Am I a real believer?

“Believe” is for me a sort of loaded word, since it usually means for a western-formed person a mainly intellectual ‎activity. It seems to me that it more properly means a combination of love and trust. Perhaps the real sign that we are a believer is demonstrated in how we proclaim our love and mercy for those whom we come in contact with. In that context, everything good we do for others proclaims belief. And the fruits of that are evident around us all the time.

Is it not po‎ssible that those moments when we are struggling with belief are simply brought on when we are feeling numb from the pain, attacks and betrayals that we’ve endured, sometimes even within the life of the Church? Can it perhaps be that what we feel when alone is the result of this, rather than disbelief?  I would venture to suggest that this is a time when we are being carried in the Saviour’s Arms.

‎I recall Metropolitan Philip’s saying that “Orthodoxy is the right Faith for the wrong people. Ironically, when we come to the Church, it is easy to become the wrong people!”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Interior photos of our Monastery’s library and parlor.

Saturday December 2, 2017 / November 19, 2017
26th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Fish Allowed

Prophet Obadiah (Abdias) (9th c. B.C.).
Martyr Barlaam of Caesarea in Cappadocia (304).
Venerables Barlaam and loasaph, prince of India, and St. Abenner the King, father of St. loasaph (4th c.).
St. Philaret, metropolitan of Moscow (1867).
New Hieromartyr priest John Vishnevsky (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Porphirius (Gulevich) bishop of Simpheropol an Crimeria, Ioasaph (Udalov) bishop of Chistopol, deacon Antonius (Korzh), monk Barpholomeus (Ratnykh), priest Vladimir Pischulin, archpriest Demetrius Kiranov, priest John Bliumovich, archpriest Nicholas Mezentsev, priest Thimoty Izotov (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Sergius Mikhaev, Michael Dmitriev, Alexandra Mishutina, John Malinovsky, Constantine Mikhailovsy, Alexander Serebrov, Ignatius Teslin, John Piramidin, Simeon Krivosheev, John Florovky, Jacob Briliantov, Demetrius Kuklin, Jacob Peredery priests, New Hieromartyrs Ioasaph Krimzin, Gennady Rebeza, Peter Mamontov, Gerasim Sukhov, Michael Kvanin, Martyr Valentine Kornienko, Peter Antonov, Leonid Salkov, Thimoty Kucherov (1937).
Venerable Barlaam, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1065).
Uncovering of the relics (1626) of Monk-martyr Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550).
Martyr Azes of Isauria, and with him 150 soldiers (284).
Martyr Heliodorus in Pamphylia (273).
Venerable Hilarion of Georgia, wonderworker of Thessalonica (875) (Georgia).
“The Joy of All who Sorrow” (1863) Icon of the Mother of God.
St. Patroclus of Bourges (577) (Gaul).
St. Egbert, archbishop of York (766) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Agapius of Gaza (306).
St. Simon, wonderworker of Calabria (10th c.).
Martyrs Anthimus, Thalalaeus, Christopher, Euphemia and her children (Greek).
Martyr Pancharius (Greek).
Martyr Barlaam of Antioch (Greek).
St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (1991).

The Scripture Readings

Galatians 3:8-12

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

The Law Brings a Curse

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Luke 9:57-62

The Cost of Discipleship

57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”

58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”

But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

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. This is a beautiful thought.

    I was blessed to accompany my husband on a visit with you in this parlor on Vashon last November. You and the others were so hospitable and kind with my inexperience as I was/am new to orthodoxy. These pictures immediately brought back the feeling of welcome and peace I had at that time. Thank you!

  2. I think I really needed this. I struggle with OCD and anxiety disorder, and lately I keep thinking that maybe God is incapable of hearing thoughts and mental prayers. I think my mental illness is making me think this, but it makes it hard to trust that God can answer my mental prayers. This blog post was very encouraging.

    1. I have experience the same. But we have to remind to our selfs that God knows everything before they even happen. He knows every thought. He knows what we want to ask Him before we even ask. And he knows about mental health problems so he knows what to do in those situations. He always knows what we want from Him, even if we don’t pray or do’t manage to pray. So if you can, try to don’t pay attention to those stressfull thoughts from OCD.
      Lord have mercy on Dante!

      1. During these dark times of struggle, we must give ourselves over to God, and ask for help. Often that help can come from seeking out the aid and direction from professional mental health workers, or psychologists. Just as we seek the help of medical doctors, when we are suffering from physical problems, so too, we must seek out the help of therapists for mental illness.

      2. I can relate to all this, I was in a similar situation, and I read once from Father Tryphon that in those moments pray “Father enlighten my darkness” and also always when we ask something to God we have to say (I called a password to get to my Father)”In the name of Jesus”, also with fasting and confessing our sins and really repent and take communion, all that darkness disappeared. I also read a book “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer, help me very much. Our enemy, Satan, attempts to defeat us with strategy and deceit, through well-laid plans and deliberate deception. He begins by bombarding our mind with a cleverly devised pattern of little nagging thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings, reasoning’s and theories. He moves slowly and cautiously (after all, well-laid plans take time). Remember, he has a strategy for his warfare. He has studied us for a long time. He knows what we like and what we don’t like. He knows our insecurities, our weaknesses and our fears. He knows what bothers us most. He is willing to invest any amount of time it takes to defeat us. One of the devil’s strong points is patience, he wants to take us away from God, we have a more powerful weapon to win, and that weapon is our Lord Jesus, so I always repeat “Lord Jesus son of God have mercy on me a sinner”.

  3. Am I a real believer?
    I lost my way lately. I try to return. My mental and body health are not very well. I suffer a lot. Sometimes I wonder if God exists or no. I know the answer. He existes. But it keeps popping in my mind lately even if I know it. My faith is not strong. I even think of ending my life because I can’t bare any more suffering and I have this crazy thought that I can finally meet my God there. I know it is a sin to kill yourself and not healthy. But I think about it a lot. I am even scared to become healthy, I feel like I prefer death instead.
    I pray to God to heal my body and soul.

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