastic and missionary function we must be absolutely free and trusted to write to whom we feel the need, we must be able to tell anyone at a moment s notice to come here in time of trouble, we must have all authority to dismiss troublemakers, and in a word we cannot afford the idle luxury of waiting while someone 250 miles away, on the basis of opinion and hearsay, makes our decisions for us. There are at least 5 or 6 people to whom we have confidentially said: If ever you have trouble or need, this is a place of refuge for you. Now this would become impossible.

But of all this, as an abbot, you yourself are much more aware than we, and I write it down only to clarify my own thoughts.

Dear Father: You know us well enough to know that we are in all things obedient and respectful of legitimate ecclesiastical authority, and that we have never tried to impose any kind of authority over others (this if anything is our great weakness!) or seek for ourselves any kind of position or tide in the Church. But if it now comes down to practicing “humility” and “obedience” and allowing a complete outsider to take over and destroy our work, our conscience will not allow it. (Please tell us if we are wrong!) Vladika Anthony has never given any comments on The Orthodox Word and has told us that he does not read it; he knows nothing of our daily life or ride of prayer and asked nothing about these even on the day of tonsure, by which we assumed that he gave his blessing for us to continue as we are with full trust in us, our relation to him being exactly that of St. Sergius of Radonezh to the Abbot Metrophan who tonsured him and then left him alone in the wilderness; he knows nothing of Americans or of the needs of the American Mission and has never spoken to either of us about these things, even though the Synodal Gramota and Ukase have blessed us precisely as a “missionary” organization. In a word, he is not capable of assuming responsibility before God, as Abbot, of our work.

And worse, as we now see: he views everything in his Diocese precisely as a “Diocesan” activity for which he alone is responsible — and if we let him do it The Orthodox Word too would become a Diocesan publication, and there are already a number of articles which he would doubtless not have allowed us to print (for reasons of his personal taste) if he had been censoring us as he would now like to do.

We have thus been led into a situation where, in order to preserve our independence and continue our Orthodox Word as before, we will have sooner or later to show open “disobedience” to our Archbishop, insofar as he regards himself as our “Abbot.” And we believe that he, being of an extremely dominating character, will try to crush this “disobedience” even if he has to break us or destroy our work in doing it. I am not exaggerating! For Vladika Anthony there exists no other principle except the authority of the Archbishop. We had only to mention to him the word “Stavropignialny” in connection with the independence of our Hermitage to cause him to shout: “Too late! That will never be!”

Now you have the picture of the crisis which is upon us. In our minds there is only one way out, and that is to become absolutely independent of Archbishop Anthony Since the Synod (without our approval) has made him temporary Abbot, we will have to petition the Synod to let us have an abbot from among our own number, while granting us Stavropignialny status, dependent directly on the Synod. Before doing this we will have to do what, if we were wiser, we should have done before our tonsure: let Vladika Anthony know exactly how we regard ourselves, in writing; to which he will give us a reply which should state clearly enough how different his own conception of us is. The unfortunate part of this is that Vladika will most certainly not give up his hold over us without a fight; and since he occupies an important position on the Synod, we already have much against us. It should not be too difficult to paint a suitable picture of us: young, self-willed, proud, disobedient, untrustworthy, milk-drinking novices, etc. Our only defence will be people like you who know us and our work and can say a word for us — not to defend our words against an Archbishops words, but simply to speak of us as we are.

We are most eager to hear your comments and to have your advice. Now, as always before in our activities in the Church, we wish to act not on the basis solely of our own opinion, but with the counsel of others wiser than we. Also, any advice you might give us as to the form or content of a petition to the Synod, as well as of the Rule which we should submit to the Synod, would be most welcome. Your monastery is the model which we wish to follow for our own “American monastery in regard to organization, independence, etc.

Please use your discretion in revealing the contents of this letter to others. We would wish, however, that the letter itself not be shown to anyone at the Synod, in order to protect the people mentioned therein. Also, I have written extremely frankly and in a way which would not be understood by those who do not know us well. We firmly believe that Vladika Anthony will stop at nothing to get his way with us as well as with others — not because he has bad intentions, but because he is possessed to an extreme degree with the sense of his own authority and rights. We sorrow all the more over the necessity of writing this letter in that we sincerely love and pity our Archbishop. He is apparently a lonely man; all fear him, but there is no one close to him, and he regards us as “his own” whom he will force to be his obedient disciples. We cannot do it! Vladika John blessed us for an entirely different path, and by his prayers and God’s grace we have travelled for seven years on this path. If we had wished to be a Bishops disciples, we would long ago have joined Bishop Nektary, who has wanted to establish such a monastery. For the sake of the independence of our own work, we have already had to preserve carefully our separate status with respect to him also, and to this day our relationship with him is very good. If our Hermitage requires supervision by the Synod, we would gladly welcome him as our “supervisor” — but not as “Abbot”! — all the more so as he has already promised to drop in on us every time when travelling between San Francisco and Seattle. Our relationship to Vladika Anthony could also be quite good — on the condition of our absolute independence from him.

Pray for us, dear Father, and please send us at least a short word. We realize that this trial has come upon us for our sins, that it is a trial of our monastic resolve which we must bear worthily and in patience, that in the end it will doubtless be for our benefit in forcing us to define ourselves more precisely in order to preserve our independence and our missionary work. For the next two weeks we hope to do nothing but concentrate on finishing our much-delayed OW (for July-October!), but at any time after that our disagreement with our Archbishop might come out into the open. We are already facing another trial in the expected influx of summer visitors, whom we have neither people nor facilities to handle; but in everything we trust in God, Who has brought us this far by the prayers of His saints and His Most Holy Mother.

With much love in Christ our Saviour,

p.s. It is now the day after Epiphany, and we are still as upset as ever over our future. A thought occurs to us after another sleepless night: would you be our “advisor” in all problems concerning our organization, Rule, etc.? After all, insofar as we are an “American” institution, we are direcdy imitating you, and we value and need your advice more than anyone else s. If you will help us by being our “advisor,” we will submit to you our Rule for advice and correction before submitting it to the Synod, and consult you first on all questions of organization. We have already decided that from now on all our documents will be written and submitted first in English, and there is no one here who can advise us in this language or on the problems of preserving our status. (Our bishop friends will most likely tell us that we simply have to bow down to the powerful ones on the Synod, but that “Russian” psychology is not relevant to our case. Please forgive us, but we are really frightened, and unless you help us we will become desperate! We are naive babes in those questions, and it will be very easy for us to be taken advantage of.

Upon rereading last night the Synod’s official “Decree on Monasteries,” it becomes evident that Vladika Anthony has all along (without saying a word to us) been regarding us as a Diocesan Podvorye (Metochion). That would be the end of us!

If you would like to talk to us by phone, tell us what time we can reach you conveniently, and we will call from town. For us the best time is between 12 and 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) any weekday or Saturday, although another time could be arranged if necessary.



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
068. Dec, 28/Jan. 10, 1970/71. Sunday after Christmas
Dear Brother in Christ, Lavrenty [Campbell],

Rejoice in the Lord! We tried to call you Friday night to tell of the conclusion of our visit with its trials (from Elena Yurevna’s), but no answer. I rested at her place for a while, while Fr. Herman conversed, and we left in time to reach here safely by daybreak Saturday.

As you are our brother, and furthermore are directly exposed to Vladika Anthony, I must give you a brief outline of our most unpleasant experience with him. Please keep it to yourself, but do not forget it either.

Thank you for your phone call of Friday morning. While we were quite conscious of our obligation to visit Vlad. Anthony on the way back, we would not at all have been prepared for what happened if you hadn’t warned us. You sounded quite troubled by what Vladika told you about us; and undoubtedly you had cause. Frankly, I think the man is sick — and his disease is the state of being unable to trust anyone except himself, which leads him to build fantasies out of nothing — either much better or much worse than they really are.

Of course, we ourselves are to blame for not trying harder to see him before anyone else — I called his upstairs phone without even thinking that he was very likely downstairs and we made a few other mistakes like that. But others are more debatable — that we were obliged to be at the late Liturgy so everyone (or at least Vlad.) could look at us, etc. But all this is secondary and was only a pretext for Vlad s real concern: to show that he is our boss, that we will do nothing without him, that otherwise we are “disobedient” and he will reform us or break us trying. And the means he uses are cheap: he made me wait downstairs for 2 hours while, using every trick of Russian psychology (I, being an American, am apparently unimportant and will simply do whatever the Russians tell me!), he shouted and bullied Fr. Herman to tears and breakdown, until Fr. H. finally rallied himself to give it back to him punch for punch. I meanwhile was in a similar state downstairs, and barely overmastered the temptation to do something desperate like break in on them and demand to hear for myself what was being done to my brother and our monastery. (I haven’t prayed so fervently, especially to our real Vladika downstairs, in a long time!) I was finally ushered in to attend the rather calm conclusion to the whole affair, when Vlad s wrath was finally changed into something resembling mercy.

Legitimate chastisement from ecclesiastical superiors should begin and end in mutual trust and without undue disturbance. But we for two days have been turned inside out and have no peace, feeling our very consciences to be violated. I have experienced one of the greatest disillusionments of my life, and both of us have been given a wound that will last for life. Vlad, had loosed his very demons on us, and something is dreadfully wrong. He has “played” at being Staretz and Abbot, and it is a grim game, [letter ends]



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
067. Oct. 30/Nov. 12, 1970. Martyrs Zenobius and Zenobia
Dear Father David [Black],

Thank you for your frank letter to Br. Gleb of some weeks ago. Although, of course, your tone was distressing to us, we very much appreciate knowing how you really feel, so that real differences and misunderstandings between us will not be glossed over by polite words. Please permit me to be now just as frank.

We must confess to being uninformed on one point: just what is this “literature,” these “irresponsible mailings” to which you refer as containing “vicious untruths” designed to mislead the faithful? As for our Orthodox Word, we can understand that you do not share the point of view expressed in some articles there; but I am quite certain that there is nothing there that could reasonably be called a “vicious untruth.” If you are referring, therefore, to some other literature of which we do not know, please tell us about it, and if possible send it to us. If there are, indeed, “vicious untruths” there, we would be as anxious as you are to have this situation corrected. The true issues at stake are much too important to approach them with any but the highest standards of integrity.

What are these issues? We have the distinct impression that you have not faced up to them. In your letter you are still talking around them. The question is not who is more “pious” than the other, who keeps or breaks more canons, or how many unedifying cases one can find in the other “jurisdiction.” No one has said that piety or faithfulness to canons are the “special virtues” of the Synod. Of course there are pious and impious, strict and lax, alike in several jurisdictions. But in a day when traditional Orthodox piety is literally trampled on and despised in the highest circles (especially, of course, by Athenagoras and Iakovos), and when through lack of inspiration or examples the faithful are losing the very essence of Orthodox life, it is necessary to defend it and to point out shining examples of it in our day — and these, whether one likes it or not, are chiefly to be found in the Synod.

What about ecumenism? Entertain whatever abstract ideas you like about “good ecumenism,” — can’t you see that those who invented it understand it in a heretical sense, and they see Orthodox involvement in it as a more or less grudging acceptance of that heresy? — or that the actual practice of it is literally dissolving the fabric of the Orthodoxy of those who participate (“the Truth which we have not known”; “refound your Church,” invocations of “Saints” Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.). Don’t you see that no one speaks out unequivocally about this except the Synod (and please don’t cite the Metropolias episde of a year or two ago that was condemned by the people in the Metropolia itself for its compromising, lukewarm spirit!), and that Metropolitan Philaret’s heartfelt and truly Orthodox appeal to all Orthodox bishops found no response in the Metropolia except for Fr. Schmemann’s inaccurate and evasive reply wherein he does not answer the Metropolitan’s points, but іnstead argues ad hominem, trying to discredit the Synod’s right to speak the truth to other Orthodox bishops. If the Metropolia is really not soft on ecumenism — then let us see a straightforward epistle from her hierarchs, calling Athenagoras and Iakovos (by name — that is the only brotherly Orthodox way!) to account and showing solidarity with Metropolitan Philaret — but on the contrary, the Metropolia runs away from Metropolitan Philaret straight into the arms of Moscow, which is currently competing with Constantinople for the lead in spectacular un-Orthodox acts and statements, and Fr. Meyendorff states that anyone outside of communion with Athenagoras (I believe you realize he is a heretic?) is outside the Orthodox Church.

And Moscow? No one has said that the Metropolia is “soft on Communism”; that is not the question at all. But cannot you see that the position [into] which the Metropolias act has put its own clergy and faithful is such as to make them, willing or not, apologists for the Moscow Patriarchate and, directly or indirectly, for the Communist Government in back of it — this against the best information available in the West concerning Soviet agents inside the Patriarchate (which your Metropolia apologists accept). And against the witness of the brave protesters within the Patriarchate in the USSR, who openly call their hierarchs traitors to Orthodoxy, not to mention other more personal names. Your best people become such apologists — witness your own Bp. Theodosius and his remarks “life is not uncomfortable, people are not unhappy.... We have to reassess our ideas of life in the Soviet Union,” etc. Such remarks can be excused only on the grounds of absolute ignorance — of the prison camps and tortures behind those “not unhappy” people, of the most recent testimony such as that in the book of A. Marchenko (My Testimony), articles and press conferences of A. Kuznetsov, etc., etc. that prison treatment is if anything getting worse, that the only “happy” people are those who escaped the concentration camps through hypocrisy and (often) through willingness to torture others, that “it is impossible to be a Soviet citizen and at the same time a decent human being.” (These are from people who lived the Soviet Life.) Even Bp. Theodosius, in his ignorance, becomes the apologist of the bestial Soviet system — but he literally has to, in order to defend his own position. No, you are not “soft on Communism,” but you are beyond all doubt the dupes of the very skillful politicians of the Soviet Patriarchate.

I hope you will read carefully our new Orthodox Word with its two articles on the Catacomb Church. You will see then that is not only we in the free world, but those over there as well (who have earned the right to their judgment by the tortures which they have undergone for Christ and Orthodoxy) who do not accept the Moscow Sergianists. And perhaps you will begin to see that our uncompromising rejection of the Metropolias concordat with Moscow has nothing to do with theoretical concepts of “canonicity,” but is part of the very life-blood of our Orthodoxy; this concordat is not “uncanonical” — it is treason to the Russian Church and to her new martyrs. You cannot begin to imagine the profound sorrow and tears the “autocephaly” has caused us. And if now representatives of the Metropolia begin to deny the existence of the Catacomb Church (we expect they will, for that is the Moscow “line” — in defiance of present-day documents and information in the Soviet press- — this will only be another indication of that instinctive “defense-mechanism” which forces the Metropolia into an ardent defense of “Sergianism” with all its propaganda line. And even if not a single Catacomb Christian could be found, that would not change the truth of the Catacomb position in 1927 — attested in numerous documents — nor would it make Sergianism true or Orthodox.

When you talk of reconciliation, therefore, you are truly seeing things through rose-colored glasses. In 1946 the Metropolia slapped the Synod in the face and kicked her bishops out (have you really not read that disgraceful history?); in 1970 she betrays the Russian Church entirely. To what, then, are we supposed to be reconciled? To total lack of principle? To the “spirit of the times”? The conscience of your own “silent minority” of older Russian priests is not at ease; should we betray them too by joining you? Our bishops for 25 years have been kind and over-kind, preserving Orthodoxy and being ready at any time for full reconciliation, with no loss of “autonomy” to the Metropolia; but the Metropolia has never wanted this, but waited the time when she could make her separate terms with Moscow — which, you must surely know, has “excommunicated” us just as she had “excommunicated” you — you yourself, in fact, were not even a priest of God until April 9, 1970, if you accept the canonicity of Moscow! The Metropolia has chosen her path — then what rosy-pink idea of Christianity must you have to turn to us for “reconciliation” now? Orthodoxy is more serious than that!

And whatever you may say of “certain circles” of the Synod, I can assure you that our bishops and our priests and most devoted faithful think as we do. Bishop Nektary certainly does, however polite he may be on the telephone; Archbishop John Maximovitch most emphatically did; and as for Father Gerasim, — the fact that he remained in communion with the Metropolia while considering himself a priest of the Synod should not mislead you into rosy ideas about him either. His past statements leave no doubt whatever as to which side he would have been on today; and his correspondence, of which we have seen a large part, contains some statements about the Metropolia and its clergy (by name) that are so strong we would rather not print them.

What, then, would you have us do when our conscience says that the Church has been betrayed? Keep silent — when we are free (for God knows how much longer!) and can speak the truth as we see it? St. Mark of Ephesus was not silent, though he was called a troublemaker; St. Maximus the Confessor would not keep his opinion to himself, even though this “confused” the faithful: the whole history of the Church is an inspiration to us to cry with a loud voice when the Church has been wronged.

You doubtless disagree. But I hope you can at least glimpse the depth and sincerity of what the “autocephaly” has inspired. “Autocephaly,” by the way, is surely a euphemism for the event that has occurred, when the Metropolia remains exactly what it was, when Moscow keeps every one of its parishes and even sends a new bishop and priests, when no Churches outside the Soviet block recognize it and Athenagoras calls it “non-existent” (and surely we will be allowed to agree with Athenagoras when he speaks the truth?). No, what has occurred is a concordat, a “legalization” of the Metropolia like that of the Soviet Patriarchate in 1927; and if you and the vast majority of even the clergy of the Metropolia were not in fact ignorant of Russian Church history for the last 43 years you would know that Metropolitan Sergius’ act in 1927 was condemned by many bishops in the USSR as initiating a “neo-renovationist schism,” that those bishops were imprisoned and/or killed because they opposed Sergius, and that therefore in your ignorance you are not only receiving “legalization” from a neo-renovationist schismatic body but are acting fully in accord with the Soviet “new church politics” whose aim is to use the Church to destroy itself, after giving maximum benefit to the Soviet Government itself. At the very least, you should have refrained from any kind of concordat when there is the slightest doubt that any of this might not be false, and when the majority of free Russian hierarchs do not agree with you; you should have waited (even [if] it takes a hundred years — truth is that important for the Church!) for a true and free All-Russian Council, instead of accepting the poisoned gift of the Moscow Robber Council.

I am perhaps being unjust when I say “you,” as if you agreed with everything that has been done; but as a matter of fact, whether you agree or not, you are responsible before God and before the Church for what has been done if you do not speak or act against it. And I fear that you will find, if you wish to remain in favor in the Metropolia, that you will have to agree with what has been done, and you will have to apologize for it when it is attacked, and that — unless you are fully in accord with it, which we cannot believe — you will defend it for psychological reasons (because we and other “trouble-makers” are attacking it) and not for reasons of conscience.

You talk about the “unity” of your diocese and the “Orthodox preaching” of your bishop, as though these existed in a vacuum that has nothing to do with the betrayal from on high of your whole Church, in which your bishop very activity participated (doubtless in ignorance — may God forgive him!). By our articles in The Orthodox Word we have no intention to fragment your “unity,” but only to speak the truth. Where that truth leads, we firmly believe, is in the hands of God — and, for Alaska, St. Herman.

And if St. Herman is truly God-pleasing — as no one now doubts — and the Metropolia’s concordat with Moscow is really the monstrous betrayal we firmly believe it to be: then it can scarcely be that Alaska will escape troubles. You perhaps think it evil of us to have connected St. John of Kronstadt with the burning of St. Michael’s Cathedral — but Orthodox piety has always taken such “coincidences” most seriously. And such acts are signs of God’s love, for “whom God loveth, He chastizeth.” May St. Herman act less severely, yet just as openly, for the salvation of Alaska!

There, dear Father, I have spoken my mind and heart, and my conscience is clear and without any bitterness. Please forgive me if anything has offended you. And please, Father, has a litde charity toward Fr. Elias Armistead — he is surely not a “creature” in the sense you mean! We know very little about his activity there; but if there is any serious canonical irregularity there, our Church is surely no less anxious than yours to have it corrected. We would appreciate hearing any facts that disturb you.

In general, as I said at the beginning, we are not in possession of all the information that apparently inspired your letter and we hope you will enlighten us on this. But your tone sounds a little bitter, and I pray that will not last. The past of Orthodox Alaska has seen many sorrows and disappointments, and only God knows what the future holds. May His will be done, through the prayers of St. Herman and — if we can be so bold — of Father Gerasim. Amen.

Since I began this letter, Br. Gleb and I have been tonsured monks, and are now Fathers Herman and Seraphim, by God’s grace.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Sinful Monk Seraphim

P.s. We hope you will continue to send us Orthodox Alaska — but since we are literally without funds we hope you will consider it as an exchange for your own subscription to The Orthodox Word.



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
066. Oct. 25/Nov. 7, 1970. Martyrs Martyrius and Marcian
Dear Brothers in Christ [in Madrid],

Rejoice in the Lord! Please forgive us for such a delay in answering your last letter. Since that time the two of us who live here permanently have been tonsured monks and are now Fathers Herman and Seraphim, and our monastery is the St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage.

In answer to your question, the address of the St. Seraphim Brotherhood in England is: c/o Nicolas Mabin, 8 Golders Green Crescent, London NW 11, England. I am sure they will gladly send you their Orthodox Chronicle.

We have great sympathy for your problems as a young mission; in fact we have some of the same problems ourselves, and we are quite poor. Right now the only help we can give you is to send our publications. A friend of ours who has lived in Brazil says he can obtain some liturgical books in the Portuguese language — would this help you, or is the language too much different?

We will be very interested to know whether you had any special commemoration of the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska, or will have the service to him on his feast day (Dec. 12/25). Also, what icon you have of him — the one from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston, or another one?

We hope you have received by now the first copies we sent of The Orthodox Word. You will notice there that we have already devoted some attention to the Western saints of the Orthodox Church, and we hope to print much more about them. We would be most interested to receive from you the lives of your patron saints, or information on any other Spanish Orthodox saints.

We ask your prayers for us,

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Sinful Monk Seraphim



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
065. Oct. 17/30, 1970. St. Andrew of Crete
Dear brother in Christ, Daniel,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. By God’s grace your onetime brothers Gleb and Eugene are now (for four days already) Fathers Herman and Seraphim, and still overwhelmed by the magnitude of what has happened. Our humble place is now the St. Herman of Alaska Hermitage — already a contradiction, since our rule is coenobitic, but we just can’t find a more suitable translation for “Pustyn,” which is the name given us by the Synodal Ukase. After a time of some agitation and uncertainty — ten days of rain which ended only the day before our tonsure, which was a beautiful calm, sunny day (though cold), fear that the church wouldn’t be finished (it wasn’t, but we managed to put up temporary walls and roof), both of our trucks broke down, etc. — we are now in our fourth day of calm monastic life, although of course not without trials. We were unable to follow the full monastic custom of spending five days in church, or even three (as in Jordanville), but Vladika Nektary stayed over for a second day and so we did spend the better part of two days in church and received Holy Communion both days. And now we are alone, trying to adjust to our now somewhat stricter rule of life, reading the holy Fathers and praying for guidance in our still somewhat uncertain first days until we shall be confirmed in our permanent rule of life — with, God willing, our own priest to serve Liturgy and keep our good Archbishop from worrying about us. Already we’ve had a sign of how close God is to us, for on our first trip to the post office after our tonsure we found a letter from our longtime friend Priest-monk Theodore (one of Vladika John’s orphans from Shanghai), who for several years has been priest at an Old-Calendarist convent in Greece and now unexpectedly is in America and wants to come to us right away — whether for a short or long time only God knows, but he was a member of our Brotherhood from the beginning, and his sudden reappearance now after so many years is surely providential. Please pray for him.

What more is there to say? Our new Orthodox Word weighs upon us, and now we must get back into the rhythm of a full working life. The new issue will be double and will be mostly devoted to the canonization, with a great many pictures. There is a great deal else we should be doing — getting our wood supply ready (the nearby mountains are already covered with snow and our cold season has started), finishing our kitchen on the balcony, building new kellias — but we have only four hands and must do what our strength allows. Fortunately Deacon Nicholas has taken the building of the church entirely in his hands and — except for last week when we worked full time with him — we can concentrate on printing.

Our future here — is in God's hands. Everything that has happened so far is so much beyond us that we don’t even dare dream of the future. We are trying to go forward one step at a time, watching out for a fall, and trusting in the prayers of Vladika John, who is surely with us now — in fact, in these days we have seen the realization of two prophecies (if it is not too bold to use that word) which he made to us. But we will tell you of those in person.

Pray for us, and let us hear from you soon.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Sinful Monk Seraphim

P.s. Just imagine the names that were given us! And Vladika Anthony didn’t even realize that the day of our tonsure was the namesday of Abbot Nazary of both Sarov and Valaam! (the one who is mentioned in the service.) Glory be to God!



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
064. Sept. 8/21, 1970. Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God
Dear Brothers in Christ, Lev [Puhalo] and Vassili,

Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ! We greet you on the feast which you so love, the Nativity of our Most Holy Theotokos, and wish you abundant spiritual joy in these holy days. These summer and fall feasts have been very important for us too, and have given us many important beginnings — and soon, God willing, will give us the beginning of our monasticism, too.

We are sorry to hear of your difficulties and sympathize with you in them. But of course they are also from God and doubtless are for your benefit, as Orthodox Christians and chosen of God. Only be patient and don’t get discouraged! The Apostle indeed, doubtless seeing how easily we become disheartened, repeats his words of encouragement for us: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!” So be it!

Please permit us to be quite bold and offer you an alternative to your present plans. Of course, if you are quite definite on going to Montreal, don’t let us dissuade you, but we have the impression that you are not that definite about it.

Perhaps we should not be so bold as to “invite” you here to share our poverty, for we have almost nothing to invite you to. But in all seriousness, if you have it in your hearts, you are more than welcome to come here and share what we have for a short or a long time. I will give you a word on the pros and cons.

Con: Our accommodations are limited and primitive, consisting of two buildings: printshop and living cabin (which now has something like 4 or 4 1/2 rooms, depending on how you count), with a reasonable capacity of four or five like-minded souls. This week, on orders from Archbishop Anthony, we are supposed to have help in building a small chapel, the back part of which could double as a study-room. There is a wood stove in each building and a 2-burner hotplate, but no water except what we carry in or collect from rain and snow, and a outdoor privy. Our winter, while mild by £ast Coast standards, is severe enough by California standards: temperatures occasionally below 20 degrees, precipitation 40 to 50 inches, including anywhere between 2 feet (last winter) to upwards of 8 or 10 feet (2 years ago) of snow. From November to March, but especially in midwinter, we have almost complete isolation, including the possibility of being snowbound for a month or more (not last year, but this winter looks to be harsher); we have snowshoes, however, and the trip to town for mail and emergency rations is not really difficult (2 miles). For the time being, of course, we do not have a priest, and in the winter it may be several months between Liturgies, although last Christmas we were able to get out (to San Francisco). On Sundays and holy days we sing the Typika, in addition to the regular cycle of daily services.

Pro: A good library, chiefly in Russian, of Holy Fathers and basic Orthodox books; the daily cycle of services (as much as our strength allows), with ample opportunity to gain practice in reading and singing — we have all the Slavonic service books; daily reading of lives of saints and spiritual reading at trapeza; a common task — translating and printing for the spread of Orthodoxy in English.

Do you get the picture? It would probably be irresponsible to “invite” you to this, our Orthodox “refugee camp,” especially in winter, but if your hearts respond, do not hesitate to act. You would not in the least “inconvenience” us, so don’t give that a thought; it is we who would inconvenience you. Just remember that you have a place here. And to speak from the heart: we think you belong here, as someone who knows you in fact told us at the canonization.

Write us. And pray for us especially in these next weeks. God willing, on Oct. 14/27 Gleb and I will be tonsured here and what we have will become, such as it is, a monastic institution. Whether you are here or elsewhere (we’d like you to be here!) pray for us especially on that day.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
063. Sept. 4/17, 1970. St. Ioasaph of Belgorod
Dear Brothers in Christ,
Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ!

We were most happy to receive your letter and hear of the existence of your Orthodox mission in Madrid. We will gladly enroll you as our regular subscribers, and we have already sent you copies of all the back issues that we still have — one copy of each issue for your library, and extra copies of issues that we thought might interest you especially and which you can distribute as you see fit.

We are sending your name also to two other places in America where people of our Russian Synod are publishing material in English: to Holy Trinity Monastery in New York, and St. Nectarios Church in Seattle, Washington, and they will undoubtedly send you their publications. Please tell us also if you are in contact with our missionary centers in Europe: with Fr. Basile Sakkos in Geneva (who publishes La Foi Transmise in French), with the St. Seraphim Brotherhood in England (which publishes a magazine in English), and the Dutch Orthodox mission in The Hague (some of whose members speak English). If not, we will send their addresses to you and you can establish contact with them also.

And truly, it is important for our small flock of true Orthodox Christians to have contact with each other, for the days are evil, and many seek to destroy the Orthodox Church today — even some of those who are called “Orthodox bishops.” Here in America we are very familiar with the apostasy of “Athenagoras & Co.,” and unfortunately the other national jurisdictions in America are hardly any better; all of them fraternize and pray with Catholics and Protestants and are ashamed to tell the heterodox that they have wandered far from the Truth, which is only in Orthodoxy. The members of our Russian Church Outside of Russia almost alone stand up and fight for the purity of our holy Orthodox doctrine and practice, and for this we are slandered and called names everywhere. But here at least we are perfectly free to speak the truth, which is not the case in many countries.

Please write us and tell us more about your Mission. How often and where do you have services? How did you discover the Orthodox Faith? What kind of difficulties do you have with the Greeks, the Catholics, etc? Please write us fully about yourselves.

We will send you regularly two copies of The Orthodox Word. If there are many of you and you need more copies than this, please tell us and we will send you more; we have a “missionary fund” for just such a purpose.

We ask your prayers for us. There are just two of us so far who do all the work on our publication, and it is often very slow and hard work. We are Brother Gleb and Brother Eugene. We look forward to hearing more from you.

With love in Christ the Saviour,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
062. Sept. 4/17, 1970. St. Ioasaph of Belgorod
Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ! I'll write a note while your letter is fresh, and while we're paralyzed waiting for our generator to be repaired. We're still kept busy enough on building projects, however!

Your letter was a joy to us, too. Sometimes I’m afraid we let the worldly side weigh a litde too heavy with us, and we start sliding toward despondency. The linotype is slow (so many things to watch for, and I proceed almost purely by trial and error; the books I have sometimes omit the most elementary things because, apparently, everybody is supposed to know them — but I don’t find out until I have lead squirting out and then have to find out what to do about it! Gleb took one look at the machine in operation, with its rumblings and groanings, the big arm slamming down from the back of the machine and (hopefully) returning with the type in one piece, and he retreated to the printing department. But I’m beginning to master the principles at last and am finally beginning to set type faster than we could by hand.) — the linotype is slow, the generator breaks down, paper doesn’t arrive, Post Office breathes down our neck to be more regular, etc. But this apparently is to be expected if the work is God-pleasing, and we take comfort from that.

We’ve finally heard about (but not from) Father Seraphim, from several sources. He left St. Tikhon’s just before their May-30 celebration, with Soviet hierarch present, and is now safely on Mt. Athos in the Skete of St. Elias. It will, however, be a miracle if he survives, as the conditions are most difficult — all old, feeble monks, and he alone is strong enough to serve and work. He told a seminarian who visited us two days ago that he likes it there, but he can’t keep it up if someone else doesn’t join him.

Several Canadian parishes have apparently left the Metropolia for the Synod, but I’m not too certain about the details. The Metropolia seems convinced that their autocephaly is a great success, but objectively I don’t think it could be considered so. Indications are no one will recognize it for a while except Finland and Iron Curtain Churches (and not all of them); the Exarchate churches in America met in August and, despite Nikodim’s attempts to persuade them, they voted unanimously to stay out of the Metropolia, some of them even preferring to join some other jurisdiction if necessary. So Moscow will have at least three bishops here all the same, with foreign titles — Mark of San Francisco becomes “of Ladoga.” Nikodim was quietly kept away from the canonization in Kodiak, but he visited the next week with Archbp. John Shahovskoy — and on Spruce Island they met our Fr. Michael Lightfoot — who wrote us that he was not allowed to serve on Spruce Island, and a seminarian was assigned to watch him and give the now-standard argument in some Metropolia circles (Alaska, for example): we know your bishops are the best, that you alone have monasteries and spiritual centers, that you preserve Orthodoxy better than anyone else — but why pick on everyone else and judge them? I hope our new article by Fr. Azkoul will make it clear that the Synod is “judging” no one, only calling on all to stand up with us for Orthodoxy. The response to this is close to zero so far, but I think there’s more below the surface than appears in broad daylight and before long there will be solidarity shown in a few places, but not many. The Greek Church (Athens), by the way, has protested so strongly to Athenagoras against Moscow giving Communion to Catholics that I don’t see how they can avoid breaking off Communion with Moscow now — and that from the “ecumenist” Archbp. Ieronymos — one senses he feels the pressure of the Old Calendarists, who are apparently getting stronger. Meanwhile, even though Athenagoras did not recognize the autocephaly, the Metropolia is clinging to him, and Fr. Meyendorff writes in the new Orthodox Church that anyone who does not recognize Athenagoras as a genuine Orthodox Patriarch is simply “outside the communion of world Orthodoxy.” And this at a time when Athenagoras is being driven to wilder and wilder statements (he’s afraid that Moscow will turn out to be more modernist that he, and thus will take over the leadership of “world Orthodoxy”!), and when a Greek Archpriest in America (Fr. Dombalis) has seriously called for the canonization of Athenagoras while alive!!!

Truly, the Orthodox way in our times is not easy, and more and more we begin to look to the time of martyrdom. Our new issue has two articles on the Catacomb Church in Russia, and the relevancy to our own situation already becomes visible. We are beginning a collection of statements from the Metropolia on the situation in the USSR today (“things there are changing, full churches, happy people,” etc.), and its service to the Communist cause is only too apparent — and this at a time when many documents exist concerning the actual situation there, some of them positively bloodcurdling — such as Anatoly Marchenko’s My Testimony, which Gleb just read, concerning the satanic tortures he has undergone just recently (and for smuggling the book out he was put back in concentration camp) where he indicates that treatment is getting worse, if that is possible! The writer A. Kuznetsov (who recently escaped) writes: “If you are a citizen of Soviet Russia, you automatically cannot be a 100-per-cent decent person”; and Marchenko writes that when he was in freedom he couldn’t bear to look at happy, successful people, knowing how they had to sell their souls (and often help out in torturing others) in order to achieve this status. But Bp. Theodosius of Alaska says he was surprised how well off and happy people were...

As I see it, there are two great gifts that God has given Orthodox people today: in the Soviet world, the difficult gift of suffering, which by God’s grace will probably be the salvation of Russia; and in the free world, the gift of freedom — to speak and witness the truth and tell what is going on. How poorly this gift is being used among us — and how soon, perhaps, it will be taken from us. While there is daylight, we must speak out.

But I am being carried away, and my short note is going over into worktime. Already we are getting cooler weather and the leaves are turning yellow, and winter promises to be earlier and harder than last year. Vladika Anthony paid us a surprise visit two days ago and served Liturgy — probably drawn to us by the relic of St. Mamas (on whose day he came) which Fr. Panteleimon gave us in August. The day of our tonsure is tentatively set for Oct. 14/27, if Deacon Nicholas can help us get a church built by that time — a small chapel about the size of our printshop.

We look forward to seeing you before long. Please keep in mind that you are welcome to come and share our life here at any time, for a short or long time. If you get here early enough, you can spend the winter, and take turns with us going for the mail on snowshoes! Pray for us — and pray also for Archbishop Leonty of Chile and his flock — a Marxist government is about to be installed, and the future is uncertain. Archbishop Leonty has already been in prison in the USSR and served Catacomb Liturgies there and knows well the character of these times.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
061. August 30/Sept. 12, 1970. St. Alexander Nevsky
Dear Father Michael,
Bless us Father!

