4 October 1955
Christ is in our midst!
I am glad you remember Valamo and that you feel helped by Sts Sergei and Herman. You write that you have been on bad terms with your aunt now for sixteen years and you cannot be reconciled. It is very sad. Realize that your virtues are not pleasing to God. How can you read the Lord's Prayer '. . . forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us'? You yourself do not forgive, but ask God's forgiveness? You pray in vain; God will not forgive you until you are reconciled with your aunt. Read the fifth chapter of Matthew, verse 23. The Lord himself even prayed to his Father on behalf of his crucifiers: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do' [Luke 23:34]. And the holy apostle Archdeacon Stephen prayed for those who stoned him: 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them' [Acts 7:60]. See what examples we have - and you cannot be reconciled with your aunt. You write that she offended you, but take a careful look at yourself: perhaps you yourself were not in the right. Even supposing she offended you for no reason, still you should go to her and be reconciled. Although your hard heart does not want to make peace, force it, pray to God and ask his help that the Lord may soften your heart. Do it without fail or you will be lost. For God's judgement in the Second Coming will be by the Gospel.
In the prayer before Communion it says: 'Go and make peace with those who have brought you sorrow'. If you come to Holy Communion without having been reconciled, it will not be Communion.
Here is another case in church history: A priest Saprikios and a layman Nikiphoros were very great friends. The devil put such enmity between them that they could not make peace. At that time the Christians were being persecuted. The priest Saprikios suffered many tortures and was sentenced to be beheaded. Nikiphoros asked the priest: 'Martyr of Christ, forgive me for Christ's sake'. But the hardhearted priest did not forgive him and said to the torturers: 'I renounce Christ'. Nikiphoros declared himself to be a Christian and they chopped off his head. Saprikios was lost, but Nikiphoros became a martyr. You see what a serious sin hostility is; a man suffered such heavy tortures and then was lost. I have written you just a small example out of many. Write me no more letters until you are reconciled with your aunt.
I ask God's blessing on you; the Lord reconcile and keep you. "