The Restoration of the Orthodox Way of Life

From the introductory paragraphs of the editor of The Restoration of the Orthodox Way of Life, by Archbishop Andrew of New-Diveyevo:

In recent years Archbishop Andrew, founder of New-Diveyevo Convent in Spring Valley, New York, where the memory of St. Seraphim is sacredly kept, has deservedly been given much honor, especially in 1971 on the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, and in 1973 on his 80th birthday, when he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. Many came to him just to receive his blessing, knowing of him as a kind of “last Russian Orthodox Elder,” and hoping to obtain through him some contact with the genuine tradition of Orthodox spirituality which is fast dying out today. And to be sure, he was a living link with the Holy Fathers in a literal sense, for he was a disciple of the last two Optina Elders, Anatole and Nectarius, and it was under his epitrachilion that the last Elder, Nectarius, died in 1928. But it is not for this that he is most important to us today; it is rather for his teaching, received from these holy Elders, on how to survive as an Orthodox Christian in the anti-Christian 20th century.

This teaching, while solidly Patristic, is not a teaching from books, but from life. . . . In every place where historical circumstances have driven him—Kiev, Berlin, Wendlingen, New York State—a close-knit Orthodox community has formed around him; and this is closer to a key to understanding his teaching. Such communities, rare today among Orthodox Christians, do not arise spontaneously, but only in especially favorable circumstances, if there is present a conscious Orthodox philosophy of life. This conscious Patristic philosophy is what, most of all, we can learn from Archbishop Andrew. Let us try to set down here the main points of this philosophy—which, of course, is not a “systematic” philosophy based on abstractions, but a living philosophy derived from Orthodox spiritual experience.

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