Cloud of Witnesses

The saints are alive in Christ Jesus

Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent.

The saints show us what a glorious destiny we have in God, and through the example of their lives, point the way to our becoming “partakers of divine nature.” The saints, as the cloud of witnesses in heaven, are present in the divine services, worshiping the Holy Trinity with us. They, as our friends, intercede before the Throne of God on our behalf, having won the good fight, and we are encouraged by the memory and example of their lives, as we struggle on our own path to God.

It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think they are saints, and saints who know they are sinners. A saint is a Christian who lets God’s light shine through, and who’s life has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We venerate the Saints as we seek their intercession with God, but we adore and worship only God in Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We venerate the Images (Icons) as well as the relics of the saints and martyrs. Yet according to the decisions and Canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, this veneration relates not to the icons as such, but to their prototypes, or to the persons whom they represent.

The interior walls of our temples are adorned with the icons and frescoes of the saints as a reminder that we are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses, the saints, and that the Church Militant (here on earth) is not separated from the Church Triumphant (in heaven). In Christ, death does not divide us, for the saints are not dead, but alive in Christ Jesus.

Today the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia celebrates the Feast of Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. Saint John is the patron saint of our monastery, and I therefore want to post the following quote from our beloved Saint John:

“Christ, invisible to the bodily eye, manifests Himself on earth clearly through His Church … The Church is the Body of Christ both because its parts are united to Christ through His divine mysteries and because through her Christ works in the world.”

Glory to Jesus Christ Who is glorified in His saints.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday June 29, 2019 / June 16, 2019
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Fish Allowed
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker (movable holiday on the Saturday closest to June 19th).
St. Tychon, bishop of Amathus in Cyprus (425).
Venerable Tikhon of Kaluga or Medin (1492).
Venerable Tikhon of Lukhov (1503).
Venerable Moses of Optina, founder of the Optina Skete (1862).
New Martyr Hermogenes (Germogen), bishop of Tobolsk, Euphremius, Michael and Peter priests and Martyr Constantine (1918).
Translation of the relics (2002) of St. Theophan the Recluse, bishop of Tambov (1894).
Martyrs Tigrius and Eutropius of Constantinople (404).
Venerable Tikhon of Krestogorsk (Vologda).
St. Mark the Just of Apollonias, nephew of the Apostle Barnabas.
Five Martyrs of Nicomedia (Greek).
Forty Martyrs of Rome (Greek).
St. Kaikhosro the Georgian (1612) (Georgia).
St. Ismael, bishop of Menevia.

The Scripture Readings

Romans 3:19-26

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

God’s Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Matthew 7:1-8

Do Not Judge

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. 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.

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