Thanks be to God, our linotype is running and your article is nearly set, and hopefully in two weeks the whole issue will be out. Most of the rest of the issue is devoted to two very moving accounts of the Catacomb Church in the USSR, by someone who spent five years in the Solovki concentration camp. I believe the whole question of the Catacomb Church is extremely hazy in the minds of most Orthodox, and with God’s help we will try to correct that with a whole series of articles — for the basic issues are, after all, quite clear and can even be named: “Sergianism” vs. Orthodoxy. The statements of the non-Sergianist hierarchs in 1927 were quite explicit and should serve as a foundation for further discussion of the question. An interesting revelation of the ignorance touching this subject: Fr. J. Meyendorff in a recent note in The Orthodox Church, trying to explain how the Metropolia was really not under the Synod in 1935-46, notes that in the agreement of 1935 both the Metropolia and the Synod commemorated first of all “Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsky” — i.e., the leader of the opposition to Metr. Sergius, the head of the Catacomb Church! The Metropolia from top to bottom is simply absolutely ignorant of the facts and principles of the Russian Church situation in the 20th century. The only change in the situation since 1935 is that we no longer know the name of the head of the Catacomb Church, or even if there is one; but the existence of the Catacomb Church is attested in Soviet sources themselves.

Concerning the autocephaly and WCC: the point is quite important and will doubtless not be mentioned anywhere else, so we will go ahead and print it. When you have time, we hope you will look up the detailed information, which we would like to have whether or not we are challenged on it.

Your move to St. Louis should be a comfort to Dr. Johnstone, about whom we had been somewhat worried. He had written us that the nearest Synod parish was in Chicago, and definitely Russian-oriented, and that certainly would have meant great hardship for him and his family. May God grant you strength in your pastoral labors!

On the Iakovos’ article: Please don’t think we’re trying to press you to supply an article; in fact, it will be a while before we have the space to print it, so there’s no rush at all. However, re your remarks, I think it is indeed important to point out that the present crisis within Orthodoxy is not at all superficial but profound and doctrinal. What Constantinople is coming up with is simply unbelievable (and Fr. Meyendorff in the June-July Orth. Church puts the Metropolia fully with Athenagoras & Co. by stating that those not in communion with him are “outside the communion of world Orthodoxy”), and the only other question is — not whether heresy is involved — but where to start describing such an all-embracing apostasy. By the way, Fr. Constantine Dombalis has recently appealed in the Hellenic Chronicle for the canonization of Athenagoras while alive! In the face of such Orthodox disorientation, the burden of proof would rather lie with the Athenagorists to show that their teaching has anything in common with Orthodoxy. But the times being what they are, most Orthodox will have to be shown why and how Athenagoras and Iakovos are not Orthodox.

Therefore, the question is: how to make the situation dear? The most obvious doctrinal issue is the heresy concerning the nature of the Church; both Ath. and Iak. can be quoted on this. But that does not say too much yet, because this heresy seems to be an only incidental part of their teaching. But what is it, then, that actually motivates them? I have always found, in trying to understand and criticize systems of thought, that the most effective criticism must first understand the basic motivation of the thinker and then strike at the heart of the whole system, letting incidental heresies and errors fall into proper perspective.

Now, of course, the frustrating thing about Athenagoras and Iakovos is precisely that they seem to have no system, no real ideological motivation, at all, but are simply at the mercy of every wind of doctrine that falls in with their own ambition. But I think one should take as an axiom that ideas, after all, are primary, and even those who themselves are not motivated by ideas are nonetheless at the mercy (in that case) of someone else’s ideas. And certainly, the present crisis of Greek Orthodoxy cannot be traced to Iakovos’ ambition or any other personal motive — these existed in past times and did not cause the crisis in ideas, in theology, which exists today.

Several years ago I myself began an investigation into what might be called the “basic philosophy of the 20th century.” This exists now partly in unfinished manuscript, partly in my mind; but I pursued the question far enough, I think, to discover that there is, after all, such a basic philosophy in spite of all the anarchy of modern thought. And once I had grasped the essence of this philosophy (which, I believe, was expressed most dearly by Nietzsche and by a character of Dostoyevsky in the phrase: “God is dead, therefore man becomes God and everything is possible” — the heart of modern nihilism, anarchism, and anti-Christianity) everything else fell into place, and modern philosophers, writers, artists, etc., become understandable as more or less clearly, more of less directly, expressing this “philosophy.”

And so it was (getting back to Iakovos) that the other day, as I was reading Iakovos’ article in the July-Aug. Orthodox Observer. “A New Epoch?” that I suddenly felt that I had found an insight into the “essence of Iakovism.” Is not, indeed, the basic heresy chiliasml What else, indeed, could justify such immense changes and monstrous perversions in Orthodoxy except the concept that we are entering entirely new historical circumstances, an entirely new kind of time, in which the concepts of the past [are] no longer relevant, but must be guided by the voices of the new time? Does not Fr. Patrinakos, in past issues of the Orthodox Observer, justify Athenagoras — not as a theologian, not as traditionalist, but precisely as prophet, as one whose heresies cannot be condemned because he already lives in the “new time,” ahead of his own times? Athenagoras himself has been quoted (I can’t find this source now!) as speaking of the coming of the “Third Age of the Holy Spirit” — a clearly chiliastic idea which has its chief recent champion in N. Berdyaev, and can be traced back directly to Joachim of Floris, and indirectly to the Montanists. The whole idea of a “new age,” of course, penetrates every fiber of the last two centuries with their preoccupation with “progress,” is the key idea of the very concept of Revolution (from French to Bolshevik), is a central idea of modern occultism (visible on the popular level in today’s talk of the “age of Aquarius,” the astrological post-Christian age) and has owed its spread probably chiefly to Freemasonry (there’s a Scottish Rite publication in America called New Age). (I regret to say that the whole philosophy is also present in the American dollar bill with its masonic heritage, with its “novus ordo seclorum” and its unfinished pyramid, awaiting the 13th stone on top!” In Christian terms, it is the philosophy of Antichrist, the one who will turn the world upside down and “change times and seasons.” Indeed even the Calendar is involved, for the most thorough Revolutions (the French; and Bolshevik tried and failed and had to be satisfied with the compromise of the Gregorian calendar) introduce new calendars. The Pope and Athenagoras have already expressed themselves as for the new “universal” calendar. And the whole concept of ecumenism is, of course, permeated with this heresy and the “refounding of the Church.”

The recent “thought” of Constantinople (to give it a dignified name!) is full either of outright identification of the Kingdom of Heaven with the “new epoch” (the wolf lying down with the lamb) or of emphasis on an entirely new kind of time and/or Christianity that makes previous Christian standards obsolete: new morality, new religion, springtime of Christianity, refounding the Church, the need no longer to pray for crops or weather because Man controls these now, etc.

How appropriate, too, for the chiliast cause that we live (since 1917) in the “post-Constantinian age”; for it was at the beginning of that age, i.e., at the time of the golden age of the Fathers, that the heresy of chiliasm was crushed — in the West, I believe, chiefly through Augustine and in the East by Origen(?), with their commentary on the thousand years of the Apocalypse not as an earthly “millennium” but as the life of grace in the Church on earth. And indeed, together with the Revolutions that have toppled the Constantinian era we have seen a reform of Christianity that does away with the Church as an instrument of God’s grace for men’s eternal salvation and replaces it with the “social gospel.” Iakovos’ article has not one word about salvation, but is concerned only for the “world.”

I have said enough! I offer these ideas as suggestions, and if you find them useful in organizing thoughts on Athenagoras and Iakovos I’d be glad to help with what references I have. I wouldn’t mind tackling the subject myself, but for the foreseeable future I simply won’t have the time or opportunity, and besides that my research has been primarily in contemporary thinkers, and what is needed now is something more strictly patristic as well as concise.

Let us know your thoughts, and pray for us.

With love in Christ,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
060. [Fr. Seraphim’s handwritten notes at the top of next letter read: “quiet intercessor, peace & harmony, translate into action (from Fr. A’s paper) [Possibly Aug. 1970]
Dear Fr. Vladimir S. [Bridievey, OCA],

Thank you for the materials on Fr. H. which you sent to us, as well as for your letter, which touched us deeply. For the sake of the love of St. Herman which we share in common, please permit us to share a few ideas with you on the church troubles of today which give sorrow to us all.

You write that you regret that our labors for St. Herman remain so “distant and separate” from yours in the Metropolia, and you pray that “peace and harmony” will come to the Church, especially through the intercession of St. Herman by means of “translating into action” St. Herman’s example to us. We agree with you wholeheartedly and fully. But do you not see what is involved here? The difference between us is real and it will not vanish if we simply forget it. And the difference (the chief one) is so great that no compromise is possible on it. One of us must make a definite move: either we must say that our 43-year-old attitude to the Moscow Patriarchate is wrong and we accept your stand; or else you must say that your attitude is wrong and you renounce the autocephaly and all contacts with the Moscow Church. There is no middle position.

Do you not realize the seriousness of our firm conviction that the Metropolia’s concordat with Moscow is a betrayal of the Orthodox Church and of the faithful both within and without the USSR? Do you know of the propaganda benefits which the Moscow Church and the Soviet Government have already obtained from the autocephaly? (Thanks, for instance, to published statements of the Bishop of Sitka that are pure Soviet propaganda.) Do you know the whole story, from 1927 to today, of the Catacomb Church and its persecution by the Soviet Secret Police according to indications given by the Moscow hierarchs? Your Metropolia now supports this persecution by its support of the Patriarchate, and when your bishops appear in the Soviet Union as honored guests of the Patriarchate, the faith of every Catacomb Christian is publicly trampled upon. Do you see, in a word, how we are opponents of your autocephaly and protest publicly because of sorrow in our hearts that is too deep to hold back?

We believe that you and many other sincere people in the Metropolia have accepted the autocephaly out of ignorance of its full implications. But it is then our duty to inform you of the full facts and beg you to stop this path of betrayal and sacrilege. St. Herman cannot possibly be the patron of such an “autocephaly,” and we only pray that in time this will become clear to many.

Do you know the Life of St. Maximus the Confessor? All the Orthodox Patriarchs accepted the Monothelite heresy, and he was begged, for the sake of peace and harmony in the Church, to do what everyone else was doing and keep his opinions to himself. And he said: “Even if the whole world enter into communion with the (heretical) Patriarch of Constantinople), I alone will not.” That is the kind of Orthodox confession that has preserved the Church for 2000 years; that is the faith that St. Herman lived; that is what we must follow today. Indeed, we have the example of St. Peter the Aleut who died for refusing to accept Roman Catholicism, which, according to our modern ecumenists, is very little different from Orthodoxy. And we are gladly willing to suffer torture and martyrdom for this faith, but we will never recognize either the Patriarchate or the Metropolia, which have betrayed this faith.

Yes, dear Father, with all our heart we wish unity with you — but only on the ground of Orthodoxy, without any reservations of conscience, without betraying our unity with those who suffer persecution in the USSR. You are one with the official Soviet Church, but not with the faithful of Russia. Whereas we are one with the faithful in the USSR, and they have informed us of this, [handwritten letter ends]



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
059. August 14/27, 1970. Prophet Micah
Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel,

Rejoice in the Lord! We were happy to hear of your trip to Australia, and especially that you were able to meet Fr. Vladimir Evsukoff. We do have quite a few subscribers in Australia, and we suspect that there could be quite a few more if we could find a way to reach them. Any suggestions?

We were very happy that you were able to supply the Geelong parish with an icon of St. Herman — but that probably means that many other churches in Australia were without one, thanks to a not very efficient distribution system. We received a very touching letter from Abbess Tamara of the Eleon Convent in Jerusalem. When Archimandrite Anthony Grabbe returned from New York she asked him: And where are the icons of St. Herman? To which he had to confess his total forgetfulness. She thought of having the Convent iconographer paint an icon, but only a few days remained. And then she thought of The Orthodox Word, and looking through back issues she found our small icon in color, and that was the icon of the feast in Jerusalem. We sent her some more of the other icons, so by December they will be better prepared!

Thanks for the clippings. We have quite a few now, most of them with slight variations on each other, but none so hurting as the AP story of Aug. 10, which appeared in some form in the NY Times (which we haven’t seen yet). In the Monterey Peninsula Herald it was headlined: RUSSIAN CHURCH CANONIZES U.S. ‘HΙΡΡΙΕ’ MONK, and began: “In a centuries-old ceremony, a Russian monk described as a ‘hippie’ of his time has become the Orthodox Church’s first American saint. Ίη modern terms you might call him a hippie,’ said the Rt. Rev. Theodosius, bishop of Sitka and Alaska. ‘He was a real conscientious objector, a pacifist.’” Even without the sacrilege of “hippy,” all the Metropolia material on Father Herman makes him a representative of the “social gospel.” The official booklet with his Life and Service (which we finally obtained yesterday) states: “Father Herman first championed all these causes (civil rights, freedom of the individual, respect and dignity of all people, especially the long suppressed and often ignored minorities) within the context of the Christian Faith. He was a contemporary American...and a worthy patron of the newest of the Autocephalous Orthodox Catholic Churches.” This is the voice of a “mature,” “Orthodox” Church? I think the Metropolia is already well on the way to something else entirely, the vague “Christianity-in-general” that floats in the air today at the mercy of every wind of senseless new doctrine.

From what we hear, the Metropolia’s canonization in Kodiak was, at least outwardly, a great success. We are happy for the Alaskan people, who now have an intercessor to whom everyone can pray, but our hearts are pained at the prospect of these and other simple people being led away from Orthodoxy entirely by their leaders. The Metropolia tells us that their canonization was a “demonstration of the young powers” of the new autocephalous Church — but if one looks at the basis on which the future “Orthodoxy” of this Church is to be based, one can only conclude that their canonization was rather a last sign of the old Orthodoxy which they are leaving behind, a part of that Orthodox capital which they received from Holy Russia and through the Synod, and which they now think they are enough to do without, striking out on their own. One need only look at their Service to St. Herman to see what they can do on their own. This, their first Service in English to the first American Saint, should be a model for all the future, based on the best Slavonic model so as to transmit the genuine Orthodox spirit and forms of piety to future generations. But what do they produce? An amateur, not at all well grounded in church services, is left free to write whatever he feels like, and then he signs his work! As a result, the link with the past becomes very weak, and once one or two more services are written based on this model (they already speak of canonizing Metr. Innocent) there will be nothing at all left of the solid framework upon which 1000 years and more of Orthodox piety has been based. Without this framework everything becomes dependent upon individual feeling, and the result is pure Protestantism. One can’t help but think of the Roman Catholics: probably a thousand years ago they were still more or less Orthodox, but having separated themselves from the Church and followed leaders who took as their standard various contemporary currents instead of unchanging Orthodox standards of piety, they gradually evolved for themselves a piety no longer in the least recognizable as Orthodox, permeated with prelest. Today the situation is worse, because the contemporary currents that will be taken are no longer even vaguely Christian, but at best are a humanistic “social gospel” or worse — as Bp. Theodosius has already suggested — Hippyism, which is already strongly permeated with open satanism.

With all this in view, I think we should thank God that our Synod is separated from the Metropolia — and not through any “uncharitable” action of ours, but through the deliberate act of the Metropolia itself — and now offers a refuge to those who still sense and want real Orthodoxy. The times are late, and it must needs be, as Apostle Paul says, that there be heresies, that those who are proved may stand out. God help us to stay on this difficult path, in the face of increasing attacks and eventual persecution. Appropriately, we begin in our new issue of OW a series on the Catacomb Church in the USSR — perhaps giving us a foretaste of what is to come even in America. The last US News & World Report (a very sober and reliable news magazine, not at all like Time or Newsweek) reports what is undoubtedly a nationwide conspiracy to kill policemen and blow up police stations (they have struck several times in the S.F. area in recent months) and quotes some authorities who say that at this rate there will be open civil war in America within 5 to 10 years.

About Spruce Island: I somehow feel that the Metropolia will now conveniently “forget” it; if they cannot find anyone to go there, they will of course not send any relics there at all, and Fr. Gerasim’s worst fears will be realized. Thanks be to God that we have a least a small relic in San Francisco. Actually, it has apparently always been assumed in the Metropolia (we have a 10-year-old letter of Fr. Macarius Targonsky to prove it) that Fr. Gerasim’s own homesteaded property on Spruce Island (but apparently not including the church) would go to the Synod on his death. But whether there was a will, or what the situation is now, I don’t know. Fr. Michael Lightfoot of San Diego recently went there to try to find out. But don’t breathe a word of this to Fr. David Black, or else Bp. Theodosius will leap to some kind of defensive action! We’re afraid even to ask any kind of question of the Alaskan clergy, since they’re all so much behind their Sovietized bishop. (I enclose a clipping on this subject.)

From your letter I presume we never sent you the separate service to St. Herman, as we thought we had. It’s enclosed, together with icons to give to Australia or anyone else. Our lead came and we expect type today and hope to begin printing the new OW by Saturday. Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour, Eugene



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
058. August 8/21, 1970. Apostle Matthias
Dear Father Michael [Azkoul],
Bless us, Father!

Thanks be to God, our linotype is now operating, and as soon as lead and type arrive in a few days we will begin, and hopefully quickly finish, our May-June Orthodox Word with your article. In rereading this article we find two important statements for which we would like to have some kind of confirmation available in case of attack: namely, “Was not the ‘secret meeting’ between the Metropolia and Moscow at Geneva under the auspices of the WCC? Were not representatives of the WCC present at the recent ‘meeting’ in New York?” Can you give us any more detail or evidence on these statements, and if possible name the WCC representatives involved? I don’t think we need to footnote these statements, but we would like to have some further evidence handy in case someone chooses to challenge them.

And there doubtless will be attacks! The Metropolia would like to ignore the Synod, but their response so far indicates that they have been hit hard by the various criticisms from our side. Your article is important especially as coming from someone “outside” and not from those troublesome reactionary Russians.

I wonder how your investigation of Iakovos & Co. is progressing? Recent statements of Athenagoras, Iakovos, the Clergy-Laity Congress, and The Orthodox Observer indicate progress in abandoning Orthodoxy is going very rapidly — but how do you grasp hold of the whole situation and explain what’s going on? That’s a real problem.

We were happy to see Frs. Panteleimon and Ephrem from Boston, Fr. Neketas Palassis, Fr. Michael Lightfoot, and Fr. Elias Armistead at the canonization of St. Herman in San Francisco. The significance of this event for American Orthodoxy is doubtless great — spiritual seed of which the future will reveal the fruits. We will have a full account in the July-August OW. The San Francisco Cathedral is a real stronghold of Russianness, and that we were able to sing a large part of the service in English is a wonder in itself, and probably a sign of the times. The San Francisco Examiner of Aug. 10 reported our view of the canonization, but the AP story in other papers carried headlines blowing up Bp. Theodosius’ sacrilegious statement: “Russian Church Canonizes a ‘Hippy’ Monk.” How just plain painful.

But God is with us, and in these critical years it’s up to a small number of us to fight for that genuine Orthodoxy that has been faithfully handed down to us.

We ask your prayers for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

P.s. We would appreciate if your would send us any material you find that reveals a change in attitude of Metropolia, especially clergy, concerning Soviet Church and Government. Bp. Theodosius has already taken the lead by finding Soviet people “comfortable and happy” and saying that “as Americans we have to reassess our ideas of life in the Soviet Union.” A collection of such statements would make a good article!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
057. August 5/18, 1970. Pre-Feast of the Transfiguration
Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel,

Here it is already a week since the great Church events of this year, and only now am I sitting down to try to tell you a little about them. I know how anxious you are to hear about them, but this will be only a brief sketch — we hope to have a fuller account with illustrations in our July-August Orthodox Word.

For us the great celebration began a month early, with the yearly Liturgy in Vladika Johns Sepulchre on the anniversary of his repose (June 19/July 2). Father Herman was commemorated then, too. Then, on the feast of Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam (June 29/July 11), Vladika Nektary came to us just after dawn and served Divine Liturgy. This, probably Father Herman’s namesday, was the beginning of daily litiyas for the repose of the about to be glorified Saint.

On the feastday of St. Seraphim (July 19/Aug. 1) Vladika Anthony made a surprise visit to us not long after dawn (together with Deacon Nicholas, who brought a beautiful small cupola he had made for our printshop), and served the third Liturgy in our outdoor chapel, followed by a panikhida for Fr. Herman and the first reading of the Ukase of Metr. Philaret which will be in our new OW.

The next week we expected Bp. Laurus, Gleb’s onetime instructor at the seminary, to visit us, and we hastily finished a small kellia we had begun some months ago — a lean-to, 8x8 ft., at the back door of our living cabin. He arrived Wednesday but stayed only a few hours and went right back. Thursday afternoon we left for San Francisco, and on Friday evening the chief services began. But first we received an appropriate tongue-lashing (good for humility!) from Vladika Anthony for the “18 bishops” we had predicted — we had this printed in the Russian press also. Alas, our information was not too reliable, and no more than 12 or so had really been expected, and several of these were unable to come owing to last-minute illness, urgent business, and the like, and only 5 attended after all, making the celebrations more modest but no less solemn for all that. Later Vladika Anthony thought he had been a little harsh on us and touchingly consoled us by telling us that with Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitan Innocent, and the reposed bishops of San Francisco and Alaska there would indeed be at least 18 bishops spiritually present!

And indeed, for all these bishops and for everyone else connected with Father Herman, commemoration was made at the requiem services of Friday night and Saturday morning. We were especially pleased to hear the list of names end each time with Archimandrite Gerasim of Spruce Island (who was also mentioned in Vladika Anthony’s sermon on Saturday morning), since he suffered so much in his own lifetime from the local Alaska clergy, and from the other side was criticized by some of our Synodal people for what they thought was his failure to take a definite stand after 1946. But now, when the whole Church was gathered to canonize his beloved Father Herman, Fr. Gerasim too was there where he belonged. Fr. Panteleimon of Boston arrived for the Friday evening service, bringing with him relics of several saints, which were put out for veneration, as well as the icon which we sent you the other day, which was given out Saturday night to all present. In the afternoon Fr. Vladimir of Jordanville arrived, bringing a relic of St. Herman (a tooth which Fr. Gerasim had given him years before), which was placed in the icon Fr. Cyprian painted together with another relic — a piece of Fr. Herman’s coffin which Fr. Gerasim had given Bp. Andrew of Novo-Diveyevo.

On Saturday evening at 6 o’clock Metr. Philaret arrived and the final panikhida was served for Father Herman alone. And then the long-awaited service to our newly-glorified Saint began. After the choir sang 3 stichera of the Resurrection, the cliros choir of seminarians and clergy began — loud and clear — the stikhera to St. Herman: “Leap up, ye waters of Valaam.” Up to the last minute, Vladika Anthony hadn’t decided how much should be sung in English, and he finally decided to begin with the final two stichera on “Lord, I have cried.” But rather than the 3 or 4 feeble voices he perhaps expected, there was a veritable crowd of enthusiastic young English-singers, and he blessed us to add the “Glory” in English too, which we did, slowly and solemnly. Here, as throughout the service, all the “special melodies” were followed strictly, whether in Slavonic or English.

At the Litia there was a procession around the outside of the Cathedral, and the first commemoration was made of “St. Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska.” Before the polyeleos, Vladika Anthony gave an inspired sermon which set the tone for the entire celebration. St. Seraphim, our paschal Saint who greeted everyone with the words “Christ is risen,” had prophesied the exile of the Russian faithful. And now, in the midst of this exile, the faithful have come together to celebrate the memory of yet another paschal Saint — Saint Herman, who reposed amidst lighted candles and the reading of the Acts, in preparation for eternal Pascha. And therefore Vladika Anthony — who earlier, for seemingly obscure reasons, had instructed all clergy to bring white paschal vestments for the canonization — now ordered all in the cathedral to hold burning candles to greet the newly-glorified Saint as at the Easter service.

After the polyeleos, the Metropolitan unveiled the icon with the relics of St. Herman, and the assembled clergy (20-some priests — 32 on Sunday, 5 deacons, plus servers) thunderously sang the first triumphal Magnification of St. Herman, repeated first by the choir, then by the clergy, then by the seminarians on the cliros in English, then again by the clergy.

The veneration of the icon and relics by the multitude of faithful took up the rest of the service, while Gleb and I read the canons — one troparion of each canticle to St. Herman in English. The lauds were sung in Slavonic and English, “O Most glorious wonder” being sung most rousingly by the seminarians in both languages. Everyone was inspired with a genuine paschal feeling, and Fr. Nicholas Dombrovsky emphasized this the next morning in his sermon at the early Liturgy by calling the celebration a second “Pascha in the summertime,” occurring just 67 years and 8 days after the first such “Pascha,” St. Seraphim's canonization, of which the Saint had prophesied in those words. After the evening service the American converts (of whom there were between 50 and 100 present) lined up to receive confession from Fr. Panteleimon, which lasted until 2 a.m.

On Sunday the whole day was one long church service, beginning with the early Liturgy at 7 and the blessing of the water at 8:30 (into which some water from Father Hermans spring was poured). The final prayer was read at 4 in the afternoon, and Fr. Panteleimon, who spent the time between 4 and the evening service in Archbishop Johns Sepulchre, could truthfully tell a group of Greeks to whom he spoke at 9 p.m. — “I came to church at 8 this morning and just got out now — glory be to God!”

The Liturgy proceeded slowly and solemnly. At the Entrance with the Gospel, the icon with relics was carried around the altar table — but not by the two oldest priests, who lifted it up at first, but by Archimandrites Panteleimon and Cyprian, as representing the monastic clergy at this monastic celebration. Vladika Anthony insisted on this understanding of the celebration and enforced it throughout. Before the Communion — in which it seemed the whole church participated — the seminarians sang stikhera in Slavonic and English.

During the moleben there was a procession around the church with the icon and relics, followed by “Many years” sung for the hierarchs, Fr. Panteleimon, Archimandrite Panteleimon of Jordanville — it was surely significant that this monastic festival should coincide with the namesday of the founders of our two leading monasteries in this country! — and for our Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, now of St. Herman, was also presented by Metr. Philaret with a Gramota from the Synod of Bishops, the text of which says perhaps as much about the Synod as it does about us. If anyone doubts that the Synod has missionary interest, the Gramota calls us to be “a missionary brotherhood, in lively contact with Americans seeking instruction.” And it sets forth our future too: “You are establishing a place for an endeavor of prayer and labor.” Indeed, within the next days or weeks, God willing, we will both be tonsured monks here, and then our real life’s labor will begin!

At the conclusion of the services the rite of the “Panagia” was celebrated: all clergy and servers walking in procession to the dining room below, singing the troparion to St. Herman. At the trapeza there were no speeches, but rather a monastic atmosphere of silence (not, unfortunately, fully observed by all!) while the life of St. Herman was read, mostly by Vladika Anthony.

In the evening, following the Vigil to the Smolensk Mother of God, a panikhida was served for Metr. Anthony Khrapovitsky. Again, how appropriate that this feast of the whole of Russia Abroad should occur on the eve of the repose of the founder of the Russian Church Abroad. Afterwards we went with Fr. Panteleimon to hear him talk to a small Pan-Orthodox meeting, composed mostly of Greeks who are extremely upset about the direction the Greek Church is taking, but are wary of following the “Russians.” Fr. Panteleimon answered their questions and gave an excellent talk on the difference between the abstract approach to Orthodoxy — academic discussions of what Orthodoxy is, definitions of “spirituality,” etc. — and the concrete approach, built up of all those things which are widely considered today as [un] important or old-fashioned — beards, cassocks, absence of pews and organs, daily morning and evening prayers, fasting.

On Monday morning after Divine Liturgy there was another moleben to St. Herman, and then a general panikhida in Vladika Johns Sepulchre, first by Fr. Vladimir in Slavonic, then by Fr. Panteleimon in Greek; and at the conclusion of this, as if summing up the whole paschal feeling of these days, Fr. Panteleimon greeted all in Russian with: Christos voskrese! to which all enthusiastically responded: Voistinu voskrese!

We arrived back home only after midnight on Monday, after seeing Fr. Panteleimon off with Fr. Neketas Palassis and Fr. Ephrem for Seattle, and the next day our great feast continued into a third day when Frs. Cyprian and Vladimir with Deacon Nicholas and four seminarians arrived to spend the day. Fr. Vladimir carried the icon with relics of St. Herman completely around our land, giving us yet another blessing of our Patron Saint. Later in the day Fr. Alexy Poluektov arrived to begin putting us back in a working spirit by starting to put our linotype into operation; he stayed 3 days. On Wednesday Fr. Elias Armistead stopped by on his way back to Alaska and spent the night.

And now, after all this celebration, we are about to start, God willing, a more productive phase of missionary work. Our linotype is operating, and as soon as type and lead arrive (any day) we will begin our new issue. We are beginning a new series on “Documents of the Catacomb Church,” as ignorance on this subject seems almost complete in America, and such ignorance is one. reason why the Metropolia so easily fell into the autocephaly trap. Fr. David Black writes us concerning Bishop Germogen as a “catacomb bishop” — which shows that he is totally unaware of the Church crisis of 1927, when the “Sergianists” seized control over the majority of bishops with aid of the Secret Police. We, of course, sympathize with Bishop Germogen, but all the same he remains a “Sergianist.”) But too, this is partly our fault, for there is very little in English on the whole question, and one of the secret blessings of the autocephaly is that now this and other important questions will be fully presented in English. How many will yet be awakened by this remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the future of the autocephaly is uncertain. Those remaining in the Metropolia have apparently accepted it entirely and try to pass it off at a great success, but from the outside it is obvious that not all is well. Constantinople and the Patriarchal Romanian parishes in America have made a definite stand against it, and not a single parish of the Moscow Exarchate in America or Canada has joined it, and in fact Moscow has sent a new bishop and two priests from the Soviet Union to Canada. For the indefinite future it seems likely that only Moscow will recognize the autocephaly which it granted itself, which will obviously place the Metropolia in greater dependence on its “Mother” — which is perhaps the way it was planned. Bp. Theodosius of Sitka has, to our great disappointment, entered whole-heartedly into the Soviet spirit. He has reported that in the USSR he found “smiling, happy faces”; if some complain about the government there, so do Americans about their government! Of course, he says nothing about prison camps, persecutions, Catacomb Church, Boris Talantov, the 10,000 churches closed in the last 10 years — in a word, our worst fears about what would happen to Metropolia clergy seem already to be coming into reality. The psychological and spiritual price of the autocephaly is tremendous. And in the Aug. 10 New York Times Bp. Theodosius is quoted as saying, “Father Herman was a hippy”! This is sacrilege! St. Herman is our recourse and defense in the face of the evils of these times, of which hippyism is only one misguided symptom, but to mix his holy name with those very evils...! I had better not say any more. At best, this is just another sign of the ecclesiastical immaturity of the new autocephalous Church; another sign of it is the Metropolia’s “service” to St. Herman — a product of embarrassing illiteracy which, the way it is written, cannot even be performed properly, as it omits several Theotokia. It has a “velichaem” in place of “yblazhaem,” inserts the Beatitudes into every troparion of the canon (whether this is just plain ignorance or an attempt at novelty is difficult to say), includes several errors of fact about St. Herman, confuses a service with polyeleos with an ordinary weekday service, has at least one inadmissible “ecumenical” troparion in the canon, etc. Typographically it is not printed but poorly mimeographed. (This is the Slavonic service; we haven’t seen the English, which is supposedly the original.) We showed it to Fr. Vladimir and he was astonished and could only say: “Why such poverty?” The answer is clear: immaturity. And now, rather than learn from those who do know better (frankly, a quite acceptable service could easily have been written in Moscow, but the Metropolia is spiritually “independent” now from Moscow, and dependent only politically), the autocephalous Church proclaims its “maturity” to the world, thereby closing itself off from the source of genuine ecclesiastical wisdom and maturity. This is all very sad to those of us who do not at all want to enter into rivalry with the Metropolia, but would hope to grow with her in genuine Church consciousness until American Orthodoxy might one day in truth enter its Orthodox maturity. Now, alas, the Metropolia, an unripe fruit, has been untimely plucked, and who will be able to put it back in its place? We are sorry most of all for the young and inexperienced who are being led by their heads down an unfruitful path...away from Orthodoxy entirely. Seemingly it is God’s will to isolate the tree of genuine American Orthodoxy so that it will bring forth genuine, even if perhaps not many, fruits. Already those like Fr. Panteleimon, Fr. Neketas Palassis, and others who are single-mindedly cultivating real Orthodoxy, are being dismissed as “troublemakers,” “narrow-minded fanatics,” and the rest. God grant us all the strength and patience to bear all for His Holy Name and Truth!

I’ve been writing for 3 days and must stop at last! I hope this gives you something to fill a little of the 3 bleak months to follow. We hope to hear from you soon, and especially to hear your impressions of Orthodox (and even non-Orthodox!) Australia. Our prayers are with you. Gleb sends his greetings.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. A note that probably will not appear (at least not in full) in the OW. Two weeks before the canonization our Vladika Anthony flew to Kodiak to obtain a blessing at Fr. Herman’s relics. He went incognito, without panagia or any outward sign of his rank, although when he found the church closed he did answer Fr. Macarius Targonsky’s question as to who he was. Under his ryassa he wore cuffs and epitrachelion and while making the rounds of the church and altar he sang a panikhida in a whisper, ending with “Eternal Memory” at the relics of St. Herman. He told us that this was what was done by Orthodox clergy at the tomb of St. John the Merciful when it was in the hands of the Catholics. Thus our statement about the relics of St. Herman being like St. Nicholas’ was verified by the action of this true hierarch of the Church. Undoubtedly Bp. Theodosius who seems to want to please everyone, would have welcomed Vladika Anthony and allowed him to serve freely, but from our side the conscience does not allow this — a seemingly fine but very important point. It was precisely the lack of such a conscience, of such a sensitivity for real Orthodoxy, that led the Metropolia hierarchs to their downfall. God preserve us all in His True Faith!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
056. July 13/26, 1970. Holy Fathers of Six Ecumenical Councils
Dear Father Neketas [Palassis],
Evlogeite!

As you rightly suspect, we don’t have much sense of the needs of publicity, but at your prodding we’ve sent “publicity packets” to the San Francisco newspapers, Time and Newsweek. We don’t have address of New York Times, so are sending their packet for you to send on, and an extra one in case you think of someone else. What about Religious News Service? We have no idea where to contact them. Our life of Father Herman is all sold out, but we sent everything else we could think of. We purposely avoided any hint of conflict between Kodiak and San Francisco, hoping the contrast of “local” vs “worldwide” will seem reasonable to the venerable editors. Of course, it’s rather late, but there should be some response at least in San Francisco. We gave them Vladika Anthony’s address for further questions.

As to our people being confused about the canonization — really, who can blame them? As far as I can recall, this new OW is the first place where it’s even hinted that there are two separate canonization services. I don’t know how successful our account will be, but it’s obvious that some kind of explanation had to come out. I suppose this issue will finally try Bp. Theodosius’ “patience” to the breaking point—but it’s about time he realized there is a war on, over the survival of Orthodoxy (or rather, over who will remain within Orthodoxy!), and he’s on the wrong side! Mrs. Fern Wallace sent us a clipping of Fr. Michael Irwin’s talk in Juneau — and he couldn’t have done any better if he had set out deliberately to discredit their cause. He admits some Soviet bishops are Soviet agents, that the whole autocephaly follows political trends set forth by the Soviet Government; Bp. Theodosius is quoted as saying the Soviet people he found to be happy and well dressed, and if some complain about the Government, well, so do Americans! Talk about stooges of the Soviets — and mixed-up ones at that; Nikodim should have reminded them not to talk about “Soviet agents,” at the least! We hope to collect a whole set of articles like this, preferably direct quotes, and base an article on them — please send us anything you come across. The Metropolia, apparently, remains the same old humbling Metropolia, and I wonder if it will even be able to follow up its advantage.

Certainly, you will be welcome at our refugee camp! Of course, we don’t know what God has in store for us, or where it will [be] possible to flee when the time comes. But there is some 1500 square miles or so of almost totally uninhabited land just south of us, the “Yolla Вolly Wilderness Area,” where even hunters and hikers are fairly rare. Up to the 1920’s, at least, according to my textbook on “California Trees,” it was the least explored part of California even from the point of view of identifying flora and fauna.

