Remember Your Instructors
from Fr. Seraphim Rose:
The "Right wing" of Orthodoxy in the future is likely to be divided into many small jurisdictions that will compete with each other and anathematize each other. For us it would be enough if our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was able to stay safe and keep the right direction - without deviation to the left, as a reaction against the zealots. We must maintain a living contact with Russian clergy of the older generation, even if some of them seem to us too liberal, otherwise we just get lost in the zealot jungle which is growing up around us. First of all, of course, our teachers should be the pillars of the older generation: Archbishop John, Archbishop Averky (Taushev), Bishop Nektary and the like."
Letter to Alexey Young, Third Day of Trinity, June 2/15, 1976.
Remember Your Instructors
Fr. Seraphim Rose
Orthodox Word Jan/Feb 1978
The true Christian faith, Holy Orthodoxy, is handed down from generation to generation, from instructor to disciple, from the Holy Apostles to our own day. In our century we are experiencing a crisis of this unbroken Orthodox tradition: outwardly the Orthodox Church has been subjected to fierce persecutions with the open intent of liquidating her entirely; inwardly, Orthodox Christians have been losing the savor of Orthodoxy and finding "wisdom" from sources outside the Church's tradition. Many are discovering – or rediscovering – Holy Orthodoxy today, but all too often this is chiefly an outward conversion that ends in an adaptation of Orthodoxy to the wisdom of this age, for want of real contact with its living tradition.
Brethren stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word or by epistle of ours (II Thes. 2:15). The following names are a list of some of the instructors who have handed down the Orthodox faith and tradition to us in the Russian Church Outside of Russia in the 20th century, and particularly in the difficult years of the Diaspora. While these fathers are of particular significance in our St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, they have been Orthodox instructors also, by their lives or writings or personal examples, to many others in the Church as well; and some of them are of universal Orthodox significance for our times.
There is a taint of abstract, self-assured "knowledge" in so much of today's "Christianity." But we Orthodox Christians, who are not our own authority but have humbly received our Christianity from our fathers, should be foreigners to all intellectual re-interpretations" of our Faith. Critics point to different kinds of Orthodoxy today – ecumenist, renovationist, charismatic, legalistic-canonical, and the rest – and ask us: And how do you believe? To this question our first answer is: "We believe as our fathers believed and taught us, and through them we receive the teaching of the Apostles and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself." All men being fallible, these fathers sometimes erred, and sometimes may even have disagreed among themselves; but the whole witness of them together can not be mistaken.
And so, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, even in our most evil days, let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:1-2), knowing that these fathers who have begotten us spiritually through the Gospel (I Cor. 4:15) will not fail us in our hour of trial, and that the unbroken link which we have through Jesus Christ, and His authentic teaching will not be broken to the end of the age.
It is appropriate for Orthodox Christians on the day of repose of the departed to commemorate them at the Divine Liturgy and offer memorial services for the repose of their souls. The date of the repose is indicated first in this list, and the year of repose after the names.
Jan. 16/29 ARCHBISHOP APOLLINARY (1933)
preserver of the canonical Russian Orthodox Church in America.
Jan. 17/30 BISHOP SAVVY of Edmonton (1973)
preacher of spiritual awakening and chronicler of the holy life of Archbishop John Maximovitch
Feb. 6/19 ARCHBISHOP THEOPHAN of Poltava (1940)
a leading theologian of the Diaspora, noted as an ascetic and man of prayer, who ended his days as a cave-dweller in the south of France.
Feb. 11/24 ARCHBISHOP SIMON of Shanghai (1933)
missionary, ascetic, theologian, and miracle-worker.
Mar. 8/21 ARCHBISHOP VITALY of Jordanville (1960)
printer-missionary in the tradition of St. Job of Pochaev, in Carpato-Russia, and in America.
Mar. 17/30 ARCHBISHOP TIKHON of San Francisco (1963)
strict ascetic and man of prayer, disciple of the holy elder Gabriel of Pskov, in the Optina tradition.
Mar. 31/Apr. 13 ARCHBISHOP AVERKY of Jordanville (1976)
righteous Orthodox accuser of renovationism and ecumenism in the Church.
May 8/21 METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY (1965)
second Chief Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, known because of his sobriety and tactfulness as the "most wise".
June 19/July 2 ARCHIBISHOP JOHN MAXIMOVITCH (1966)
ascetic, theologian, missionary, and miracle-worker.
June 19/July 2 ARCHBISHOP LEONTY of Chile (19710
sufferer under Communism, supporter of the Greek Old Calendarists, righteous accuser of church injustice, who was granted to die on the fifth anniversary of the repose of his Abba, Archbishop John.
July 28/Aug. 10 Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky (1936)
first Chief Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, Orthodox apologist and inspirer of church youth.
Sept. 30/Oct. 13 ARCHIMANDRITE GERASIM of Spruce Island (1969)
guardian of the relics and memory of St. Herman of Alaska.
Oct. 7/20 BISHOP JONAH of Manchuria (1925)
disciple of Optina elders, educator of children in the Church's spirit, miracle-worker.
Nov. 13/26 ARCHBISHOP IOSAPH of Canada and Argentina (1955)
missionary, disseminator of the monastic ideal, founder of Canadian sketes, miracle-worker.