We must refrain from the life of the “super correct”

Driven by fear, there are people who leave the Church and head into schism. In Greece there are at least eighteen “Old Calendar” Orthodox churches who claim to be THE Church, not recognizing each other as canonical. In the United States there are nearly the same numbers, some Slavic and others of Greek origin. Many of these groups are filled with prideful people, thinking of themselves as the only remnant of Christ’s Church.

These people practice a form of Christianity that is filled with self righteous rigidity, totally lacking in humility. Walling themselves off from World Orthodoxy, they become extremely pharisitical, harsh, punitive and rotten to the core. In their legalistic approach to the canons and traditions of the Church they enter into a state of constant judgment against anyone outside their arrogant, cultish religiosity.

In their narrow minded approach to the Church, they fail to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding and protecting His Church. They don’t see the Holy Spirit operating in the life of people because they themselves are closed off to the Holy Spirit. Where is the life of the Church manifested among such people? They do nothing for the love of humanity and their lack of love begets more schism. Schism begets schism begets schism. A never ending downward spiral into the abyss.

Their usual premise is based on the issue of the calendar change and false ecumenism. The calendar issue is more important to them than the unity of the Church, forgetting, as they do, that the early church celebrated many of the great feasts on different days.

False ecumenism is hardly an issue today, with the numbers of theologians and bishops who are truly caught up in it has dwindled to almost nothing, along with the liberal thinking that has gone out of fashion since the fall of communism. The Russian Church, the largest of the Local Churches, has taken a strong stand against false ecumenism and is powerfully pushing forth the unchanging canons, traditions and faith of the ancient Church.

Orthodox Christianity has withstood two thousand years of attacks and persecution, yet the gates of hell have not prevailed against her. This was Christ’s promise to his disciples before His Holy Resurrection. To believe otherwise is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: A deer in the northern forest of the monastery.

Thursday June 7, 2018 / May 25, 2018
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Fish Allowed

Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist (850).
Virgin-Martyr Helen (1938).
New Hieromartyr Tavrion (1939).
St. Innocent archbishop of Cherson (1857).
Hieromartyr Therapon, bishop of Cyprus (4th c.).
St. Dodo, prince of Georgia (6th c.).
Synaxis of Saints of Volhynia: Saints Yaropolk, Stephen, Macarius, Igor and Juliana.
Commemoration of the reunion of 3,000,000 Uniates with the Orthodox Church at Vilna in 1831.
Martyrs Pasicrates, Valentinian, Julius and others at Dorostolum (302).
St. Aldehelm, bishop of Sherborne.
Martyr Celestine (Greek).
St. Olbian, monk (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 7:17-30

17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus

18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. 19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” 21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, thelepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not

offended because of Me.”

24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

Romans 5:10-16

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Matthew 8:23-27

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

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. I subscribe to the message of this article.

    It seems that the internet has also helped these schismatics spread their messages and sow resentment, confusion and scandal in the midst of practicing Orthodox.
    Those who are called to do so must, however, also keep an eye on what’s going on within the Church today.
    Things are not so bright as the end of this article tends to suggest.

  2. In my notebook, I copied from somewhere a paraphrase from Fr Seraphim Rose. It goes like this:

    Any impulse or action which feeds a spirit of calculation or cold-heartedness, and one’s desire to be right, while weakening the feeling of self-reproach and repentance, is wrong, no matter how right it may appear logically.

  3. Very Rev Father Tryphon Bless+
    How are we to view the ecumenical movement? These things are most disturbing to most of us. Is the move to heal the schism between our Orthodox faith and our Roman Catholic bretheran unGodly? Where is the love in that? I am a steadfast Orthodox but I know many devout Catholics who are truly devoted to the love of God. What is to happen to these believers? More over what is to happen to those Orthodox who pray for reconciliation? Many of our Orthodox jurisdictions strictly forbids merely thinking about these things.

  4. Dear Fr. Tryphon,
    Christ is in our midst! One thing I would note on schism: many converts from heterodox and especially Protestant origins come to Orthodox in search of the true Church. Sometimes they fall into the temptation of seeking pure faith in a church that claims never to have compromised its teaching or its lineage by compromise with the Communists. Such are some in the “remnant” ROCOR schisms. I was one and know many.

    My return after a 4 or 5 year wandering came when I noticed how many such divisions exist, how they seem to agree with each other in theory but refuse mutual Communion on the grounds that any schism before theirs was premature, but any after had already fallen into heresy. Thus they legitimate their first “Hierarch,” and disqualify all others.

    Having followed Met. Vitaly to Mansonville, watched ROCIE fragment itself, and witnessed the same thing in Suzdal and with Gregory of Buena Vista, I went to Russia and saw the vitality of the patriarchal Church for myself, and returned to ROCOR, thanking God for showing me the miraculous truth that with humility and love fallible men can serve Him in the unity of His One Holy and Apostolic Church. I have seen a good number of others who fell into the same temptation also return as well, and my main point is that with love and patience, this sin too can be repented of and healed. Grave though it is, our Lord forgives and receives these prodigals too with loving embrace.
    With love in Christ

    1. I spent the better part of the last week in the alphabet soup of Orthodoxy in 20th century America. I feel like I went down the rabbit hole. I see ROCOR figures like St. John of Shanghai, Met. Philaret, and Fr. Seraphim Rose being sympathetic to “True Orthodox” groups considered to be schismatic and ROCOR even ordaining new clergy for the GOC Florinites, yet they never broke communion with the innovating churches, so figuring out who is “right” is difficult. The concepts of “not being in communion with” and “being in schism” are a bit murky to me. If the Church is meant to be one, what is the practical difference between breaking communion with a particular group and calling them schismatics? The calendar change seemed ill-considered, but the response to it seemed overly paranoid. The whole issue might have simply faded away as it has in Poland had the clergy and laity simply been left to perform the task of being stubborn and resistant to major changes. Once it became a political and ecclesiological battle, all hope was lost.

      My introduction to Orthodoxy nearly a year ago was in a GOC-K parish. I avoided getting too far into the weeds on the issues of the calendar and ecumenism and the related schisms while just focusing on the “basics,” but questions have bubbled up to the surface. I found this quote attributed to Met. Philaret and have been troubled by it.

      “After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways …. first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us … then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow … what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church.”

      Is this quote legit? Does it mean Met. Philaret would have gone with the “schismatics?” It would be an understatement to say that the 20th century has been complicated for the Orthodox Church.

      1. To be honest with you, Kevin, I don’t much care about any supposed statement by Met. Philaret, regarding the MP, for he lived in a different age. I was an early supporter of the unification of ROCOR with the MP, and I have never regretted it. Both sides have much to share, and we can learn from one another, as we grow in our love of Christ. God is with us, and I am a proud son of the Russian Church.
        Abbot Tryphon

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