I will not reprint the entire book. I am simply printing these pre-materials in order to better explain the work to the reader of this blog. With this information, the letters will make more sense.
"TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTORY NOTE
A staretz is a monk singled out because of his saintliness, spiritual experience and ability to guide the souls of others. The startsi have maintained the tradition in the Eastern Church of the unceasing prayer of the heart known as the Jesus Prayer. Through many centuries the Fathers and ascetics have given guidance to those seeking the Kingdom, and their writings have been an invaluable guide to succeeding generations. A unique collection of such writings is contained in the five volumes of the Philokalia, to which we find constant reference in the letters of Father John. The Philokalia has not been translated into English in its entirety, but the work is going on, and many of the writings referred to by Father John can be found in English. Chapter and page references to these translations have been added to the text in square brackets or referred to in footnotes relating to the bibliography on p. 147. Biblical references have also been added to the text in square brackets. All of the footnotes are the translator's. Where no translation exists, references are to the Russian text.
These letters, sent by Father John to many of his spiritual
children, were collected and sent to Paris for publication in Russian in the journal L'Eternel in 1961. They were reprinted in Finland in 1976 and in the same year a translation into Finnish by Archbishop Paavali was published. In the present English translation from the Russian the order of the letters has been altered somewhat to make it more strictly chronological. The first two letters were written from the old Valamo Monastery situated on islands in Lake Ladoga near the Finnish-Russian border.
I wish to express my gratitude to Mrs Pegeen O'Sull who checked the translation and made many valuable suggestions."