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Merton's Correspondence with:

Serge Bolshakoff; Sergius Bolshakoff; Bolshakoff, Sergius; Serge Nikolaevich Bolshakoff

Bolshakoff, Serge (Sergius) Nikolaevich, Dr., 1901-1990  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1961-1968, 1994
Volume: 45 item(s); 124 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This large collection of letters contains an important discussion between Merton and a Russian Orthodox scholar. Though the discussion of Orthodox religion and its mystical traditions is an important part of the conversation, many other subjects are explored. Bolshakoff traveled to many monasteries, both Catholic and Orthodox, and enters into ecumenical dialogue with Merton. Merton also speaks of the Vietnam War and his opposition to it; however, he must explain to Bolshakoff how he justifies a life of contemplation instead of active resistance.


Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Serge Bolshakoff received a doctorate in philosophy from Christ Church, Oxford. In his travels to churches and monasteries in promotion of Christian unity, he became acquainted with such notables as Pope John XXIII, Patriarch Athenagoras, Archbishop Temple of Canterbury, as well as the Abbot General of the Cistercians, Dom Gabriel Sortais (see "Sortais, Gabriel" and "Fox, James" files).

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to Bolshakoff in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 101-107; and see also the "Pâris, Etienne" file.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

Click icons for links: ✓="Published | Library Record", ✉="Scanned" | 🗷="Scanned, Viewable Only at Merton Center"