Fr. Elias [Armistead] writes: he’s coming for the canonization, perhaps “with an Alaskan or two.” He’s “desperate’ for help, and “money is no object” — he’ll gladly pay to import someone from Europe to help. Next year he’ll probably go to the Near East, or maybe throw up the whole Alaska adventure and hide in the Holy Land. ??? Frankly, we’ve about given up looking for any fruitful activity in his direction. Apparently, after all, the surest way to bring forth fruit for Holy Orthodoxy is to find yourself in a narrow, confining, almost impossible situation, with no way out but to pray and work with sweat and tears. Too much freedom, too much money, too much opportunity, too many ideas — seem too easily scattered to the wind. We must simply thank God for all our suffering and trials—there's just no other hope for us!

We’ve seen the Byzantinish icon of Father Herman by the Metropolia—but it doesn’t look in the least like Father Herman! Fr. Cyprian’s icon is the best so far, but his face doesn’t resemble Father Herman too much either.

Pray for us.




Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
055. July 7/20, 1970.
Dear Father Michael [Azkoul],
Bless us, Father!

As Br. Gleb is at present overloaded with other assignments, I will take a short respite from printing The Orthodox Word to answer for him.

As you are already in contact with Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, I am sure you have already received his permission to take part in the canonization services. As for lodging, I would advise contacting Abbess Ariadna, 3365 19th St., S.F., 94119, who has rooms to let.

We are glad to see your zeal for Father Herman for the Russian Church Abroad, and we only pray that you will manifest it in due measure, so that genuine fruits may come from it. In going to Spruce Island I am sure you realize that you must be “wise as a serpent,” proceeding with utmost caution even when you are sure of your ground. The question of Bp. Theodosius is extremely sensitive: certainly we recognize that he is in schism or worse and has no rights over us, but if we are incautious and give him unnecessary grounds for offense, he might take desperate measures that could ruin all our good beginnings; also, if he felt himself to be “attacked” by our Church he might be driven even more into the arms of the Soviets.

We shall be most interested to hear of your further plans. Frankly, we have no very clear idea of your intentions on Spruce Island, and we trust in the prayers of St. Herman to enlighten the way, that everything done may be for the glory of God and of His Saint.

Most likely we shall be seeing you in San Francisco at the canonization, if we can find each other in the crowds, and we look forward to talking to you then.

Asking your prayers and blessing,

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

P.s. The English Service to Father Herman will be finished this week and we will send you several copies immediately.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
054. June 29/July 12, 1970. Sts. Peter and Paul
Dear Father Neketas,
Bless us, Father!

It’s Sunday and a feast day, and I have a chance to rest and catch up on correspondence. First: thank you for letting us see the enclosed letter. Indeed, it is time to apply strictness in Orthodox reading material. It just can’t be assumed that the Orthodox reader will get through a book by Schmemann etc. unaffected by the big and little discrepancies from Orthodoxy, which by now have added up to a whole new approach to Orthodoxy. As the list of pre-schism Western Saints, we recently discovered this list in an old Orthodox Russia which I will try to get around to copying one of these days. It was short — probably some 15 or so names, most of them included in our article on St. Cassian last year. Whether there is another longer list I don’t know. The Dutch Orthodox sent us a list of some 40 local (Dutch) saints in their calendar, but I haven’t yet been able to get from them a list of non-Dutch Western saints.

We are plodding on with The Orthodox Word, but it will be another week before it’s out. We resolved to make the Service to Father Herman a model in every way, including typographically, which means printing every page twice (2 colors), and we printed a number of extras to bind separately. Glory be to God, it is almost finished, and we are sufficiently full of inspiration and hope to want to print a whole series of services to the glory of God and His saints and for the inculcation of genuine Orthodox piety in this direct way. We are already dreaming of the service to St. Nectarios (if Fr. Panteleimon or someone can be persuaded to translate the Orthros) and St. Mark of Ephesus.

Of course, this presumes that we will get caught up on The Orthodox Word. Our linotype still sits unassembled, and there are several complications that await resolution—such as long-awaited parts needed for gas connections, and the problem of obtaining matrices of type. One set (Roman and Italic) if new costs almost as much as the whole linotype ($500). We have located a used set at about half that, and are hoping for word of something even more reasonable from the East. Of course there is also the problem of getting and keeping the machine in operation. One look at an operators manual persuaded me that my ignorance was just about absolute. But we trust in God, and await Fr. Alexy Poluektov in a week or two to assemble the machine and give some ABCs.

We were blessed to receive Holy Communion at the Sepulchre of Vladika John last week on the 4th anniversary of his death, and again yesterday when Vladika Nektary visited us on the feast of Sts. Sergius and Herman. Glory be to God! We noticed in S.F. that attendance at the Sepulchre declines each year, and it seems, sadly, that the Russians are forgetting him, and that when the older generation of those who knew him is gone in a few years, his memory will almost vanish among them — and will be preserved then chiefly by those non-Russians, most of whom did not know him, whose acquaintance with him is based not on personal relationships but on the attraction of his sanctity. Thus are God and His saints glorified in unexpected ways.

The report of Glebs tonsure on Father Hermans canonization day — is just another wild rumor. The day for both of us is, however, indeed drawing nigh, but it will only be after the canonization. I can't remember how many times I’ve already been made a deacon or priest myself! In fact, a student-composer friend even composed an “Axios” which he rushed to me in time to be sung at my ordination! But everything comes in God’s own time.

Have you heard anything more from Fr. Seraphim of St. Tikhon's? Our letter a month ago was returned “No longer at this address,” and the other day we learned from a seminarian (his co-conspirator) that he refused to “repent“ and left at the end of May to visit relatives.

We were fortunate two weeks ago to be visited by Fr. Alexander Mileant of Los Angeles — one of our finer young Russian priests. He fell in love with our place and made us realize all the more how fortunate we are to be here. Indeed, while the world relapses into anarchy and men become lower than beasts, we live in a veritable paradise where speechless creatures, our nearest neighbors, continually praise the Lord by their very existence. Three weeks ago we found a fawn lying exhausted by the side of the road. We brought it home, kept it overnight, got it to drink milk, and returned it to the hill down which we presumed it had fallen. (We would have kept it longer but discovered there’s a strict law against it.) Then two days ago our mother deer who comes every day for our garbage brought her fawn for us to see — apparently the same one, and too touching a sight to describe. She's so used to us that she suckles the fawn only 10 or 15 feet away from us, and we hear their talk among themselves — rather like sheep’s bleating, only higher. Recently, too, we saw our first bear running up our hill — and fortunately we did not take Vladika Nektary’s advice and offer it sugar; it didn’t seem like that kind of bear, much too businesslike! Even our one local enemy, the rattlesnake, praises the Lord — such a beautiful yellow with a pattern of diamonds on his back and the bearing of a prince, albeit a sinister one! Last week we had a 15-minute battle with a huge one before we dislodged it from its squirrel-hole and beheaded it (thereby saving our squirrel family, where the father joins the mother in carrying the young from nest to nest). Of course, it is not our lot in this life to sit back and enjoy all this, but we are grateful to have a little corner where God’s order is so evident. What will be here in future — is in God’s hands, and may it be for His glory! Somehow, in the back of our minds, we keep seeing our wilderness transformed into an Orthodox refugee camp! May God’s will be done!

Of the names you sent, 4 are not present subscribers (Alepakos, Sims, Blackstone, Brukses, nor are the 3 Metropolia people (Magner, Dimoff, Eppler), to all of whom we will send the next issue.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
053. June 29/July 12, 1970. Sts. Peter and Paul
Dear Father David [Black],

I was glad to receive your reply to my latest rather outspoken letter and welcome the opportunity to continue our “dialogue” — even under the somewhat strained circumstances that now prevail. t It would not be fair on my part to pretend that a tension does not exist between our Churches. From the tone of your letters, and from what I have heard of the words and actions of Bishop Theodosius, I would gather that you would like nothing better than to be in full peace and concord with Moscow and with the Synod. I can tell you frankly: impossible! There are issues at stake which cannot be solved by reference to canons. Above the canons is He Who inspired them: the Holy Spirit, Whose guidance is apprehended by the immediate feeling (not emotion!) of the believing Orthodox heart. On the question of canons there is no better example in the world today of Phariseeism than the Moscow Patriarchate, which insists on the letter of the law where its own worldly interests are concerned, while in everyday practice it is surpassed by none in laxness, as is quite noticeable in the former Exarchate.

But it is not as despisers of canons that our Church will have nothing to do with the Moscow hierarchs; and few in our midst even raise the question of whether there is grace within the Moscow Church — this is not for us to decide under present conditions. It is rather the indissoluble tie of the Moscow Patriarchate with an unquestionably God-hating and Satanic power that makes all contact with her impossible. You will find in our midst great sympathy and pity for all but the leading hierarchs of Moscow — and even for some of them you will find fellow-feeling owing to the inhuman circumstances under which they have been forced to betray Orthodoxy. (Rumor has it that Metr. Sergius was given the alternative in 1927: sign the Declaration, or every church will be destroyed and believers arrested and killed. If so, he signed out of faintheartedness, trusting more in the power of the Soviets to destroy than in the power of God to preserve the Church.) But this fellow-feeling cannot allow us who are free to recognize the Patriarchate and thereby freely place ourselves in the same trap she was forced into! And this the Metropolia has done, thus fixing the gulf between us as absolute. From my contact with our people I can tell you: with every fiber of our body and every feeling of our soul we are repulsed by this free act of betrayal, and the feeling of sympathy which we do have for all but the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate we do not have for the Metropolia. No, we do not “hate” you, and we recognize that most of you have followed this act out of a lack of awareness of the Church situation today; but thereby the Metropolia has alienated herself from us even more than Moscow, where the Church consciousness is forcibly crushed, but not freely given away!

Do you not yet begin to see the enormous implications of the most important part of your agreement with Moscow — i.e., the unwritten part? Do you not yet see how your supposed “independence” binds you so tightly that you must now begin to do things that you would never have dreamed of before? With all our heart we would like to be one with you at least with those of you who sincerely love the Church and want to serve Her above all but we can be one with you only in the Truth, not in false friendliness. And this uncompromising attitude of ours will only inspire even more bitter feelings in some of you than Fr. Meyendorff has already shown in his slanderous attack, and men like Fr. Meyendorff will echo every last bit of the Moscow propaganda against us — not realizing that this is one of the most important “clauses” of the Autocephaly Agreement: to join in destroying the “Karlovitz Schismatics.”

I will tell you another of the unwritten “clauses” of that agreement, which you yourself are following in your arguments for Moscow: “Every bishop, priest, and layman of the Metropolia agrees to defend the Moscow Patriarchate, not merely as a persecuted organization that cannot be judged by those outside the USSR, not merely as a Church that may yet possess the grace of the Holy Spirit, but as a fully canonical, in no wise dubious Orthodox Church, entided to a role of leadership among the Orthodox Churches of the world.” One can even paraphrase the Declaration of 1927 to read: “Every blow directed against the Patriarchate of Moscow is a blow against the Metropolia, and her joys and sorrows are those of the Metropolia.”

Do you not yet begin to grasp the immensity of your spiritual bondage? Do you not see that the Metropolia can no longer look at the Church situation in the USSR with objective eyes? That it is no longer in the interests of the Metropolia to have a complete exposure of that situation? That the Metropolia cannot welcome the publication of the statements of many hierarchs in 1927 unequivocally condemning the Declaration of Metr. Sergius and the Church organization based on it? That it would not be in the interests of the Metropolia that Boris Talantov be released from prison and allowed to continue his writings on “Sergianism” as the root of the evils of Russian Church life today? That the Metropolia has taken its unequivocal stand on the side of Sergianism and against the Catacomb Church, about whose very existence the Metropolia now would prefer not to hear? Indeed, if any word can describe the Metropolia’s present state, it is surely: “Neo-Sergianism.”

Further, the Metropolia remains her old self, only with an inflated title that is recognized by no one save Moscow. Therefore, her dependence upon Moscow is obvious: without Moscow’s special intercession she will have no chance to sit as a full member of any Pan-Orthodox Conference; in any court cases concerning “jurisdictions” she will have to call upon witnesses from Moscow; etc. As for the Exarchate: the Russian text of the Autocephaly Agreement (but not the English text as printed by Fr. Meyendorff!) specifies that the entire Canadian diocese of the Exarchate is excluded from the “autocephaly,” and a list is given of 43 churches in the U.S. who voted to remain directly under Moscow (this includes all but one of the Exarchate churches in the latest list I have seen). Can anyone argue that the “autocephaly,” for the conceivable future, is anything but an empty tide? And likewise, that the advantages so far are not heavily on the side of Moscow and her undoubted scheme to seize hegemony of world Orthodoxy?

Yes, our statements about Frs Schmemann and Meyendorff will be documented in The Orthodox Word. We have already two long articles waiting for space. Recent complications and delays have put us several months behind, and we have an unwritten rule that contemporary polemical material must never occupy 50% of an issue. But with God's blessing this and other material will soon see the light in the hope of giving more precision to certain aspects of contemporary Orthodox thought. The small deviations of yesterday are already resulting in great divergences, which we hope some will yet see in time.

I assure you that all I have written here does not in least diminish our love and prayers for you and all of Orthodox Alaska. Through the grace of our Saviour and the prayers of Saint Herman, may we yet come to true unity in the undimmed Orthodox Faith.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. Yes, we still plan to print the life of St. Theodosius and will welcome the article on his canonization.

Fr. Michael Azkoul, by the way, received canonical release from the Syrian Archdiocese and so was not obliged to show that his Archbishop is a heretic!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
052. June 22/July 5, 1970 Priest-Martyr Eusebius
Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel [Olson],

Many thanks for your letter and the article from America—a truly sad commentary on what can be done by “reformers” who have no love for what they’re “reforming.” One can see it coming in Orthodoxy too, and those who do not consciously stand up in defense of the Faith will most likely have the ground pulled out from under them. One can see all the more urgency in not budging one inch in the “ecumenical” direction. The new “theologians” can talk until they are blue in the face about “witnessing Orthodoxy,” but to anyone who loves Orthodoxy it is plain that their intellectual discussions and tea parties with the Protestants are simply a pleasant way of betraying Orthodoxy. Recently a group of Catholic and Orthodox “theologians” had a “dialogue” on the Eucharist, issuing in a joint statement that fundamentally the two Churches are in agreement, with a footnote to the effect that intercommunion is still premature. But how can one be “witnessing Orthodoxy” if one doesn’t even inform the Catholics that they have no sacraments and that all their intellectual formulations are a million miles from the life-saving grace to be found in the Orthodox Church? Either these Orthodox “theologians” are dishonest (and thus trying to trick the Catholics?!) or they’ve already changed Orthodoxy in their own minds to make union easier. In any case, it’s not “Orthodoxy” that is being witnessed!

We also have been continuing our correspondence with Fr. David Black. His defensiveness, I think, is an excellent example of the success of the Soviet diplomats who arranged the autocephaly. Nowhere in the agreement is it written that Metropolia clergy will now rise to the defense of the Soviet Church—yet they have to, in order to defend their own position! Truly, every blow directed against the Soviet Church is a blow directed against the Metropolia, and indeed it is now decidedly not in the interests of the Metropolia for there to be any detailed exposure of Church life in Russia, concerning the Catacomb Church, for example. In his letters to us Fr. David has tried to drag out every skeleton he can find from Tsarist times—but most of those we would never dream of apologizing for, while the Metropolia has now voluntarily placed itself in the position of defending Church figures who are involved in evils undreamed of by all the heretics and apostates of the past. One need not “judge” the Church in Russia (as we are accused of) in order to see that it is impossible, if one has a Christian conscience, to deal with such as Nikodim. We have some more comments on this in the new OW. By the way, the “dissolution of the Exarchate” is another example of a Soviet victory from their negotiations: in Canada not one church voted to join the Metropolia, and in America 43 churches voted to stay with Moscow, which includes all but one of the churches in the latest Exarchate list that we have. The priest who writes for the Hellenic Chronicle openly writes that the Metropolia and Moscow alike are perpetrators of lies who cannot be trusted.

Anyway, we are still praying for Alaska, that by the prayers of Fr. Herman the faithful there may still be awakened and saved.

This is suppose to be a short letter, as there is much to do. The service for Father Herman's canonization, by the way, will be celebrated only in San Francisco on August 9, since that is not his feast day; all other churches will have just a pannikhida the day before and a moleben after the Liturgy on Aug. 9. We will try to get together some Orthodox information on Australia in a few days. We hope to have the service printed in English within a week—in 2 colors, not an easy job!

Here were in midsummer and suffering—but probably nothing like you. 95 degrees is about as high as it goes, though it's close to 115 degrees in Redding, where we go as seldom as possible. I’ll have to tell you our animal adventures some other time—we’ve seen our first bear, kept a fawn for 24 hours, and saved our squirrel family by killing a huge rattlesnake. Gleb sends greetings.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
051. June 8/21, 1970. Sunday of All Saints
Dear Father David,

What is there to say: The Metropolia has gone through with its coup, which for the present involves only itself, but obviously has possibilities for a future union of all those who think a “unified Orthodox Church” is the answer for American Orthodoxy. No, it is not the answer, and is the product of very superficial thinking on the question. The answer is a return to real Orthodoxy, so sorely diluted in this century in America. The Metropolia move, I believe, is the watershed of 20th-century Orthodoxy — from now on there will be two “Orthodoxies” in America: the real one (of which no one can doubt that our Synod has become the beacon-light) and the imitation, the product of the Protestantized-academicized Paris school joined to the practical indifference and secular Protestantism of American life. The proof of the case against the Metropolia (and the other like-thinking jurisdictions) lies not in its dubious tactics or even its criminal negotiations with the Soviets, but in the fact that its leadership is not preaching Orthodoxy but a cheap surrogate thereof. Yes, some priests still try, but the future belongs to Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorff, who are not Orthodox, and the future generation is being raised on the blasphemous parody of Orthodoxy contained in the official publications, from Young Life to Concern. These people doubtless mean well, but they have been drastically miseducated, and now they try to enforce their abysmal ignorance of Orthodoxy upon the whole Church.

We assumed, in our last letter to Bp. Theodosius, that he would understand that unity with the Synod involves rejection of Moscow and vice versa. It is not only Metr. Anastassy but our own Archbp. Anthony of San Francisco and many other hierarchs who have pleaded for the restoration of this unity, to which the Metropolia always turned a deaf ear. Now, of course, the Metropolia’s schism is complete, and no further communion is possible. But now we may at least thank God that the air has been somewhat cleared, and those still able to choose can do so. The issues are critical: Orthodoxy vs. non-Orthodoxy. In worldly terms the Metropolia has all the odds on its side: numbers, prestige, publication of wide circulation with an editor who, frankly, is not to be accused of fairness or honesty. But the Metropolia does not have principle or truth on her side, nor can she be considered any longer as within the Church. The official representatives of the Metropolia either do not know the facts of Church history of the last 50 years (Fr. Schmemann has admitted to Fr. Michael Azkoul that he doesn’t know the facts about the Synod!) or else they are deliberately distorting them. The “ship” of the Metropolia, as a Church, has come to shipwreck; from now on individuals can still be rescued, but the judgment of the whole body can only be given over to the free Russian Church of the future.

The Synod’s position of truth and principle, of what Orthodoxy is and what it is not, will be presented in detail in future publications. Our Orthodox Word will soon print Fr. Michael Azkoul’s excellent reply to Fr. Schmemann’s attack on the “Sorrowful Epistle” (Fr. Meyendorff turned it down, predictably), in the hope of setting straight Fr. Schmemanns distortions and faulty theology. Fr. Michael has now come to the Synod — not because he thinks that Metr. Philip is a heretic, but because in not breaking of with Moscow over the issue of giving communion to Roman Catholics he enters also into crypto-Uniatism, as the Metropolia already has done far more decisively. “Global Orthodoxy” has not listened to the Synod’s pleas, and therefore those who wish to remain Orthodox have no choice but to leave “global Orthodoxy.” In the 15th century those who were not with St. Mark of Ephesus were not in the Church — and this situation is being approached today.

Alas, the basic Church issues of today are disguised in clouds of rhetoric and academic half- truths. The capitulation of Orthodoxy today comes not in the forms of signatures to a pseudo-Union, but as a gradual series of acts of apostasy. Those who love the truth must now separate themselves from this relentless and soul-destroying process. The Church as seen through the eyes of the Metropolia presents a timid voice to the world, ever ready to apologize for its deviations and to accommodate itself to the times and to the powerful of the world. Not such is the Church of Christ! And there is precious little time left for us to thunder the truth to an indifferent world!

You cannot imagine our sorrow at hearing of the doings of Bp. Theodosius and the visit of Juvenaly to Alaska. May Fr. Herman yet save Alaska, and enlighten and guide us all in the path of Orthodox truth!

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. Is it really true that not one parish of the Exarchate decided to enter the Metropolia, as reported in the Romanian newspaper Credinta? That would make the celebrated “dissolution of the Exarchate” imaginary indeed!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
049. May 27/June 9,1970. Priest-Martyr Ferapont
Dear Fr. Neketas,
Bless us, Father!

We're sitting in a surprise rainstorm of two days duration, more or less cut off from the world by a slippery road. Very good for our garden, but of dubious value to our linotype, which sits under a plastic covering and a hastily-devised temporary roof. It took us four days to get it dismantled, loaded (with a fervent prayer that the lift on our rented truck would work on a 1500 pound load), transported, and unloaded. Unfortunately it will now be a matter of weeks before the building is finished, linotype assembled, gas and electricity hooked up, etc., which also interferes with our sadly belated March-April issue, which we will start finally to handset in only a day or two, hoping to get it out not long past July 1st. Once the linotype is operating we will progress rapidly, but meanwhile...pray for us!

We received the officially approved service to Fr. Herman last week and have translated it and will include it in this issue, the only issue that will reach our readers before the canonization. It will be 24 pages in the middle of the magazine, and we’ll also print 1000 or so separate in brochure-form. We tried to keep some poetic feeling in the English, not with entire success, I’m afraid. The Slavonic itself is sometimes inspiring, and sometimes rather pale. The troparion is still in doubt; we stand for the old one, but there may be a completely new one...or perhaps a choice of two. This being really the first “American” service, we’ve tried to make it a model, right down to the acrostic, which worked out rather successfully in both languages. The Slavonic committee does not care much for acrostics, but we found it rather inspiring to have to work within the norms of a sacred phrase from the words of Father Herman. Jordanville is printing Fr. Cyprian’s icon of Fr. Herman in 2 sizes — 4 x 5 and 6x9. Were having our icon reprinted in smaller size — something like 2 1/2x3 1/2.

Yes, we have the text of Fr. Michael’s answer to Fr. Schmemann — it’s just what is needed today. Unfortunately, because of the service, it will have to go in next issue. It’s 15 pages long. The Synod is now getting quite a nucleus of American priests. May God grant all to flourish under her. It will doubtless take a while before the Russian psychology comes around to accepting the. Synod’s crucial role in world Orthodoxy, but fortunately there are some who understand already.

Is the Synod priest you mention in Alaska by any chance Fr. Nicholas Harris in Anchorage? He ordered a number of copies of our Fr. Gerasim issue and subscribed at that time. We hear from Fr. Elias Armistead that he is bringing his wife to Alaska to open an Inn — but still he doesn’t say a word about what he’s doing, though he notes that our richest diocese, San Francisco, doesn’t give him a dime. But for what? Our doubts about him only grow.

We read with interest your comments on the times. Alas, I fear that the free, liberal, naive America of our childhood is gone, and the increasing anarchism will only call forth a dictatorship, of right or left, depending on who can seize it. Whichever it may be, we Orthodox don’t have a bright future, in worldly terms; but doubles this will give us our chance really to confess our Orthodoxy in difficult circumstances. The “official” jurisdictions might be able to make their peace with the new conditions and “flourish” ά la the Soviet Church or the Church of Greece, in which case we who are less politically-minded would be reduced to a more or less catacomb status even under a rightist dictatorship, while under leftists we might not even be allowed to exist. Although we don’t get much news here (mainly week-old comment in US News) and aren’t really aware of the “polarization” of feelings that is going on, my guess is that rightism will install itself, leading to one last world conflagration, out of which may emerge... the beast of the last days who will finally reconcile all.

But that is all guesswork. For us what is important is to stick to our holy Orthodoxy, which is our real battle, and face each new day in a spirit of confession.

Hitler, by the way, was a most interesting apocalyptic phenomenon. Besides his insane jealously of the Jews, which led him to destroy them so that the Germans could be the “chosen race” and he the Messiah (I even recall, though I can’t find the source, that he once said that if he couldn’t be the Messiah then he would willingly be Antichrist!) he was himself basically a Bolshevik with an idol-worship of Lenin and Communist techniques who saw 20th-century world history as a battle between his National Bolshevism and Soviet international Bolshevism, and who when he saw the end of his hopes gave his political inheritance to the Soviets in the words: “The future belongs to the stronger Eastern power [nation].” In the last days of the war the Nazis organized “werewolves” who took their inspiration from the positively “mystical” broadcasts of Goebbels to the effect that since the war was lost, Germany and Europe must be positively destroyed so that the new order of the future could be built on the total ruin and ashes of everything man had hitherto valued and built. Hitlerism, in short, is only the handmaid of Communism, which in turn points to the “mystical” pinnacle of modern times: Antichrist. Hider, also, while anti-monarchist, kept the crown and scepter of the Holy Roman Emperors “just in case” the times should change and a “monarch” should be demanded; and he once also said “if the monks of Mount Athos should ever sign a document giving me the inheritance of the Eastern Empire, by all means preserve it” for just such a change in the spirit of the times. Exactly the same features are apparent also in Napoleon, who however chose the side of the Jews and convened their Sanhedrin for the first time in 1800 years to have himself proclaimed Emperor. Napoleon also (I forget whether just in the Russian campaign or in general) had his soldiers and followers tattooed on the right hand, without which they had no right to receive food.

Perhaps these are all “minor details,” but I somehow think they will loom large when modern godlessness comes to demand its symbolic crowning.

But again, such speculations carried too far tend to divert our attention from the one important thing: Orthodoxy. World and national politics will take their course without us, but few indeed are they who care to stand up for Orthodoxy. For ourselves, we feel even more pressingly the need to print whatever we can of solid Orthodoxy while there is still time. May God help us all to work while there is still light!

Thank you for letting us see the letters to John Harwood, which we return herewith.

Please pray for us in these crucial days.

With love in Christ our Saviour,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
048. May 26/June 8, 1970. St. George the New Martyr
Dear Father Michael [Azkoul],
Bless us, Father!

We received your manuscript safely, also the corrections. Definitely, we will print it. It is just what is needed—completely fair and objective, but right to the point, and raising just the right questions for Orthodox at this crisis point. We only wish it could get an even wider circulation.

We had hoped to print the article in our new issue, but further complications added to our usual belatedness make this probably impossible. Our “March-April” issue is now so late that it will be the only one to be sure to reach our subscribers before the canonization date of Father Herman; and last week the Slavonic text of the service to Father Herman was finally approved—and so we have dropped everything else to translate it and put it in this issue, where it will take up probably half of the pages. On top of that, we just bought a linotype in a special arrangement requiring us to transport it here by June 1—into a building which is still only half-finished. The linotype is still in a hundred pieces, taking up some of our printing room, and can’t be put into working shape for some weeks, so we find it to our exasperation a short-term liability which won't start justifying itself until “May- June.” But glory be to God for all things—in a month or two, God willing, we will be doubling our production. In the meantime, we ask your prayers that we will be able to get the present issue out safely. Your article then will go in the May-June issue, together with another long and important article on the Catacomb Church, about which all too little has appeared in English. The anti-Sergianist texts of 1927, which we also hope to start printing, have a quite contemporary relevance; as with the Greeks and the Calendar-modernist question, so in the Russian Church the basis of today's disorders dates to the ‘20 s, and was already answered then.

Truly, may God grant peace to His Church! But judging from the pace of contemporary apostasy, our immediate prospect is for much battle. May God help us.

Trusting in your prayers,

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

P.s. We were happy to hear of your official acceptance into the Synod, about which we would like to make a brief note at the beginning of your article. May God strengthen you in your chosen path. If you happen to see Bp. Laurus, please give him our warmest greetings; we have close ties with him.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
047. May 21/June 3, 1970

Mr. Alex V. Cattell
St. Tikhon’s Society, Inc.
598 15th Ave.
San Francisco, Calif. 94118

Dear Mr. Cattell,

Last Friday evening we returned to Platina with our new linotype and put it safely in place. We then opened our mail and found the check of St. Tikhon’s Society for $400. You can imagine our feelings. Truly, everything is given by God — in the right way and just at the right time. With this money we have already been able to pay some important expenses connected with the purchase of the machine.

Please extend our heartfelt gratitude to the St. Tikhon’s Society for its most generous and thoughtful gift. And please pray for us that we may bring forth fruits worthy of the love which you and others have shown us.

With gratitude and love in Christ our Saviour,
Father Herman of Alaska Brotherhood
Br. Gleb Podmoshensky
Br. Eugene Rose



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
046. May 10/23, 1970. St. Simon Zealot, Apostle
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Dear Fr. Panteleimon and Fathers and Brothers in Christ,

Bless us, Father!

We send our sincere gratitude for the $200, which was safely received. As it turns out, this was precisely the sum we needed for completing the purchase of the linotype itself, which is now accomplished. Truly, God sends us just what is necessary and just at the right time. Next week we are transporting the linotype here, which will be an enormous task, but Fr. Alexy has promised to come here and get it back in working condition for us. We’ve built the floor for it and hope to get enough of the walls and roof on at least to keep the rain off, within the next few days. By now, of course, we’ve gotten so far behind with the new OW that we would like to put the new machine into operation immediately, despite our inexperience, but it remains to be seen how easy this will be, what things have yet to be bought for it, etc.

Enclosed is a check for $10 from a girl in San Francisco (non-Orthodox, a potential convert) who recently informed me that my godson Michael Bain had died; she wishes this sum to be used in his memory, so I send it on to you and beg you to remember him at the Divine Liturgy. His is a very strange story which I do not entirely understand. He was received into the Church at the S.F. Cathedral about 4 years ago when he married a Russian girl, a zealot for Orthodoxy who has turned her whole family into zealots (her brother is now studying at Jordanville after overcoming his period of rebellion). I talked to him once or twice and gave him literature, and at the last moment I was called in to be his godfather. He was to be received with Chrismation, coming from Anglicanism, on Saturday night after the Vigil. He couldn’t produce his Anglican Baptism papers, and Vladika John, who was present, after a brief examination which the poor boy didn’t pass at all, found him unprepared to be received into Orthodoxy. However, the wedding was next day. For the next half hour Vladika sat in a chair, then walked around a little, in silence, appearing to be completely absorbed in thought (but probably, rather, praying), while the rest of us stood quietly in the darkened church and an unusual thunderstorm broke out, the lightning visible through the windows — a very eerie experience. At the end he decided the boy could be received then through Chrismation, and would produce the Baptism papers the next day. I don’t know much what happened after that, except that there was an obvious conflict between the quite ordinary jazz-loving American boy and his cultured, zealous Orthodox wife. But after several months there was some kind of incident, revealing some kind of psychological disturbance, and he was in the hospital with a badly cut hand and never completely recovered the use of his fingers. Vladika John visited him in the hospital and told the family that the devil was fighting for his soul. He nonetheless recovered and was attending school, until now I am informed that he has died — how, from what, I haven't been informed as yet. There may be some lesson from it all in the end. Anyway, I beg your prayers for the repose of his soul.

We hear that Fr. Michael has come to the Synod and has written a reply to Schmemann — who truly deserves to be brought down from his ridiculous pedestal. We’re firing one shot in this direction with our new issue. We're anxiously awaiting Fr. Michael’s article.

The Metropolia coup is over, and after it I think the air is clearer and our own consciences clean; we did what we could, and the good ship Metropolia has shown it doesn’t want to be saved from shipwreck. Let us therefore fish out the survivors and go to war in earnest for our Holy Orthodoxy!

Warm weather has come to the mountains, and we go to our nearby creek (a mile from the post office) two or three times a week to get enough water to keep our garden growing. Our mother deer had offspring last week (I think the nest is in the tall grass to the east), and we are waiting for her to display it (or them). Our squirrels drive us crazy, and one of them is also expecting. Truly, all creatures praise the Lord, even our snakes (of whom we have faintheartedly killed several). We’ve heard nothing from Hieromonk Seraphim. We are gradually building up our “skete,” in full expectation of having it turn one day into an Orthodox refugee camp. We aren’t too close to the news here, but what we get a week later (from U.S. News) is enough to evoke suitable comparisons with 1917. The whole Metropolia affair seems to fit very nicely into the political pattern of the times; I guess that’s what comes from having your “theologians” so well attuned to the spirit of the times.

Pray for us, dear Fathers,

With love in Christ our Saviour,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
045. May 10/23, 1970. St. Simon Zealot, Apostle
Dear Father Michael [Azkoul],
In truth Christ is risen! Bless us, Father!

Many thanks for your letter. First of all — yes, we would most certainly like to see your answer to Fr. Schmemann, the sooner the better. We might even be able to substitute it for our already prepared article on Fr. S's “liturgical theology,” which has no particular timeliness — depending on length. We ourselves thought of writing something by way of reply to that, as also to Fr. Meyendorff’s attack in Orthodox Church, but we couldn’t find the time and concentration, and then Fr. George Grabbe’s replies came out. Fr. Grabbe’s replies, while always sober and factual, are really addressed to Russians who can’t get excited about people like Frs. S & M. because they’ve long recognized them as apostates and just don’t listen to them any more. But for English-speaking people there should be a more fighting approach, I think; in English these people are “theological authorities,” and it’s up to us to prove that they aren’t. We heard just yesterday from Fr. Neketas that you had written such an article; he plans to print it together with Fr. Schmemann’s original to give the complete picture and avoid any charges of unfairness. But our circulation is probably at least double his, although I’m sure none of our outlets can come close to The Orthodox Church, which I would imagine must be 5-10,000. Diaconia does make an effort to get the whole picture and present opposing viewpoints, though I get the impression that they cull Orthodox publications and pick out the newsworthy articles rather than taking manuscripts as such.

It was our good fortune to be blissfully unaware for several years of what was being printed in The Orthodox Church, but with the Metropolia scandal we decided we had better see what they are saying. We’ve seen the last 6 issues now—and such a brand of shady, second-rate journalism is just about without peer in the Orthodox press. Quite apart from his attack on the Synod, even poor Athenagoras isn’t allowed to be represented, and then his letter is finally presented in a footnote as some kind of “mystery,” by implication a forgery. Fr. Meyendorff is apparently aware of addressing a very limited audience who can’t be trusted to distinguish the “right” point of view (evidently the party line) from any others. We’re still hoping to get the time to write him an Open Letter on this subject, with a note on its implications for their new “American Orthodoxy.”

You have confirmed our own general impression of Metropolitan Philip as a well-meaning man who unfortunately wishes to be at peace with everyone. So many of our young American priests of almost all jurisdictions go through a vague and mostly external Orthodox education and then gain parish experience mostly in how to get along with people, and they simply aren’t equipped to stand up and fight for Orthodoxy. But now — 1970 being perhaps the very year of decision, our American “watershed” for Orthodoxy — those who don’t stand up and fight, knowing what they’re fighting for and against and having the weapons to do it, just won’t be Orthodox any more.

We rejoice in your coming to the Synod. In The Orthodox Word we’ve tried not to push any too-exclusive idea of the Synod, but the logic of church history itself is forcing the role of “guardian of Orthodoxy” upon the Synod. Diaconia already speaks of the forging of a Synod-Old Calendarist “ultra-conservative alliance” against the rest of Orthodoxy, a rather politically-toned appraisal, but perhaps even useful if it leads some to investigate that there is something worth conserving in Orthodoxy. Probably you do not know many of our Russians in the Synod; my own acquaintance with them, from laymen to bishops, has persuaded me — as I just wrote to Dr. Johnstone — that they are in the main of a caliber you just don’t meet in the world, or in other Orthodox Churches, today. The stamp of faithfulness to Christ and His Church, and confessing these, is on them. Experience of the Soviets has given them an awareness, also, that you just don’t find elsewhere.

