The Non-Orthodox

What about people who are not Orthodox?

It is always a pity when people who claim to be Orthodox make judgements against fellow Christians. In the tradition of Orthodoxy, wherever we find beauty and truth, it is of God, and it is our calling, as Orthodox Christians, to rejoice when we see others have at least some portion of the Truth. Slamming others for what they believe does nothing to further their journey into Orthodoxy, but in fact may delay or sideline their journey towards the fullness of Apostolic Truth.

There is the wonderful true story of Saint Silouan the Athonite who was traveling by train with an archimandrite, a zealot who was quick to correct others about the True Faith. Coming upon a group of traveling Roman Catholics, Saint Silouan’s traveling companion proceeded to tell them that they must become Orthodox because their faith was without grace. The saint asked him if it were indeed a fact that the Roman Catholics believed that Christ was true God, and that He was present in the Eucharist. The saint asked was it not true that these Catholics believed in the Trinity, and venerated the Holy Virgin and the relics of the saints. The archimandrite answered yes to all the questions. Saint Silouan responded that of all humility’s religions,  we must know that we have a greater proportion of Truth, but that we must not judge those who are not Orthodox. We must rejoice in the knowledge of what they do have. The saint told him that we should not be filled with such pride as to think we have the right to judge, correct or teach others.

This does not mean that we see the Church as divided, or that the Orthodox Church is anything less than the Church Christ founded. What it does mean is that we do not allow ourselves to think we have the right to correct or teach anyone. We must honor other peoples beliefs and not give in to the prideful stand that we have the right to teach or correct them. The truth that is found within Orthodoxy must be shared by living our faith in love, not in judging or correcting others. Truth, where ever it is found, is Orthodox Truth. If other religions embrace some of these truths that are Orthodox, we must rejoice and give thanks for what they do have.

People who love God and are trying to live holy lives pleasing to Him, according to the knowledge they have been given, are to be respected. They may not have the fullness of Apostolic Truth, but if they are believers in God and are trying to live a life pleasing to God, we must give thanks to Christ for what they do have. They have God as their Father, just as do we. They can have the Church as their Mother only if they see in us the difference Orthodoxy has made in our lives. Being arrogant in our evangelism does nothing to express the truth of Orthodoxy, and makes us no different than the pushy salesman at the door.

That arrogant archimandrite would better have shared the beauty of Orthodoxy had he embraced those Roman Catholics as fellow disciples of Christ.  Then they would have seen Christ in him and known that Orthodoxy was indeed a faith centered in Christ. They would have known the truth of Orthodoxy by seeing in him, the love of Christ.

All this having been said, it is important that we remember Our Lord Himself has charged us to speak the truth. We must never fail to share the truth of our Orthodox faith for fear we might offend someone, for by “Speaking the truth in love, let us grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head (of the Church), even Christ (Ephesians 4:15).”

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: My longtime friend, Prof. Richard Steel, of the theology and seminary schools of Seattle Pacific University, brought two classes of students for the Sunday Liturgy. Also joining them was the theology and philosophy librarian, Steven Perisho.

Monday March 4, 2019 / February 19, 2019
Week of the Last Judgment. Tone seven.
Maslenitsa. Meat is excluded
Maslenitsa, entire week.
Apostles Archippus and Philemon of the Seventy, and Martyr Apphia (1st c.).
St. Theodore of Sanaxar Monastery (1791).
New Martyr Demetrius(1942).
Martyrs Maximus, Theodotus, Hesychius, and Asclepiodotus of Adrianopolis (305-311).
Venerables Eugene and Macarius, presbyters, confessors at Antioch (363).
Venerable Dositheus of Palestine (6th c.), disciple of St. Abba Dorotheus.
Venerable Rabulas of Samosata (530).
Venerable Conon, abbot in Palestine (555).
New Hieromartyr Nicetas of Epirus (1809).
Venerable Philothea, nun-martyr, of Athens (1589) (Greek).
St. Mesrop the Translator of Armenia (439).

The Scripture Readings

3 John 1-14
Greeting to Gaius

1 The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Gaius Commended for Generosity

5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 7 because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.

Diotrephes and Demetrius

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

12 Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.

Farewell Greeting

13 I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.

Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

Luke 19:29-40

29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 22:7-39

Jesus and His Disciples Prepare the Passover

7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”

9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?”

10 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”

13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.

Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper

14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.

The Disciples Argue About Greatness

24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed oneupon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

Supplies for the Road

35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”

So they said, “Nothing.”

36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”

38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”

And He said to them, “It is enough.”

The Prayer in the Garden

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed 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.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you. I wonder if you could tell how you pray for the un-orthodox in your Church, because I understand that we cannot pray for them in the liturgy (and all my family is un-orthodox) – and even that some monasteries do not pray for un-orthodox people. I have understood that I can lit a candle and ask Theotokos and/ or the Saints to pray for them. And at home I ask the Saints to pray for them. It is a question that is heavy on my heart thinking about them. And when they pray for the dead – I pray for ALL dead people – because non of them have shared or are part of the Orthodox Church- family

    1. It is only the formal prayers in the services where we cannot commemorate the non-Orthodox. However, we as individuals can, and should, pray during these services. By lighting candles, or even praying for them at the moment we receive the Holy Mysteries, is a good place to mention our non-Orthodox family members and friends, in prayer. The reason the Church does not commemorate the non-Orthodox in the formal services is based on the same reason the Church does not commune the non-Orthodox. When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we receive not only His true Body and Blood, we receive the Mystical Body, which is the Church herself. And since all the services point to the Eucharist, and are a seamless part of the Divine Liturgy, we commemorate only the Orthodox.

      1. And yet, Father, in the litanies the deacon/priest mentions the President and “all those in civil authority” — clearly lots of non-Orthodox.
        Like your other friends who have written, I come from a non-Orthodox background, and this restriction on praying has always weighed heavy on my heart.

    1. Father,This has been a topic that I have never really understood completely. I, like Bette come from a non orthodox background and do worry about my family. ( who can’t)? We have to speak the truth. Jesus let’s us know that everybody who does good things and calls themselves Christian are not really Christian. He even said he never knew them. At what point or situation do we keep silent or speak things to them that they truly need to know for true faith and belief? If we don’t bring to them the truth about certain errors ( such as Baptism is not necessary at all ) and they continue to believe error because we kept quiet then are we ourselves held accountable to God? Any advice for how to do these things? Thanks, Gary

      1. Gary, living a life of love and kindness towards those around us, and giving witness to our Orthodox Faith by doing so, in no way means we never speak of Orthodoxy. My article is simply meant to express the importance of never judging another person because of their beliefs. The monks of Valaam Monastery in Russia, when evangelizing for Orthodoxy among the native peoples of Alaska, did so without judging them (unlike the Latins and protestants that came to the territory after the sale of Alaska to the United States) did so without pushing the Church on these people. Rather, they befriended them, learned about these peoples religion, and through their example and kindness, drew these indigenous people to the True Faith. This was all done without telling the people they were pagan.

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