Old Calendar Orthodox

@David: thanks for your long and thoughtful post. I remember hearing the name Lev Puhalo frequently when I was around Jordanville and Brookline (centers of Russian and Greek Old Calendarists respectively).

When I was a novice in Brookline, one task I had was to clean everyone’s room. One priest had a copy of “The Rudder” in the Macrakis English translation. When my confessor heard that I was reading from it he said that I would never receive a blessing to read from The Rudder because my mind is too legalistic and it would not be good for me since I would become even more judgmental. Needless to say one of the very first things I did when I left the monastery (after a failed novitiate of 13 months) was to order a copy of “The Rudder” which I have on my bookshelf to this day. I should mention that it was called “Rudder” “in Greek Pedalion” with the notion that the Church is like a ship or ark an requires a rudder to steer it (and of course bishops to guide it and “rightly divide the word of truth”.) The Fathers in Brookline definitely spoke of Macrakis himself as a heretic who had fallen prey to an excess of scrupulosity (my words) and yet what he had translated was the legitimate “Rudder.”

I must definitely google on your Lev Puhalo suggestion above. The novice who arrived just before me around 1975 was Gregory from Texas (and that is how he was called for 4 years “Gregory from Texas”).. his parents were actually Baptist missionaries. I saw them arrive for their very first visit and watched as they glanced about at the icons with a look of horror since they perceived it as idolatry I am sure. I watched Gregory receive his tonsure into “The Great Schema” (which is hardly done anywhere in the world outside of Mt. Athos.) and he took the name Justin. He was very shocked when shortly after his tonsure he was led up to the alter and made “reader” the first day, deacon the next day, and priest the day after that. I have never personally lived around anyone more devout, humble and ascetic as Fr. Justin was. and is. Some years later (so I am told) there were plans to make him a Bishop but he left Brookline because the politics of all the various Bishops was becoming too complex. He went to St. Catherine’s in Mt. Sinai and is there to this day as the only non-Greek EVER accepted into that monastery. He appears in national magazines from time to time famous for the project which he heads as chief librarian of Mt. Sinai to permanently digitally record all the very ancient manuscripts INCLUDING the oldest known copy of the complete Bible (The Sinai Codex).


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