Orthodox America

  Letters from Russia

Dear Brothers in Christ!

The peace of the Lord be with you!

    May God's mercy we have learned of your address and re glad that we can write to you.

    I am an Orthodox Christian, sixteen years old, from the city of Alatir. I read and serve in the church here.

     If you are able, please send me some spiritual literature, something from the works of the Holy Fathers and liturgical books. I am particularly interested in reading and obtaining such books as the manual for studying the typicon  by Nikolsky and the typicon.

     Although some things are now being published here, they either do not answer my needs or else they are printed in minuscule amounts.

I would like to hope that you can help me.

Respectfully, Alexander

Greetings, respected M. Mansur!

     On January 6 I received from you a package with a New Testament and brochures, for which I am very thankful. It arrived just before Nativity--and this was a great joy or me.

     Some time ago I wrote to Fr. Victor Potapov, of "Voice .f America," from whom you probably received my address.

     A few words about myself. I am a medical student, preparing to become a doctor. I was raised in a family of unbelievers, although I was baptized at the age of five. I came consciously to the Orthodox Faith when I was 17. Now, glory to God, the situation here in the Soviet Union has changcd. This past year they finally passed a law on the freedom of conscience. The attitude towards atheism being aught in the schools is also changing.

     I’m interested in the history of the Russian Church, her Holy ascetics. I myself am Russian although I live in the Ukraine where I am a member of the St. Nicholas Church. In his city of nearly a million inhabitants, there are only two small Orthodox churches, on the outskirts of the city and in other unsuitable quarters. Through the efforts of the parishioners the subject has been raised about the restoration of a large church in the center of the city, which was destroyed during; Khrushchev's time. We are currently in the process of establishing a Sunday school, where both children and heir parents will be able to study the Bible, the history of this part of the country', and church singing. Additionally, a library of Christian literature has been organized, and I will joyfully donate the books you sent, that more people could benefit from them. Among the Orthodox there are as yet not many youth, by comparison with Protestant groups, of which there are a great many in this part of the country. But we hope and pray to God for help that Orthodoxy will grow and spread here.

     I greet you with the Feast of our Lord's Nativity and with the coming New Year! Again, thank you for the books. shall be glad to hear from you.

Yours in Christ, Oleg, Zaporozhye

Addressed to Orthodox Action in Australia:

      From your letter I learned that the Lord has visited you, having sent you a trial. May God grant your son a complete recovery. Yesterday I straightway asked that a Liturgy be served and gave his name to be commemorated at the Proskomedia. I always pray for all of you. I have no words to thank you. I made copies of your booklet, "Between Fear and Hope" (several), and other things. People are grateful, glad to hear the word of God! May the Lord preserve you!

        I am truly grateful for your kind letter. The books I've not yet received. Evidently they've been delayed en route. We are Orthodox (at least my parents were). We have not been baptized, but now I'm preparing for it together with my son. We have a church here. True, it's rather far, about eighty kilometers from our village. I've been there. It's really something special. I've had occasion to be in churches before; I've travelled quite a bit around the country and wherever there is a church I always make a point of visiting it. But never before have I felt such peace enter my soul, such soul-inspiring singing, as I do now.

        I heard about your Brotherhood quite by chance from some friends. I work in a secondary school where my pupils range in age from eleven to seventeen. I have good children...

        I should like to know more about the author of the letter, about your Brotherhood. I've had an opportunity to read some of the Bible. I can't say it's an easy book to understand, but how much wisdom?! Simply amazing. It's such a pity that for so long I knew none of this. I await your letter...

       Peace to you, dear brothers in Christ! A bow to you from the Russian land! Addressing you is a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. We welcome your labors, difficult, and soul-saving not only for yourselves but for others, for nothing is more needed than faith. On it depends not only one's future blessedness, but also one's well-being in this life, and not only the well-being of each of us individually but also the well-being of whole societies. As Prof. I. Rozhdestvensky writes: "Bring into the life of humanity all Christian principles and chase away from it everything that hinders Christianity, then paradise will open on earth."

       We have a sizable parish, mostly elderly folk. However, we have baptisms almost every day, and the parish should be expanding. But this isn't always the case. The main reason is the catastrophic lack of spiritual, catechetical and children's religious literature. A priest must not only celebrate the Divine services and preach; he is also chairman of the parish council. We have Divine services only on feast days, and for this reason it is especially important for us to have spiritual literature. We ask you to help our parish. With Christian love, Archpriest K. We anxiously await a word from you.