About Athenagoras-Iakovos, we have nothing at all except their occasional sermons and epistles in the Orthodox Observer. Fr. Panteleimon is undoubtedly the best source for material here. Yes, perhaps a “theological” analysis is too flattering to them, but certainly we have the right to analyze those statements and actions by means of which they are changing Orthodoxy, and show what they mean and where they lead. Perhaps this is a big order, but it would be nice to have some kind of coherent appraisal of them.

Within a week or two, God willing, we will have a linotype, and hopefully the worst part of our tortuous hand-setting days will be at an end and we can start producing more. Please keep us in your prayers.

With respect and love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
044. May 6/19, 1970. St. Job the Long-Suffering
Dear Dr. [John] Johnstone,
In truth Christ is risen!

Many thanks for your letter, the enclosed article, and the two checks for $15. The excess above your renewal we have applied to missionary-library funds; trial subscriptions have been entered for the three libraries whose addresses you sent.

We surely sympathize with you in your very difficult situation and pray that you will soon find a solution to your uncertainties. My own experience as a convert is rather the opposite of yours, as almost all the people I know in the Synod are Russians — and in the main I have found them to be such a caliber of people, from bishops to laymen — Orthodox through and through, aware of what’s going on today, and ready and willing to suffer and die for their unashamed faith — that there are just no words for it. The world does not know these people. Of course, most of them have known the Soviets at first hand, and that seems to make a difference that most “free” Orthodox just can’t imagine.

There is, of course, a language problem, but with time that is resolving itself. I was surprised recently when I stopped and counted some 30 converts at the San Francisco cathedral in the last three or four years (exclusive of those who marry into the Church) — at a cathedral where there are no English services or sermons, no priest who speaks fluent English (they all speak “passable” English, however), and no “convert” program whatever. And almost all of them are being successfully rooted into the faith. Here the language problem is obviously secondary to something else — which can be seen also in the fact that several of the most recent converts have come from the Greek Archdiocese and the Metropolia.

About the Moscow Patriarchate, by the way, contrary to common impression our Synod has never “condemned” it, reserving that judgement to a future All-Russian Sobor; but the Synod’s position is unbending that until such a Sobor there can be no communion or contact with such a dubious ecclesiastical organization. Speaking of the 1920’s, we’ve printed almost nothing yet of the available material on the schism of 1927 — when the majority was anti-Sergian, and the “Soviet Church” triumphed only because its opponents were imprisoned, murdered, and driven underground. And now the Metropolia, for the sake of the “Patriarch’s” signature, has prejudged the case of the Soviet Church and found it “canonical” — because everyone else says so! Our Synod has yet to issue its final statement on the matter, but certainly the situation of the Metropolia has become now so dubious that no further communion with it is possible. Spiritually and theologically, also, its direction is already clear — with the current of the times; and we will print several critiques of its theologians to point this out in detail.

By the way, do you know Hieromonk Seraphim of St. Tikhon’s Monastery? After his outspoken letter which Fr. Neketas published he was immediately suspended by Bp. Kiprian (on Passion Monday), who seems to be trying to exploit his monastic “humility” and “obedience” in order to extract a full retraction of things which are, after all, true! Please pray for him.

We hope to hear more from you.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. Platina is on most maps, I believe — some 45 miles west of Red Bluff on Hwy 36 (some maps show only Beegum, 5 miles east, which is no longer on the hwy). It is a wilderness area, and our conditions are appropriately “primitive” — two small cabins with no conveniences. Our former bookshop remains in San Francisco. Under such conditions we of course are not too anxious to have merely casual visitors, but those who really want to see us are welcome; but those had better notify us in advance, as we are sometimes in San Francisco for several days at a time, and it is a 100-mile round trip from the main hwy to find this out (no telephone, either). We can put up an occasional rough- and-ready male visitor overnight. As you see, we are “escaping”! If God blesses our venture, of course, there will be more provision for visitors in future.

Fr. Panteleimon visited us for several days last November, and we are just now taking advantage of his generous offer to help us buy a linotype. It’s so old that I’m afraid Father will have to pray for us every time just to get it started! Glory be to God for all things!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
043. May 5/18, 1970. St. Irene
Dear Craig and Susan,
Christ is risen!

Please forgive me for such a delay in writing — just too much to do! I wrote Vladimir and Sylvia, begging them to clear up the unfortunate and unneeded conflict between you. They seem to be so terribly emotional! I pray that this has already been resolved by now.

Now for your questions:

Your son (what is his name?), if as I presume he has been baptized (you should then supply his baptismal certificate too) will be received by chrismation and thereafter may (and is encouraged to as often as possible) receive Holy Communion without confession until age 7, after which he must go to confession each time — which is of course very elementary at that age, but instills this Christian principle in the child at an early age. By age 7 the child should also be observing the Church fasts, especially the pre-Communion fast, and while fasting is not required of him before that it is wise to begin preparing him early for this, by giving him a smaller breakfast than usual on days when he is to receive Communion, etc. You can judge for yourself how much you can expect from your own child.

The general practice of Orthodox confession differs, I believe, from the general Catholic practice, by being less legalistic and formal. We have the same seven major sins, but apart from major sins there is a general emphasis on one's constant sinfulness in minor things, whether in word, deed, or thought. One should also make oneself aware of these things and confess them so that they won't pile up on one. One need not go into unnecessary details of circumstances, etc., unless you have some particular question about this; you will find that the local priests are accustomed to quite general confessions, the important thing being to mention specifically any major sins, to sincerely repent of all your sins and imperfections before God, great and small, and to leave nothing weighing on your soul. It is especially important to retain no animosity for anyone, and it is the custom to beg mutual forgiveness with those nearest one (usually one’s family) before receiving Communion. (The customary reply is: “God will forgive; forgive me.”) As for the first confession, I am sure it will be satisfactory to mention briefly and generally any major sins of the past, and then especially any major sins since you last received Catholic confession.

On the subject of birth control, the Orthodox Church is certainly no more “liberal” than the Catholic, and any kind of interference with the natural object and result of intercourse, i.e., the begetting of children, is strictly condemned as a severe sin. Certainly the “pill” falls into this category. The “wisdom” of man is one thing, the law of God is another. As to abstinence on fast days, this is part of the same asceticism or self-denial that decrees fasting from foods. Married love is not regarded as “evil” any more than meat or eggs are, but our life here is a preparation for an eternal life where “there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage,” where there is an endless feast not of earthly foods, and a part of the discipline on the way to this Kingdom is through taming the flesh to the spirit. St. Paul speaks of husbands and wives denying each other (I Cor. 7:5), and this is interpreted as referring especially to preparation for Holy Communion, but also to other fasting periods. Women, by the way in their “unclean” periods are not suppose to enter a church. Last year, when one woman was in this state on Easter, Archbishop Anthony told her she could go to church and stand in the back, without kissing icons, taking antidoron, or of course receiving Communion.

I hope all this doesn’t discourage you. I think you will understand that it doesn’t come from any attempt to place impossible demands upon people, but rather from great reverence for the things of God and the necessity for our purity in approaching these things.

It is true that the Church day — beginning with Vespers — begins at sunset, but it is the universally accepted custom in the Russian Church to fast from midnight to midnight.

As for the “intolerant” attitude of our Synod to other Orthodox Churches: Several years ago a Catholic girl was received into our Church, and she told me that one of her earliest puzzlements concerned the seemingly great contrast between the frightful statements made about heretics, apostates, etc., and the universally kind and loving approach which she always found when talking to our clergy and faithful. I see no conflict whatever. To guard the truth one must speak straightforwardly about those who depart from it, in order to protect the flock and, if possible, to enlighten those in error. But to every soul the Church opens Her treasures — if only he will listen to the truth and accept what She teaches — which comes from the Holy Spirit — and not his “reinterpretation” of it. With regard to those Orthodox Churches that are departing from the truth, one should be if anything even more outspoken — for their leaders, having known Orthodoxy, are consciously departing from it and trying to lead the flock away with them. But in all my contacts with the zealots for Orthodoxy within our Church, I can truthfully say that I haven’t found one of them without true Christian love for those in error; they would be the first to embrace Patriarch Athenagoras and others if they repented of their errors and returned to Orthodoxy. The contrary impression, I believe, comes chiefly from the criticism of those whose idea of the Church is very vague and who therefore accuse our zealots of “lack of love” when they rightfully attack apostasy.

The Orthodox Church situation, alas, is not getting any better, and the action of the Metropolia in finally siding with the Soviet Church renders communion with them impossible. One can have every sympathy with the suffering members of the Moscow Church, but the evidence that the leaders of this Church are trying to discredit and destroy the Orthodox Church in the interests of the triumph of Communism is too irrefutable for us not to speak out against them. But even here we do not pass judgment on them, but only try to refute their lies and try to help those whom they persecute and imprison in the USSR.

I hope I didn’t give you too much of a scare on “meditation.” Certainly there is nothing wrong with reading Scripture and reflecting on it. It would be even better to read also a commentary on the Scripture passages — such as that of St. John Chrysostom, which exists complete in English (Eerdmans series).

I certainly pray that you successfully fight off the Uniate temptation. I have heard of so many Catholics coming to a spiritual dead-end there, that even if I weren’t Orthodox I would advise you to stay clear of it. The universal complaint of these Catholics is that they finally realize that they are “play-acting,” they go through the motions of Orthodoxy without being Orthodox, and at the same time they lose their identity as Catholics and feel themselves to be neither Orthodox nor Catholic but in some strange limbo — and end by becoming Orthodox, going back to “Western” Catholicism, or worse.

I don’t know the exact time of services at Fort Ross, but as a rule one can count on such a feast-day Liturgy beginning about 10 a.m.

Certainly you can invite whomever you wish to witness your reception into the Church.

I hope that answers your questions for a while, but don’t be afraid to ask more. Learning about the Orthodox faith is a lifelong task, and you will hardly have touched the surface when you are received into the Church. But you have the essentials, and with these you can already swim in the Church’s current of grace.

Trusting in your prayers,

With love in Christ our Saviour



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
042. April 29/May 12, 1970. St. Memnon
Dear in Christ, Vladimir and Sylvia [Anderson],
Christ is risen!

We received a letter from Craig Young in which he told us of his “Hindu” readings and your reaction to this. I replied with a statement of the Orthodox principles involved (avoidance of eclecticism, the change in one’s whole life (including reading habits) which acceptance of Orthodoxy involves, etc.). In his reply to this, which we received yesterday, he seemed to understand the point and to be quite ready to abandon his “eclectic” readings. He seemed to have gotten quite a shock from your reaction, and this doubtless helped his “understanding” in a way that a more “objective” way perhaps would not have.

However, he seems to think that in the midst of this there has arisen some kind of bad feeling between your two families, to the extent that they think even of postponing their reception into the Church until this is overcome. I pray that this is only a misunderstanding (which the devil is always quick to stir up especially in those about to make such an important step), and that it will be quickly cleared up. In his letter to us Craig repented of his intellectual pride and self-esteem, and he seems to me to be quite willing to enter into the Orthodox point of view on such matters. They are both “infants” in the Faith (still in the womb, in fact!) and with time and experience they will breathe in the Orthodox spirit. Now that you’ve given them their “shock,” I hope you’ll make it clear to them that there’s nothing personal involved. It would be a tragedy if virtually the only two Orthodox families in northern California were not at peace and harmony with each other!

About the “Self-Realization Fellowship,” I encountered it slightly in my “searching” days, when I was exploring all kinds of Eastern religions. It seems to be more a product of post-Protestant sectarianism of the “New Thought” variety, with a facade of pseudo-Hinduism. Its headquarters used to be not far from San Diego where I was born, and I recall passing its blue-domed (rather like Russian domes!) “mushroomburger stand” (they’re vegetarians, I gather) on the highway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

I don’t know what to make of our weather. We’ve sowed our summer garden, and then yesterday it snowed for several hours, and it looks like more of the same today.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,

P.s. On May 30 (Saturday) Vladika Anthony will serve at Fort Ross, and he would like to make this a big event preceding the canonization of Father Herman (Fort Ross being our only accessible local holy place, with an indirect historical connection to Fr. Herman). Why don’t you arrange to set up a table outside and sell books (in English and Russian) and especially little things like icons, which the people will be likely to buy? This is done regularly at such events on the East Coast, but just hasn’t become a custom here. Only ask Vladika Anthony’s blessing first — I’m sure he’d be only too happy, to have this done. Pictures of the Tsar, Imperial Family, Vladika John, etc., would probably sell quite well. Icons of Father Herman, copies of OW with Fr. Herman on the cover, etc., would also be timely. (Just an idea!)



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
041. April 26/May 9, 1970. St. Stephen of Perm
Dear Father in Christ, Neketas,
In truth Christ is Risen! Bless us Father!

Thank you for your welcome letters and the frank comments. Yes, I think you are right. Up to now we’ve emphasized the Metropolia’s Russian-ties because it should be at least reminded of its canonical and brotherly obligations. But it’s quite obvious that the Metropolia has totally “forgotten” these and is not even in the least embarrassed by them. But now that it considers itself the Orthodox Church in America, it’s time to open fire on the most general front: to show what kind of “Orthodoxy” it represents. This issue we have an excellent article criticizing Fr. Schmemann’s “liturgical theology,” by probably the leading Russian theologian today, Fr. Michael Pomazansky — now 80 years old and living in Jordanville. Frankly, up until recently I had more or less accepted Fr. Schmemann by his reputation, as an “Orthodox” scholar, somewhat open to criticism but probably not too dreadful after all. But after this article, with liberal quotations from his book, he appears as nothing less than an open Protestant. We hope before long to have an article on Archbp. John Shahovskoy also — do you know, by the way, if anything of his has appeared in English besides the Pastori I heard that Leaves of the Tree is being translated. If Fr. Schmemann is their “theologian,” he is their “spiritual” man — and what a twisted, self-deceived and deceiving “spirituality” he expounds! As far as Orthodoxy is concerned, we have all the weapons on our side, and all they can do is refer to their long-despised “canons” and make vague charges of “sectarianism,” etc. But the conscience of the more sensitive ones left there is not easy. We’re corresponding with Fr. David Black, who shows all the deficiencies of a St. Vladimir’s education — and be’s becoming hard-pressed to defend his Metropolia. He admits its spiritual impoverishment and the Synod’s spiritual wealth (but his idol, Fr. Florovsky, told him we are like Catharists, who were also “spiritual” — good heavens, what an upside-down notion of “spirituality”!); he admits the Soviet bishops may have compromised their episcopacy — but no council has condemned them, and some of Peter’s and Catherine’s bishops were also no good! He even prays that the Metropolia bishops haven’t “sold out Orthodoxy.” We mince few words with him, but he keeps writing back, so there is at least a seed planted there.

I hope you aren’t accusing yourself of getting Fr. Seraphim into trouble. He wants us not to reprint his letter, and sounds so apologetic now (after being suspended on Passion Monday) that we fear he might even give in to them, under the guise of obedience and humility, and renounce everything he said. But even if he didn’t want such publicity, I think it’s providential — a call of attack against their “strong” points, which are properly put in the same category as Athenagoras and Iakovos. I think Fr. Schmemann and others would like to present the Metropolia now as the “middle way” between the extremes of Iakovos (even Fr. David admits he’s not Orthodox) and Metr. Philaret on left and right. But under attack they can’t sustain this position, and for practical reasons anyway they will have to come to terms with the Greek Archdiocese. The weapons are all on our side, and it’s time we let loose with them — now is truly our “time of decision.”

By the way, can you give any more information of the 3 new parishes from the Metropolia — did the whole Smoky Lake parish come, etc? We hear from a friend in Vancouver that their parish will vote soon, and if the Metropolia wins a significant number will leave and come to us.

We’ve more or less concluded an arrangement to get a linotype, and we’re now building a floor for it. Pray for us. This will widen our possibilities considerably.

Vladiko Nektary just visited us for an hour or so on his way to S.F. and brought us a little Paschal joy.

With love in Christ our Lord,
Eugene

P.s. Are you going to print Fr. George Grabbe’s reply to Fr. Meyendorff?


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
040. Wednesday of St. Thomas Week 
April 23/May 6, 1970. St. George the Great Martyr
Dear Fr. David [Black],

In truth Christ is risen!

Thank you for your letter and the opportunity to continue our discussion of some of the important Church issues of the day. I shall reply to some of your rather complicated questions somewhat simply, for I think the basic issues today are simple, even though many are forced to take a tortuous path to arrive at this conclusion.

One misconception which, I believe, causes you unnecessary “problems” about the Synodal Church, is unfortunately widespread: that the Synod builds its case largely on canonical questions, big or small. The opposite is, if anything, the case: our hierarchy, well realizing the irregularity of the times, goes out of its way not to enforce the letter of the canons or condemn anyone only on this basis. Even with the Metropolia, its own free sister, for 25 years it has been extremely lenient and even now does not rush to apply the canonical penalty which she deserves. It is rather Moscow, at the bidding of its Communist masters, which tries to use canons to have the Synod condemned, to crush those few who protest in the USSR, etc. — in feet, if there are Pharisees in Orthodoxy today, it is surely the Moscow leaders and no one else, who are consciously destroying the Church and at the same time using the Church’s laws to do it.

No, the case of the Synod is based upon one thing: faithfulness to Orthodoxy, first in spirit, and then to every possible canon. Contrary to one widespread misconception, the Synod has never condemned or judged the Soviet Church or declared it to be without grace; it has many times emphasized (chiefly in the Russian language, to be sure) that the judgement of this Church and its hierarchs must be left to a future All-Russian Sobor in a free Russia, and that until such a Sobor can be called no question affecting the whole of Russian Orthodoxy — as well as any pan-Orthodox questions — can be resolved. And until that time the free Russian Church can and will enter into no contact whatever, no negotiations, no dialogue, will not even sit at the same table with the representatives of Moscow — not because they are uncanonical (although there is much that is uncanonical in their behavior) but because they collaborate with and serve the most determined enemies the Church of Christ has yet fought against. If every Orthodox Christian is commanded by the canons to depart from a heretical bishop even before he is officially condemned, or be guilty also of his heresy, how much more must we depart from those who are worse (and more unfortunate) than heretics, because they openly serve the cause of Antichrist?

But there, probably, is the crux of the issue and the root of our differences: for there can be no doubt that the Synod as a Church views our times as apocalyptic (as indeed St. Paul and all the Apostles did their times) and Communism not as merely another tyranny like the Moslem yoke, but as a radical evil in the direct service of satan for the destruction of Christ’s Church and the enslavement of mankind (all of which can be read in the writings and seen in the actions of Communism). A few outside our Church share this view, but clearly the consensus of “Orthodox opinion” today (not the conscience of the Church — that is sometimes expressed by only a few), at least among world Orthodox leaders, is that this is just another of many similar crisis in the Church’s history. But really, can the restrictions of the Moslem yoke (although, it is true, the free parts of both the Serbian and Greek Churches were at one time forced to break off with the Church authority inside the Moslem territory and form church organizations similar to the present Russian Church Abroad), or even less the admittedly unedifying behavior of some Russian bishops in submitting to the external political pressure of Peter I and Catherine, be seriously compared to the behavior of quite evident and conscious enemies of Christ’s Church, who hold their office at the will of the atheists in order to discredit and destroy the Church? Have you read some of the recent statements of Boris Talantov, who within the USSR has come to the same conclusion concerning the Soviet Church that our Church holds? — that its root disease is “Sergianism” (i.e., the concordat of the Patriarchate with the Soviet Government) and that its leaders (no one would think of condemning the ordinary clergy and faithful or even a courageous bishop like Germogen) are consciously destroying the Church? The Metropolia cannot possibly take the side of Talantov when he says openly that Nikodim betrays the Church abroad, for it has received its autocephaly precisely as one of these acts of betrayal! The Metropolia can continue to talk about “persecutions” in the USSR, but now its hands are tied and it dare not look with absolute openness at the church situation in the USSR for fear of finding itself compromised if a radically negative view of the Patriarchate should be expressed or prevail. And what happens if in future (as some Communist officials have said will finally happen) the Soviet Government decides finally to liquidate the Patriarchate by saying that it is not even a valid ecclesiastical organization but exists only to fulfill the will of atheism, and that even some bishops (quite possible!) were unconsecrated?! Well, this latter point is speculation, but I think the Metropolia has enough reason already to continue to be uneasy over the church situation in Russia, and that the autocephaly will not set everyone’s conscience at ease.

If they wish, world Orthodox “leaders” can condemn the Synodal Church (as Fr. Schmemann does) for “apocalyptic fruitlessness” — but the spiritual fruits and examples which God has granted to the Church Abroad, recognized by many outside our Church, would seem to be strong evidence against such an easy condemnation.

But to speak of “spirituality” brings-ліѕ back to Fr. Florovsky and “Catharism“. Of course, these evident spiritual fruits are not the criterion or proof of the Synod’s soundness, but rather a result of it. But when Fr. Florovsky cites the “spirituality” of the Catharists, one’s Orthodox head swims: what possible standard of “spirituality” can he be applying to those fanatical and most anti-Christian sectarians? True, there is a Hindu “spirituality” — and I know people who have experienced it at first hand and called it beyond doubt satanic: and there is a kind of “spirituality” which fervent sectarians of many sorts have — but these have nothing to do with Orthodoxy, and none of them can be called “Christian” in any but a marginal sense. Whereas the spiritual fruits of our Orthodox pillars of the Church Abroad are unquestionably Orthodox spiritual fruits and testify to a sound Orthodox formation and environment. And by the way, the Orthodox Church still considers St. Isaac the Syrian as an Orthodox Saint, whatever Catholic scholars (and those Orthodox academics who follow them) may have deduced for themselves. (I’m not sure even Fr. Florovsky doubts this.)

But all of this does not yet lead to the deduction which you expressed (whether or not you believe that we hold it): that “the Church in Exile is the only faithful Orthodox Church.” No, our Church has not declared this, and the most one could possibly say, I think, is that the Synod almost alone is carrying on the battle for Orthodoxy today on the main fronts (against ecumenism-communism-renovationism, et al). I would rather call the Synodal Church the voice of the Orthodox conscience today; however much Fr. Schmemann was displeased over it and misunderstood the fact, nonetheless Metr. Philaret in his “Sorrowful Epistle” addressed the world episcopate in a plea — not to join the Synod — but to return to Orthodoxy. The Synod has not “condemned” Athenagoras and Iakovos, but merely warned the Orthodox faithful against their heresy and un-Orthodoxy, and some among the Greeks have obeyed the canons and departed from a heretical bishop before his condemnation so as to be free of his heresy. Our Synodal faithful are not Orthodox supermen; they are subject to the same influences that are destroying the Orthodoxy of many today, and in fact in my observation of some of our parishes a part, certainly, of their preservation of Orthodox ways is owing to their more recent immigration, but the next generations after them will be in trouble too. But their hierarchs are fighting for them, not leading the way to their apostasy.

In sum, then, the Synod is not putting itself against the Orthodox world, it is leading the fight for them also, and it must condemn heresy and apostasy where they appear. From the practical point of view, I agree wholeheartedly with those like Fr. Panteleimon and Fr. Neketas (and more and more people in Greece now) who tell their people in America to go to Synod churches and nowhere else — for the Synod in practice has preserved Orthodoxy, both outward and inward, better than the other jurisdictions, and the latter are going to become Uniates before they know it. The response is now up to the other Churches and jurisdictions. If they follow Moscow and cut the Synod off completely from “world Orthodoxy” as uncanonical, schismatic, sectarians, etc. — then I do not know what one can possibly think, since the Synod has remained faithful to Orthodoxy and has the spiritual fruits to show for this, while the others have changed and abandoned both — than from that moment the Synod and those who follow her are left as the Orthodox Church, and the others are outside of the Church. There have been times in the Church’s history when a few hierarchs or monks represented the whole Church; it is thus conceivable that in our day one part of a Local Church could represent the whole Church. Their Orthodoxy, it is true, vindicates the integrity of the whole Church — but nonetheless, those outside of communion with them are outside the Church, in such a situation. This result would not be our doing — it would be the doing of those who would cut us — and thereby Orthodoxy — away from themselves. I do not see the situation as quite this radical yet, but it would seem to be going in this direction. Metr. Ireney calls for peace with those who prefer not to join the Metropolia now but to remain under their Mother Churches; what then of us who are not under a Mother Church. I think, alas, that another of the unwritten benefits which Moscow obtains from the autocephaly is that the Metropolia, as the preliminary articles of Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorff indicate, will be forced to wage war against the Synod, to stifle her conscience if for no other reason.

A few minor points: “autocephaly” as “independence” is, I think, adequately criticized in our Jan-Feb Orthodox Word: if the means are dubious, the end can only be illusory. And if Moscow gained anything in way of prestige, etc., then the Metropolia has a tainted “independence,” to say the least. And if now Bp. Theodosius goes to Moscow — what a cruel blow to the faithful in Russia who will find their own betrayers have deceived even America. Does the Metropolia really want to reduce the Russian faithful to absolute hopelessness?

As for the Serbian Church: if the Synodal hierarchs were indeed Pharisees or at least “canonists,” they would not serve with Serbian bishops, who in turn serve with the Soviets; but in fact the situation of each Iron Curtain Church has been viewed separately, and the Serbian Church is the only one the Synod considers not Communist-dominated and with whom there can be concelebration. I believe the Serbian Church was also the only one that accepted our canonization of St. John of Kronstadt. An abnormal situation, perhaps — but I wouldn’t call it inconsistent.

The other “inconsistencies” of which Fr. Meyendorff accuses us have been answered in Fr. George Grabbe’s reply to Fr. Meyendorff’s attack, as were the other main inaccuracies and mistakes. Fr. Neketas is probably printing this soon. We still hope to get off our own reply, bringing up some different points.

A final note: you write that “the autocephaly has been accepted from the hands of some who may have compromised their episcopacy — though, canonically speaking, no Council has confirmed that compromise, as is necessary before it is accepted as definite fact.” But if you must wait that long, you will never be able to act in an Orthodox way at all! And what if that Council turns out to be a “Robber Council” — must you then wait another 50 or 100 years to find out which Council the Church accepts? No, the Holy Spirit guides the Church now\ only one’s conscience must be attuned to receive this guidance. The Russian Church Abroad, I would say, has received a prophetic call for the Orthodoxy of these times; only let the Church hear, and act accordingly!

May Father Herman pray for and enlighten us all!

With love in Christ our Saviour,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
039. April 21/May 4, 1970. Monday of St. Thomas Week
Beloved in Christ, Catechumens Craig and Susan [Young],

Christ is Risen! We were glad to hear of your joyous Pascha as well as to receive such a frank and open letter from you. To set your minds at ease at once, I (and Gleb as well) see no great obstacle on your path to Orthodoxy from anything you wrote. Often the devil uses the most petty tricks — misunderstandings, etc. — to weaken our resolve especially over such a God-pleasing action as you are about to take. A brief explanation is generally enough to clarify the matter and dissolve the misunderstanding. I note also that, like some other new converts and those approaching Orthodoxy, you have experienced some particularly striking spiritual feelings. But these also — although without doubt they are given you by God’s grace — you should be somewhat cautious about. They should be considered rather like honey spread around the edge of a cup by which God attracts you to the strong drink of Holy Orthodoxy; but they have no particular significance in themselves, they should by no means be sought or asked for, and later when you have passed from the milk of your first “baby days” in Orthodoxy to the meat of a more solid foundation and experience in the Church, you will find that the Orthodox spiritual life is nourished in other and deeper ways.

I will try to give you whatever advice I can. You will find that in many practical questions involved in leading an Orthodox Christian life, various answers may be given depending on the person and the circumstances. Here also you may find that certain things which you might allow yourself now, you will later find objectionable when you have a more mature experience in Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is very strict concerning doctrine and religious practice; more than this, if one enters into it deeply one will find that it gradually transforms one’s whole life so that one has an Orthodox way of approaching some things that might seem outside the religious sphere altogether; but in its approach it is never “authoritarian” or “legalistic” and you will not find in it such a thing as a “holy day of obligation” (for one comes to church not out of obligation but out of love and devotion) nor an “index of forbidden books” (although there is a definite idea of what kind of books Orthodox Christians should be reading.)

Concerning what an Orthodox Christian should or should not read: A spiritual father has the right and duty to advise his spiritual children about any kind of reading they should particularly avoid — this in general applies to those who are immature or not widely read and who might really be harmed by reading something which they were not prepared to digest or understand in the right way. (See for example our latest Orthodox Word, p. 30, where Father Herman says that “a person who may not know the truth solidly should by all means avoid” books like Saint-Simon’s.) With your background, you clearly have the experience and judgement to determine your own reading. As you grow in Orthodoxy, you will doubtless find some changes in the kind of things you read, but that is a matter for you to judge — with the occasional word of advice, perhaps, of those more confirmed in the faith. At the outset I would note only two things: (1) Whatever else you read, there should be regular reading in basic Orthodox sources — Holy Scripture, Lives of Saints, spiritual reading (writings of St. John of Kronstadt, Pilgrim, Philokalia, etc.) — which should be emphasized especially in Great Lent, when movies, worldly music, parties, TV, and frivolous readings and activities of all kinds should be avoided as far as possible. (2) One should avoid by all means eclecticism — putting Catholic saints, Buddhas, or whatever in one’s icon corner, or reading Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic or other “spiritual” writings on the same level as Orthodox spiritual writings. To read enough about Hinduism to be informed about it is, of course, another thing. There are two new converts to Orthodoxy in the San Francisco area who come from Hinduism and can tell hair-raising things about its satanism; for it is indeed true, as the Fathers say, that “the gods of pagans are demons.”

Which brings us to the question of Kwan-Yin, Buddhist temples, etc. I myself had enough experience in Buddhism and its temples never to want to get near them again, and I threw out the Buddhist idol in front of which I once prayed. But here again your developing Orthodox conscience will have to be your guide. I myself was never interested in Kwan-Yin and don’t even recall if there is much religious devotion attached to this image; if your statue had ever been in a temple or used for devotion I would be very nervous about having it around, but if (as is probably the case) it was made as a work of art, that wouldn’t be quite the same thing. Be aware, and judge for yourself. As for Buddhist temples, I should by all means avoid being present in them during any kind of service — to the cosmopolitan tourist, such a service would be only “quaint,” but for us there are involved “spiritual” presences which are not of God, and they can act upon us in ways we cannot foresee. As for visiting them when there is no service going on — well, if you do, your attitude should be more aware and cautious than the ordinary tourist’s. Frankly, to all questions of idols and temples the Fathers replied with a categorical No! But in our day of cosmopolitan indifference the question, while not basically changed, is presented in a less radical way, and a reasonably mature individual should come to this conclusion for himself. You will find, I think, that many things which you now may regard as neutral or indifferent will seem not quite the same in future.

And now I’d like to mention a few things you didn’t ask about, with the hope that you will enter the Orthodox Church with as few “residues” from Roman Catholicism as possible. For there are certain Catholic practices which, whatever secondary benefits they may have, are not in accordance with the Orthodox way of life and could interfere with adjusting oneself to it. You mention “meditation.” The Catholic practice of calling up images, memories, etc., of a sacred character is considered by our Fathers as unnecessary and improper. To reflect on one’s reading is one thing, as is likewise to say the Prayer of Jesus or any other prayer in silence; but “meditation” as such is quite foreign to Orthodoxy and in fact can be the entrance to a refined path of spiritual deception. You are on the right path when you find yourself substituting the Prayer of Jesus for it — if in fact what you mean by “meditation” is the standard Catholic practice. The principle involved here is that one should not trust one’s own thoughts and feelings, but fit oneself to the standard of the Church.

Again, it is fine to have a prayer room, but from what you say I gather that all or most of the icons in it are to be of the Holy Face — which we call “the image not made with hands.” (By the way, we do not accept the legend of “Veronica’s Veil,” but have a different account of its origin, and there is a special feast dedicated to it on the day after the Dormition, Aug. 16.) A prayer room with this icon in a central place, but with other icons also of our Saviour, His Most Holy Mother, and the saints — would be normal, as is a particular devotion to an icon or saint. But in Catholicism, I believe, there is a special connotation to the word “devotion” — a special concentration on one aspect of our Saviour’s Life, etc. — which is again, foreign to Orthodoxy. We have no special “devotion” to the exposed Sacrament, because for us the Holy Gifts have their proper place in the Liturgy and in the life of the faithful without needing any “special” or “extra” devotion. And of course we do not accept at all such later “devotions” as the Sacred Heart, which seem to us immoderate or out of balance and context with the rest of our Holy Faith.

Again, a minor point — I get the impression that you have a vigil-lamp burning before the image of Archbishop John. While it is an accepted practice to pray privately to [a] saint not yet canonized, it is best to place their image (there can be no official icon before the Church’s canonization) a little to the side of the usual icons, so that the vigil-lamp burns before an icon of our Saviour and those saints whom the Church as a whole has acknowledged as such. The Church, while not interfering with anyone’s private devotion, tries to guard us against placing too great a reliance on our private judgement and feelings.

Well, that is enough for now. We saw Archbishop Anthony on Tuesday, and he approves May 31 (Sunday) as the date of your reception into the Church. By Church “economy” your baptism and confirmation will be accepted and you will be received by confession of faith (as were Vladimir and Sylvia) before the Liturgy on Sunday. This will involve reciting the Creed, probably renouncing the errors of Catholicism in general (there is a specific formula of renouncing each of several heresies in the Hapgood Service Book, but it is generally not followed in full), and confession of sins. No specific godparents are required when one is received into the Church in this manner. If you have not yet contacted or chosen the priest who will perform this ceremony, I would advise you to write to: V. Rev. John Shachnoff, 525 36th Ave., S.F. 94121 (he lives about 10 blocks from the Cathedral), sending him a Xerox copy of your Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates (if the latter are not available, your word will be accepted if you are quite certain you were confirmed; in this case simply give as full information as possible on when, where and by whom you were confirmed) and telling him briefly of the Archbishop’s decision, of our speaking to him and to you, etc. He will then speak to the Archbishop and make all preparations. Fr. John (the “plump” priest with bass voice) probably knows English better than the others and is also Secretary in charge of recording such events. (He will give you certificates later). The last week before May 31 you should spend in special preparation and fasting — which for married couples (which is perhaps not clearly set forth in books) includes abstinence from marital relations, which is true also for all fast days.

We may be going to Fort Ross on May 30 (the Archbishop will attend, and it will be a kind of special pilgrimage to our local American Orthodox holy places before the canonization of the first American Saint) and we may see you there. Meanwhile we hope to hear more from you and will try to answer any questions.

With love in Christ our Saviour,



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
038. April 21/May 4, 1970 Monday of St. Thomas Week
Dear Father in Christ, Michael [Azkoul],
Christ is risen! Bless us, Father!

It is probably two years now, if not more, since you wrote to us and submitted a manuscript for publication. The beginning of a long letter which I started to write to you at that time lies buried somewhere together with your manuscript among our still-unpacked things. I beg your forgiveness for such neglect. As there are just two of us to do all the work of our small “community,” some things simply don’t get done, and although our new location outside the distracting city allows more concentration, we are still far behind in everything.

In the last several years we have read with interest some of your articles in The Logos and elsewhere. We have been especially pleased to see someone outside the Russian Church situation write with such sympathy and understanding of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, and we have admired also your clear grasp of the principles involved in the present-day battle of Orthodoxy with apostasy.

As I recall, the article which you submitted to us we regarded as rather too general for our use, as we try to concentrate on practical issues as well as standard Orthodox sources. If you still wish to cooperate with us, however, there is another kind of article which we could use.

