Greetings! May the peace of God be with you always!
A bit about myself. I am 28 years old, married. A year ago the Lord gave
us a daughter, in holy baptism, Maria. Five years ago I graduated from the
history department of a pedagogical institute, I worked as a teacher in school;
this past year I've been working in a secular charitable organization, the
Children's Fund; we help orphans, needy children and needy families with many
children. I am close to many clergy.
My work often takes me to children's homes, orphanages and the homes of
large families. I see the thirst to learn about God, the soul-saving teaching of
our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, in Russia today it is still difficult to
find books of Holy Scripture--the Bible and New Testament, prayer books, books
of akathists, theological literature, and books for soul-profiting reading for
Orthodox Christians. Here we receive a lot of help from our brothers and sisters
in the West, who, with their donations, send us Christian literature in Russian.
I make bold to ask you also, and through you many, many Americans to help
us get as many copies of the Gospel, the Bible, the Law of God, prayer books,
akathists, Lives of Saints, spiritually edifying reading, theological books. All
the books received I will give directly to the families of believers and those
seeking God--primarily to large families, who are, as it were, small parishes in
themselves. Children's editions I give to orphans in state homes, but we have
very few such books.
I likewise make bold to request you to send as much theological
literature for the Kursk Diocesan parochial school which is opening in
I'm enclosing several copies of my address where you can send packages of
books. You may give these addresses to all those who should like to make a
donation to the Christians of much-suffering Russia--i.e., to send books for
Orthodox. You can likewise publish these addresses in the local secular and
Church press with the request to donate to us books in Russian.
TO each person who writes to us and sends books we will reply personally.
All the best! May the Lord grant you His abundant help in your work for
the good of the Holy Church!
Write and send books to these addresses: [….]
The following letters were addressed to Fr. Victor
Potapov in response to his religious broadcasts on Voice of America.
Respected Victor Potapov!
Writing to you is a 16 year old girl who, to her shame, must admit that
she began to be interested in her native culture only this year. Your broadcasts
were in large measure responsible for this, awakening for the first time in my
life a desire to go to church. Previously I hadn't any idea what an Orthodox
It was only in going to church that I understood how necessary its
influence is in arousing a feeling of charity, in restoring the wasted part of
our culture, in cleansing... Many, including me, must come to faith. The
collapse of all former ideals has generated cynicism, and only faith can save
The Church, however, church services-this is not merely prayer; it is a
series of rites established over the centuries, whose meaning is often obscure
to such an unenlightened person as myself. I sought for literature, but alas,
there are no books about Orthodoxy, no church calendars. The only thing I found
was a New Testament, a great book strengthening faith in my soul. For this
reason I'd like very much to hear about all this in your broadcasts. Thanking
you in advance...
A teenager, a believer, is writing to you from the town of Tikhoretsk. My
name is Sergius. (I trust you will not throw away my letter, thousands of which
you must receive.) I am 17 years old. Like most of my contemporaries I was born
into a family of non-believers. And so I lived in darkness until, at the age of
14, the Lord opened my eyes. For the first time in my life I felt a longing for
church. I went in and stood looking at the beauty. No service was in progress.
An old woman began to tell me about the icons. I was struck how the old woman
spoke of the saints represented on the icons, as if they were her friends, often
using the words 'our,' 'my.' On returning home I longed for church and flew off
to God's house. I stood and did not understand what the people around me were
doing. But I sang in my soul. I felt such a relief that I wanted to leave all
earthly worries and run to meet Him whom they were glorifying. Then I began to
visit the church often on days of sorrow and days of joy. They took notice of me
because the parishioners in our church are only old women. And now I learned
that there exists such a book of all books--the Bible. For me that is a
spiritual waterfall, never running dry, which quenches the spiritual thirst of
my soul and will not cease to satisfy till the end of my days. No one will ever
be able to destroy the Bible. I was given a Bible to read for a while, but I
barely had time to read two books before I had to relinquish it. It was
necessary to search for the source of truth--the New Testament. This was being
sold in our place, but it cost 30 rubles. At that time I was enrolled in a
technical school (now in the third year or four). I did not receive a
scholarship, and my mother wouldn't give a single ruble, not for anything in the
world, for getting spiritual literature. So I began to economize on food, on
entertainment, and in a month saved 30 rubles. But there was no longer a
Testament available. After half a year I managed to buy one, for which I thank
God for His mercy toward me. Then I was invited to sing on cliros, which I did
until friends and my mother found out about it.
I feel drawn to God. I dream of becoming a priest. I wish to teach people
the Truth. I want to be a pastor and faithfully serve God and my fatherland. In
1990 I shall be 18 and will begin to go to church without fear, like an adult,
and will try with God's help to enter a seminary. If it is God's will I shall
become a priest. But I know so little. The priest tells me: live according to
the Gospel and imitate the Holy Fathers. But how can I live according to the
Bible if I have hardly read it? He promised to get me one, but that was over a
year ago. There were some Bibles for sale, but on a scholarship of 30 rubles,
half of which goes to my parents, there's no chance of buying one. The cheapest
Bibles here cost 70 rubles; expensive ones--300. I don't understand why they're
so expensive. About other spiritual books one can only dream. You often
broadcast Live of Saints, but where are those books among us? Are they published
only in your country? If you have spiritual literature sold at prices lower than
ours, I beg you to send me a Bible and if only the Life of my Saint--St. Sergius
of Radonezh, of whom I know almost nothing. Help me, please. I will work nights
to pay for the books and expenses...
May the Lord bless your good deeds. With esteem, respect and
Christian love for you,
On February 25 I listened to your broadcast, "Religion in Our
Lives." I really liked it and decided therefore to write. It was most
interesting to hear about the Mystery of Repentance---Confession, about how to
prepare for confession, how to confess. To be honest,' I :envy believers; in a
moment they can relieve their souls from sin.
I myself am a half-believer, if one can put it this way. Until recently
active atheist propaganda was conducted in our country. I myself was a
"convinced" atheist. In our history classes it was driven into us that
there is no God, that all priests are only trying to get rich at the expense of
others' misfortunes. Two years ago, however, a new teacher of literature came to
our class, and she opened our eyes. During lessons she read to us excerpts from
the Bible; she brought the magazine “Science and Religion" she
told us about the spiritual value of religion, about God, about the soul. And we
saw the true face of religion. We understood that religion bears within it man's
I believe in God. I call myself a "half-believer" because not
once in my life have I been in church nor have I read the Bible.
shall end. Good-bye! Be with God!
Alexander, 16 years old, Karagandinsk region