How important it is to be guided on the sea of life by a true spiritual father and how fortunate are those who find such a guiding light in this age of increasing darkness. In the words of St. Simeon the New Theologian, "Rare are they in truth, and especially now, who know how to shepherd and treat skillfully rational souls." Behind the Iron Cur-rain, where those true to Christ face persecution, it is all the more difficult to find such a guide and thus it is all the more tragic when a true shepherd is taken from his flock.
Dudko was just such a pastor who had literally hundreds of spiritual children
thirsting for guidance. After his arrest they were orphaned, as sheep without
their shepherd. His forced confession left many of them deeply shaken. But among
them were many more who remain united to their spiritual father by the bond of
love which even death cannot sever.
is a moving document writ ten by one of his spiritual children which testifies
to Fr. Dimitri's ability, in the face of the godless authority, to inspire
others with love for Christ and implant in their hearts that "one thing
needful" which shall never be taken away.
statement Fr. Dimitri addresses, among others, his former fellow-thinkers. As I
can truthfully add and proudly claim to be such, I feel that I must respond. I
am sincerely glad that he has been released, is with his family and can, at
last, have some respite from the many years of waging
an intense struggle,
in which he was always in the forefront.
Dimitri battled incessantly and alone. He was surrounded by people who needed
his support, but who were unable to support him in his most difficult hour. I
feel my conscience will always be blemished by the fact that when my spiritual
father was arrested, I did nothing more decisive than engage in lengthy
discussions which could be of no help to him, could not influence his jailors,
or open the doors of his cell.
Dimitri's recantation is his last and, possibly, most important lesson to us
all. I have lost my teacher--that is the penalty I must pay for my cowardice,
laziness and inability to take action.
is a terrible word, but the earth did not cease to rotate after Galileo
recanted. Nobody could take the recantation seriously, and now it is only his
great scientific achievement which lives on in the memory of men. And so, too,
will the pastoral achievement of Fr. Dimitri never be forgotten.
preached by Fr. Dimitri remains. This truth of the Holy Bible he once gave to
me, and nobody will ever be able to rob me of it. It will continue to warm my
heart for as long as it beats in my breast.
Dimitri has wrought great deeds in our country. That work is now completed. New
tasks lie ahead, and new hands are needed to gain new achievements.
Father. May the Lord deliver you for all the good which you did me. And if it is
not destined that we should meet again in this life and look each other straight
in the eyes with trust – well, that is of no great moment, for we have all
eternity before us, an eternity in which, as you taught me, there is neither
fear, nor falsehood, nor doubts, but only truth and love. I believe that in
eternity you will stand beside me again – strong, brave and radiating pure
light, as I shall remember you to my dying day.”
“I have just
reread what I have written, and am gripped by terror at the thought of the
enormous void left in the place occupied for so many years by this great man.
Can it really be possible that he will be unable to rise again? But to God, all
things are possible, O Lord, for the sake of those hundreds of Fr. Dimitri’s
spiritual children who have been cast into temptation by his moment of weakness,
for the sake of Thy Church for whose purity he labored give him strength, let
him once again raise his head high to look in the face of peril as behooves a
man and an Orthodox priest.”
Keston News Service,
August 8, 1980