With the March-April Orthodox Word we are beginning an occasional series of articles on “Renovated Orthodoxy,” in which we hope to pinpoint some of the leading currents and figures that are trying to lead Orthodoxy off the straight and narrow traditional path into positions that, if not always identifiable as heresy, are nonetheless no longer Orthodox. The first article, by a leading Russian theologian, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, points out the Protestantism of Fr. A. Schmemann’s “liturgical theology.” We ourselves hope later to write an article on the ethereal “esoteric chiliasm” of Archbp. John Shahovskoy. For another topic we thought you might be able to give us an article: the theological-philosophical background, assumptions, implications, etc., of the activities and words of Athenagoras, Iakovos, et al. There is at least one outright heresy involved here, which Iakovos recently expressed by saying “all Christian denominations make up the Body of Christ”; but there seems to be much more involved than that. Athenagoras seems to be a chiliast, talking of the “third age of the Holy Spirit,” seeing visions of a “common chalice,” etc. Their “reforming” zeal seems to extend to the overturning of everything Orthodox and traditional while bowing down to the cheapest kind of atheistic humanism. (See Fr. Patrinakos’ editorials in recent issues of the Orthodox Observer- — he even says that we don’t have to pray for good weather any more, because man now “controls” it! I can send you copies if you don’t have them.) Etc., etc.

What is the inspiration behind all this? Where is it leading to? What are its theological-philosophical first principles? In short, what we would like to see is a documented exposition of the essence (from the Church and philosophical points of view) of Athenagoras-Iakovism, so that his disease can be pinpointed and hopefully cast out of the Church.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Asking your blessing and your prayers,

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
037. Bright Saturday. April 19/May 2,1970
Dear Father in Christ, Seraphim,
In truth Christ is Risen! Rejoice in the Lord! Bless us, Father!

Of course, we shall do as you wish and not print your letter. However, I must assure you that among those Orthodox faithful who value their faith above everything else, and who are aware of what is happening in the world, your letter did not at all bring ridicule to you, but instead has inspired and strengthened many in the fight for true Orthodoxy today. If there is anything ungrammatical in it — I myself did not notice anything in particular — this is not even noticeable beside the obvious fact that it was written from the heart and it exposes a situation that must be known to those who love Orthodoxy and wish to fight for it. Perhaps it could be considered a “mistake,” or at least not prudent of you, to mention the three names openly — but if so, I think it is a providential mistake, for these three men are traitors to Orthodoxy, on the same level (although more refined) as Patr. Athenagoras and Archbp. Iakovos, and it is time that the Orthodox faithful be informed of this. Archbp. John Shahovskoy for 40 years has been preaching a “poetical” Christianity that is against monasticism and every kind of strict Orthodoxy; Fr. Schmemann is clearly attempting to Protestantize Orthodoxy; and Fr. Meyendorff, by his irresponsible and slanderous attack against the hierarchs and faithful of the Russian Church Abroad (in the Feb. Orthodox Church) shows himself so anxious to follow in their footsteps that he departs even from ordinary honesty and fairness. These men are clearly leading the Metropolia into “Eastern-rite Protestantism,” and now the Metropolia hierarchs have unanimously joined with the enemies of Christs Church in order to speed up this aim — it is too late to do anything for the Metropolia, anyone who wishes to remain in Christ’s Church must leave her now before being caught in her snares.

You have been suspended — but glory be to God for this also, for you are suffering for confessing true and heartfelt Orthodoxy, and thus you are encouraging many others. Only stand firm! They will try to persuade you to be so humble that you will regard everything you said as a mistake, and then they will try to make you follow them into heresy out of “humility.” No — the monks of Mt. Athos are true monks, and they are humble, but you know what they say about Patr. Athenagoras, and they refuse to follow him or to pray for him as their bishop. Now the Metropolia itself forbids you to pray for their bishops at services — this is surely a sign that your connection with them is finished. For what could you “apologize” to them — that you do not have all the facts to back up your statements? But those facts do exist, and we will be printing many of them. Dear Father — we consider that your letter does honor to the faithful of the Metropolia; it is one of the few honest and honorable things to come from the Metropolia in recent months. But the Metropolia leadership does not want this, it is proud of its apostates, for they have given it worldwide recognition. Then do not hesitate to come and join us who are gathered around some of the few Orthodox bishops left today.

Frankly, we are anxious to see you leave St. Tikhons as soon as possible; before they put all their pressures and persuasions to work on you. Metropolitan Philaret is spending several weeks now in Europe and the Holy Land, which is probably why you don’t hear from him. Isn’t it possible for you to go to stay at one of our places while waiting the outcome of you petition? — to Jordanville, Fr. Panteleimon’s monastery in Boston, or to the Synod in New York? We would gladly invite you to stay with us, but we are far away and so for we have only two small cabins in the forest under primitive conditions. Nonetheless, if now or in the future you wish to come to us, you are more than welcome. For eight months now we have been living in the Coast Mountains of California, about 250 miles north of San Francisco, in a complete wilderness area — the nearest town, 2 miles away, has only 50 people, and for 40 miles in three directions there is no one at all except a few hunters, hikers, etc. Gleb and I are both ordained Readers, and hope by the end of the year, by God’s grace, to be tonsured monks. Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco has celebrated Liturgy here, on an outdoor Altar-table on the spot where we hope to begin building our chapel this year. Abbot Panteleimon of Boston has also visited us. We read the daily cycle of services ourselves, but for Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion we must go to San Francisco (as we did on Christmas and Pascha) or wait for a priest to visit us.

We hope to hear from you soon, and ask your prayers for us sinners.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
036. April 19/May 2, 1970. Bright Saturday
Dear Father in Christ, Panteleimon,
Christ is Risen! Bless us, Father!

On your visit to us last November you expressed interest in helping us with the purchase of a little more advanced printing equipment than we now have. The time has come for us to take advantage of this offer if you are still able to make it.

While in San Francisco for Pascha, we visited our friend Fr. Alexy Poluektov, who was in seminary together with Gleb. He is very interested in printing and recently bought a whole printshop. He is moving it soon to his “dacha” on the Russian River, and he offered to sell us his linotype (a no. 5 — the smallest kind), which we saw in operation. We saw other linotypes that day also, but they were more expensive and more complicated for us to undertake.

As to cost: the linotype itself is $600 — which is quite reasonable, and as the pot for heating lead operates on gas (easily adjustable to bottled gas) we save the expense (and noise) of a second generator. Cost of the annex to house the machine: $300. Moving, final adjustment by mechanic (if necessary), hookup for gas: $200 or maybe more. The whole project will cost around $1200. Of this we have $300 in a special linotype fund and can find another $200, leaving a balance of some $700. We will be most grateful for whatever help you can give us on this sum.

Enclosed is a letter to us from Hieromonk Seraphim of St. Tikhons Monastery. He is a good monk, but apparently weak, and Bp. Kiprian et al are apparently trying to exploit his humility to the extent of making him renounce his marvelous, fighting letter — for all the wrong reasons. If he doesn’t get out of there soon, we’re afraid they may capture him. We’ve just written him begging him to leave, even inviting him to come here if there’s no place else. Probably he’s afraid of “imposing” himself on someone’s hospitality. If you have any spare nook, perhaps you could invite him directly, or at least send him a word of encouragement if you aren’t already in contact with him. (Please send his letter back to us.)

We spent a profitable 5 days in San Francisco and Monterey and returned to find summer weather begun and much to do before August. Pray for us.

With love and respect in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
035. April 4/17, 1970. Sts. Joseph & George
Dear Father in Christ, Seraphim [Bobich],
Bless us, Father! Rejoice in the Lord!

You cannot imagine the joy and fervor with which we received your letter to us and the Open Letter which Fr. Neketas published. At last, after months of intrigues, half-truths, cowardly compromises, defamation of character — from the Metropolia comes a clear, straightforward, unfearing voice of truth and conscience. Glory to our God! You have said what needs to be said, and we will fight with you on this front, the fight for true Orthodoxy!

Frankly, we would have hesitated to say outright what you have said — we are “Synod” people, and we would be accused of anti-Metropolia hysteria, fanaticism, and the rest. But you have been with them, and know them at first hand — and you say just what needs to be said.

We would like also to print your letter, and the same issue to document some of your statements about Archbishop John Shahovskoy and Fr. Schmemann. We hope to prepare also an Open Letter to Fr. Meyendorff about his recent irresponsible attack on our Synod. If such are the arguments they have against us, then they have no case at all and are operating on the basis of their emotions — and exactly according to the plan by which Nikodim, who knows their psychology, is conducting his warfare against Orthodoxy!

We would like to hear more form you — your present plans, etc. Do you know of anyone else in the Metropolia who has spoken out (besides Fr. Alexy Ionov, Mme. Tolstaya and others in the Russian press)?

Probably you will not have an easy time now — the devil will try to stir up all kinds of trouble for you. But God protects those who witness for Him. Our prayers are with you.

We ask your prayers also for us. By God s will and the prayers of his saints we have found an isolated place where, we pray, there may soon be a small skete. At present there are just the two of us. Gleb is a graduate of Jordanville and once visited you at St. Tikhons (some years ago).

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
034. April 3/16, 1970. St. Nikito
Dear Father David [Black],

Thank you for your letter, which we received at the same time as the Feb. Orthodox Church. You didn’t say what you thought of Fr. Meyendorff’s attack on the Synod. I will share with you a thought or two on the question of conscience and responsibility, especially as regards someone whose words are to be printed and widely distributed.

In our new Orthodox Word, which will be sent out in a few days (God willing!), in reporting some of the Metropolia’s response to the Synod’s protest against the Autocephaly, we had occasion to quote Archbp. John Shahovskoy and others. We were very careful to make our citations exact and in context, which we believe to be a matter of principle for journalists and editors. At first we planned to preface the Archbishop's statements with the words “Archbp. John S., in a paid advertisement in Novoye Russkoye Slovo...“ Then we thought better. He did not submit it first to the newspaper as a paid advertisement, but wrote it as a letter to a laymen, and it was only subsequently printed. Thus, though our original statement was formally correct, it was not precise, and it might lead people to think that he had written the statement with publication in view. (Perhaps he did, after all — but we prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt!) Therefore we revised the statement to read “Archbp. John S., in a letter to a layman which was published as a paid advertisement in NRS...” A fine point? Perhaps — but this way our conscience is absolutely clear, and by giving every possible benefit of the doubt and by scrupulously avoiding any kind of personal attack, we keep the discussion on the level of principle, where it belongs. You will note that in our remarks on Metr. Platon in this issue we deliberately make no mention of such compromising facts as that his governance of the Diocese was so inept that St. Tikhons Monastery was going to be sold at auction, or that (after the faithful rescued it) he then took it as his private property and tried to will it to his daughter!) — because such facts, while they add fuel to a polemical argument, do not affect the basic question of principle. I think you will understand this. And I think this principle has been followed by the Synod in its present arguments against the autocephaly — I don’t recall a single personal attack; all is on the level of principle. (If you should ever find us descending from this level in the heat of argument, please tell us!)

What, then, must be our response when we read the attack of Fr. Meyendorff? One can perhaps understand his over-simplified view of Church history since 1917, when he quotes documents that favor his stand and ignores the others (however, one of his documents is an acknowledged forgery! — see the new OW); one becomes a little puzzled that he can so easily dismiss the canonicity of the Synod without seeing that his remarks must surely also apply to the Metropolia, from 1920-26 and 1936-46 (and he neglects to mention that no one recognized the Metropolia from 1926-36): one sighs at the lack of “consistency” he finds in the Synod’s recent history — for it is his own narrow view of “consistency,” based on a caricature of our stand, that is violated, not the Synods; one is, frankly quite disturbed that virtually all of the “facts” he cites are distorted, inaccurate, or simply imaginary.

But when he attacks personalities, one cannot be silent. In the first place, the argument is on the childish level — if we cooperate with the Communists, you did too, and you’re Fascists as well! Even if that were true, it would not affect the principle involved; but it is actually a slander based on half-truths and innuendo. Metr. Anastassy did not ever invoke any “blessing” on Hitler’s “state police”; he did, in 1938, thank the German government in a very proper note for money given for a church and for a law legalizing our Church. Later, when the German treatment of Jews, Russians, etc., became known, Metr. Anastassy was so outspoken that his office was subject to several crude searches by the SS. To imply that he was pro-Nazi, as Fr. Meyendorff does, is irresponsible (and to put the words “blessing” of “state police” in quotations is dishonest — he is quoting only his own imagination); to say that his attitude is equivalent Metr. Nikodim’s active service for Communism simply has no relation to facts and is a “defense mechanism” of the cheapest sort. And all this when there is a real Hitler supported in the Metropolia — Archbishop John Shahovskoy, who (having left the Synod 10 years earlier) in 1941, after Hitler had overrun Western Europe and his activities in Germany were better known than in 1938, published an astonishing hymn of praise of Hitler’s army on the occasion of the invasion of Russia: “The bloody operation of overthrowing the Third International is entrusted to the expert, experienced German physician.... This required the iron-precise hand of the German Army, a professional military experienced in the most responsible battles.... This army, having passed through the whole of Europe in its victories (over Western civilization!!!), is now powerful not only in the might of its arms and principles, but also in obedience to a higher call, to Providence.... Above everything human operates the sword of God....” (Novoye Slovo, June 29, 1941, Berlin.) Our bishops, who are supposed to be involved in “politics,” were careful to refrain from such partisan involvements even when it looked as though the Soviets might be overthrown. And yet Archbp. Shahovskoy has an honored place in the autocephaly arrangements and constantly accuses the Synod of “politics” (in fact, his harangues against the Synod in Cleveland were instrumental in causing the schism of 1946), while our Metropolitan, a man of staunch principle, is slandered! Frankly, I would rather not touch this side of Archbishop Shahovskoy — but if Fr. Meyendorff is convinced that pro-Naziism is a valid argument against a hierarch and a Church, he should know to whom he had better direct his criticism!

The same thing is true of Metro. Philaret and Archbp. John Maximovitch in China — it is formally true that for a few days in 1945, when falsely informed that Metr. Anastassy was dead, the Synod dissolved, the Church situation entirely changed in Russia as a result of the War, and the Patriarch validly elected, did commemorate Patr. Alexy — but when contact was soon resumed with Metr. Anastassy and the truth became known, they both became so staunchly anti-Moscow that Archbp. John is remembered to this day by Moscow (see One Church, for example) as the leader of the “schism” in China, and Metr. Philaret’s very life was constantly in danger from his anti-Soviet and anti-Patriarchate statements and sermons. It is complicated — and frankly boring — to tell you this in a letter, but I know you will listen to facts — but Fr. Meyendorff has built a few misleading half-truths into a monstrous innuendo against three of our leading hierarchs with the intent to discredit our whole Church, and thousands will believe his few simple words and will never be informed of the facts. It remains to be seen whether he will print our answer (if no one else writes first) — not in the interests of presenting the “other side,” but simply to correct inaccuracies, falsehood, and defamation of character.

Do you see what I mean by conscience and responsibility? Of course, I don’t mean to blame the Alaskan Church for such irresponsible (at best!) remarks of one Metropolia editor. But now we hear that the Metropolia bishops have signed the autocephaly. Will Alaska follow in conscience*. No matter how Orthodox you may be, you are now committed to this act — I say it openly — or unprincipledness. Do you think it is a coincidence that now, after so many years of ignoring us, the Metropolia begins to come out with irresponsible attacks against us? Of course Nikodim did not tell Fr. Meyendorff to do it, but don’t you think he knew the Metropolia psychology well enough to know that such attacks would now be made against the one body Moscow hates the most? The Synod has long accused the Metropolia of lack of canonical foundation; but now, it would seem, the shoe is on the other foot — thanks to Moscow!

But no, it is not on the other foot. Principle is principle, truth is truth, and if God is truth that which is untrue and unprincipled can have no part in the Church of Christ, no matter how many canons one may quote.

Well, you will read our arguments in the Orthodox Word. For us, nothing has changed, just as our Synod has kept — by God’s grace, I am convinced — the one straight, unquestionably Orthodox and principled line from 1920 to the present, while everyone else around us has changed. But 1970 is nonetheless perhaps the year of decision for American Orthodoxy. I fear that those who don’t act now will find later that it is too late, that they are already “committed” to another path. May this not be so of the Alaskan Church.

Let us pray all the harder to God and to Fr. Herman that we may all be enlightened and saved.

Trusting in your prayers, with love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene

P.s. We have just received Hieromonk Seraphim Bobich’s Open Letter to Fr. Neketas — wow! We wouldn't have dared say these things outright, because we would be dismissed as anti-Metropolia fanatics — but a priest of the Metropolia has the right, and he speaks the truth, and it can and will be demonstrated.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
033. Mar. 31/Apr. 13, 1970. St. Mary of Egypt
Dear Fr. Panteleimon and Fathers and Brothers in Christ,
Bless us, Father!

I pray that this finds you all well and in the grace of our Saviour, and finishing the Fast in good shape. Thanks to God we are both fine and have just about finished the new OW- — we hope to mail it by Wednesday or Thursday. It is 56 pages including cover but still seems so small to us. But it takes a full four weeks to print, and as old age approaches we find our Gutenberg- style printing more and more difficult. On our Pascha visit to San Francisco we will look into the linotype situation, in particular one that a priest-friend of ours may sell us cheaply. Of course, we then have to build a room for it and get a new generator, so it would be two months before we could begin using it; but we shall see.

For a month we have been in the midst of spring, cool but sunny, and it is a wonder to see life reemerge. The pink-raspberry oak leaves with yellow clusters are beautiful. We discover also that we have wild gooseberries all over, and we hope to have jam before long. Two ground squirrels have taken up residence around our cabin and behave like something out of Walt Disney. They come rapping on our windows for nuts, eat out of our hand and then try to take a finger along with them, try every trick to get inside the house where the mound of nuts must be (one of them succeeded in getting in by hiding on the porch and then darting in when one of us went out); I’ve had to rescue them from inside stovepipes on the porch, and they even try to climb into our chimney. But they are good company.

This morning we have been visited by 6 inches of snow, and I fear for our poor little peas, which are just peeking through the soil. I’m taking the mail out on snowshoes for the second time — they are surprisingly fast. With snow everywhere we feel quite remote, as also when the wind blows greatly, as it has been for a month now. We’ve struck up an acquaintance with a small colony of Seventh-Day Adventists nearby, and they will sell us fresh vegetables when we don’t have any; they’ve also printed a newspaper in the past, and we exchanged ours for theirs. They don’t belong to the sect itself, as they regard it as being in apostasy, and they’ve read some of our articles with interest. They seem like down-to-earth people.

What’s the state of the autocephaly? We don’t hear anything but vague rumors. Have you seen Meyendorff’s attack on the Synod in the last Orthodox Church? That should be answered, at least for the sake of the three hierarchs who are slandered most cheaply there. Are you planning a reply? If no one else does, we’ll write him an Open Letter. The full text, by the way, of Shahovskoy’s super-political hymn of praise of the German Army in 1941 was recently printed in Orthodox Russia (the supplement for March) — and such a man dares to talk of “politics in the Church”?!

We have only Fr. Alypy’s icon of St. Seraphim; please do send the other two. Also, could you send us a few candles? Also the account of Paissy Velichkovsky and the “rags”?

We wrote an appeal to Bp. Theodosius of Alaska to come to the Synod, and are now in correspondence with Fr. David Black — good people, but lacking a certain awareness of things. I still think we have not seen the last of Fr. Herman’s deeds this year.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene

P.s. We are planning an all-Synod issue later in the year, with Vladiko Ioann’s long article (16 pages). We would also like something from the Greek and/or missionary standpoint, and thought of Kalomiros — perhaps a simple article on the Old Calendarists and their ties with the Synod. Any suggestions?



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
032. Mar. 23/Apr. 5, 1970. 4th Sunday of Lent
Dear Father David [Black],

Thank you for your letter, which we read with great interest. We appreciate your frankness. On those things which divide us — actually one thing, the Synod-Metropolia question — there is not much to “argue” about; a resolution will be reached not basically through argument but through prayer, earnestly seeking God’s will, patiently awaiting its manifestation, and resolutely following it. Still I would like to say a word or two more to you, speaking as one “convert” to another.

I am no Russian, do not share particularly in any Russian psychology, and don’t think I’m viewing the issues through any rose-colored glasses. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s possible, in the long run, to stand above the question of “jurisdictions,” — not in the Russian Church, at least. We share your respect for Fr. Georges Florovsky as a theological scholar and interpreter of the Fathers; such respect is widespread in the Synodal Church — his books on the Fathers are basic textbooks. Br. Gleb knows him and received his blessing go to Jordanville to study. But there is also a reason for the lower opinion of him that is widespread in our Church, often among the same people who respect his theological scholarship. Orthodoxy — as is particularly noticeable in times of crisis such as our whole century has been — is not merely a doctrine to be understood, but a conception of life to be lived. Fr. George, it seems to me, has failed in the vital dimension of Orthodoxy in practice. What is the result of his many years of appearances at ecumenical gatherings? Orthodoxy, to be sure, has become better known — but not as the Church of Christ, rather as a “fourth major faith” which used sometimes to give trouble to the Protestants by insisting on making “separate statements,” but now has come around to the general heretical view of the Church which the Protestants expound (Archbp. Iakovos, indeed, states clearly: “The Church in all its denominational forms is the body of Christ“!). In the situation which Vladika Vitaly describes (Orthodox Word, 1969, p. 150-1), Fr. George himself gave a push in the direction of this heresy: not by saying anything heretical himself, but by giving in to the pressures that always exist at ecumenical gatherings to say something that will please the Protestant majority and will be interpreted by them in a heretical fashion. The Orthodoxy of Fr. George at such gatherings is formally correct, but it is thus only formal Orthodoxy, not living Orthodoxy, hot Orthodoxy in practice. And Orthodoxy today is being destroyed from within precisely by this lack of living Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy has one thing to say to the ecumenical movement: here is the truth, join yourself to it; to remain to “discuss” this truth not merely weakens the Orthodox witness, it destroys it. The Protestants long ago were right when they said: If you have the truth, why are you participating in the ecumenical movement, which is a search for an unknown truth.

A second aspect of Fr. Georges failure at “Orthodoxy in practice” was his failure to stay and support the Russian Church Abroad. Where is the heresy or sectarianism involved in the basic idea of the Church Abroad: that all Russian hierarchs should remain united, at least with their fellow hierarchs abroad, but also the extent possible with the Catacomb Church in Russia — and when God shall finally permit, with the visible Church in Russia too? The Metropolia has cut the Church Abroad out of her history books, but she nonetheless was an organic part of it, and the most objective view of the history of Russian Orthodoxy abroad in the last 50 years cannot but conclude that the Metropolia does not want to be in communion with the Church Abroad and has several times deliberately broken off from it. Read the history of Metr. Platon vs. Bishop Apollinary in 1927 (that will be in our new issue!), of Metr. Theophilus who was devoted to our Church and -was forced to leave it, of the infamous Cleveland Sobor (cathedral) vs. Archbp. Vitaly: where is Church truth and justice, where are our confessors who stand for peace and unity — all in the Church Abroad, no doubt of it!

When Fr. George speaks of our supposed tendency to “Catharist sectarianism” — I do not take it lightly. He is a man whose words are to be taken seriously. But how can he back up such a extreme statement? I suspect that he doesn’t make much of an attempt, and that the statement is more emotional than rational — as is Archbp. John Shahovskoy’s recent paid advertisement which accuses the entire Church Abroad of being in a state of “delirium, hatred, and Pharisaic pride”! This is not merely unfair, it is slander! Yes, we are a minority; yes, the rest of the Orthodox Church tries to cut us off — and will redouble its efforts if the “autocephaly” is signed; yes, we are conscious of defending Orthodoxy, which is trampled on today by Orthodox hierarchs themselves. But how are we different in this from St. Athanasius in the 4th century, who found every Church in the city except one in the Arians hands? How are we different from St. Maximus the Confessor, who when informed that three Patriarchs had entered into communion with the Monothelites said: “Even if all the world enter into communion with them, I alone will not!”? (This statement was repeated, by the way, by Metr. Anthony Khrapovitsky in 1927 against Metr. Sergius.) How are we different from St. Mark of Ephesus, who defied an “Ecumenical Council” and every single hierarch with the “Catharist, sectarian, delirious” belief that he alone was in the truth?!!

Forgive me if my zeal runs away with me, but I wanted you to see my point clearly: the Church Abroad today is the focal point of the battle for Orthodox truth and principle. Of course we have many faults, of course the general decay has infected some of our members too — but we are still fighting for the truth, and there is frankly no sign that any of the “Fourteen Autocephalous Churches” or the American jurisdictions is doing so. If you are encouraged by Fr. Schmemann’s recent semi-conservative statements — -well, I can only say that they seem to be a faint reaction to Metr. Philaret and to the effect he has produced on the conscience of a part of the Metropolia; but that will soon pass, and particularly if the autocephaly is put over the path of the “American Church” is clear: in harmony with the spirit of the times to the Unia and “Eastern-rite Protestantism.”

Actually, don’t think I’m trying to convert you back to the Synod (though it might seem like it!), I cannot presume to advise you; you have your own conscience, and your desire to be with the Metropolia in Alaska — given the mutual semi-recognition that has prevailed until now between the Metropolia and the Synod — I can view as a possible alternative. But our concern is with the Alaskan Church under the conditions of the “autocephaly” — and when we spoke of Alaska joining our “small flock” we mean not merely the Russian Church Abroad but the Church of Christ, for we are convinced that they who accept the autocephaly will thereby place themselves outside the Orthodox Church even without the Synods excommunication that will probably follow. What connection can there be between light and darkness, Christ and Beelzebub, the Church of Christ and the system devised to infiltrate, weaken, and destroy it!

Archbishop Anthony, by the way, reminded us of a point which we haven’t seen mentioned anywhere in the autocephaly arguments: Moscow in 1933 excommunicated Metr. Platon and everyone in the Metropolia; if the Metropolia recognizes Moscow as “canonical,” then this act too is “canonical” — and the Metropolia has had no sacraments for 36 years! If I were a priest or layman in the Metropolia, that would give me cause for worry, indeed — to have to live with the realization that until the autocephaly is signed (when, presumably, “economy” would take effect) every sacrament that I administered or received would be invalid, and thus a mockery and blasphemy of God! Of course, we do not believe that the excommunication was canonical, any more than we believe that the autocephaly will be canonical. But whatever the one is, the other must be the same!

Every Orthodox Church has its faults and weaknesses, and there are times when one can only suffer in silence certain things that are done by the Church’s representatives; but if this silence must be stretched to include actual violence to one’s conscience and the defense of unprincipled “canonical” acts that affect the very validity of the sacraments — then how can one be Orthodox at all any more?

But I have carried on long enough. About Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky I can only say: some of our own people have criticized one or two points of his theology, although to my knowledge the only people who find fault with any doctrine of his on the sacraments can do so only by drawing conclusions for him which he never made himself and which would have horrified him. In any case his “Catechism” is taught nowhere and his influence is entirely in a different sphere: precisely in “living Orthodoxy,” in the whole idea of a unified Russian Church abroad that preserves the “old” Orthodoxy and, in the midst of heretics, tells them straightforwardly that Orthodoxy is not merely one other denomination but the Church of Christ. Whereas the ecumenist heresy that Archbp. Iakovos explicitly expounds is the current in which all Orthodox will be carried unless they stand apart and confess Orthodoxy, at the risk of being cut off by the others and condemned to absolute aloneness.

By the way, we hear from Hieromonk Seraphim of St. Tikhons Monastery that he was asked to go to Spruce Island, but will not because he would have had to remain in the Metropolia, and he has now come to us. It will be no easy task in our day to establish a monastery there, and I’m convinced that unless Alaska shows solidarity with the Church Abroad and rejects the “autocephaly” Father Herman will not bless a monastery and it will not succeed. If we are not mistaken, your Athonite monk is Archimandrite Makary Kotsyubinsky — ? — whom Gleb knows.

Forgive my frankness, and pray for us. We would like to hear from you again. We are happy to hear from Daniel Olson that Father Herman’s relics are soon to be returned to Spruce Island. May Father Herman guide and protect us all!

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
031. Mar. 19/Apr. 1, 1970. Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria
Dear Father in Christ, Neketas,
Bless us, Father! Rejoice in the Lord!

We are always happy to hear from you. One feels the noose begin to tighten with which the “official” Church will try to strangle, and one treasures all the more every contact with like-minded souls who want the real Orthodoxy. We’ve heard no more about the Metropolia, but the general picture is clear: whether now or after some delay, whether Iakovos joins now of after a year or two, the “autocephalous” Church is here, and everyone who has not love for true Orthodoxy will rush to join, and they will wage war against us — not because we are any external threat (only a few will leave them), but because their consciences aren’t clean, and the Synod represents their conscience. I think 1970 is the crises year for American Orthodoxy: towards the Metropolia, the Greek Archdiocese, etc., our attitude has not been entirely definite yet, but now they force us to define ourselves and them, which is all to the good. A few of their people who might have continued with them and gradually lost their Orthodoxy until it was too late to get it back, will now step away from them. And it will all [be] to the good if the Synod now (as in 1927) excommunicates them and informs everyone that their bishops are not bishops, their priests are not priests, their sacraments are not sacraments; if Iakovos joins them, he falls under the same ban. Up to now our older priests haven’t understood the Greek situation, but now (if Iakovos joins them) they will — because they do understand the Soviet Church situation. One of our SF cathedral priests who was somewhat soft on the Metropolia has come out now with a good attack on them because, as he says, regarding Moscow the situation is absolutely clear, there is no room for any other interpretation than ours.

We received an interesting comment from a nun in Novo-Diveyevo: this whole scandal arose because Father Herman does not want to be canonized by the Metropolia! I think there may well be something to that. From the history of Spruce Island we know that Fr. Herman has been severe with those who unworthily approach him, and he was definitely on Fr. Gerasim’s side! If (as it now looks) the canonization was intended by the Metropolia leadership to be a part of their political trickery (for Meyendorff says that only a “Local” Church can canonize saints), Fr. Herman will do something and is already doing it. Fr. David Black writes us that they have two monks for Spruce Island — one of them we know as not serious, the other is probably Hieromonk Seraphim [Bobich] from St. Tikhons Monastery, who just wrote us that he has left the Metropolia for the Synod and will go to Mt. Athos — he says they wanted him to go to Spruce Island, but he won’t because he would have to remain in the Metropolia. Now the last of the best element is leaving the Metropolia, and their long- desired union can be achieved all the easier. Bp. Theodosius, by the way, responded to our appeal to him kindly (through Fr. David), if formally, and sent us icons of St. Theodosius, which, whatever the intention, touched us deeply. If any whole piece of the Metropolia can be saved, it is Alaska — as far along as it already is on the same general path of decline with the rest of America, nonetheless it has deeper roots and it has Father Herman, and being an isolated diocese it might still revive with a transfusion of real Orthodoxy. Father Nicholas Harris in Anchorage writes us asking for 5 copies of the Fr. Gerasim issue — we know nothing of him. Anyway, we’re praying especially hard for Alaska, and if it could be saved then Schmemann and Iakovos could keep the Atlantic and Pacific and the Moon as well!

We must get to printing. This issue is going nicely after a late start, and we hope to have it mailed by the end of next week. Spring is here, and we’re beginning to plant a few crops that don’t need much water. We’re glad to hear of Presvytera’s recovery — please give her our greetings. As for the article on Fr. Panteleimon’s visit; it perhaps wouldn’t be too late to put it even in the May-June issue. Approximate dead lines are: for March-April, one week after Easter; for May-June, June 5-10.

We are looking forward to the Kalomiros article on evolution. What about his other article that you started printing on the Synod etc? If that won’t come out soon in the Witness, could we get a copy of it separately? Later this year we want to print a 50th-anniversary Synod issue, with the main article by Vladika Ioann, and we are looking for another article from the missionary and/or Greek point of view — any ideas? We thought of asking Kalomiros to write one if he hasn’t already written a suitable one.

Pray for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
030. March 16/29, 1970. 3rd Sunday of Lent
Dear in Christ Father Photios,
Rejoice in the Lord! We send greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We were very happy to hear from you and are only too happy to exchange ideas with you. It is good to hear about your varityper. We had one demonstrated for us several years ago, but the cost was too prohibitive, and without offset press and camera we couldn't do it either. Our problem is a little different from yours: your problem is money, ours is time. Of course, if we had the money, the time would take care of itself, but right now we have all our own primitive equipment, and it just takes too long to print. Beginning with the new issue we've expanded to 50-60 pages, and it will take four weeks to print, assemble, and despatch each issue. Of course, there are just two of us to do everything, but more people won't solve the problem either; the process of setting type by hand just requires too much concentration and painstaking labor, and with more people efficiency is actually reduced, at least in our poor experience. Our answer is linotype and, God willing, after Pascha we may have one-which of course will add mechanical complications to our problems, since the machine will have to be an old one.

Yes, we are "struggling" in the mountains-much more pleasant than struggling in the city, I assure you! We don't notice the lack of conveniences at all. If we do spend a lot of time chopping wood, that gives us valuable exercise-printing is definitely indoor, sedentary work (or rather "stationary"). The lack of water affects primarily the garden, but we're trying "organic gardening" with mulch and hope to get some crops with a minimum of water-there's enough in the soil for 45 inches of winter rains and snows to grow quite a bit, I think. Judging from the state of the world and America, our home-grown crops may turn out to be quite valuable in a few years. Frankly, we are pessimistic about the future and hope to print as much as possible in these few years that are given us, anticipating a drought of the printed word in perhaps a very short time. Nikolai probably described our poverty to you: right now we have two cabins, one a hunting cabin which we live in (which Nikolai helped finish), and the second a printshop which Gleb and I built. We have now an outdoor chapel with a cross and an altar table on a tree stump where Archbishop Anthony served Liturgy last fall and Father Panteleimon blessed water on November 1st; we hope to start building a real chapel this year and other buildings as possible. Whether anyone will join us we don't know, but we are going one step at a time, trusting in God and doing our best with what we have.

You are of course welcome to use whatever materials and illustrations you wish from The Orthodox Word. We wish no payment from any Orthodox reprinters, all the more so from those few who are printing the real Orthodoxy; our copyright is to scare off Catholics, who shamelessly take Jordanville material and pass it off as their own. If you take a whole article or translation, we would like the OW credited, for the sake of identification of sources. We would love to translate some other of St. Mark's writings from Russian, but there's no chance now for that, and they are mostly rather long and more difficult than what we've translated so far (on purgatory, filioque, etc.).

May God prosper your printing plans. Lives of Saints are one thing desperately needed in America to give a dose of real Orthodoxy for those withering away from the two-dimensional academic Orthodoxy of Schmemann and the new "autocephalous" monstrosity. A word of advice: one of the best hopes for success is regularity, especially of a periodical. If you could put the Vineyard out regularly, even once every two months, you would have a good basis, both for financial support and for building a regular readership. It would help, too, if the Lives of Saints were put out in a series with some stimulus for readers to "subscribe" or somehow be inspired to get the whole series. The American Orthodox public is so undernourished with printed food that it has to be educated to know what it should read. The "official" press-Young Life, Upbeat, Concern, the learned quarterlies-is actually poisoning the Orthodox public and stunting their appetites; and now with the "autocephaly," they will make a big point of trying to persuade everyone that this is what they should be reading. We are a minority and will have a hard time persuading many that they should be eating real food and not TV dinners.

But the "autocephaly" is perhaps really a blessing-now the sides will be clearly drawn and the choice perhaps a little clearer. Especially now at the beginning of the great divide we should try to do as much as possible to reach those who might still have doubts about the great all-American Church.

Our Orthodox Word covers are very easily done-by letterpress. We print twice-once with a halftone or line engraving in whatever color desired, once in black for the text. Total cost this way is about 2 1/2 cents per cover for 2000. In the beginning, when we had only a small hand press that couldn't print big pictures well, we had the color picture printed outside by offset (at a cost of about 5 cents per cover including paper) and then printed the text ourselves.

