He leads our rickety boat
Dear Fr. T.!
It is necessary and important on our part to have an inner spiritual yearning and desire to fulfill God’s will in our lives. Believe me, the Lord accepts and justifies our sincere feelings. Beyond our understanding and comprehension, He leads our rickety little boat with His firm hand.
I am ninety-one years old, and I can witness to myself and others that the Lord knows our hidden thoughts, and guides our lives according to our faith and striving for the truth, often healing and correcting things that due to our ignorance and misunderstanding might prevent us from fulfilling the will of God in our lives.
I passed the seminary examinations after I was already ordained, without ever having attended seminary; before ordination I was examined by the representative commission of the Moscow diocesan authorities.
Dear Fr. T., I was not bound by such a multitude of titles as you are now, but a living zeal to serve interceded for me before God and people as for a spiritual father. During that post-war period this was very responsible, serious, and I might say, dangerous. I gave myself over to service in this. I attended [Theological] Academy as an external student. Half a year before I graduated, when my dissertation was already written, the Lord transferred me to another obedience—imprisonment, to a new flock and new authorities. Did I think before that there would be such an expression of God’s will? Of course not. Why am I telling you this? You, too, give your soul truly over to God’s will, without making your own plans, without regulating your own possibilities. Now, thank God, there is Vladyka. Fulfill his blessing, do not think over today what it might develop into tomorrow. The main thing is that you trust him, for he has passed through the school of novice to bishop. And if his plans should nevertheless suddenly slip over into purely human desires, then believe me, the Lord will intervene decisively and authoritatively, and Divine Truth will triumph.
May it be so, Lord, may it be so.
April 3, 2001
Dear Fr. V.!
I warmly thank you for remembering me, for the service book you sent. I make bold to hope that you will continue to remember me whenever you publish something under your editorial supervision.
We are going to have to abandon that individual, N., who is becoming increasingly odious with respect to us.
The Lord has freed you from this burden beyond your strength, and He did not give it to me at all.
No, N. does not need anyone’s spiritual direction, she herself wants to direct you and me.
Rumors of false information coming from the group of people to which N. belongs had reached me earlier, but I did not believe them until they came from the lips of one I so respect and honor as you, whom I could not possibly suspect of such “creativity.” Therefore I pay no attention to what comes from them, and advise my close ones to do likewise. There are so many serious problems and tasks in life these days that it is just not possible to distract oneself with trifles. We have to conserve our time and energy. I myself am answering the letter addressed by you to T. S., because she has no part in these tiresome affairs, other than having to endure the attacks. I of course am old, but not so infirm as to pass my own responsibilities on to others.
May God help you to carry the serious labor of service to the Church, for which you were chosen by God’s Providence.
I pray for you always, and for all of your amiable pastoral synaxis.
You are in the center, where there is pressure from without and within.
May the Lord strengthen you!
My final temptation
Dear Fr. T.!
I greet you with the upcoming feasts. I am sending a blessed box, the contents of which all of you can use to end the fast.
I thank you for your care over me. I await a letter from you—the result of your conversation with His Holiness [the Patriarch].
With regard to the explosion of various slanders associated with my name, I think, “Could this be my final temptation?”
Well, into whose head could the thought occur about standing before the throne of God with anger at anyone, never mind “with curses”?
Honorable, aged, and well-known Moscow archpriests came to me to clarify what I say about them, for people are endeavoring to bring order into their parishes in my name. It was easy enough for me to tell them personally [what is happening], and they departed without any shadow of doubt as to the truth of my words; but who and how those who are intentionally sowing lies can be convinced, I do not know, nor do I see the need.