Although the two letters below were not addressed to us directly, we are printing them in hopes that our American Orthodox youth will be encouraged to be as firmly dedicated to Christ and His Church as these young people behind the Iron Curtain.
With great joy I learned that you distribute various books about the Orthodox faith. Some of your books reached us via France.
I take part in gatherings of Orthodox youth. Each group meets under the auspices of a parish. We conduct discussions--how we Orthodox should act in the modern world so as not to harm our souls. For example, in the parish church of St .... , there are presently five active groups of about 30 participants in each. (In 1984 there were two groups.) Each group meets weekly with the exception of feasts or other important days in the life of the Church. At almost every meeting a priest is present. We read from the Gospels and the Epistles, and then the priest gives a commentary. We try to attract as many young people as possible to the Church because not all of them attend God's temple as they ought.
Incidentally, we organize trips to various of our churches. In August of this year we hope to make a pilgrimage on foot to our "Holy Mountain" of Grabarka where there is located Poland's only Orthodox convent.
Presently, new churches are being built here in Poland, and the youth have much work to do to see that they are filled.
I am currently in my fourth year as a student at a technological institute. Last year I took some courses at the seminary. I have a big favor to ask of you. If at all possible, could you send me some books about Orthodoxy--primarily concerning the way the Church views the modern world, and about the inner life of a Christian, about Church services, the typicon..., or whatever you have. In Poland we are surrounded by Catholicism, and we must develop a conscious and correct Orthodox faith. But it is hard for us to get good books about Orthodoxy. For this reason, to whatever extent this is possible, do not deny me your assistance. Many thanks.
P. , Poland
From all our hearts we greet you with the joyous and light-bearing Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ...
We are young people, 25-29 years old, and we should like very much to become acquainted with the history of our Orthodox Church, with the lives of Russian saints and outstanding pastors, with the activities of the free Russian Church Abroad. Even more; we want to love our faith, God, the Church tradition and not to forget our fathers and grandfathers. We believe that the truth will be victorious.
We were born and grew up in Poland. Many of our grandparents came to this country after 1919.
We have a sincere request to make of you: Could you send us some religious books? This would make us very happy. Perhaps there are people in your parish who could help us and who would not refuse us their assistance. Please help us, dear Fr .... 'We have so very few.
This year, July28/August 10, we shall commemorate the 50th anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Anthony who laid the foundation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. We take pride in your Church and always pray for its flourishment and well being. To us it is a shining beacon, illumining the path of Orthodoxy to those who seek it. This thought was similarly expressed by Metropolitan Anastassy.
With joy we read the first two volumes of the biography of the Most Reverend Anthony written by Archbishop Nikon Rklitsky, This is all new to us and perfectly splendid. Could you send us the next books in this series?
On Sundays we listen to an American broadcast of the Divine Liturgy from the church of St. John the Baptist in Washington D.C.
We wish you good health and success in your labors for the good of the Russian Church. Please accept our earnest and most profound respects. E., Poland
The Polish Orthodox Church:
The 1985 directory of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church lists four dioceses in addition to the Warsaw-Bielsk archdiocese, with a total of 224 parishes presided over by Archbishop Bazyli (Doroszkiewicz), Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland. The Church also operates a monastery dedicated to St. Onouphrius at Jableczna in the Biala Podalska region, a convent at Grabarka (Bialystok region), and an Orthodox Theological Seminary in Warsaw. Curiously, this latest directory lists, among active clergy Archpriest Piotr Poplawski whose death was reported last year (see OA #52). (KNS ,#255. 7/2l,/86)
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