We ask your prayers for our humble work, and hope to keep in contact with you. We will certainly cooperate with you however possible.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

P.s. Please pray for Bishop Theodosius and the Alaskan Church. As slim as the hopes might be for them to secede from the "official" Church and join us, with Father Herman's prayers anything is possible. One nun from Novo-Diveyevo wrote us that the whole Autocephaly scandal is owing to the fact that Father Herman apparently does not want to be canonized by the Metropolia-and perhaps she is right! If Alaska does not come to us, Father Herman will do something, I'm convinced!



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
029. March 8/21, 1970. St. Theophylakt
Your Grace [Bishop Theodosius of Alaska]:

We thank you for your kind response to our letter, sent through Father David Black. We were especially touched by the icons of St. Theodosius, for whom we have a deep devotion.

In looking through the Life of St. Theodosius written by our own Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, which we hope to translate and print in a future issue of The Orthodox Word, we found the following note made by Archbishop Anthony, which we would like to share with you.

“A tiny part of the relics of St. Theodosius came as a wondrous blessing abroad to our Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev and was placed in an icon on the Saint painted by Archimandrite Cyprian. This icon was given as a gift and blessing from His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy to the Sobor of the American Metropolia, being designated for the city of Cleveland for the cathedral church of St. Theodosius. The fatal decrees of the Sobor then separated us. May this icon be a pledge of the future reunion desired by all”.

By the prayers of St. Theodosius and Blessed Father Herman, may this reunion be accomplished in those who truly desire it!

With all respect and love in Christ our Saviour,
Reader Eugene Rose
Reader Gleb Podmoshensky

P.s. May we have Your Grace’s permission to use the icon you sent us as an illustration for our Life of St. Theodosius? If so, could you send us another copy from which to make the reproduction? If you have any other illustrations appropriate to the Life, we would very much appreciate the opportunity to use them. We have seen, but cannot now obtain, a photograph of the faithful holding the relics of St. Theodosius after the Soviets attempted to desecrate them.



Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
028. Feb 18/Mar 3, 1970
Dear Father David [Black],

We just received the first three issues of Orthodox Alaska and would like to share a few thoughts with you about it. It is a good and welcome beginning — sober in tone and format, conscious of past tradition (wisely preserving Bp. Philips cover), written clearly and simply, concentrating on the essentials — lives of Saints, Church calendar and feasts, monasticism, not even afraid to be a little outspoken about heresy. With God’s blessing it can do much good for the Orthodox in Alaska.

It should be pointed out, however, that Dr. Bensin’s book is so inaccurate as to be unreliable even as the foundation of an amended text. In the Father Herman article he places; St. Sergius’ Holy Trinity in Serpukhov, speaks of an “Abbot and well known preacher” who is apparently fictional or confused or confused with someone else, puts St. Seraphim in Valaam (where he never was), etc., and seems to invent some details out of whole cloth. There are better sources!

But even if not perfect, Orthodox Alaska is a welcome beginning, and to speak frankly, its tone is far more serious and Orthodox than the bulk of what passes for the “Orthodox press” in the “lower 48.” For this reason — to speak to you from the heart — we are sincerely pained at the thought of what will happen to Alaska if it accepts the “autocephaly.” I suspect you already realize that the Metropolia has been living so far on the capital of the old Russian (that is, genuine Orthodox) spirituality, which she still has some contact with owing to the presence in America of the Russian Church Abroad, which preserves and lives by this spirituality. Most of the Metropolia has strayed far from this spirituality, and only a few individuals now will probably find their way out before the Metropolia reaches the end of the trail in “Eastern-rite Protestantism.” (I’m speaking quite frankly with you because I think you see enough to know I’m not trying to “insult” anybody but only describing things as they unfortunately are.) But Alaska is remote, neglected» and besides has deeper roots in Orthodoxy. Can’t it at least be saved?

We’ve just written a personal appeal to Bp. Theodosius to stand up for the truth and put Alaska on the right path — for I’m sure you and the other priests and the whole of Alaska will follow him if he does choose this path. Of course there are tremendous obstacles in the way of such a difficult decision, but if it is not made now it probably never will be. To go with the “autocephaly” is to choose the way of the “general trend” of the times, which is away from the Church entirely. (Indeed, Moscow couldn’t even wait for the Metropolia to sign before she announced that she will give communion to Catholics that is, that the Unia is already here and the martyrdom of St. Peter the Aleut, instead of a sign and inspiration for all Orthodox faithful, becomes an absurd and futile gesture.) But to stand against it (which in practical terms today means choosing the Russian Church Abroad because, whatever her human failings, she happens to be the only one even interested in truth today!) means to stand with our modern-day confessors and those unashamed of real, “narrow” Orthodoxy (the Orthodoxy that Father Herman, Bp. Innocent, and others brought to Alaska) — men of the caliber of Abbot Panteleimon and his monks, the monks of Holy Trinity Monastery, Fr. Neketas Palassis, and others.

If Bp. Theodosius does choose this path, it would be by a miracle of Father Herman (but Fr. Alexy Ionov, who was supposed to write Father Herman’s life for the Metropolia, has already chosen this path with his whole parish!). I'm convinced the response of our people would be overwhelming.

Although as brothers in the name of Father Herman our hearts are with Orthodox Alaska, up to how it hasn’t been possible for us to enter into cooperation with the official Church in Alaska, owing to its “semi-canonical” status (and our caution is only too well confirmed in the “autocephaly,” which will stamp the Metropolia with the seal of the Moscow betrayers and persecutors of the faithful); if His Grace has the courage to stand up and be numbered with the confessors of Orthodoxy, we will offer every support possible for Orthodoxy in Alaska and encourage our readers to do the same. How our hearts long to receive you all as full brothers in that small flock of Orthodox faithful which now seems about to face the hatred not only of the world but of those “Orthodox” who do not care enough for their faith. May God and Father Herman and the holy New Martyr Peter guide aright His Grace and all of you in Alaska. We are praying for you and ask your prayers for us.

With love in Christ our Saviour,
Eugene Rose

P.s. Br. Gleb sends his greetings. Enclosed is our just-printed icon of Father Herman. Separately you will receive (in case you don’t have it already) F. Golder’s life of Father Herman. Both are gifts from us.



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Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
027. February 15/28, 1970
The Right Reverend Theodosius
Bishop of Sitka and Alaska
Box 697
Sitka, Alaska 99835

Your Grace:

We enclose some copies of our recently-reproduced icon of Father Herman, which we beg you to accept with our compliments. Also, separately we are sending by air mail a copy of our latest Orthodox Word, which is devoted chiefly to Father Herman. You will note that in our article on Fr. Gerasim we did not pass by in silence his outspoken views on the “Metropolia” question; these were important to him and, we believe, to Orthodoxy in Alaska. In presenting this and our other article on the Metropolia, we have no intention merely to engage in polemics, but rather “to speak the truth with love.” We assure you — as you will see from our mention of you in the Fr. Gerasim article — that we have nothing whatever to say or think against you; since the time when our Archbishop Anthony introduced you to us in our former San Francisco bookshop we have had nothing but respect for you and sympathy for the immense task which you and your priests have in spreading Orthodoxy in Alaska.

Now, as we are sure you recognize, a time of crisis has come. If the Synod of Bishops Abroad has hitherto looked upon the Metropolia as something like “semi-canonical,” this will no longer be the case if the “autocephaly” is approved. We have heard from several sources that this whole project is being forced upon the Metropolia by a small group whose actions are little known and not approved by the majority. We have every hope that you yourself do not approve of it. If so, you have the opportunity to make a decision that will doubtless set the course for the future of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

We do not know what attitude you have towards the Russian Church Outside of Russia. It may be that you have received negative impressions from some few in our Church who at times become too enamored of polemics, or perhaps from some of the unfounded slanders which still circulate about our Church. But you have met our Archbishop Anthony and probably other of our leading hierarchs, who certainly do not give the impression of “fanatics”; and you know personally Abbot Panteleimon and (we believe) Father Neketas Palassis, and perhaps others of non-Russian background who, like them, have come to the Russian Church Abroad out of the conviction that here alone today is Orthodoxy being defended straightforwardly and outspokenly, whereas nearly everywhere else Orthodoxy has become the tool of politics and of everything else except love of truth. It is our fervent prayer that you too will follow their example; indeed, being of Russian descent yourself and bishop of an area where love of Russian Orthodoxy is still high, you would only be “coming home” to the Church where, for a time at least, all Russian hierarchs abroad were united in their witness of age-old Orthodoxy in the face of Communism and every other form of hatred or compromise of Christian Truth. As for the alternative — one can only imagine the pain that would come over the Orthodox soul that had to witness such a sight (which would, now become possible) as someone like Metropolitan Nikodim handling the relics of Father Herman — a man who (as the latest St. Nectarios reprint from a National Council of Churches bulletin informs us) is ready “to swear on the Cross and the Scriptures” that a certain statement protesting religious persecution in the USSR contained “fictitious” signatures, while he certainly knew otherwise and while; these “fictitious” people were undergoing interrogation and imprisonment (for “political” reasоnѕ, as Metropolitan Nikodim says!). Could one’s conscience be silent at this?

We ourselves have no official status within the Russian Church Abroad, apart from personal rank of Church Reader which we both possess. We write; this letter to you prompted by nothing but our love of Father Herman, of Orthodox Alaska, and of the unchanging Orthodox Truth which — alas! — only a small flock seems interested to preserve today. As the lamentable situation caused by the “autocephaly” becomes ever more tangled and bitter, we cannot but see the hand of Father Herman himself calling those who will hear out of the politics and confusions of the conflicting “jurisdictions” onto the firm ground of unshaking Orthodoxy. Indeed, Father Alexy Ionov, who has come to the Russian Church Abroad with his parish over the “autocephaly” question, had been assigned to write the Life of Father Herman for the Metropolia!

We are certain that you will find a warm reception among us if you yourself choose this course, and a maximum of support. For ourselves, we shall certainly offer you every assistance we are capable of, whether through the pages of The Orthodox, Word or in any other way we can help the cause of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

We would be honored to receive a reply from Your Grace to this letter.

Respectfully, with love in Christ our Saviour
Father Herman Brotherhood


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
026. Nov. 1/14, 1966
Dear brother in Christ, Gleb,

Well, it seems to be my lot in life to give people long faces. You had a very long face when you left last night. I hope it was not any kind of uninie [depression], but simply serious resolve. Tonight I kept Lawrence-Rex out in the rain even while we prayed, for his intolerable childishness and impertinence (when someone instructs him for his own good, he simply spits back), and when I left he was still outside, but very sober and glum.

Last night, after my uninie that made you so solemn, Br. Lawrence gave me a pouchenie: I do not talk enough, for instance to people like our new Br. Eugene. I received this pouchenie in silence, as usual, but in all honesty I think he is wrong. If anything I talk too much.

When I say this I do not think I am trying to justify myself; forgive me if I am wrong. I mentioned to you this weekend that I thought our skete was no longer a dream, but real. It is already so real to me that I can see it failing after we have started — for many reasons, but to begin with for one reason•, in our shop there is much talking and little action, and this kind of talk could destroy us. For you and me I am not afraid. We know what we want and when we are free we will be able to work 100% for it. But Br. Lawrence seems to get worse instead of better. This criticism of every little small point is like a cancer, and he seems unable to correct it because he has apparently no spiritual self- awareness. Fr. Sava corrected him on this tonight but it seems useless. I wonder if he is serious, and what it will take to get him serious.

And Sava himself — he came today for three days, and already Rex is worming in, flaunting the authority of our brotherhood because he knows he has a soft touch on the inside which he can use against us, Sava talks to him — for whose good? You may have a soft touch for him and think he’s just “spoiled” — but I suspect he’s quite rotten at the core and will do us nothing but harm. I hope not, but his actions indicate that he cannot be taught anything; I feel very uneasy about him.

Probably all this is giving you a long face again; please forgive me. But perhaps my main function in the brotherhood will be to introduce seriousness by pointing to the work that must be done. So far our Brotherhood has been a picnic, with much laughing, but what happens when the sorrow and tribulation and real work begins? Are we ready for it? What can we do to prepare ourselves for it?

I can try to give work quotas; but I don’t think any ustov would do much good now. We need a single minded seriousness about the work before us; otherwise any little thing can deflect us from our path. What would happen, for example, if the four of us are on our skete, and Rex drives up? If we are no stronger than we are now, it would split us. Will we be strong enough to do the work, keep up the services, get up in the morning, refrain from unnecessary talk, drive away visitors, keep all the canons, and yet keep harmony?

Do you know what we are embarking on? It’s beyond us! And yet with serious ustov and by God’s grace, we can do it. Since there is no one else, you and I must do the leading; if we are strong enough, it can cover up at least some of the weakness of our brothers.

Brother, life is passing, and we shall die. Let us be even more resolved to bring into reality what we dream about.

You can tell me if what I see is true, or if I am simply filled with a sense of self-importance.

But now enough of over-seriousness. Time is running out on our magazine, but if we start now on the Vladiko issue we may get it done in January. By Thanksgiving I want an outline and basic material of the St. John and Vladiko articles, and a complete table of contents with approximate number of pages. If it’s more than 40 pages we’re in trouble. The Kursk icon article can be short, since it’s already in O. L. and will soon be reprinted.

I was thinking this weekend, but didn’t mention — What about our January issue? We have nothing, and we’ll be so exhausted by the Vladiko issue we’ll never be able to throw anything together. But today Fr. Amvrossy called — he’ll be ready soon with a substantial article on St. Mark for the January issue (his feast is Jan. 19), all about his writings, etc. — I think again something very important. I’ll hunt illustrations. Then there’s the Tinos icon, and 2 or 3 small things will fill it up. Leave this issue to me. I think Fr. Amvrossy will come through. Again he’s wacky and lax, but he’s an important man, and I think we can help him to produce something substantial.

Well, brother, I’ve made you very pensive and serious. Today there was a comedy of errors — I went 4 times to the hardware store and came back each time with a bigger piece of pipe. Sava found a hole in the pipe and tried to repair it with candle wax. Br. Eugene came back and offered enigmatic comments. Misha came in and went to work with some gooey brown glue. Br. Lawrence came in, observed water, glue, and people everywhere, and offered criticisms of everything. Robert came, then Rex — and in the end (thanks mostly to Misha) the sink was fixed and even the toilet leaks more quietly.

Pray for me, your determined but sinful brother,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
025. July 13/26 1966
Dear Gleb,

Here is the revised manuscript. It will take 3 pages in our magazine. It you translate it for ____, tell Fr. Constantine that it will appear in English in our magazine, so he won't try to print it himself in English.

Archimandrite Amvrossy was in this morning; he saw Vladika in a dream last night: he was in white vestments (as in the tomb) censing, and he gave a blessing with the word “_______” — and Batyshka awoke with a feeling of peace and joy. He also saw St. Mark of Ephesus in a dream before he had seen a icon of him. He’s a good man, even if he’s a little crazy He’s discouraged about doing any more scholarship — too much petty work, too little time. We’ll have to try to inspire him!

Sunday night I received an inspiring telephone call from your Dr. Nicholas Petrochko. We talked half-an hour. He’s just came back from the Holy Land and says everyone is strongly against Athenagoras and for Metr. Philaret. The Boston icon of St. Mark of Ephesus is everywhere. He ordered subscriptions for St. Sabbas Monastery, the library of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Dutch Monastery in The Hague, and gave me the name of a Br. Basil to correspond with in Holland. His son is travelling with Fr. Alypy — Fr. Alypy has been refused permission to visit Athos, by the way. I promised Dr. Petrochko to make you write him (he wrote you several months ago and never received an answer); he says you can't be busier than he is, since he works 20 hours a day.

Dr. Nicholas Petrochko He ordered
631 Valley View Dr. 30 copies
Endwell, N.Y 13763 of this issue

Eric was in today, and I tried to cheer him up a little.

Pray for me.

In Christ, your brother,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
024. May 3/16, 1966
Christ is Risen!
Dear Gleb,

Here is your telegram, which arrived during vigil Sat. night. Also the check for VI. Seraphim. Two people came by Sunday to congratulate you:

1. Vera Utehina, who also gives her greetings to Ija.

2. Mrs. Goch (Ira Nikitina), who knew you in Latvia, I gathered. Her address now is: 3587 Notre Dame Dr., Santa Clara Telephone: 241-9521

According to Deacon Nikolay, Archimandrite Amvrossy is attached permanently to our Cathedral. There is also apparently something to the rumor that he went over (for a short while) to the Metropolia, but I haven’t heard the full story.

The rest of the brochure is finally set up and will be printed tomorrow. I’m printing 4000 copies, which takes a long time.

The neighborhood stray cat who chose us for the honor had her 4 kittens this morning in our back room. Whether that is supposed to have any significance I don’t know.

I will start setting up St. Nectarios before this weekend and have everything ready for efficient work. What’s your verdict on the color picture?

Pray for me.

In Christ your brother,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
023. August 18/31 1965
Dear Father in Christ, Panteleimon,

Please forgive me for my long delay in replying to you. We have received your two translations, together with the letter of Br. Haralampos. Thank you very much. We will gladly print both articles, under the conditions set forth in the letter. The “Life of St. Mark” will appear in our first issue for next year, and “The Ecumenical Patriarch” perhaps in no. 5 or 6 of this year. I presume that you wish the translations to remain anonymous. If you approve, we will use the formula used by the Greek Theological Review for your other translations, “translated by a monk of the Holy Mountain.”

In connection with the Life of St. Mark, we would like to publish in the same issue a more detailed account of the state of the soul after death (this will be our issue for Great Lent). There is a homily of St. Makarios which we could reprint from Orthodox Life; it speaks of the reason for commemorating the dead on the 3rd, 9th, and 40th days after death, but mentions nothing of the “aerial custom houses,” If you know or have translated a good text on this subject, we would be very grateful to hear of it.

As for the article on the Ecumenical Patriarch, I think it would be wise to include a note on the two instances when “the Slavic Orthodox Churches gave a splendid lesson of Orthodox thinking to the Mother Great Church of Christ.” I confess I am not familiar with either instance: neither that involving Nicholas of Ochrid in 1930, nor that at the third meeting at Rhodes. Also, I wonder if you could give us the exact date of the issue of Typos in which this article appeared.

We are very interested in the small book on ecumenism which you would like to publish. Until now we have printed everything on a small hand press, but recently we have purchased a large electric press which will enable us to expand our printing activity. Our first task will be to catch up on the printing of our magazine (we are now at least a month behind), and then we will begin printing pamphlets and small books. At the present moment we cannot promise anything, but I think we will be ready to undertake the printing of such a book by early next year. I would certainly be most interested in reading the manuscript, if you could send it. As to the cost, that would depend upon just how long the book is and how many copies you wish. Since our press exists solely for the propagation of Orthodox Christianity, we would certainly charge as little as possible.

I do not recall whether or not I have sent you a copy of the icon “The Joy of All Who Sorrow.” In any case I shall do so tomorrow. I think it was quite successfully printed. I believe the cost was about $500 for 3000 copies, but I do not know what they charge for smaller icons. I will obtain the address of the company (it is near San Francisco) for you as soon as I can.

We have sent you a few extra copies of the latest issue of our magazine, which you may use as you wish. If you wish to sell them, please keep the money for your monastery. If you can use more copies than that, please tell us.

We very much look forward to receiving other translations and articles from you, as well as any suggestions or comments you may have about our magazine. God willing, may this be the beginning of a fruitful cooperation for the good of Holy Orthodoxy! We shall have many enemies, not least among the modernist Orthodox, but it is our duty to speak the truth. Please pray for me, a sinner, and for Gleb, and also for Hieromonk Savva, a young Serbian priest who may soon be joining our small missionary brotherhood.

Respectfully in Christ our Lord,


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
022. no date [during Archbishop John’s lifetime, before Jan. 66]
Dear Fr. in Christ Panteleimon,

I must ask you again to forgive me for my long delay in writing you about Against False Union and in returning the manuscript, but it is only now that we have finished the latest OW that I have had the time to read it once more and offer my comments.

In general, of course, the book is very good and is very needed today. We would have liked to publish it here, but it is quite true that our hands are full right now just printing the magazine. The only important criticism I would make of it concerns the author's very imprecise and even erroneous views of the whole question of Communism and the Russian jurisdictions; I think that here he is rather naive in seeing as external and secondary a question that is actually quite subtle and extremely important. The statement on p. 82, for example, that there is “full essential communion” among the different jurisdictions, is simply false. There is no communion whatever between the Russian Church Abroad and any of the other groups, and for very good reasons. The Moscow Patriarchate is subject to the anathema laid against the Soviet government and all who cooperate with it, laid upon it by Patr. Tikhon; obviously there can be no “essential communion” with those who are subject to the Church’s anathema. As for the Paris jurisdiction, it appealed to Constantinople not only to escape Soviet influences, but even more (since its spirit, after all, is close to that of the Soviet Church) to escape the traditional Orthodoxy upheld by the Synod of Bishops Abroad. Its apostasy is not accidental but quite deliberate, as is that of the American Metropolia. And the differences have nothing to do with “legalistic concepts” but with the upholding of Orthodox Truth and tradition.

I believe the author is deceived in regarding Communism as purely a political phenomenon that wears no “masks.” Perhaps he is thinking of it in terms of the Turkish Yoke — an external yoke whose intent was to enslave a nation and allow the conquerors to live well. But Communism applies an internal yoke, since it is essentially a spiritual movement (in an inverted sense). Its aim is not to conquer the world and enslave the nations, but to fight God, primarily by destroying faith in the hearts of men. There is no comparison in previous history with such a system. Communism's whole aim is to prepare the world for Antichrist, and its most subtle work is to gain control of the Church and make it over into a new Church for Antichrist. This it is very successfully doing with the Patriarch of Moscow and is now attempting to do with the whole Orthodox Church through its representatives at Rhodes. To believe that Communism is satisfied with political influence is, I believe, completely to misunderstand its nature.

As to specific corrections, it is perhaps impractical at this late date to offer many minor corrections. However, I would strongly recommend one major change: the entire omission of the paragraph on p. 82 which raises the question of the Russian jurisdictions (begin with line 5 of p. 82, ending with line 1 of p. 83). The omission would not affect the continuity of the thought (its effect is only to cause a slight pause) and leaves out no essential point (since it is only an illustration of a point already made). What it does do, I believe, is to obscure the point already made by giving as an example a situation that raises new and very complicated questions of Communism, which is nowhere adequately discussed. (What is more, it seems to me to treat rather barely the whole question of jurisdictional dependence.) Such an admission would also certainly facilitate the reception of the book among circles in the Russian Church Abroad.

I am returning the manuscript separately and certainly hope for the widest possible circulation for the book.

Concerning the article “The Patriarchate of Constantinople” — in view of the most recent sign of the rapprochement of Rome and Constantinople, perhaps some brief comment or interpretation of it has appeared in the Greek press which we could use in our magazine, either as a footnote to the article or in our “news” section. We should start printing that issue about the middle of January.

Thank you for the book of St. Mark. We will finish taking the pictures soon and return the book then. I only hope that we can succeed in transferring the spirit of such a marvelous book into our English version.

I have already written Nina Seco about Archbishop John's reply to the Greek situation. He doesn’t want to make any decision until the Synod meets next Tuesday. He is favorable to the idea of a traditionalist Greek jurisdiction; the only complication would seem to lie in the precise means of establishing it, and especially in the connection with Bp. Peter?


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
021. 26 March/ 8 April [1965] Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel
Dear Gleb,

I can’t find anything about persecutions at the Pochaev Lavra in the English Orthodox Life (there was something about the Siberian Protestant peasants in January, 1963, but that’s all), and I don’t have any issues in Russian before 1963.

The Devil has begun his work against us. A Russian lady came in this morning to look us over and tell us of the rumors about us in the Russian colony: that we are Communists with a store full of Soviet books; that we are Soviet diplomats using the store as some kind of front; that we are American converts (!); etc. By the time she discovered I wasn’t Russian, she was so charmed that she didn’t mind too much and even bought ten dollars worth of eggs, icons, and cards.

"When you come up we must think of ordering some of the Large Jordanville icons, even if they aren’t in the best style.

I placed the ad in Russian Life again for this weekend. To preserve what little reputation we have, we cannot advertise in the other newspapers. Also, we should have Skripkin or someone like that write an article about us for Russian Life.

Pray for me.

Your brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
020. Tuesday. 14/27 Oct, 1964
Dear Gleb,

I received your letter this morning and have despatched the letter to Martianoff. I added a note about the 6 calendars, so you don’t have to bother — but save the envelope for future use.

The Service to St. John is being sent from Jordanville (I received the bill today), so you needn’t mention it in your letter.

We have a chance to sell the two gold rizas after all if we can get them right away — please write immediately (and tell him to rush the order).

You are not the only one who is possessed by depression. I have been attacked especially strongly in the last week or so. This only means that the devil doesn’t want us to start a magazine. But with the aid of the Lord and His Saints, we can fight him! Once we get busy, things will be much better. I started building a bookcase yesterday, and already I feel better! I’m ordering some more type today, and some paper this week, so we can begin soon. If the boys will help us I think we will have no problems. I still think we can have a first issue out in December. If you will give me proper instructions, I can see about having a sample сlісhe made next week.

Pray for me.

Your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
019. 13/26 Oct., 1964. Icon of the Iveron Mother of God
Dear brother in Christ, Gleb,

Our printing boys came yesterday and turned out some nice work. If they will give us much help, our work will be fairly easy!

Business was bad yesterday, and even though the whole week was better than usual, we are still a long way from making money — and to support a printing press we have to make lots of money. We have to have an ad in the newspaper very soon, but we must have rizas first, so that people will not come to us and get the impression that we are just amateurs and can’t supply them with even the most ordinary religious articles. Therefore:

1. Please look up the letter from the riza-deacon in New York (and bring it with you this weekend so I can mark the prices down somewhere) and order from him two gold and two silver rizas of each of the smaller two sizes (that is, four pairs altogether); we’ve waited so long now that we’ll have to take them sight unseen. Then I can make some kiots and we can be in business. I lost a $25 sale this week because we had no rizas.

2. Order 6 calendars from Martianoff — a few people do seem to want them.

3. From Jordanville order the following:
a. Service to Fr. John of Kronstadt (somebody has just printed it, and it is probably Jordanville). At least 25 copies.
b. Icons size 8x10”:
20 each of:
St. Pantaleimon, St. Nicholas (half-stature), St. Nicholas (full-stature), Of the Passion.
10 each of:
Wetbeard, Iverskaya, St. Paraskeva, Znamenie, Annunciation, Baptism of Christ, Palm Sunday, Ascension, Pentecost.
c. Small icons (4 x 8):
20 each of St. Ekaterina, and Vera, Nadezhda, Liubov, Sophia.
d. 1965 calendar, if its ready yet. 20 copies.

For the moment the icons are most important.

I’m sorry to write so much about business, but we do have to have our feet on the ground before we can do much dreaming. We're dreaming about a magazine and we can’t even afford the paper!

Nonetheless, if we work hard God will bless us. Pray for me.

In Christ, your brother,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
018. 23 Sept/ 6 Oct, 1964

Dear Gleb,

Wait until you come this weekend before writing VI. Vitaly. He sent us an outrageous bill and it must be corrected. I forget what else you were supposed to do, but it can wait until Saturday.

You won’t recognize the printing room. I’ve gotten all equipment and we can begin printing _______ ! I have the cabinet almost finished and it is successful. I have samples of several kinds of papers — but it’s going to cost money.

You are right about a picture on the cover. But I think there has to be a “The” in the title for printing.

I’ve got another small helper for printing, I think.

Let me know when you arrive. If I don’t hear from you I’ll be at the Greyhound Depot at 7:45.

Pray for me.

Your brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
017. 9/22 September, 1964
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

Glory be to God! The press is already bought and will be delivered (I hope) on Thursday. (But if not then, probably not until next Tuesday, so don’t be shocked if you don’t see it this weekend.) I also bought all equipment, so all we need now is paper and ink (also a marble slab and a cabinet which I’ll have to make). If all goes well we can begin printing something in two weeks.

Everything cost $200, so the money from Fr. Gabriel will be very welcome. There should be no difficulty paying him back after Christmas. However, we will be in a critical condition until then. I am still a little stunned. There will be nothing but work from now on. To succeed we must be really brothers. May God help us!

My mother is making a Christmas card with the new Sobor on it. If it’s successful (the sample she sent isn’t bad) we can print a Russian greeting ourselves!

Pray for me.

Your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
016. 20 July 1964. Holy Prophet Elijah
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

I was waiting for some interesting news before writing you, but there hasn’t been any interesting news, so I’ll write anyway. Business has been very slow, except for a large sale to Mr. Ivanovsky (for which I haven’t received the money yet).

The Philokalia arrived, but no one has bought yet. Vladimir was in yesterday. I gather that he has no particular interest in a Brotherhood. Which means, I suppose, that we two “brothers” should work all the harder.

You should have received your Paissy Velichkovsky by now.

Olyas Kiot will soon be finished and will look quite nice, I think. I can begin your Kiot next if you’ll bring up the icon next weekend.

From Jordanville you should order the following:
10 each of all icons 8 x10 1/2” (3rd size).
10 Prayer Book, Russian script, paperback.
10 Selected Prayers to the Mother of God.
5 Hymns from all — night Vigil and Liturgy
5 Slobodskys Brief collected articles
10 St. Theophan the Recluse — What is the Spiritual Life.
5 Talberg, ? .
10 Sologub, Fr. John of Kronstadt.
5 — 10 Fr. John of Kronstadt, Thought on Divine Services.
5 Living Wheel from the Spiritual Field of Fr. John of Kronstadt.
5 Chuzhoo, Fr. John of Kronstadt.
10 Fr. John of Kronstadt, vol. I. My Life in Christ.
20 Sokoloff, Manual of Orthodox Services.

I think I will run away from everything and go to the woods tomorrow (just for the day).

The shoemaker came yesterday and delivered your shoes (for which you owe $4.75).

These two feast days have been very splendid, but I suppose they were even more so in Monterey.

I’m afraid I haven’t had time to make out the list of English books, but I’ll try to get around to it soon.

As you see, nothing is new. I presume you will be here next Saturday. We should think about another ad for Russian Life.

If the tone of this letter sounds a little weary, it’s because I’m tired, but otherwise I am in good spirits and hope you are the same. My regards to your mother and Ija.

Your brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
015. Great Wednesday
Dear Gleb,

Much business yesterday ($35) — a constant stream of people to buy cards; but today nothing at all for 3 hours. A man bought some books for a Russian girl who wants to commit suicide — pray for her (Barbara). Our friend finished Feophil in one sitting (he stayed up half the night), and apparently enjoyed it. His impression: everything is possible with faith, love, and humility.

Today was Fr. Leonid’s name-day, and many came to pray with him.

Our advertising material is being mimeographed today, and it will be ready for mailing by the end of the week.

I hope you will be able to come on Sunday. We could have a small Easter feast in the evening. I plan to go to Holy Communion tomorrow, please forgive me for everything, and pray for me.

Your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
014 Monday morning [2/22/] 1964
Dear Gleb

I don’t know whether I’ll see you today or not, so I’ll mail this now. You didn’t fill out the whole withdrawal slip, and the bank is sure to be suspicious if it’s filled out in two different handwritings. Anyway, I probably won’t be downtown for a few days. Why don’t you just fill it out and mail it in? They would send it back by return mail.

I finished most of one bookcases yesterday, and hope to get them both in place by this afternoon.

I heard most of VI. Filofei’s last night and was extremely unimpressed.

The most important things for you to do by next weekend are to contact Ariadna Ivanovna about advertising, VI. Nektary about blessing (you should call him as soon as you arrive Fri. night, to make sure he has time), and making preparations for silk-screen cards.

Your Slavonic sign looks very nice.

Mme. Langeron brought her cot yesterday. She thinks she knows someone who makes eggs.

Pray for me.

Your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
013. Feb 21/ March 3. Tuesday morning

Dear Gleb,

There was a package from Jordanville this morning, but I can’t pick it up until tomorrow. I’ll let you know what’s in it.

I got to your bank yesterday just as it was closing, just in time to see that they had deposit slips out, but no withdrawal slips. I presume one has to ask them for these, and I’m afraid they would regard me rather suspiciously if I did. But they do business by mail also. Why don’t you just send them your bank book and a signed note stating the amount you want to withdraw, and they’ll probably fill out the withdrawal slip for you and send you the money.

I got enough lumber yesterday for two bookcases, and I’m expecting delivery at any minute (I’m in the shop). It cost $15, including cutting and delivery charge. That’s about $5 more than I wanted to pay, but $5 less than it would have cost at the other place, and less than half what it would cost to buy them already made (if someone made them, that is). I changed the plan somewhat and managed to save a little money.

That was a good idea of Iya’s to have me write about icons for Blagovestnik. I’ve almost finished the article. I think the Vladimir “youth” is going to meet Bishop Philotheus Thursday night.

I’m enclosing a letter that arrived this morning.

Pray for me.

Your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene

P.S. If your mother can make nice Easter eggs, try to get her interested. We’ll pay her a commission!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
012. Eve of the Three Saints. Jan 30/Feb 12 1964
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

I received today the first English books for our stock, 3 copies of the Pilgrim purchased with credit I had at an English bookstore. Apart from that, however, I feel rather paralyzed from lack of money. I learned today that we have to put up a bond of $200 to guarantee payment of sales taxes. The money is refunded to us when we go out of business, but at the present moment it’s just another burden. That brings our initial expenses up to $800. Against this we have the first month’s rent paid ($85), $35 in cash, $50 from Genya Zavarin, total $170. Then there is the $85 for one month’s rent which you have found — if they can pay it on March 15; and $25 from Iuri — if he can give it to us within two weeks or so. This gives us $280. Finally, Alyosha Zavarin will give us something ($50, I hope) if he gets a job soon; and we can get another $50 from early sale of Jordanville books — if they arrive soon. Therefore, even the most optimistic estimate gives us only half of what we need. (That is, unless Fr. Nick will still buy his books, but even then we will be $300 short.)

What’s to be done? The wisest thing, I suppose, is simply to give the whole thing up and curse the world for being so complicated. It would be very sad if we had to do that, especially after finding the store building and having prepared to opened accounts with 20 or 30 publishers. There is no way of cutting down expenses. $300 is the absolute minimum for books in English, and $500 is the minimum total expense to April 1. There’s only one other source I can think of: my parents. If they can lend me $400, we can begin. I’m not sure how they will react to such a request. There would be no trouble if I needed the money personally, but I don’t know what they’ll think about such a business venture. But if we can really order as many books from Jordanville as we need without beginning to pay for them for at least 6 months, we should be able to pay off all other debts by that time, assuming that the business is at least moderately successful.

About the business itself, it would be easiest and probably best if it is organized in the beginning in my name alone, especially since, as it now stands, I will be personally responsible for most of the money involved. That way no legal documents or contracts will be required; everything will simply be accountable to me, and I will be responsible for everything. This is just for the bookstore, of course, not the Brotherhood. In fact, it would probably be best to concentrate in the beginning on the bookstore. We could say in the introductory brochure that one of the purposes of the bookstore was to serve as a material foundation for the Father Herman Brotherhood. We would probably have a better idea of precisely what the Brotherhood should be after we see what interest the bookstore inspires, and also how much money it makes. Tell me what you think about these ideas.

Concerning Mr. Gubin’s idea I am somewhat dubious. If the bookstore is connected with the Kiosk, there would probably be legal complications, besides which the whole thing would probably frizzle out in the end. (And I doubt that Khrarov or anyone will want to pay $85 for a Kiosk anyway.)

I haven’t heard yet about the bookshelves. Jon looked at them through the window and was pleased with them, and he also thought he saw some tables we might use. Someone called this number a few days ago (twice) and asked for Evgeny Zavarin. Is it possible that you gave them my number but the wrong name?

We can talk about other things when you come up. You have to come up this weekend, because our final decision whether to proceed or not must be made immediately. Books must be ordered right away. Try to bring some money with you if you can get it (from Iuri, for example).

Pray! God’s Saints will show us the way, if what we do is pleasing to Him!

Your Brother in Christ,
Eugene

P.S. Be thinking about a name for the bookstore. All I can think of is “Orthodox Christian Bookstore and Icon Shop.”


