The Domestic Church

The incubator for a life of righteousness

Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable. The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this really dates me), sitting together with my brother and my parents, listening to radio dramas. Before the coming of television, families would gather for evenings in the living room, where children would play with Lincoln Logs, or play board games with their parents.

Evenings spent together as family is important, for these moments not only build a bond between parents and their children, but serve as important times in which to share family values. The old saying that “a family that prayers together, stays together” was a truism that is often forgotten. I remember, as a boy of six, a Catholic family living next to us who had a small family chapel, complete with altar, statues, and candles. Every evening they would all gather in that little chapel to pray the rosary. As a protestant boy, I remember wishing we had a chapel as well.

Family meals are also important times for building strong moral and spiritual foundations in children. Sitting around the dinner table is a great time for parents to develop strong bonds of trust with their children. Dinner is a perfect time for talking to your children about their friends, or school activities, or recounting the homily from the Sunday Liturgy. Family members dispersing throughout the house for the evening, can end up functioning as autonomous entities, and family bonds are unlikely to develop in a healthy manner.

The domestic church, which is such an important element of the Orthodox Christian tradition, can not be developed in a family where meals, prayers, and social life are all in separate parts of the house. Parents, in their capacity as shepherds and nurturers, have the God given responsibility to make sure the home is an incubator for a life of righteousness, and where the Orthodox faith can take root. It is in such households that these children, in turn, learn how to be good parents to their own future children.

Hebrews 10:24-25: “… and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another …”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday January 18, 2019 / January 5, 2019
34th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Eve of the Theophany (Kreshchenskyi Sochelnik).
Fast Day.
Martyrs Theopemptus, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theonas (303).
Venerable Syncletica of Alexandria (350).
New Hieromartyr Joseph and with him 37 Martyrs (1921).
Virgin-martyr Eugenia (1933).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1934).
Martyr Matthew (1938).
Venerable Symeon of the Pskov Caves (1960).
Prophet Micah (9th c. B.C.).
Venerable Apollinaris of Egypt (470).
Sts. Phosterius the Hermit and Menas of Sinai (6th c.).
Venerable Gregory of Crete, monk (820).
Martyr Theoidus.
Martyr Sais.
St. Tatiana.
New Monk-martyr Romanus of Carpenision, who suffered at Constantinople(1694).
New Hieromartyr Romanus of Lacedaemonia (1695).
St. Menas of Sinai (6th c.).
Translation of the relics of St. Rumon, bishop, to Tavistock.

The Scripture Readings

Acts 13:25-33 Royal Hours: 1st Hour
Matthew 3:1-11 Royal Hours: 1st Hour
Acts 19:1-8 Royal Hours: 3rd Hour
Mark 1:1-8 Royal Hours: 3rd Hour
Romans 6:3-11 Royal Hours: 6th Hour
Mark 1:9-15 Royal Hours: 6th Hour
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 Royal Hours: 9th Hour
Matthew 3:13-17 Royal Hours: 9th Hour
1 Corinthians 9:19-27
Luke 3:1-18
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Blessing of Waters, Epistle
Mark 1:9-11 Blessing of Waters, Gospel

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.

One comment:

  1. Dear Father Tryphon,
    So well said- in fact all your blogs are so ‘right on’- again you are not old!!! Your years have made you knowledgeable and wise that makes your homilies so wonderful to read and one gets a spiritual uplift when starting the day.
    I also remember when I was a 12-13, living in the north woods of the Province of Quebec- with a wooden stove for preparing meals, we in our family of 3 boys, would eagerly wait for our father to come home from work from the lumber company to pray before sitting to our mother’s evening meal in the kitchen. the three brothers all had chores – one would set the table, the other would wash the dishes and the other would dry and store them away (no dishwasher in the 1950’s).Here we would relate in turn to the family, what we did during the day- we about school, father about his work, mother about what she heard on the radio (CBC station from Ottawa, Ontario). After dinner, we would gather in the living room and play games or listen to radio programs-Lone, Ranger, Gildersleeves, Amos and Andy, or Hockey night in Canada etc..
    Where we lived we did not have an Orthodox Church. However, every Sunday, we would put on our ‘Sunday best’ and first thing in the morning we would gather as a family, to have a thanksgiving prayer with the reading of the daily Epistle and Gospel.
    Later on, in the States, my wife and I, when we had our five children, we always sat down together for the evening meal and did the similar activities I described above. Today I am thankful to God that all my children are God-fearing/loving Orthodox Christians and happily married and most of their spouses have converted to Orthodoxy! Praise be to God! We have been blessed.
    This summer, God-willing, my wife I will be attending the summer wedding of our beautiful granddaughter and her fiance is also joining the Orthodox Church!

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