XII. Letter Eleven: Friendship

Letter Eleven on Friendship

In the same way, since, for each member of the Church, the friend of a brother must be the friend of a brother, but only the friend of this partic­ular brother, not the friend of everyone, there must necessarily be a force that orders and maintains the individuality of the union of friends. To­gether with a uniting force that takes one outside individual existence, there must be an isolating force, which sets a limit to diffuseness and in personality. Together with a centrifugal force, there must be a centripetal one, This force is jealousy, and its function is to isolate, separate, delimit, differentiate. If this force did not exist, there would be no concrete church life with its specific order. Instead, we would have protestant, anarchistic, communistic, Tolstoyan, etc. mixing of all with all. We would have total formlessness and chaos. The force of jealousy is alive in both friendship and marriage, in an eparchy as well as in a local parish or a monastery. It is alive everywhere. 8 Everywhere it is necessary to have definiteness of connections and constancy of unions, be it with a friend, a wife, a starets, a pastor, a bishop, a metropolitan, or a patriarch. In other words, everywhere there must be not only love but also jealousy. There must be jeal­ousy toward friend, wife, congregation, brothers, eparchy, or local church. We must now get a deeper insight into this concept, which is so important but usually so little explored.