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
011. Jan 22/Feb 4, 1964
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

I am very happy that you have discovered someone else who is enthusiastic about our project, but I am a little puzzled as to what his idea will involve. Is our store to become the Kiosk of the Sobor? And if so, what about the old kiosk? And how will we be able to preserve any freedom of action? Wont the numbers of books we can sell be greatly restricted? Or does he (and do you) have something else in mind? It would be fine if the Sobor could pay the rent for a while, but it might involve certain difficulties. And what of Gubin? Is he going to take part in the business?

I have almost no new information. Genya and Alyosha Zavarin are going to lend us some money soon, but I don’t know how much. They also suggested a place where we can get a fine table top (actually a door) for $10 or less, to which we could add legs ourselves. (We will need at least two big tables.) We will need very few ordinary bookcases at first; there is a special kind I am thinking of for our English books which I can probably make myself quite cheaply. I had the electricity turned on again in the shop. Jerry, by the way, after hearing of our plans, sent us $10, which is a source of encouragement. Nina sent us a list of over 100 names.

I am doing very little about the store this week, being chiefly concerned to get some kind of job, at least for a while. My talk on Sunday provoked a very animated argument, chiefly between me and an atheist named Vadim, who set forth a complete “Superman” philosophy and accused Christianity of being a failure, both because it is no longer powerful (in a worldly sense) and because every Christian isn’t a saint. Some of his arguments were half-true, but mostly he spoke straight from Satan, and I was rather discouraged at the weakness of my own words. How small and feeble we have become! But how much more must we fail to become discouraged, and trust more in our Lord.

I am sorry to hear about Fr. Nikolai. Does this mean that he will not be buying books from us either?

I think it would be good to talk to Fr. Leonid about the “Brotherhood” side of our project (or whatever it is to be called), since he is the most missionary-minded priest here. He teaches at the Theological Course from 8 to 9 Friday night, so if you came to St. Tikhons (in the basement) by 9 Friday we could talk to him.

I always pray to St. Innokenty, and now I shall pray to Fr. Gabriel. And you pray to St. Savva, since it was through him and on his day that I decided to rent the shop. God willing, everything will be well. Let us trust Him and His saints, and His most Holy Mother.

In Christ,
Your sinful brother,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
010. Jan. 15/28, 1964. St. Paul of Thebes
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

The passage to which I turned in the Gospel this morning was St. Luke XI “Our Father”, and then: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Can anything be clearer?

I paid the first months rent this morning, so now it is too late to back out. Now it is time to get to work. About painting I am uncertain. Only a fairly small area really needs it, but it would be nice to change the color (which is green) — but that would mean a lot of work (and paint). The store is about 15 x 30, and about 13 feet high. It has a balcony, which will be our shipping department, and in future it can serve as a place for our printing press(!). You will like it very much, I’m sure.

I talked to Alyosha Kennedy, who is in charge of the Kiosk at the Sobor, to make sure he didn’t regard us as competition. He thought the idea was wonderful. Everyone who hears about it is enthusiastic.

Now all that is needed is to make Jordanville start sending books and icons, and to raise $300, which I don’t think will be so difficult, now that everyone can see we’re in earnest. We’ll see you soon,

In Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
009 Jan. 14/27, 1964. Feast of St. Savva of Serbia 
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

This morning we left our decision up to St. Savva and our Lord. The Gospel reading for Saint Savva (St. John X, 9-16) ends, “I have other sheep also which do not belong to this fold. I must bring them in also, and they will hear my voice. Then they will all become one flock and one shepherd.”

In my own Gospel reading (one chapter daily) I read today St. Luke X — which, if you recall, was the same passage I opened at random and we both read when we were returning by train from Carmel almost exactly a year ago, “The Lord sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. Then He saith unto His disciples, the Harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.... Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way...”

And Jon, opening the Psalms at random, read (Ps. 36:16),
“Better is the little which the just man hath than the great riches of sinners.... They shall not be put to shame in an evil time, and in days of famine they shall be filled.... By the Lord are the steps of a man righty directed, and His way shall he greatly desire.”

I think the place next to the new Sobor [cathedral] is perfect. If we cannot succeed there, we can succeed nowhere. The location itself is probably worth at least $50 a month in advertising. I’ve talked to the owner and made an agreement: the rent does not start until Feb. 15, so we have almost 3 weeks free. I will pay the first months rent tomorrow. I will talk to the Zavarins tonight, but I’m sure they will lend us something. They want to bring the matter up at the meeting Sunday, and perhaps others will help out too. They know several sources of Russian books in Paris, including one who might give us books on the same terms as Jordanville. There is no reason why we cannot succeed. We have, theoretically, $250 now, and need (according to my calculations) about $250 more to begin. Pray! We’ll see you Friday.

In Christ,
Eugene

P.S. You will have to apply pressure to Jordanville. Persuade them that I am a very astute businessman (!). Contact Shura again, and Vladimir, and have them pack the books if necessary!

Jon reports that this is a very auspicious day for beginning our work. God is with us!


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
008 Sunday, 30 Dec., 1963/Jan. 12, 1964 
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

I received your letter yesterday, which answered my questions very well and was encouraging. I myself grow more and more optimistic. Yesterday we received our first official response, from a publisher. We had feared they might not give a discount (a few don’t), but they offered 25%; so 10 or 15 of the early Fathers can go on our list.

I have found two more stores on Clement St., one near 9th Ave., the other near 25th; but the original one near 24th is still the best one, I think. It is still empty, so I’m sure we can get it for $35. There would be room in it for probably two good-sized tables, about three bookcases, one desk, and several chairs, and it has a good display area in the window. I hope you will be here soon to look at it, and also to make our plans more definite. I see no reason why we should not be in business by the beginning of Lent (March 16). I will make enquiries this week about a license and such technicalities.

I encountered, by the way, a group of English-speaking Orthodox young people the other night who are forming a group of their own. I don’t know why I was invited, but it was a good way of finding out what life there is among other Orthodox. The answer is: NONE. Dead, absolutely. They are sincere, their intentions are good; but they simply have nothing to work from. Not only are they unprepared for spiritual meat, they are hardly even ready for milk. I’ll tell you about them next time I see you. (The ones I met were Syrian, Russian-Metropolia, and Ukrainian, and they are planning to expand.) Actually, we will not be in competition with them, since their plans do not go beyond “inter-Orthodox” understanding, and study of Orthodox “traditions” on a very elementary level; beyond that, their interest is vaguely ecumenical, not missionary. They are turned inward upon themselves and are trying to “understand” their own religion; whereas we are going out to bring to the world riches of which we are not worthy, but of whose value we are certain. One of the Ukrainians let slip a disdainful remark about some of the Russians he has known who think they are preserving the “real” Orthodoxy. That’s us, and I think we should do just what he accuses us of doing: forget the other Orthodox (with a few exceptions, like Mt. Athos and the Old Calendarists, who still take Orthodoxy seriously), and concentrate on Russians and on American converts. Our adherence to the Church Outside of Russia should be made clear from the beginning; that will help frighten off at least some of the well-meaning who think they are as “Orthodox” as anyone; all their cooperation would have as its object the attempt to drag us into the mire of ecumenism and compromise.

I am still putting together a preliminary draft of our introductory brochure, incorporating the ideas in your last letter. What is important, I think, is for it to be as precise, strong, and yet positive as possible.

About printing: I had hoped to get a bulletin started almost immediately, and I have some definite ideas on its nature, That is why I thought of Matushka, on the condition that we could do the work ourselves and so have to pay only for paper and ink. If we have to pay more, of course, we’ll probably have to wait a while.

Jon and I both share the Russian distrust of “organization”; it will be good if our Brotherhood can have as much spirit and as few words as possible. The reason I asked about organization, however, was because it will never do to have things so vague that anyone who considers himself “Orthodox” thinks that a sufficient reason for joining us. The restriction of active members to the Church Outside of Russia, and the composition of a strong introductory statement, should make our nature clear enough.

The financial problem seems nearly solved. $25 apiece would probably meet all preliminary expenses, and I will have, within a month or so, about $150 more (including income tax refund), which I could present to the store in the form of books on credit (as Jordanville is doing).

That seems to exhaust the subject for now. I received your mothers Christmas card, for which please thank her. We received also a nice letter from VI. Leonty, who may perhaps be very important for us in future. The mushrooms are about exhausted in this area, but we have discovered a new and most delicious variety (the “honey mushroom”) that grows on the roots and trunks of trees and is quite common.

By the way, did you say you know someone who makes picture-frames? It is time to think about details like that. Besides books and icons, we will probably be able to carry, to begin with, only Jordanville religious objects, such as crosses; later maybe we can expand to lampadki, incense, etc.

Write if you have any new ideas or information,

In Christ,
Eugen


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
007 Dec. 18/31. 1963, St. Simeon Verkhoturski 
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

Most of your ideas seem fine to me. The only thing is, they should be put in the right order. Having a rather practical mind myself (in addition to being a dreamer), I offer the following as a concrete (though only approximate) procedure of action:
1 Introductory brochure — catalog, on which I am working now; to be printed by photo-off-set, or maybe by Matushka Ariadna. (Have you thought of her printing-press? It might be possible to get our brochures, and even a small bulletin, printed in this way. Perhaps we could make an agreement with her whereby we could do most of the work of printing ourselves.)    


2 Opening of a store. The best thing for now is probably to find a small shop. We could look over the ones I've found together some Saturday. As for books, I begin this week getting $40 a week in unemployment insurance, so for several months I’ll have about half of that to spend for books, whether I work or not. This will be a start. As for tables and bookcases, maybe Fr. Deacon Nikolai can help — I think you said he has some money. From Jordanville we will need the whole series of books (including service books — I think several people in the Theological Course will want some). Meanwhile, Jon and I will write to publishers and see about discounts on books in English. I suppose you could begin ordering books right away from Jordanville — maybe just a box at a time, so they won't all come at once. In fact, if you ordered right now some of the books that pertain to the subject matter of the Bogoslovskii Kyrs, I could probably sell quite a few of them in class. I’ll enclose a list of these books, which you can have them send directly to me, if they will. (I hope they will send a receipt, so both they and we will know just which books we have, and how many; I’ll keep my own record, in any case. Another question: how long will it be before they expect some payment on the books?)    


3 Some kind of bulletin in English, to be begun on a modest scale and distributed to names on the mailing list. But we don’t need to plan anything about this until after the store is opened and flourishing (!).    


4 More ambitious plans for publishing pamphlets and books, whether in Russian or English: likewise can be thought about later. The manuscript you mentioned sounds good; the only trouble is the author. Nothing should be mentioned about the “Protocols,” and I think it might even be wise to publish the manuscript (if we get that far!) anonymously, or under a pseudonym. I don’t know how it is among Russians, but among English-speaking people the name “S. Nilus,” when it is recognized, is always associated with the name of Hitler; and so, quite apart from the Masons, the effect of publishing the manuscript under his name might be disastrous. Anyway, this project will have to wait for a little while at least.

Concerning the precise nature of our organization, I have some questions. Just what is a “brotherhood” in the Orthodox Church? Isn’t it supposed to be some kind of monastic society? For what purposes are Orthodox brotherhoods established, under whose auspices, with what qualifications for membership? Is the patronage of a canonized saint not required? As you see, I can be very practical when I have to be. In the present case there is a good reason for this, since the plan itself (I think) is quite practical, and it is time now (if ever) to make vague dreams into concrete realities.

Today is the feast of St. Simeon Verkhoturski. There was a splendid service last night in the convent, together with akathist. (Vladiko Ioann was present.) But unfortunately very few (five or ten) attended. It is not only Americans who have to be missionized!

I was planning to go mushroom-hunting tomorrow, but unfortunately I have to work tonight (at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and everyone will be drunk, I imagine), so I will have to postpone it until Saturday. I’ve been reading some mushroom books, and I discover that there are several other very edible and easily identifiable varieties in this area.

Let us know your further ideas. Pray for me.

In Christ,
Eugene

P.s. Jon will be writing in a few days.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
006 Thursday, Oct. 3, 1983 
Dear Alison,

I seem to recall your mentioning ghosts and such things in a letter several years ago, but I don’t remember saying anything in reply. I think these things are in a category similar to that of details concerning Antichrist and the last days: one should know something about them so as not to be led astray by false doctrines and “revelations,” but at the same time it can be spiritually dangerous to be too preoccupied with them. As a matter of fact I am somewhat interested in them myself, and I plan to devote a chapter of my book to them, since I think they will have an important (negative) role to play in the near future. The prevalence of books on the subject, both by spiritists and by scientists, is perhaps only a preparation for the approaching seduction of many souls who, having no knowledge or experience of these matters, can be easily led astray by a few spectacular “phenomena.” I think it quite possible that the words of Our Lord, “There will be false Christs and false prophets, who will rise up and show great signs and wonders, so that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived” (St. Matthew XXIV, 24), as well as the false miracles of the “prophet” of Antichrist (Apocalypse, ch. 13), who even brings down “fire from heaven” — that these may refer, among other things, to very extraordinary psychical and demonic phenomena, which materialistic people will have to accept as “miracles.”

I have no doubt of the authenticity of many of the phenomena described in books like the one you read. The accounts of scientists are of course more trustworthy than those of spiritists, but only as regards the specific details of observed phenomena; never trust the interpretation of phenomena offered even by the most reputable scientists, for they usually know nothing at all, and never enough, either of spiritual experience or Christian doctrine.

Concerning the dead, Orthodox tradition has preserved much, both of theory and of practice, that the Catholic Church has long since abandoned. Of practice, there is the custom of remembering the dead at every Liturgy and at other special services. Everyone present who so desires submits a list of his own (one list for the living, one for the dead), and the priest reads all the names aloud, besides his own lists. If many people are present this sometimes takes 15 or 20 minutes (which the Catholic Church would surely regard as “inefficient” and a “waste of time”!), but it is a wonderful sign of the unity of all believers, living and dead, present and absent. Another sign of the Orthodox attitude to the dead is the marvelous joyousness — restrained, but still joyous — of the services for the dead, with the constant refrain of “Alleluia” and the emphasis placed rather upon rebirth in a new realm than upon the departure from this world. The coffin of a dead man is placed in Church for the whole day of the requiem service, and other services are celebrated while it is there; the holy atmosphere is beneficial for the departed, and I have found it very beneficial and comforting for myself when I attend such services. I have told non-Orthodox friends and relatives of this custom and I am always surprised at their uniform reaction: “How depressing!” I find it to be just the opposite; and how can it be otherwise, if we believe in Heaven? It can be nothing but good to be reminded of death and the next life. Another custom is for relatives of the dead to sit up all night (one at a time) the first night reading the psalter over the body.

These customs, of course, are themselves based upon definite doctrines: first and most general, that the dead are alive in another realm; second and more specific, that the soul remains in the immediate vicinity of the body for a time and receives immediate benefit from religious services and atmosphere. The most generally accepted account of this is that of St. Macarius of Alexandria, as revealed to him by an Angel to explain the Church’s custom of holding special services on the third, ninth, and 40th days after death. (The Orthodox Church preserves this custom even today, as well as holding memorial services on the anniversaries of death, name-day, etc.)

“When, on the third day, the body is brought to the Temple, the soul of the dead man receives from his Guardian Angel relief from the grief which he feels at parting from his body. This he receives because of the oblation and praise which are offered for him in God’s Church, whence there arises in him a blessed hope. For during the space of two days the soul is permitted to wander at will over the earth, with the Angels which accompany it. Therefore the soul, since it loves its body, sometimes hovers around the house in which it parted from the body; sometimes around the coffin wherein its body has been placed: and thus it passes those days like a bird which seeks for itself a nesting-place. But the beneficent soul wanders through those places where it was wont to perform deeds of righteousness.

“On the third day He Who rose again from the dead commands that every soul, in imitation of His own Resurrection, shall be brought to heaven, that it may do reverence to the God of all. Wherefore the Church has the blessed custom of celebrating oblation and prayers on the third day for the soul.

“After the soul has done reverence to God, He orders that it shall be shown the varied and fair abodes of the Saints and the beauty of Paradise. All these things the Soul views during six days, marvelling and glorifying God, the Creator of all. And when the soul has beheld all these things, it is changed, and forgets all the sorrow which it felt in the body. But if it be guilty of sins, then, at the sight of the delights of the Saints, it begins to wail, and to reproach itself, saying, ‘Woe is me! How vainly did I pass my time in the world! Engrossed in the satsfaction of my desires, I passed the greater part of my life in heedlessness, and obeyed not God as I ought, that I, also, might be vouchsafed these graces and glories. Woe is me, poor wretch!’ After having thus viewed all the joys of the Just for the space of six days, the Angels lead the soul again to do reverence to God. Therefore the Church does well, in that she celebrates service and oblation for the soul on the ninth day.

“After its second reverence to God, the Master of all commands that the soul be conducted to Hell, and there shown the places of torment, the different divisions of Hell; and the divers torments of the ungodly, which cause the souls of sinners that find themselves therein to groan continually, and to gnash their teeth. Through these various places of torment the soul is borne during thirty days, trembling lest it also be condemned to imprisonment therein.

“On the fortieth day the soul is again taken to do reverence to God: and then the Judge determines the fitting place of its incarceration, according to its deeds. Thus the Church does rightly in making mention, upon the fortieth day, of the baptized dead.”

If all of this is true, of course, there is a very basic error in the book you read: that souls remain on earth for an indefinite time in a kind of purgatory: they remain, instead, for only a few days. On the other hand, it is still true that the dead do sometimes communicate with the living, both from Heaven and from Hell, because neither Heaven nor Hell is located in “space” but in a spiritual dimension; both of them, perhaps, are right before our eyes, but we are spiritually blind and cannot see them. The Mother of God and many Saints have often appeared to men, and occasionally a dead relative or friend appears to someone for a special purpose. Among Orthodox people I have heard of someone in Hell (Orthodoxy has no “purgatory”; Hell is the place of purification as well as of punishment) who appeared to a relative to encourage her prayers for him, and of someone else (a suicide) in Hell appearing to his sister in dreadful torment to beg her to stop praying for him, since her prayer only increased his torment and he was irrevocably damned. Certainly the dead who are able to do so pray for us, as we do for them, but judging from the careless preparation most people make for death, they themselves are greatly in need of prayer and are probably unable to give much help to the living. For those who are unprepared, there must be a great shock and a great sense of helplessness upon arriving in a realm wherein every earthly talent and power becomes weakness and impotence, and only spiritual power is of avail.

The reason why it is dangerous to be too preoccupied with these matters (as well as things like clairvoyance and extrasensory perception, which are a spiritual gift of some saints, but often a spiritual evil when used by men insufficiently pure) is that, belonging to the realm of the mind and spirit, they are especially liable to the interference of demons, who live in these realms. The authentic phenomena of spiritism, for example (and there are many of them that cannot be explained as hoaxes), are probably primarily due to the activity of demons; real mediums are apparently actually possessed to some degree by demons masquerading as the dead. If there is a rare case of actual contact with the dead through spiritism (do you remember how Saul contacted the ghost of the prophet Samuel through the Witch of Endor?), the demons take advantage of it for their own purposes.

Friday

The only thing I accomplished yesterday was writing these three pages, having had to work for twelve hours. I’m a janitor in a restaurant at night (until three or four in the morning), which is hard work but quiet. Being a busboy is easier, but one has to smile at people and be properly servile. I have the same horror you do of the “business world,” and I almost become hysterical when I have to find a job. Once I find a job it’s all right; it’s rather a waste of time, but at least it makes it difficult to become overly proud. I think I lost my last job because they sensed my heart wasn’t in my work, which it certainly wasn’t.

Thank you for your kind offer of a place to go in time of need. Perhaps there will be such a time. Speaking of my family, I saw them last week, and it is obvious that they are becoming more and more worried about me. They would have been only too happy if I had followed a normal worldly vocation, but they set their hopes so high on me and now I turn out to be a religious “fanatic” — so I imagine they must...

A young Russian friend of mine who lives in Monterey showed them some slides of Russian monasteries and churches in North America, and they thought they were “quaint” but old-fashioned, etc. But what really shocked them, my father especially, was a photograph of an old monk who had spent forty years in his cell and hardly even spoke with other people. He has perhaps attained to a high spiritual state, but all my parents could see was the example of a totally “wasted life.” I fear I became rather desperate when I spoke of a life of prayer and spiritual attainment, and how the true values are not of this world but of the next — only to meet with total incomprehension and the suggestion that too much religion is really “sickness.” Well, where communication breaks down at least prayer is still possible; but it makes me both angry and sad to think of the many Protestant ministers posing as preachers of “Christianity,” but actually leading their flock down the path of seduction and leaving them totally unprepared for the severe realities of the next life. I met my parents’ minister; he never once spoke of God or religion, and on hearing I was writing a religious book he seemed anxious to change to topic of conversation.

I have more to say, but I had better send this while I can. Thank you for the photograph; I will try to get a recent one from my father. I really don’t know where the town of Warsaw is; it would be a great good fortune if your town is the one. You might try to find out if there is such an address there. I am enclosing some literature you may find interesting. I have sent to the monastery for some other things, including a very interesting account of after-death experience.

Please remember me in your prayers,
In Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
005 Sept. 3/16, 1963
Dear Brother in Christ, Gleb,

After some thought I’ve decided your idea is really quite practical. Here are some of my own ideas about putting it into effect:

First, find a garage or a small shop in or near the Richmond district, preferably on Geary, Clement, or California Street, for no more than $30 a month. (I looked at the place on California Street; an interesting building, but it has been condemned and will be torn down.) It should have a fairly large window for display purposes; if there isn’t one, we should make one. Then, equip it with a few tables, bookcases, etc., with of course an icon with lampada in one corner, Fr. German on one wall, pictures of Jordanville etc. on other walls, and a bulletin board by the door. Also a samovar, or at least a pot of hot water, in the back. Then, get a supply of books, icons, etc. from Jordanville, including present and past issues of Orthodox Life in English and Russian, and the current issue of Pravoslavnaya Rus, and whatever other Orthodox materials from other places that can be obtained with little or no immediate payment. Advertisement can be through Russkaya Zhizn and by word of mouth — it could be announced also at the Bogoslovskii Kyrs [Theological Course at St. Tikhon's] and on bulletin boards of churches, as well as privately We could be open at first only a few days a week perhaps — say Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday afternoon, the intention being to provide an informal gathering place for whoever might be interested. Several people could be responsible for opening and closing the shop, a different person each day, to divide the labor. All work would be voluntary and unpaid, all proceeds going to expansion of the activities of the “Brotherhood” — first, purchase of more books for sale, especially the Fathers; second, providing the book store is a success, the publication of some sort of bulletin (perhaps), etc.

Such a bookstore would, first of all, be a service to Russians in San Francisco, a few of whom are beginning, through the influence of Vladiko Joann, to be interested in the Fathers but hardly know that it is possible to buy Orthodox books. Second, it would provide a gathering and discussion place for both Americans and Russians, young or old, who might be interested; third, it would be a place to which to refer Americans knowing little or nothing of Orthodoxy, both for literature and discussion. If God blesses the undertaking, interest will be awakened and books will be sold, and that will be the financial basis of all further undertakings, which can be planned when the need and occasion arises for them.

All that is required to begin is a small amount of cash (for rent, furniture, paint, etc.), and, most of all, at least four or five enthusiastic workers. I am quite enthusiastic already, though I must confess that Jon, as usual, is pessimistic; but that need be no hindrance. If Fr. Deacon Nicolai and his friend Nicolai, and perhaps one or two others, could be inspired with some enthusiasm, the project could easily be undertaken.

Let me know your opinion of these ideas. And pray for me, your sinful brother in Christ,
Eugene


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
004 Sept. 12, 1963
Dear Alison,

As you see, I am an irresponsible correspondent. I began this letter two weeks ago, which was late enough, and then I went back to work (as a busboy in a restaurant!) and was too tired to finish it. Please forgive my long delay in answering your letter.

I think you are quite correct that there is something missing in the Western Churches; what is missing, I think, is precisely faith. For several centuries now men have been turning their eyes more and more to the earth and chasing the fantasy of earthly happiness and worldly comfort. In such a world even those who still believe in the other world find their faith more and more difficult to preserve; the “spirit of the age” becomes so dominated by worldly concerns that one sometimes begins to doubt ones sanity in continuing to believe what “everyone” regards as incredible. But that is only a passing temptation; there is something worse, and that is what you have noticed: people continue to believe outwardly, and go through the motions of Christian worship, but somehow the substance of faith has evaporated. The spirit of the world is so strong and persuasive that it acts without our knowing it. Of course the world has always been making war on Christian faith, but today it has very nearly succeeded in winning the war. Do you remember the terrible words of Our Lord: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” In the last days faith is to be almost entirely extinguished. And yet the appearance of faith will probably be maintained; Antichrist, we know, will attempt to imitate Christ. Probably the “world Church” that is being formed by the “ecumenical movement” today (whose center, of course, will be Rome) will keep intact most of the externals of Christian worship and dogma — but its heart, true faith, will be missing, and so it will be simply an imitation of Christianity. I’m writing an essay on this subject now, in connection with the “new Christianity” of Pope John XXIII, and I’ll send you a copy when (and if) its published.

Orthodox people of course have the same problem, but with us it is somewhat easier, for several reasons. With us Christianity is less abstract than it tends to become in the Western Churches. When we pray it is always before our icons, which are made with prayer and are blessed by a priest and allow us, with our human weakness, to look upon the very face of the Saints and so gain great strength and fervor in prayer. The Saints are present in a special sense in the icons and thus are close to us; and indeed, many icons are noted for working miracles of healing and protection, due to the special intervention of the Saints (and especially of the Most Holy Mother of God). I think you’ve heard of the “weeping icons” in New York (there are at least three now); in them the Mother of God is warning us of impending catastrophe and calling us to repentance. (One of the icons was here and I prayed before it, though I didn’t see any tears. The icon that weeps the most is a simple paper reproduction which is dissolving from the great quantity of tears.) Also, most of our music is not modern “composed” music (there is some of that, and it’s too bad), but ancient chants composed by Saints inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it speaks direcdy to the heart. The Orthodox Church also preserves many of the old Christian sacraments and customs, long since abandoned by the West (such as the distribution of blessed breads, the anointing with oil every Saturday night and before every feast, the blessing of foods at different seasons, the holding of candles or flowers at different feasts, the kiss of forgiveness at the beginning of Lent and the kiss of peace at Easter, etc.), some of which confer Grace and others of which simply make more vivid and real the meaning of the feasts. And the Orthodox Church retains undiluted the traditional Christian disciplines, especially the practice of strict and sometimes painful fasting, which are necessary more than ever today if we are to overcome the power and temptations of the world.

But most important of all is faith, our immediate contact with the other world, without which nothing else would have any meaning. By ourselves we are powerless to preserve this, and if Our Lord were not with us, faith would dry up in us even as it has in the other Churches. But Our Lord is with us, and in a special sense with the Russian Church, which He has chosen for a special role in these times. (The Russian Saints of the 19th century prophesied concerning the Revolution and the providential dispersion of Orthodox Christians to every country of the world, before the end. The “Russian mission” has a spiritual meaning, even though the Soviets have capitalized on it for their own Satanic purposes, and even though someone as Orthodox as Dostoyevsky interpreted it in too worldly a sense.) It is by trials that faith is strengthened, and the Russian Church in Exile today lives by the prayers of its millions of “new martyrs,” who are to Orthodox faithful what the first martyrs were to the early Church. Indeed, I think it highly likely that we Orthodox today, living in a time and a place of “peace” and “security,” will before too long be called upon ourselves to die a martyr’s death for our faith. The possibility is certainly a real one in the face of the anti-Christian spirit of “peace” that seems to be overwhelming the world today and lulling people into the sleep of worldliness and forgetfulness of Heaven.

As far as I can see, the closest of our churches to you is in Rock Island, Ill. It is at 1110 10th St., Warsaw (I think Warsaw is a suburb of Rock Island), in case you ever go there. There are two in Chicago: a cathedral with an Archbishop at 2056 N. Kedzie Boulevard, and a chapel at 2141 W. Pierce Ave. There are other Orthodox churches of various kinds (mostly Greek and Russian) in most fair-sized cities in the Middle West (several in Kansas City and St. Louis), which would be listed in the telephone directories, but they haven’t got much spiritual strength and are rapidly going the way of the Catholic Church. Our churches always have services at six or seven (for about two hours) on Saturday night and at ten Sunday morning. I imagine, however, that you seldom go to the cities. We are fortunate in San Francisco to have many fine Russian churches; in fact, I think San Francisco is now the chief center of the Russian emigration. It is more difficult, though still quite possible, to lead an Orthodox life without the help and consolation of frequent attendance at church. The sister of my godmother, for example, lives in Peru and has been for several years without a church, and only receives Holy Communion about once a year when the Archbishop comes from Chile. Many of the desert saints, too, were seldom in church; and St. Mary of Egypt, I think, received Communion only once in her life. (Have you read her Life? She is a marvelous Saint; I will send it if you haven’t.) But we, alas, are not so strong, and require much more help.

In reading your letter over again, I see that you say, “Your life is now complete, and you have many friends a great deal dearer than I. I am not one of you.” But that is not true. As a matter of fact, I have very few close friends; but that is not what I mean. Spiritual friendship (and every other kind, while having its consolations, ends with death) does not require the conditions (common activities or work, a common circle of acquaintances, frequent meetings, etc.) without which worldly friendships simply evaporate. Spiritual friendship is rooted in a common Christian faith, is nourished by prayer for each other and speaking to each other from the heart, and is always inspired by a common hope in the Kingdom of Heaven in which there shall be no more separation. God, for His own reasons, has separated us on earth, but I pray and hope and believe that we shall be together when this brief life is over. Not for a single day have you been absent from my prayers, and even when I heard nothing from you for two years and thought perhaps I would never hear from you again, you were still closer to me than most of the people I see frequently. Oh, if we were real Christians, we would be strangers to no one, and would love even those who hate us; but as it is, it is all we can do to love a few. And you are certainly one of my “few.”

I had better finish this at last, for I know you must think I have deserted you. Since I began typing this, this afternoon (it is now night), I have already lost my job, and must look for another one. It is somehow a sobering thought for me, with all my philosophical and abstract pretensions, to be a failure as a lowly busboy. I will be sending soon to the monastery in New York for books and such things, and I’ll get a few things for you. Please be kinder to me than I have been to you, and write soon. And pray for me, a sinner.

In Christ, your brother,

P.s. In any kind of danger or affliction, pray (besides to the Mother of God) to Saint Nicholas; he is the greatest of the Saints, and a speedy intercessor. Also, for healing, pray to Saint Pantaleimon, a fourth-century martyr of the universal Church. I will pray to him also for you and your husband.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
003 Aug. 28/Sept. 10, 1963
Dear Nina [Seco],

It has been just about a year since your visit, and already we are almost strangers to each other. That is of course primarily my fault, since I am a hopelessly irresponsible correspondent. However, I will try to write once in a while, hoping that you will do likewise.

I am quite interested in your English-language Orthodox Church and would like to hear to more about it and about the priest. While I am quite satisfied with Church Slavonic myself, and in fact feel myself to be more Russian than American, I realize that one can’t expect many converts to go so far. In fact one of the chief difficulties I’ve had in my own modest missionary endeavors is the linguistic and cultural barrier. People are invariably fascinated by the Slavonic services, but any more intimate contact with the Church seems out of the question to them. What kind of success has your Church had? Do you have any organized missionary activity? I know Vladiko Ioann and Fr. Leonid (at St. Tikhons) want to begin something of the sort here (missionary activity, that is), and Gleb has some ideas of his own on the subject. But so far nothing has been begun.

I remember telling you last year that I would be going to Jordanville this Christmas. However, since I found myself unable to work more than five months, I saved only enough money to live until now, and I’ve now gone back to work (as a busboy again, but in a pleasanter place). The book I have been writing is in much better form, though still far from finished. It turns out to be a study of the consequences of atheism as contrasted with the consequences of faith (historical-psychological-spiritual-philosophical-theological). I sometimes despair that I am making it too abstract and philosophical, so that no one will be interested in it or read it. Presently I’m working on an essay (which turns out, like the book, to be rather long) on the person and influence of Pope John XXIII in the light of Dostoyevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor,” in which I hope to interest Fr. Konstantin.

Vladiko Ioann, as you must have heard, has been confirmed as Archbishop of San Francisco, and if the diocese is still a long way from real peace, at least there is some kind of order at last. I believe work on the new cathedral has finally begun again. Vladiko Ioann is my favorite among our bishops, even though I find it next to impossible to understand him. He is constandy filled with such a deep peace and joy that it is spiritually beneficial just to be in his presence. I was present at several crucial moments in the past months, when Vladiko was surrounded by excited, weeping, practically hysterical crowds (you know how Russians can be!), but he was exactly the same as ever, still calm and even joyful, denying all the angry accusations against other bishops, and exhorting all to spiritual peace and obedience.

Vladiko Savva was here for several months and did much in defense of Vladiko Ioann. He still has high hopes for establishing a monastery (though Gleb, as usual, is pessimistic about it), but apparently he will do nothing until he leaves Edmonton and is permanently established elsewhere. He was searching for potential monks while he was here, but so far Jon is the only definite one. For myself, I have yet to finish my book and see Jordanville before I make my choice. Do you happen to know any potential monks? And what of your own hopes, are they any nearer realization? There are few any more who think of the monastic life or take it seriously, even among Russians; Gleb’s mother, for example, gave me some very “practical” advice on why I shouldn’t be a monk.

Recently a girl whom I knew in college wrote me after having disappeared for several years. I had despaired of ever hearing from her again, and the circumstances lead me to believe that there is a spiritual meaning in this reestablishment of contact — in short, I think that Our Lord wishes to draw her to Holy Orthodoxy. The last time I saw her she was a fervent Anglican (High Church), with a great deal of spiritual awareness and a great love for Our Lord. At the same time she has a kind of Dostoyevskian impulsiveness that occasionally leads her into strange adventures. While always dreaming of becoming a nun, she has had several unhappy marriages, for which the fault was not primarily hers (her husband simply left her with an unborn child); or if the fault was hers, then it was the fault of having an overly trusting nature that too easily follows early impressions of people. Right now she’s living on a farm with a man she married in despair, and the child from her previous marriage. She seems to be reasonably content, and I know she is capable of suffering a great deal in silence if need be; but, even though she has no intellectual doubts of Christian Truth, she finds her faith to be more or less dead. I’m going to be sending her books and icons as soon as I have some money (she welcomes them), but what she needs most is contact with real believers and fellow pilgrims on earth. Forgive me for burdening you with all this, but if you feel it in your heart to do so, please write her something (I mentioned you to her, but said nothing about you), if only to let her know that Christians still exist. (She senses “something missing” in the Anglican and Catholic Churches, and she was impressed with the genuineness of the Russian Orthodox service the two times she was present at it.) You will both be rewarded, I am sure. Her address is Mrs. Charles Bradbury, Route 1, Ursa, Illinois. (Her name is Alison.)

Please pray for her, and for me, wretched sinner but fellow pilgrim that I am. Jon promises to write soon. Let us hear some thing from you.

Your brother in Christ,


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
002 Monday, July 15, 1963
Dear Alison,

I received your letter Friday on returning from Church, where I had received Holy Communion. And so it seems that in these few years our roles have been reversed: I, who was still seeking then, have found the object of my search; and you are now once more seeking. But this is as God wills.

I am very happy to hear again from you, and I am quite certain about the meaning of your writing now. I have prayed for you always, and have thought often about you; and it is quite correct that you have been especially on my mind during the last month or two.

When you last heard from me I was very near to the Russian Orthodox Church, though still somewhat uncertain; and though I had renounced the worst of my sins, I still lived very largely as the world lives. But then, unworthy as I am, God showed His path to me. I became acquainted with a group of fervent Orthodox Russians, and within a few months (it was, significantly enough, on the Sunday of the “Prodigal Son” just before the beginning of Lent) I was received into the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile, whose faithful child I have been for the year and a half since then. I have been reborn in our Lord, I am now His slave, and I have known in Him such joy as I never believed possible while I was still living according to the world.

