Letter to Old Ritualist Pastors in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Most Rev. Nektary, Bishop of Seattle

Russian Orthodox Church in Exile

224 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117

Tel: 415 863-6184

St. Tikhon, Bishop of Amafuntsk

Beloved in the Lord…

The Lord in His mercy enabled me to visit your little corner where you dwell with your brothers in Christ who are close to you in spirit and in faith. I experienced great spiritual joy in seeing that those who live in your community have kept faith in God and kept themselves in ethical and moral purity, despite the fact that we live in a terrible and evil time of spiritual degeneration throughout the world, a headlong abandonment of God and His laws and, together with this, spiritual chaos, apostasy and even defiance of God, not to mention the decline in moral standards, the rise in crime, debauchery, drug addiction and other vices.

This is why, having become aware of the way of life in your community, I bow down my head before the courage of your fathers and grandfathers who, despite persecution, torture and bitter injury, unwaveringly kept their faith and customs – and passed those on to their children and grandchildren.

I bow my head also before the steadfastness of your community because, despite difficult circumstances, exile and a pagan environment, and with a mode of life that seems strange to us, you have firmly kept the faith of the Fathers, the old rites and pious way of life.

In visiting your area, I felt as if I was visiting the ancient Holy Rus’ of 300 years ago.

And yet – I’ll not deny it – I am greatly saddened that you are without the sanctifying Mysteries of the Church, of which the chief and greatest Mystery is the Body and Blood of the Saviour, which is consecrated during the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, the Lord says:

Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you.”

(John 6, 53)

“He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has life everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

(John 6, 54)

He who eats my flesh and drinks My Blood, abides in Me, and I in him.”

(John 6, 56)

I know that all things are possible with the Lord, and thus it occurred to me that it is possible to restore among you, from your very number, the holy priesthood, that you might have the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist and the other Holy Mysteries of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit, and together with the preservation of the Old Rite.  How salutary it will be for your flock to receive the Holy Mysteries of Christ, and to partake of the sanctifying gifts of the other Mysteries.  I understand that this question is a very serious one – and cannot quickly be resolved, and, God forbid, do not think that I want to coerce you.  With God’s help you will resolve this matter yourselves. I am writing to you about this lest my conscience prick me at some future time for not having shared my thoughts and good wishes with you, especially since the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile, in September 1974, did very favorably and sympathetically address itself to this question, and did issue a special statement on it, which I have attached to this letter.

In conclusion, I wish to say that in this difficult time of the Antichrist in which we live, it is so important and salutary to be one in Christ. Even as He hung on the Cross, the Lord в Своей Первосвяшенническое молитве prayed for those who believed in Him, that is, for His future Church:

…that all may be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us…”

(John 17, 21)

All things are possible with the Lord.

May the Lord and His Most-Pure Mother protect you.

I call God’s blessing and His mercy upon you and upon all who are close to you.

Your admirer and well-wisher with love in Christ,

/S/

  • +Bishop Nektary

NB: Bishop Nektary sent this letter simultaneously to the following Old Believer nastavniki:

Mefody Fateievich Efimov

Pavel Evtifievich Tipikin

Vasily Vasilievich Sharipov

Vasily Yakovlievich Yakis

Abram Antipovich Semerikov

Petro Makarovich Kuzmin

Vikul Evseievich Basargin

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