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1961/03/02 HLS to Merton I intended to write to you for some time but only now do it. I read the most of your books and many «detailed view»
2. 1961/03/20 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your kind letter of March 14th. I have received it today on my depart. for Rome. «detailed view»
3. 1961/06/21 HLS to Merton I enclose the letter of the Abbot General which allows you to write a preface to the English [1961/06/02 letter from Abbot General Gabriel Sortais to Bolshakoff attached - gives permission for Merton to do a preface for English version of Russian Mystics] «detailed view»
4. 1962/03/27 HPCS to Merton I am again in Rome since March 12th and expect to remain in Italy till June 12th. My Italian book «detailed view»
5. 1962/05/04 HLS to Merton My Italian book "I Mystici Russi" is now out I presented it to the Pope in person at a very long «detailed view»
6. 1962/07/22 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter of July 9th, which I have received here to-day from Rome. I left the «detailed view»
7. 1962/09/02 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your kind letter. I am glad that you liked the manuscript. Of course, please «detailed view»
8. 1962/09/03 HNS to Merton P.S. I read your letter to the Mayor of Hiroshima with attention. I think it shall please, both «detailed view»
9. 1962/12/28 TAL[c] from Merton Thanks for your two kind letters. I was interested to hear of your visit to the monks at Tolleshunt «detailed view»
10. 1963/01/05 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter and cheque for $50 which I didn't expect and which cheered me up much. «detailed view»
11. 1963/01/08 HLS to Merton I am sending you by the registered post my little Mss in French -- "Staretz Alexander of Gethsemani «detailed view»
12. 1963/01/29 TAL[c] from Merton You will be glad to hear that I have finished all the work on the revision of your manuscript and it «detailed view»
13. 1963/02/15 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter of Jan 29th, which I received here in Groningen, where I am since Jan «detailed view»
14. 1963/04/11 HLS to Merton I am already in Rome since April 6th and hope to remain here till July. Since I wrote to you on Feb «detailed view»
15. 1963/05/26 HPCS to Merton I received yesterday a letter from Archbishop Nikodim, dated by May 15th, where he says "I request «detailed view»
16. 1963/09/06 HLS to Merton Since I wrote to you on May 26th so much changed. John XXIII, whom I knew since 1927, died and Paul «detailed view»
17. 1963/11/10 HLS to Merton I salute you from Caldey Abbey, this fascinating island monastery, which I did not visit since 1951. «detailed view»
18. 1963/11/11 TL[c] from Merton For a long time I have been owing you a reply to your several very interesting letters, and Fr «detailed view»
19. 1963/11/25 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter of Nov. 11th, which I received in Dublin on my way here. I sent you my «detailed view»
20. 1963/12/23 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your kind letter and cheque which is for me quite princely. It shall help me with «detailed view»
21. 1964/01/26 HLS to Merton Before Lent begins and I leave Oxford on Feb 13th for London and abroad I send you this letter. I «detailed view»
22. 1964/03/19 HLS to Merton I send you my Easter greetings. I left Oxford on February 13th for Tolleshunt Knights, the little «detailed view»
23. 1964/10/21 HLS to Merton I have no letters from you since last December, although I wrote myself to you three times. My last «detailed view»
24. 1964/10/28 TAL[c] from Merton Thank you for your recent letter, as usuall [sic] full of interesting news of your amazing «detailed view»
25. 1964/12/13 TL[c] from Merton As Christmas approaches once again, I want to send you my best wishes and a token of our friendship «detailed view»
26. 1964/12/20 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter and the cheque, for which I thank very much you and the community. I «detailed view»
27. 1965/05/08 HLS to Merton Since I left England in January I didn't write you. My present journey was most interesting on many «detailed view»
28. 1965/06/09 TL[c] from Merton It is always so good to receive your extremely informative and lively letters, but I especially «detailed view»
29. 1965/08/19 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your two letters of June 9th and August 10th, which were forwarded me here from «detailed view»
30. 1965/10/02 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your moving letter of Sept 15th, which I received here on my arrival to Oxford after «detailed view»
31. 1965/10/16 HLS to Merton Since I wrote to you on October 2nd I received your two articles, which I am reading. Three more «detailed view»
32. 1965/12/08 TL[c] from Merton First of all I am taking this occasion to send you a Christmas present from our community. I hope «detailed view»
33. 1965/12/13 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your letter and for your cheque, which I much appreciate. It helps me a good deal «detailed view»
34. 1966/08/no TL[x] to Sobesedniks (circular letter) Since I wrote the last letter I travelled [sic] again about and presided the first international ["Letter to Sobesedniks", a circular letter to "people bonded together by prayer and consultation with one another on spiritual life" (The Hidden Ground of Love, p. 106)] «detailed view»
35. 1966/10/24 TL[c] from Merton I am very much afraid that if I am called to be like Theophane the Recluse a letter writer, I am «detailed view»
36. 1966/12/no TL[x] to Sobesedniks (circular letter) Since I wrote my last letter in the end of July there were many developments for the Sobesedniks. ["Letter to Sobesedniks" - see 1966/08/00 and 1967/04/00 letters] «detailed view»
37. 1967/03/12 HLS to Merton I enclose my Eastertide "Letter", which is, possibly, more interesting than the previous ones. «detailed view»
38. 1967/04/21 HLS to Merton Since I sent you on March 12th my letter from Florence with the latest "Letter to Sobesedniks" «detailed view»
39. 1967/04/no TL[x] to Sobesedniks (circular letter) I write this letter from Florence in the end of my three-months-long stay in Italy, first at Monte ["Letter to Sobesedniks" - see 1966/08/00 and 1966/12/00 letters] «detailed view»
40. 1967/06/09 HLS to Merton I enclose the "Letter to Sobesedniks" for June, when we observe our feast of June 24th. The next «detailed view»
41. 1968/04/26 TL[c] from Merton I am afraid I owe you a deep apology: I have not been able to get your Easter letter to the «detailed view»
42. 1968/07/11 HLS to Merton Many thanks for your cheque, which you sent to Mont-des-Cats Abbey, as I am informed. I expect to «detailed view»
44. undated/no/no (#01) other to Merton The list of people to send the LETTER TO SOBESEDNIKS [annotated mailing list for "Letter to Sobesedniks" circular letters - see 1966/08/00, 1966/12/00 and 1967/04/00 letters] «detailed view»
45. undated/no/no (#02) other   A Russian Forerunner of Psychosomatic Medicine [-] STARETZ SEMEN KLIMICH (1777-1837) article/paper by Bolshakoff dedicated to Dr. Christopher Roy Woodard - the "Bibliography of Dr Serge Nikolaevitch Bolshakoff" mentions that it can probably be dated after 1965 (and if Merton had it, 1968 or before) «detailed view»

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