Between 1932 and 1946, Fr Sophrony would exchange letters with Fr David Balfour, a Catholic who converted to Orthodoxy. These These letters reveal Fr Sophrony's knowledge of many Fathers of the Church, force Fr Sophrony to articulate his theological thought, and to demonstrate the differences between Western and Eastern thought. Many of Fr Sophrony's later thoughts would arise out of the same topics addressed in this correspondence.
In 1938, St Silouan [[September 24|reposes]]. Following the saint's instructions, Fr Sophrony left the monastery grounds to reside in the Athonite desert; first at Karoulia, then at a cave near St Paul's Monastery. During his residence in this desert
, World War II began and continued (1939-1945), which proved to be a time of such intense prayer that Fr Sophrony's health was affected. This taught him the interdependence of all humanity. In 1941, Elder Sophrony was ordained to the priesthood. He becomes a [[Geronta|spiritual father]] to many Athonite monks.