The monk’s quest for humility

Struggling with his pride, the monk focuses on bringing his own will into conformity with the will of God, through monastic obedience. This obedience is not limited to obeying the directives of his abbot, but taking up a standard of humility that takes seriously his adherence to the 102 canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, in the garb he wears, and refraining from cutting his hair and beard. The monk places his own will aside, taking up the tradition of the Church, and making it his own.

Recognizing that false humility is almost wholly the product of self-righteous hypocrisy, the monk dedicates himself to a truth which is absolute, and which transcends his personal opinion. It is precisely this humility which Saint Paul reveals to us when, boasting of his sufferings and exploits, he tells us that they have meaning only in Jesus Christ.

The monk fights off the temptation of making his faith a form of ideology, for he knows the knowledge of Jesus Christ, when transformed into an ideological and moralistic knowledge, closes the door to others, and turns Christianity into a list of requirements, denuding the message of the Church into yet another worldly political force.

The monk refuses to let his Christian faith distance himself from others, because he knows the monastic life is not a withdrawal from others, but an embracing of all humanity, through his intimate relationship with Christ, through Whom all are united.

It is only through his immersion in a life of prayer, that the monk’s faith becomes something other than an ideology. Through his uniting of himself in the prayer of the Church, the monk loses himself, becoming one with Christ, and with all Christians. His quest for humility comes through his having united himself to the humility of Christ, Who condescended to take on our flesh, in order to unite His divinity, with our humanity.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The haze in the photo is smoke from the forest fires in British Columbia. This is the driest summer since the 1950’s, and we are in desperate need of rain. Please pray for the Pacific Northwest to get our much needed rain, and please pray for an end to the forest fires impacting our Canadian friends to the north.

Wednesday August 9, 2017 / July 27, 2017
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Fast. Food with Oil

Holy Great-martyr and Healer Panteleimon (305).
Commemoration of the canonization of Venerable Herman of Alaska (1970).
New Hieromartyrs Ambrose, bishop of Sarapul, priests Plato and Panteleimon (1918).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1941).
Blessed Nicholas Kochanov, fool-for-Christ at Novgorod (1392).
Venerable Anthusa, abbess of Mantinea in Asia Minor and her 90 sisters (759).
St. Clement of Ochrid, bishop of Greater Macedonia (916), and Sts. Angelar (10th c.), Gorazd (896), Nahum of Ochrid (910), and Sabbas (10th c.), disciples of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (Bulgaria).
St. Ioasaph, metropolitan of Moscow (1555).
Martyr Christodulus (1777) (Greek).
The blind man who confessed Christ and was martyred with St. Panteleimon (Greek).
853 Martyrs of Thrace who were drowned (Greek).
St. Manuel, monk (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 21:12-19

12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

2 Timothy 2:1-10

Be Strong in Grace

2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

John 15:17-16:2

17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

The Coming Rejection

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. Are you familiar with Glen Campbell’s song, “Less of Me?” When he died this week, I was thinking of how that song was a simple and elegant prayer for Christian humility. It fits well with your homily.

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