I have become what the world would call a “fanatic”; in fact, all true Orthodox believers are “fanatics.” Such “fanaticism” is justified by the fact that the Orthodox Church is the one true Church of Christ; it is the reality of which Roman Catholicism and all other churches are but pale shadows at best. This may seem like an extreme statement to you, and as proof I can only ask you to discover it for yourself.

Everything is according to the will of God; of this truth I have had very clear and remarkable experience in the last two years. The ways of God seem often strange to us; but His purpose is always the same: to draw men to Himself. As I said, I am quite certain of the meaning of your writing to me now: God wishes to use me to tell you about Orthodoxy — not because there is any virtue in me, but because Gods Truth is so powerful that it can be made known even through someone as totally unworthy as myself.

What I say must seem very unlikely in the eyes of the world. You have visited an Orthodox Church, as far as I know, only twice in your life: you yourself are probably still a nominal Anglican, and separated from all religion now, and your husband is probably Protestant or of no religion at all; there is perhaps no Orthodox Church within a hundred miles of you and perhaps you think of Orthodoxy as something “Eastern” and exotic. It is therefore very “unlikely” that you are to become Orthodox; and yet I am quite certain of the fact, and I feel that you are going to recognize the will of God in what I am saying. If this is so, and since the Orthodox Church is the one and only Church of Christ, then nothing the world can say or do will stop you from being truly joined to our Lord in His Church; and our Lord will send the means in due time to achieve His purposes.

I will not attempt to say much about Orthodoxy in this letter, but will wait to discover your reaction to what I have already said. And everything that I can say, of course, will be a very imperfect expression of truths that mean nothing until one experiences them with ones whole soul. If you are really interested in Orthodoxy, I can begin to send you books (not books about Orthodoxy so much as books of very practical spiritual advice which are a necessary nourishment of the Orthodox life), icons, etc., as well as introduce you to Orthodox people. I know, for example, a very devout American girl in New York who is a convert to the Russian Church. One of the joys of the Orthodox life is knowing such people (even if only by correspondence), for in Orthodoxy especially the sense of community is very strong; among devout people, everyone is “brother” and “sister,” and these words are not mere metaphors. All who have taken the name of Orthodox Christians are striving together for the same goal; and even in this life we have a foretaste of the perfect love that will bind us together in our Lord in the eternal Kingdom He has prepared for His faithful.

Orthodoxy is the preparation of souls for this Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. The schismatic Churches have, in lesser or greater measure, forgotten this truth and compromised with the world; Orthodoxy alone has remained other-worldly. The aim of the Orthodox life (of which we all fall miserably short) is to live in this life in constant remembrance of the next life, in fact to see even in this life, through the Grace of our Lord, the beginning of that life. This is the meaning of the “joy” of which I just spoke, and which to me is the strongest proof of the truth of Orthodoxy. The saint lives always in this joy — I will tell you later some wonderful stories of some of our modern Russian saints and how this joy was expressed in them. And Orthodoxy alone continues to produce saints — I mean real saints, not just “good men.” The present Archbishop of San Francisco (he came here recently from Paris) is such a man. He leads a life of real crucifixion — the strictest asceticism (he never even lies down), a totally selfless giving of himself to others, Christian kindness and patience even in the face of the most evil and slanderous accusations (for Satan attacks our Church very strongly, in many ways); but always he is full of such love and joy that one is always happy and at peace in his presence, even in sorrow and in the most trying circumstances.

These are very difficult times. Most of the priests and bishops I know (the bishops of our Church are very close to their people, very warm, and very easy to approach) are convinced that these are the last days of the world and that the reign of Antichrist is at hand. This is of course a very easy subject to get carried away with; but our Lord has told us to be prepared for the signs of the end, and those who are not interested in them are only going to be seduced by them. The faithful remnant of Christians in the last days, as our Lord has told us, will be very small; the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians will welcome Antichrist as the Messiah. Therefore it is not enough to be a “non-denominational” Christian; those who are not true Orthodox Christians belong to the “new Christianity,” the “Christianity” of Antichrist. The Pope of Rome and practically everyone else today speaks of “transforming the world” by Christianity: priests and nuns take part in demonstrations for “racial equality” and similar causes. These have nothing to do with Christianity: they do nothing but distract men from their true goal, which is the Kingdom of Heaven. The coming age of “peace,” “unity,” and “brotherhood,” if it comes, will be the reign of Antichrist: it will be Christian in name, but Satanic in spirit. Everyone today seeks happiness on earth, and they think this is “Christianity”; true Orthodox Christians know that the age of persecutions, which began again under the Bolsheviks, is still with us, and that only by much sorrow and tribulation are we made fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The heart of Orthodoxy is prayer; and I may truthfully say that before I found Orthodoxy I never had the slightest idea of what prayer was or what power it had. Often, of course, one is cold in prayer; but I have known times, both by myself and with others, of truly warm and fervent prayer, and of heartfelt tears of repentance: and I have known the joy of seeing my prayers answered. Thus encouraged I, feeble and unworthy, have been bold to speak to our Lord and to His Mother and His Saints (I have known no one who prays to the Saints with such faith and fervor as Orthodox believers), and their guidance in my life is as real to me as my own breathing.

Please forgive me for speaking so much about myself, but it is impossible for me to speak about Orthodoxy in the abstract; all I know about it has come from my experience. On a more external level you may be interested to know that I have never returned to the academic world and never shall; that I have still not finished the book I began two years ago, both because of its length and because of the change in my views since then (the book is a discussion of the spiritual state of the contemporary world in the light of Orthodox Truth); and that, God willing, I intend to become a monk (and perhaps a priest) in the service of God when I have finished the book in a year or two.

As to your state, it seems to me to be not at all hopeless, but rather encouraging. You feel yourself deserted by God; and yet you had the strength to resist the Satanic temptation of your father and to suffer all that has happened to you with some patience. God has weakened you, I think, to prepare you to find all your strength in Him; and the way to such strength lies in Orthodoxy.

Write soon and tell me what is in your heart. If I have spoken boldly, it is out of the intense certainty and joy with which I am filled by our Lord when I receive His Most Holy Body and Blood. How can I not speak boldly when it is as clear as day to me that everything in this world passes away in an instant, and all that remains is our Lord and the indescribable Kingdom He has prepared for us who take His light yoke upon ourselves (and indeed, how light is that yoke that looks so heavy to unbelievers!) and follow Him. Pray for me, who am unworthy of everything that has been given me.

In Christ, your brother,

p.s. What part of Illinois is Ursa in? Is it near any large city?

p.p.s. I am enclosing a few English articles that appeared recently in the small journal of the San Francisco Diocese.

p.s. again: After writing the above, I was reading a few pages from one of our recent spiritual fathers (he died in 1907 and has not yet been canonized), Father John of Kronstadt. I read a few pages from him every night, and usually I find that he speaks very directly and explicitly to me about some problem or circumstance that has been troubling me that day. Tonight, just after finishing this letter, I read (opening the book at random) the following:

“As a mother teaches her child to walk, so also God teaches us to have a living faith in Him. A mother will make the child stand, and leave it for a while by itself, then she will tell it to come to her. The child cries without its mother; it wants to go to her, but is afraid to attempt to move its feet; it tries to walk, makes a step, and falls down. God teaches the Christian faith in Him in like manner: our faith is as weak as the child beginning to walk. The Lord leaves the man without His help and gives him up to the Devil, or to various distresses and afflictions and afterwards, when he is in extreme need of help of being delivered from them (for we are not ready to go to Him until we are in need of salvation), He bids us look on Him and come to Him for that Help. The Christian endeavors to do so: he opens the eyes of his heart and tries to see the Lord by means of them, but his heart, not being taught how to see God, is afraid of its own boldness, and stumbles and falls. The enemy and inborn sinful corruptions close the newly opened eyes of the heart and cut him off from God, so that he cannot approach Him, though God is near, ready to take him into His arms; only God must be approached with faith, and an effort must be made to see Him fully with the spiritual eyes of faith. Then He will Himself stretch out His helping hand, will take the man into His arms and drive away the enemies. Then the Christian feels that he has fallen into the arms of the Saviour Himself. Glory be to Thy goodness and wisdom, Lord! Thus during the efforts of the Devil against us, and in every affliction, we must see clearly with the eyes of the heart, as if He stood before us, the Saviour, the Lover of men: and look upon Him with boldness as upon our inexhaustible treasury of goodness and mercies, and pray to Him with all our hearts, that He may give us a portion of this inexhaustible fountain of blessings and of spiritual help; and we shall immediately obtain what we are praying for. The chief thing is faith, or the spiritual vision of the Lord and the hope of receiving everything from Him, as the Most-merciful, the Most-true. This is the truth; this is from experience. By these means God also teaches us to acknowledge our extreme moral infirmity without Him, to be contrite in heart, and constantly in a prayerful frame of mind.


Letters of Fr. Seraphim Rose
001 June 14, 1961
Liebe Eltern,

A hot day — too much like summer for San Francisco. I finally finished the thesis and turned it in last Friday, but they don’t get around to sending out the degrees until September, for some reason. For the time being I’m still involved in Chinese things, as I’m helping my former Chinese professor translate an article (from Chinese) on Chinese philosophy for a philosophical journal. The hypocrisy of the academic world is nowhere more evident than in his case. He knows more about Chinese philosophy than probably anyone else in the country, and studied with real Chinese philosophers and sages in China; but he can’t get a job in any college here because he doesn’t have degrees from American colleges, and because he isn’t a fast talker — he’s too honest, in short.

It’s true that I chose the academic life in the first place, because God gave me a mind to serve Him with, and the academic world is where the mind is supposed to be used. But after eight or nine years I know well enough what goes on in the universities. The mind is respected by only a few of the “old-fashioned” professors, who will soon have died out. For the rest, it’s a matter of making money, getting a secure place in life — and using the mind as a kind of toy, doing clever tricks with it and getting paid for it, like circus clowns. The love of truth has vanished from people today; those who have minds have to prostitute their talents to get along. I find this difficult to do, because I have too great a love of truth. The academic world for me is just another job; but I am not going to make myself a slave to it. I am not serving God in the academic world; I am just making a living. If I am going to serve God in this world, and so keep from making my life a total failure, I will have to do it outside the academic world. I have some money saved up, and the promise of some more by doing a little work, so I should be able to live frugally for a year doing what my conscience tells me I should do — to write a book on the spiritual condition of man today, about which, by God’s grace, I have some knowledge. The book will probably not sell, because people would rather forget about the things I am going to say; they would rather make money than worship God.

It is true that this is a mixed-up generation. The only thing wrong with me is that I am not mixed-up, I know only too well what the duty of man is: to worship God and His Son and to prepare for the life of the world to come, not to make ourselves happy and comfortable in this world by exploiting our fellow man and forgetting about God and His kingdom.

If Christ were to walk in this world today, do you know what would happen to Him? He would be placed in a mental institution and given psycho-therapy, just as would His Saints. The world would crucify Him today just as it did 2000 years ago, for the world has not learned a thing, except more devious forms of hypocrisy. And what would happen if, in one of my classes at the university, I would one day tell my students that all the learning of this world is of no importance beside the duty of worshipping God, accepting the God-man who died for our sins, and preparing for the life of the world to come? They would probably laugh at me, and the university officials, if they found out, would fire me — for it is against the law to preach the Truth in our universities. We say that we live in a Christian society, but we do not: we live in a society [text missing]




Chronicle of the St. Herman Brotherhood 
and St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. 
1960-s
Fr. Seraphim Rose

NS. 13 Aug, 1964: Yesterday a young Greek, John Karris, came to us, expressing his love for true Orthodoxy and his bitterness over the faithlessness and opportunism of Greeks in America. He has a good voice and knows Church music, but apparently does not even go to church now out of disgust. He is full of zeal (having forcibly “returned” his Catholic wife and her uncle and aunt to Orthodoxy) but apparently despairs of being able to serve the Church if he has to remain in America (he has been here 7 1/2 years).

It is God Who sends everyone to us. What is the meaning for us of this meeting?

We must become, in some way and to some measure, a meeting place for all Orthodox who wish to remain faithful to the true Church, so that there can be in some fashion a united testimony of true Orthodoxy, and a communion of the faithful remnant of all Orthodox peoples.

The form this communion might take seems rather indefinite as yet. It will not be “Pan- Orthodoxy,” an indiscriminate mixing and Americanization of Orthodox nationalities; that is the death of Orthodoxy. An “American Church” is not what is needed; for Americans are only one of the peoples called to witness Orthodox Truth. Probably no formal organization at all is needed; but somehow there must be contact between the faithful remnant of all Orthodox peoples, in order to give us strength to withstand the battles and temptations that are to come.

God has prospered our beginning, and that is a clear indication that we are to continue what we have begun. Next we must begin a spiritual magazine, in English, perhaps with facilities for translating from Greek and Russian.

N.S. 4 Sept., 1964 Yesterday two Greek priests came in. The impression: strictly Catholic. The same modernist, flippant tone and (at least in the case of one of them) an appalling ignorance of and indifference to books on the spiritual life. One of them had apparently not even heard of the Phtlocalia, and the other had had it recommended to him as a “good book.” If these are todays pastors, what hope can there be for the flock?

All the more important, therefore, to make available the voice (or just a voice) of true Orthodoxy to whoever will hear it. For this a magazine must be started soon.

8/21 Sept. Feast of the Birth of the Most Holy Mother of God: Today the Brotherhood s first printing press was bought. Now our real work can begin. And now we can at least say that we have existed for six months and that we own a printing press. Whatever we may think, we have not been entirely idle. Now, for a while at least, our ideological fantasies must be replaced by the practical problems of getting the press into operation. We are weak, but if God is with us anything is possible. May God help us!

10/23 Sept. A young man, bearded, came to us today — a Roman Catholic convert, now about to become a Mormon, because he finds no “holiness” in the Catholic Church. Sectarian groups, such as the Mormons and Christian Scientists, appeal to young people today who sense that Catholicism and Protestantism are lacking something essential, that they are in fact forms that no longer have a meaning. Knowing nothing of Holy Orthodoxy — which is the reality of which Catholicism and Protestantism are pale shadows — they turn to sectarian teachings that pretend to supply the lost meaning.

It is the more serious of today’s youth that are turning to sectarianism. Enthusiastic “ecumenical” Catholics and Protestants (and Orthodox) are not, I think, very serious; they are caught up in a fashionable, “up-to-date” current whose appeal is essentially superficial, not in the least'Spiritual. But sectarianism is not fashionable; those who turn to it do so as individuals and for motives that may be twisted and confused, but nonetheless are striving for something genuinely spiritual. For these people, if they find out about Holy Orthodoxy, there is some hope.

Our young visitor seemed genuinely moved to hear just a few things about Orthodoxy, perhaps enough to suggest to him that in Orthodoxy is to be found that which he sought and failed to find in Catholicism. I gave him a pamphlet on St. Seraphim. May God bless those seeds that have been planted, and water them with His Grace. Now we have the means of sowing more such seeds.

17/30 Sept. Sts. Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov, and Sofia: Today, less that 24 hours after our printing press arrived, Archbishop John came to our shop “by chance.” When he saw the press his first thought was to bless it with holy water and prayer, which he did immediately. Thus our press is spiritually born on this day.

18 Sept./1 Oct. Today a Catholic student came in, having been told our shop was the most likely place to find information on Orthodoxy. Undoubtedly, as we grow we will more and more come to be recognized as an “Orthodox information center” — and that is our opportunity. Now with a press we can begin to print reliable Orthodox “information.” A whole series of pamphlets for various need can be easily printed, in addition to our journal and small books. Our every word, then, must be carefully considered, for in every word the truth is at stake.

(Letter in a box, a copy of Archbishop Johns blessing to begin a magazine called The Orthodox Word, 17 Sept. 1964)

This is a copy of a card received this week from Rt. Rev. Archbishop Joann (Maximovitch) of San Francisco and the Western States.

The 12th of September of 1964, the day of St. Alexander Nevsky, at 8 in the evening the following brief statement of the Brotherhood s ideas have been read in the presence of 4 members, brothers, of the Fr. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. After hearing the reading the 4 brothers, Rt. Rev. Hieromonk Sava (Anthony Ulrich), reader Gleb Podmoshensky, Eugene Rose and Vladimir Tenkevich, held these ideas in common:

The Fr. Herman Brotherhood

A. The Aim: —

...By glorifying Fr. Herman propagate true Orthodox spirituality by the means of
1. — personal spiritual life
2. — collecting, translating, printing and distributing Orthodox ascetic literature
3. — and directing this activity to all young people and others...

B. Practical approaches:
1. Bookstore for {1. distributing literature 2. gaining “holy money”
2. Print own periodical in English language (also lectures, illustrated, etc.)
3. Skete in wooded area to lead Orthodox ascetic life and to house a print shop.

C. Spiritual Advisor:
1. Rev. Archbishop John Maximovitch, he blessed brotherhood on St. Job of Pochaevsky day in 1963.
2. Rev. Nektary Konzevitch, he blessed the store in March, 1964.

D. Achievements:
1. Bookstore ($2500 of spiritual literature sold in a period of 1/2 year)
2. Four brothers

E. Brothers agreement:
1. Intention to devote whole life to the service of the Holy Orthodox Apostolic Church.

F. Problems, practical
1. Need of funds for —
a.) printing press, etc.
b.) upkeep of the bookstore, advertisement
c.) maintaining land property for a skete (ckutb)
2. Lack of Christian togetherness.

G. The Brotherhood Funds — donations, gifts from:
1. Rev. Gerasim Schmaltz, Alaska $25.00

5/18 Oct. Today the first page was printed on the new press: one of the “Spiritual Instructions” of St. Seraphim. Our first attempt was successful, and all that is needed now is refinement.

15/28 Oct. An important question today: What can be done about Orthodox young people? Are not many of them losing faith and straying from the Church? The answer of many to this question is: dances, picnics, social gatherings. But this is a worldly answer — as though gathering people together were an end in itself, and a short prayer or talk sufficient to make the occasion “religious” and “Christian.” But these things pass and are forgotten, and no one is the more Christian for them.

What does youth want? Not many are really satisfied by the pursuit of pleasure — that is an escape; nor by lecturer (though an occasional appropriate lecture might do some good). Youth is full of ideals and wishes to do something to serve these ideals. The answer for someone who wishes to work with youth and to keep them in the Church, is to give them something to do, something useful and at the same time idealistic.

Our printing press is perfect in both regards, and already we have three Russian young people who seem enthusiastic about helping with it — Petya, Alyosha, Misha. This is something small, but it is a good beginning. God will teach us what more we can do!

29 Oct./11 Nov. The world is becoming interested in Holy Orthodoxy, and to this interest Orthodox respond with — what? New journals, pamphlets, books abound, as do “pan-Orthodox” and “ecumenical” groups; but to what end, and with what result? My own impression is that Orthodoxy is being written about, described, analyzed, but nowhere is it being preached, practiced, lived. It is presented to the curious as one religion among many, with its own “riches” that can be “shared” with others in the mutual “dialogue” of ecumenism. But no one is preaching Holy Orthodoxy as the one true faith necessary to salvation. Contemporary spokesmen for Orthodoxy present as their goal the attainment of a time of ecumenical harmony, tolerance, and mutual respect — not a crusade for the conversion of souls.

That is why our “word” is necessary, as weak and unworthy of Holy Orthodoxy as we are. Ours is, not a “treasury” of past glories, but the living Truth itself; not one word among many, but the Orthodox Word; not one possible alternative, but the Christian path.

13/26 Dec. Today, on the anniversary of Fr. Hermans death, a pannikhida was served in our bookstore by Archbishop John. In his sermon, as earlier after the liturgy at St. Tikhons Church, he spoke of our brotherhood and offered his congratulations on the feast day of our heavenly protector, Father Herman. At his insistence, at the conclusion of the pannikhida “YOrasttaevui” was sung, thus offering and early public recognition of what will apparently soon be a fact: the canonization of Father Herman.

16/29 Dec. Today Fr. Spyridon served a moleben in our shop for the beginning of our journal, The Orthodox Word. In his short sermon he spoke of the need to preach the word of the true Church of Christ today, so that there may be fulfilled the infallible prophecy of Holy Scripture.

He spoke also of the importance of preaching in the English language, which is the most widely spoken in the world. Truly, our responsibility is great.

Chronicle 1965.

26 Dec./8 Jan. Some publishing ideas:

On glancing at several OLOGOS pamphlets, the thought occurs — why not do seriously what they only toy with? They publish a series of pamphlets on the major feasts, explaining the scripture passages relating to the feast and a few points of the services, adding a few modernist and masonic comments of their own. Would it not be possible to publish a set of really serious pamphlets on the feasts, pamphlets of permanent value, not merely to be read and thrown away? Perhaps later they could be bound together as a book.

The most important idea in such a series: a complete commentary on the meaning of each feast, taken from the texts of the services: prokeimen, troparion, kontakion, parables, canon, apostol and Gospel, together with significant features of the services and reproduction and explanation of the icon of the feast. What this would actually involve is a set of treatises on the theology of the feasts. It would be a difficult work, but extremely rewarding both to compiler and reader. Such are the tasks our Brotherhood must set for itself if it wishes to disseminate an understanding of true Orthodoxy.

6/19 Jan. The Baptism of the Lord: Today, after the blessing of waters in the church yard next door, Fr. Spyridon came to the shop and drenched everyone and everything with holy water. In our Church one is enabled to sense even physically the outpouring of Divine Grace!

9/22 Feb. The wonder-working Kursko-Korennaya icon of the Mother of God, which arrived with Metropolitan Philaret from Australia, was brought by Archbishop John today to our shop, and all corners blessed with it as also a copy of our first magazine, which was placed next to it. This is the second visit of the Icon to us, the last one being last fall when Fr. Spyridon brought it. Unfortunately the magazine was not quite finished, so we could not present the Metropolitan with one.

1/14 Mar. Today, after the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which lasted in the cathedral next door until 3:30, Fr. Spyridon came to serve a moleben of thanksgiving for the publication of the first issue of the magazine. What a joyous feeling one has spending the whole day in prayer! Fr. Spyridon again gave a short sermon emphasizing the importance of our work in spreading the Word of God. Yesterday we began printing the second issue. From now on there are supposed to be services in the cathedral every day — that will be a great help and comfort for us.

25 Mar./7 Apr. Today Br. Eugene was ordained Reader in the Cathedral. Thus one more preparation has been made for the day when our Brotherhood shall become a monastic one.

6/19 May. Mid-Pentecost: Today Archbishop John came to bless our store with holy water from the service in the cathedral. Divine blessings do not leave us — may we be strengthened by them and use them well!

Apr. 26/May 8 The Orthodox Word No. 2 was finished at last — over two weeks late for Easter.

June 15/28 Eve of St. Tikhon Kalushsky: Today Brs. Gleb and Eugene looked at electric printing presses and found a suitable one. In the evening Archbishop John gave his blessing for this important step, and gave us encouragement.

July. We were visited for several weeks by Br. Nicholas Holowka, a Jordanville seminarian. Just as we were printing our issue on Pochaev, one Saturday he walked in and told of a relative visiting his family from the USSR and telling of present-day persecutions at Pochaev. He is an enthusiastic supporter of our work and perhaps a future brother-worker. God grant it! He left, too soon, on July 12.

July 3/16 Eve of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II: The new press arrived. It broke a front window, and it needs some adjustment to make it run slower, but it should help us enormously. The hand press was simply too much work to continue with.

July 18/31 The Orthodox Word No. 3, is finished — over a month late. It was finished completely on the hand press, the new press not yet being in working order. The first 3 issues were truly a podvig!

Oct. 2/15 The Orthodox Word No. 4 is completed — now we are two months behind! But we do have something to show for our labors.

Oct. 17/30 Three, independent happenings — is there a connection here that we are supposed to get? Oct. 30. Br. Gleb suggested a leaflet, something like Drarobtcumblubt — weekly leaflet, giving Church information from the calendar and life of a saint for every week, to be distributed in Orthodox Churches all over the country (in English) — a kind of weekly course of Christian instruction. Oct. 31. Vladika Ioann suggested that we prepare for English services at the St. John of Kronstadt altar in the new Cathedral by Christmas. Nov. 1 Feast of St. John of Kronstadt.

Is there something for us to learn here about our mission in spreading Orthodoxy in English?

Oct. 21/Nov. 3 St. Ilarion the Great. Br. Anthony arrives. A new chapter in the Brotherhood begins.

Nov. 16/29 St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist. Paper cutter arrives and is blessed by Vladika Ioann. Our printshop expands.

Nov. 20./ Dec. 3 The Orthodox Word, No. 5 is finished — again very late.

Dec. The visit of Br. Nicholas Maharadze, formerly of Jordanville and cell-attendant of Metr. Anastassy, now a marine. Enthusiastic about our Brotherhood, perhaps in four years will return to join us.

Dec. 13/26 Anniversary of Fr. Herman's death. Sat. night VI. Ioann came to our shop to serve a panikhida and take the icon of Fr. Herman to the Cathedral, accompanied by servers and the Brotherhood. It was placed on a stand on one side of the Church for public veneration. Sunday after the Liturgy the choir sang the troparion to Fr. Herman, and VI. Ioann brought the icon back to the shop, where the “velichaem” was sung.

The afternoon was spent profitably in a talk with Deacon Nicholas (Porshnikov), who but for his wife would be with us already. Our spirits raised, the three brothers walked along the ocean and talked of plans for the monastery.

Dec. 16/29 Br. Anthony leaves suddenly to return to his Serbian Church as a priest, leaving us only a short note. Vladika Ioann's only comment: “So he was hembepdoiu." Surely, our Brotherhood is to be built by hard experience!

Chronicle 1966.

Dec. 19/Jan. 1 Sts. Boniface and Ignaty. The first English service in the new Cathedral. Archbishop John officiated, together with Frs. Spyridon, Nicholas, and John, and Deacon Nicholas. Brs. Gleb and Eugene were the whole choir and performed creditably if not stunningly. Br. Nicholas Marr served in the altar.

Jan. 22/Feb. 4 The Orthodox Word #6 is finished. One year completed!

Apr. 18/ May 1 The Orthodox Word #7 completed.

May 28/June 10 This afternoon Br. Lawrence (Campbell) was baptized and received into the Orthodox Church in the basement of the new Cathedral by Archimandrite Amvrossy. Br. Eugene was godfather, and Br. Jon and one lady were present. The devil has been fighting for the soul of this man. This is an example of how our Lord can melt the heart of a man and change him, giving him a new start in life. Br. Lawrence is perhaps a future monk, perhaps with us.

June 6/19 Today the second English service was held in the new Cathedral. Vladika Ioann gave us less than a week’s notice to begin the English services and continue them every other Sunday. Archimandrite Amvrossy served, and there was choir of three: Brs. Gleb and Eugene, and Vadim Wright, a newly revealed brother who unfortunately is leaving soon for Vancouver to go to school. The singing was quite unpolished. Attendance was good, but with apparently very few English-speaking people.

June 15/28 Eve of St. Tikhon Kalugsky. Vladika Ioann visited us with Br. Pavel — it was to be his last visit. He brought the miraculous Kursk icon and blessed our shop and printing room. He spoke of saints: he promised to give us a list of canonized Roumanian saints and disciples of Paissy Velichkovsky. He mentioned having compiled (when in France) a list of Western pre-schism saints which he presented to the Holy Synod. He mentioned in particular the English martyr St. Alban, a short life of whom he showed us. He told us that he would serve in the evening and next day at St. Tikhons, it being the feast of Sts. Tikhon Kalugsky and Tikhon Amafunsky. and the name-day of St. Tikhon Zadonsky. Br. Eugene managed to attend the service in the evening, but failed to attend the next day, thus perhaps missing some last word of instruction for the Brotherhood, since Vladika then already knew of his imminent death.

June 19/July 2 Tonight we were informed, just before the beginning of the All-night Vigil, of the sudden death of our beloved Vladika Ioann, in Seatde. The Brotherhood mourns the loss of its Archpastor and spiritual guide. Perhaps this is the end of the first stage of the existence of our Brotherhood. This truly righteous man was a gentle guider and inspirer of our first unsure steps, and now weak as we are, we will be from now on “on our own.” May our dear Vladika Ioann, now in the Kingdom of Heaven, be our guide still, and may we be faithful to his example of true Orthodox life and to the spiritual testament which he has left us.

Borhae eny Tamamb!

June 20/July 3 Today, with heavy hearts, the Brotherhood assisted at the second bi-weekly English Liturgy, which will continue with Vladika Ioanns blessing. Archimandrite Amvrossy served, and Brs. Gleb, Eugene, and Vadim formed the choir.

Amid the talk of the “testament of Vladika Ioann,” what has our Brotherhood to offer? This seems to be clearly indicated both by our very nature and by VI. Ioanns instructions to us. On his last visit to us especially, he talked of nothing but saints — Roumanian, English, French, Russian. Is it not therefore our duty to remember the saints of God, following as closely as possible Vladika’s example? I.e., to know their lives, nourish our spiritual lives by constantly reading of them, making them known to others by speaking of them and printing them — and by praying to the saints. When we have our skete we must have services to them as Vladika did, making the yearly cycle of saints’ days a part of our breath and life.

June 24/July 7 Birth of St. John the Baptist: In the evening, the funeral and burial of Vladika Ioann in the basement crypt. This is fully described in The Orthodox Word, vol 2, #3 (9).

June 26/July 9 The Orthodox Word #8 finished and dedicated to VI. Ioann.

June 30/July 13 Bishop Savva (of Edmonton) attempted to interest Br. Eugene in a different path: attendance at the Seminary at Jordanville, ordination, a possible bishopric. This would enable one to “organize” something and really get missionary activity started. He sees our bookshop and even our magazine as much effort expended with negligible results. Br. Gleb foresaw (and mentioned just a few days earlier!) such attempts to swerve us from our path for the sake of greater efficiency and organization.

But that raises the question — what is our path, and where does it lead? The brothers have never, in so many words, set a definite goal for themselves, but have rather felt their way from day to day, trusting in God’s Providence and the gentle guidance of Vladika Ioann, building upon daily labor and prayer (feeble as these have been) rather than plans and organization. God has so far blessed this path, and it seems clearly to be leading (bold as that is) to the formation of a monastic brotherhood and a skete that will be a missionary center.

To sustain such an undertaking there must be generated a spiritual energy. Bp. Savva's plan would require this energy to emanate from a single organizer — such as the late Archbp. Vitaly. But all of us are weak, and if the whole enterprise were to depend on one of us, it would surely fail. To say this is not to doubt God s help which is given to those who fervently ask it — it is simply to look at ourselves realistically for what we are.

But there is another way to generate spiritual energy, and it is this way that we have, with greater or less success, been following for the past 2 1/2 years. This is the generation of spiritual energy through brotherhood. When “two or three are gathered together in My Name” — then anything becomes possible, if they have true faith and are bound together by true love. The times are late, there are no startsi — now perhaps it is only brothers working together who can accomplish something in such a large undertaking as missionary work (for few are given this) but by the love we bear' one another, which is expected of all.

We are on the right path, but it is a difficult path and will become more difficult as more brothers come to us. Vladika Vitaly made out of 7 brothers over a hundred — but that is not the most difficult part. The most difficult is to make two from separate brothers: this we already have; and almost as difficult is to make three from two: this is perhaps already in sight for us. From three the prospects are unlimited.

If now we will really have three brothers, our next task is to find a piece of land and begin the boldest and most dangerous part of our path: the formation of a skete. May God and our heavenly patrons — Fr. Herman and Vladika Ioann, help us!

Aug. 10/23 St. Lawrence the Archdeacon: Br. Lawrence spent a. spiritually profitably day and was even given an unmistakable “sign” by St. Mary of Egypt that he is on the right path. He is himself a “sign” to us: a typical modern man, skeptical, disillusioned, far from God, undergoes in contact with Holy Orthodoxy a spiritual rebirth, a literal transplantation from the soil of worldliness to the soil of Christianity and a church-oriented life. He still has far to go, his roots are not yet firm and deep in the new soil, but he is going the right way. He is a proof to us that we are on the right path — that it is not a “new Christianity” of social action, ecumenism, empty ideas and false “love” that God calls man to, but (as always in the past) a life of repentance, podvig, grace, in the Church, attested by miracles. It is this life that even today softens and converts the heart of a man to God.

Chronicle 1967.

June 20/July 3 Today Brs. Gleb, Eugene and Lawrence looked at an ideal piece of land on a mountain-top just south of Platina. It has everything for inspiration — forest, isolation (2 miles from anyone), views of mountains, snow in winter — but no water; perhaps the latter is the “proof” that we should buy, since we do not want to live by the wisdom of this world. It has a half-finished hunting cabin, and much work will be required. The brothers prayed especially hard before going on this trip, receiving Holy Communion at the Sepulchre of Archbishop John on the first anniversary of his death the day before.

June 22/July 5 Brs. Gleb and Eugene, with Nicholas Marr, visit the land a second time and sing an akathist on the rock on the top of the mountain. On returning the next day, Br. Eugene is offered the job of psalm-reader in the SF Cathedral at a salary of $100 a month — exactly the amount needed to buy the land! The land is bought.

Oct. 12 Brs. Eugene, Gleb and Lawrence visit Platina.

Chronicle 1968.

Feb. 12. Brs. Gleb, Eugene and Lawrence visit Platina — snow.

Lent: Nicholas Holowka comes to help us, but soon becomes disillusioned and falls into criticism. Teaches Br. Eugene to drive, leaves in a_______?], but doesn’t want ours. Spreads tales that we are collapsing.

April 15th Brs. Gleb, Eugene and Nicholas go in Nicholas’ Volkswagen to Platina.

May Br. Gleb goes by bus and hitchhiking to Platina, works for a week alone, sees bear. Brs. Nicholas and Eugene come and visit for a week.

July Brs. Nicholas and Eugene begin cement work on printshop — very slow.

Sept. : Br. Eugene comes alone (Br. Nicholas lost interest in working) and fells and hews logs for print- shop, finishes four basic logs and puts on cement piers — building of log cabin will be very long. Hopes to finish by winter time.

Nov. Brs. Eugene and Gleb go to Platina — building inspector forbids further continuation. We will not move in this year. Anthony Argenda comes to help by bus for a few days.

No more trips to Platina until spring — brothers hear of terrible snows in Northern California.

Chronicle 1969.

Jan. 17, 1969 (Jan. 30 N. Style) St. Anthony the Great [Gleb’s handwriting]

Our Almighty God still has great mercy on us. Still grants us hope, daringness and perspective for this 1969 year — as the year of plowing the hill of Platina in order to bring forth fruit. We, follow to the endth degree, have but one alternative to go on and on — on the way God blessed us — and to regard all trouble, misunderstandings and falls — as temptations of the devil who seeks to turns us back. This year we must accomplish the following minimum:

1. Publish 6 issues of The Orthodox Word.
2. Finish Ma Tepetx Bohisu Ptku
3. Fr. Herman’s Book
4. Move the presses by May to Platina
5. Vladika’s day — last day of Ncanomxukz
6. From that day on — until God does us two — Brs. Eugene and Gleb — part — to conduct daily cycle of services on the Platina Mount without fail (vespers, nobeuepie, movmohim uxtpenr).
7. Shop closed — English books to Platina to continue book-by-mail.
8. Build necessary buildings to house the machinery and prepare for winter.
9. Investigate wells, etc.
10. Have the skete and its XCTABz blessed by a ruling bishop.
[Eugene’s handwriting:] I approve. Br. E

Mar. 7 - Brs. Gleb and Eugene have several days off to come to Platina — walk through 4 feet of snow and barely reach the cabin. Life here will not be easy!

April afier Pascha. Brs. Gleb and Eugene take a week off to work. Somehow the air makes them exhausted and little seems to get done. They are waiting for permit to resume continuing on print- shop.

May: Building permit received — hope for moving in. Elizabeth gives $1,000. God evidently favors.